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Medical Ethics and the Holocaust

“The Erosion of Medical Ethics Amongst German Doctors during the Holocaust” was the title given to the talk presented by Dr. Tessa Chelouche.

Born in Johannesburg and trained at Tel Aviv University, Family Physician Tessa Chelouche addressed a gathering of almost 50 people organised by Telfed at Beit Issie Shapiro in Ra’anana to mark the occasion of Yom Hashoah.

Tessa spoke about the history of Eugenics which originated in Britain and the USA as a means of “improving the quality of the members of society”.  Eugenics was the theory behind the Nazi program of Racial Hygiene which evolved into the practice of physicians actively sterilizing and killing patients who were considered to be weaker members of society, such as physically and mentally disabled people.  These medical programs served as the model for the murder of millions of people during the Holocaust.

After the horrors perpetrated by the medical doctors in Nazi Germany were revealed at the Nuremberg Trials, the Hippocratic Oath established thousands of years ago and to which all members of the medical profession subscribe was amended.

Tessa highlighted the contrast between the efforts to eliminate disabled individuals as promoted by Eugenics and practiced by the Nazis against the wonderful work undertaken at Beit Issie.

The event was organised by Telfed’s (Chairman of Events Committee) Peter Bailey and the speaker was introduced by Vic Essakow.

 

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