The ugly legacy of Nazi doctors resurfaces

A prestigious research institute in Germany has been forced to dispose of 100 human brain specimens after discovering they were sourced from illicit medical research conducted during and after WWII.

The Max Planck Psychiatric Institute in Munich, Germany, found the specimens in their collection during a renovation last year. They had arrived at the Institute in 2001, and had belonged to the estate of Julius Hallervorden, a German psychiatrist and member of the Nazi party. Following the Second World War, Hallervorden admitted to having performed experiments on executed prisoners and the disabled; it is likely that some of the specimens were taken from the bodies of executed prisoners and involuntarily euthanized patients.

In the wake of the controversy, the Max Planck Society has announced that it will be conducting a comprehensive review of all human specimens stored at it Institutes.

The directors of the Planck Institute said that they were “shocked” and “ashamed” by the recent discovery. 

MORE ON THESE TOPICS | consent, germany, nazi doctors, research ethics

This article is published by Xavier Symons and BioEdge under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

 Search BioEdge

 Subscribe to BioEdge newsletter
rss Subscribe to BioEdge RSS feed

comments powered by Disqus