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The Anatomy of Murder

Ethical Transgressions and Anatomical Science during the Third Reich

Sabine Hildebrandt
Foreword by William E. Seidelman

390 pages, 6 tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-067-4 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Published (January 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78533-068-1 eBook


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“With this book Sabine Hildebrandt submits an important piece of work to the public, a work that is always absorbing, and needs to be taken very, very seriously. It truly presents a milestone in the research and reappraisal of one of the darkest chapters in the history of medicine. On the basis of thorough new research and a meticulous collection of existing data, it analyzes concisely, objectively, and consistently the position and development of the medical discipline of anatomy during the Third Reich…It would be more than appropriate to include this important book as a standard text in the medical curriculum on the history of medicine. Also, this work can be recommended warmly and without reservations to the general public.” · Annals of Anatomy

“This important and well-written… book is the first comprehensive treatise to tackle the daunting and controversial topic of human atrocities that occurred in Germany during World War II from the perspective of the anatomists and their respective institutions. Much of the information presented in the book is from recently acquired data… This book will appeal not only to those involved in anatomy but to any person interested in gaining insight into the relationship between anatomists and the NS government during the Third Reich.” · Clinical Anatomy

“This study is written with considerable knowledge, energy, and engagement. It contains much that is fresh and new in terms of research and has the advantage of an insider’s understanding: the author deploys her expertise as a practitioner-historian to good effect.” · Paul Weindling, Oxford Brookes University

“Like many other professions, the discipline of anatomy has, in terms of its history with National Socialism, been characterized by dereliction, denial, and duplicity. Sabine Hildebrandt carefully distinguishes between fact and apparent fiction in this first definitive history of the science and practice of anatomy in Nazi Germany. It is comprehensive and fully documented, carefully placing its findings in the context of previous research.” · Geoffrey Cocks, Albion College

Of the many medical specializations to transform themselves during the rise of National Socialism, anatomy has received relatively little attention from historians. While politics and racial laws drove many anatomists from the profession, most who remained joined the Nazi party, and some helped to develop the scientific basis for its racialist dogma. As historian and anatomist Sabine Hildebrandt reveals, however, their complicity with the Nazi state went beyond the merely ideological. They progressed through gradual stages of ethical transgression, turning increasingly to victims of the regime for body procurement, as the traditional model of working with bodies of the deceased gave way, in some cases, to a new paradigm of experimentation with the “future dead.”


Sabine Hildebrandt is an Assistant Professor in the Division of General Pediatrics, Department of Medicine, at Boston Children’s Hospital and a Lecturer on Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Her research focuses on the history and ethics of anatomy, and she is an internationally recognized expert on anatomy in National Socialist Germany.

Subject: WWII History Genocide Studies
Area: Germany

LC: QM33.3.G3 H55 2016

BISAC: HIS043000 HISTORY/Holocaust; HIS014000 HISTORY/Europe/Germany; MED000000 MEDICAL/General

BIC: HBTZ1 The Holocaust; MBX History of medicine




Contents

Foreword
William Seidelman

Acknowledgements
Abbreviations and German Terms

Introduction
 

Chapter 1. History of research on medicine and anatomy in National Socialism
Chapter 2. Anatomy and related sciences before 1933
Chapter 3. The interaction between the NS state and anatomists
Chapter 4. The NS state and the Anatomische Gesellschaft
Chapter 5. Anatomists who became victims of NS policies
Chapter 6. Anatomists working in NS Germany
Chapter 7. NS victims and the use of their bodies for anatomical purposes    
Chapter 8. The science of anatomy in NS Germany    
Chapter 9. After the war
Chapter 10. Developments in professional ethics in anatomy
Chapter 11. Anatomy- on the edge of culture

Appendix: Tables 1-6

Index

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