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Murderous Medicine: Nazi Doctors, Human Experimentation, and Typhus

by Naomi Baumslag (Author)



Editorial Reviews

Review
The case that the Third Reich engaged in biological warfare using typhus as an
ethnic cleansing agent against Jews, gypsies, and Slavs is carefully constructed
and fully documented here. Typhus can assume epidemic proportions when living
conditions are unsanitary and nutrition is inadequate. Baumslag demonstrates
that Nazi Germany deliberately sought to create environments that would engender
typhus in the ethnic communities slated for liquidation, and then transported
the lice-ridden inhabitants to extermination camps as a public health necessity.
That contemporary medicine and public health measures were available to prevent
typhus is attested to by the fact that in WW II only 104 cases of typhus were
reported in all the Allied armed forces. In contrast, "at least 1.5 million
prisoners died of typhus as a direct consequence of murder, malpractice, or
deliberate negligence by German doctors." Through silence, interest in profit
taking, and desire to engage in human experimentation, the International Red
Cross, the German pharmaceutical industry, and the German medical establishment,
respectively, collaborated with Hitler's Final Solution....Recommended.

Baumslag's book is an impassioned plea for her fellow physicians to remain
committed to the "traditional medical ethics" of the Hippocratic Oath. By
exposing the immorality and inhumanity of Nazi doctors, the courageous
resistance and dedication of Jewish doctors and the cowardly behavior of the
International Red Cross, she hopes to keep alive the memory of an atrocity that
we dare not repeat.H-German

Baumslag provides useful background information that helps provide the context
within which the Nazi regime justified its despicable policies. Thus, Murderous
Medicine provides a description of how anti-Semitism influenced the organization
and delivery of public health and medical care in the ghettoes of Eastern
Europe. It also describes some of the processes by which the Nazi doctors made
their decisions to conduct human experiments....The extensive documentation will
be helpful to students interested in expanding their knowledge of what must be
the worst example of human depravity on record.American Journal of Epidemiology

In this book this terrible situation is systemically illuminated. It is written
for a broad audience, and is an easily understandable presentation of the
epidemiology, medical history and political use of typhus. The essential context
and research on typhus is clearly presented. The author also describes the
struggle of the Jewish prisoner-doctors against the typhus and their
exploitation throughout the Nazi occupation. The analytical distance that Naomi
Baumslag, a respected pediatrician from Georgetown University Medical School
brings is admirable as is her dedication to human rights and engaging the role
of medicine and the political use of public health.German Medical Journal

A MUST READ FOR ALL....Naomi paints a grim but very real picture of the pathetic
conditions of Jews during the Holocaust. The prisoners were kept in pathetic,
unsanitary and overcrowded conditions facilitating the spread of typhus... They
were then killed under the garb of preventing further infection to other
inmates. The horrendous acts of Nazis thus got passed of as acts of great
benevolence, even as international agencies like the Red Cross kept watching
helplessly.Anil Aggrawal's Internet Journal of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology

[W]e would do well to pay attention yet again to the lessons of history.The New
England Journal of Medicine

Baumslag documents the complicity by German and Austrian doctors in human
experiments and genocide through the exploration of typhus and biological
warfare.SciTech Book News

Murderous Medicine is thorough, profusely and admirably illustrated and tackles
the medical issues clearly.The Jerusalem Post

Murderous Medicine is an important book, a valuable contribution to the
literature about Nazi "medicine" (the qualification is deliberate, as the Nazis'
"medicine" and "experiments" were neither; they were bestial and torturous,
ethically and morally bankrupt). The book should occupy a place on the
shelf....Murderous Medicine forces us to remember, and hopefully to
reflect....Today's headlines and newscasts remind us that we still have much to
remember and learn. That is why this book is important. We are all
responsible.JAMA Journal of the American Medical Association

[T]hose who continue to ponder Nazi medical atrocities and want to reflect on
the moral failures of Nazi doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and humanitarian
organizations will find this book useful.JCI The Journal of Clinical
Investigation

In Murderous Medicine Naomi Baumslag documents the complicity of Nazi doctors
and pharmaceutical companies in murderous medical experiments related to
epidemic typhus to further Jewish genocide....Baumslag argues that doctors
pressured Nazi officials to proceed swiftly to quarantine and ghettoization to
further the "eradication" of the disease - not typhus, but the Jews themselves.
Typhus prevention rituals, including shaving and gassing, were used under the
subterfuge of providing health care. Several million Jews were murdered as a
direct consequence. Underlining the point that the goal was to kill Jews, she
notes, "with all their barbaric and unethical experiments the German researchers
were unable to control typhus and get rid of lice." Jews were left in a diseased
environment and doomed to die. It is an important story, and one well worth
documenting.Journal of Clinical Medicine

Baumslag explores in impressive detail how typhus was characterised by Nazis as
a Jewish plague.The Lancet

Review
"The central message here is the betrayal of the medical profession of its trust
as a healing profession. Evil can never be done so that good may come of it. How
often is that dictum violated with the Nazis and the other twentieth century
physicians who have allowed arguments, from survival, patriotism, or exigency to
drown out the voice of ethics." - Edmund Pellegrino, M.D. Professor Emeritus of
Medicine and Medical Ethics Center for Clinical Bioethics, Georgetown University

"Baumslag offers a wide range of disturbing material dealing with the perversion
and abandonment of medical and humanitarian ideals on the part of those sworn to
uphold them: in the first instance the German medical and scientific community
but also international organizations like the Red Cross. Written with passionate
anger for those who betrayed their calling, Baumslag is equally passionate in
her praise for those in the ghettoes and in camps who struggled to do all they
could to protect inmates. At the same time, she gives the general reader a
lively and informative introduction to the complex interrelation of war and
disease." - Solon Beinfeld Emeritus Professor of History Washington University, St. Louis


Product Details

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Praeger Publishers; 1 edition (May 30, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0275983129

 

 

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