Lessons to be Learned. Never to be Repeated.

In Hebrew, Yom HaShoah Ve-Hagevurah literally means “Day of the Holocaust and the Heroism.” This year it began at sundown on Wednesday, April 11 and ended yesterday evening.  It honors the 6 million, men, women, and children who were murdered by the authority of the Third Reich. It is a day that also pays tribute to the courageous Jewish resistance, such as those in the Warsaw Ghetto who, though significantly out numbered and out gunned, held off well armed Nazi soldiers for an entire month.

Next week on Tuesday, April 17th, at 4 p.m. in the BSB lobby, New York Medical College welcomes Dr. Howard A. Israel, who was instrumental in uncovering and revealing the Nazi roots of the Atlas of Topographical and Applied Human Anatomy, by Eduard Pernkopf. You may Register for this Library event to listen to his important lecture on this work.

In the interest of highlighting the importance of including medical ethics in education, the Library has compiled a list of our resources that document the criminal and heroic practices of doctors during the holocaust.  A few of them are listed below.


The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide, by Robert Jay Lifton, M.D. ’48. Available in print.

Conducting barbaric experiments on holocaust prisoners were only some of the crimes committed by Nazi physicians. This book examines the thinking behind this evil conduct and how it extended to the detailed medical planning, design, supervision, and execution of systematic mass murder.





Jewish Medical Resistance in the Holocaust, edited by Michael A. Grodin. Available in print

This book honors the medical heroes during the Holocaust, who personified the highest quality of medical and humanitarian ethics. These physicians worked under horrible conditions, such as starvation, threat of execution, lack of the basic sanitary conditions and supplies in order to help as many as they could, maintaining their professional humanity in the inhuman ghettos and concentration camps.





Auschwitz: A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account, by Miklos Nyiszli Available in print

After choosing life over death, Dr. Miklos Nyiszli served an even darker sentence by assisting the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele as the “Angel of Death’s” personal research pathologist. This book is Dr. Nyiszli’s personal account of what he did, learned, and the price he paid.






Medicine after the Holocaust: From the Master Race to the Human Genome and Beyond, edited by Sheldon Rubenfeld. Available in print.

An essential read that probes essential questions such as: How could those who have been trained to heal and save lives commit such atrocities against humanity? And, even more importantly: Could this ever happen again?






Medicine and Nazism, by Daniel S. Nadav. Available in print.

The first part of this book reveals the demented ideology behind eugenics and the criminal tactics and actions of medical professionals to rationalize medical murder. The second half illustrates those brave physicians who fought against all odds to maintain their beliefs in sustaining the ethical, humanitarian principles of medicine.





Murderous Medicine : Nazi Doctors, Human Experimentation, and Typhus, by Naomi Baumslag. Available in print.

Once typhus spread through the camps and ghettos, German doctors used it as a form of biological warfare and justification for murder against those the Nazi’s deemed inferior. Yet, the author does not fail to recognize those doctors who were also prisoners, and how they secretly struggled to save lives without the basic necessities of survival and medical supplies.