College Honors Program

Date of Creation


Document Type




First Advisor

Prof. Daniel Bitran


The Holocaust, the murder of 6 million Jews, is the only medically-santioned genocide. This thesis explores the roles of Nazi doctors in the planning, organizing, and implementation of the organized mass murder of European Jewry. Given the German medical community’s complicity, it is imperative that physicians today are well informed about their profession’s history of involvement in the Holocaust. In addition, and by way of contrast, a study of the moral challenges faced by doctors imprisoned in concentration camps or in the ghettos of Nazi-occupied Europe might serve to better prepare physicians for future ethical dilemmas. In a survey of alumni of the seminar “Science, Medicine, and the Holocaust,” we found a strong appreciation for how science and medicine were influenced by the sociopolitical climate of the Holocaust. Among alumni in the health-related professions, there was high agreement that the Holocaust should be used to teach biomedical ethics. These results echo recent initiatives aimed at infusing Holocaust education in medical school curricula. This history ideally can help “equip” learners with a moral compass for navigating the future of medical practice and ethical challenges, such as implicit bias, resource allocation, obtaining informed consent, and challenges of genomics and technology expansion.


Readers: Prof. Mary Roche, Prof. Thomas Doughton.