During the Nazi era, physicians provided expertise and a veneer of legitimacy enabling crimes against humanity. In a creative educational initiative to address current ethical dilemmas in clinical medicine, we conduct ethics learning missions bringing senior physicians to relevant Nazi era sites in either Germany or Poland. The tours share a core curriculum contextualising history and medical ethics, with variations in emphasis. Tours to Germany provide an understanding of the theoretical origins of the ethical violations and crimes of Nazi physicians. Tours to Poland address the magnitude of the Nazi physician’s atrocities as well as displays of heroism by Jewish and righteous among the nations' physicians. Exemplary as well as shameful physician behaviour is analysed from an ethical perspective. A combination of unique educational methodologies maximises learning and personal growth, enabling participants to examine ethically complex clinical situations with extrapolation to modern-day medical practice. Learning is designed with relevance to contemporary medical ethics dilemmas such as beginning and end-of-life issues, providing tenets from which participants can develop as more ethical and informed physicians. Participant feedback confirms efficacy and worth of these growth-promoting ethics learning tours which should be expanded to other international groups and settings (see online film Witness in White Berlin 2019 available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75VUZvo3Bec).
- history of health ethics/bioethics
- public health ethics
- mentally ill and disabled persons
Statistics from Altmetric.com
Collaborators Simcha Stein.
Contributors MAF and RS designed the main conceptual ideas of the educational seminar program curriculum and format. MAF and RS jointly directed the project over 3 years. MAF and RS jointly wrote the manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Addendum Online film 'Witness in White Berlin 2019' available at: https://youtu.be/75VUZvo3Bec
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.