Medical and Public Health Ethics in the Shadow of the Holocaust: The Nazi Doctors, Jewish Resistance, Resilience and Survival

~This post courtesy of Lisa Mix, Head, Medical Center Archives Weill Cornell Medicine Samuel J. Wood Library & C.V. Starr Biomedical Information Center

The Heberden Society and the WCM Division of Medical Ethics jointly present: Michael A. Grodin, MD on Medical and Public Health Ethics in the Shadow of the Holocaust: The Nazi Doctors, Jewish Resistance, Resilience and Survival.

The lecture will take place on Monday, March 13, 2017, 5:00 pm at the Selma Ruben Conference Center, Weill Cornell Medical College Weill Greenberg Center, 1305 York Avenue Room A-B (2nd floor).

Michael Alan Grodin, MD, is Professor of Health Law, Ethics and Human Rights at the Boston University School of Public Health, and in the Center for Health Law, Ethics & Human Rights, and is Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine. He completed his B.S. degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his M.D. degree at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, his postdoctoral and fellowship training at UCLA and Harvard, and he has been on the faculty of Boston University for the past 35 years. Dr. Grodin is the Medical Ethicist at Boston Medical Center and for thirteen years served as Chairman of the Institutional Review Board of the Department of Health and Hospitals of the City of Boston. He is a fellow of the Hastings Center, served on the board of directors of Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research, the American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics, and the Advisory Board of the Center for the Philosophy and History of Science. He is a member of the Ethics Review Board of Physicians for Human Rights and co-director of Global Lawyers and Physicians: Working Together for Human Rights, a transnational NGO. He was founding director of the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights: Caring for Survivors of Torture, which received the 2002 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project. Professor Grodin received a special citation from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in recognition of his “profound contributions – through original and creative research – to the cause of Holocaust education and remembrance.” He was a Member of the Global Implementation Project of the Istanbul Protocol Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and an Advisor to UNESCO. Dr. Grodin was the 2000 Julius Silberger Scholar and recipient of the 2014 Kravetz Award as an elected member of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute and the American Psychoanalytic Association.

Dr. Grodin has published more than 200 scholarly papers, and edited or co-edited 7 books: The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremberg Code: Human Rights in Human Experimentation, Children as Research Subjects: Science, Ethics and Law (both in the Bioethics Series of Oxford University Press); Meta-Medical Ethics: The Philosophical Foundations of Bioethics (Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science Series, Kluwer Academic Press); Health and Human Rights: A Reader (selected as 2nd of the top 10 humanitarian books of 1999); Perspectives on Health and Human Rights; and Health and Human Rights in a Changing World. His most recent book is Jewish Medical Resistance in the Holocaust. He is working on a new book, Spiritual Resistance and Rabbinic Response During the Holocaust.

The Heberden Society, which seeks to promote an interest in the history of medicine, was founded at the medical center in 1975. With funding from the Office of the Dean, the society sponsors a series of lectures during each academic year.

While We Were Out…

…new items were being added to our collection steadily! Here are a few:

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

New to the MHL!

Last week we announced the official opening of over 3,000 digitized volumes of historical medical journals.

Here are some highlights of what else is new in our collection:

And as always for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

Digital Highlights: A Clinic Reports

After Lisa Mix’s post on hospital reports, the series of annual reports from the Payne-Whitney psychiatric clinic caught my eye this week.

The report for 1935 is the third annual for the department and is a detailed write-up of clinic activities. As of the end of December 1935, for example, they had 70 in-patients, male and female. The statistics for the year described discharged patients as ‘Recovered,’ ‘Much Improved,’ ‘Improved,’ and ‘Unimproved’ — most patients fell into the latter two categories. In terms of patients admitted, the table of diagnoses shows the largest number of cases (53) under ‘schizophrenia.’ Not all patients were either admitted to the clinic for long-term stays or even accepted by the clinic for treatment; the out-patient department statistics show 49 cases rejected.

The report goes on to detail the kind and number of treatments given to patients, the staff training offered at the clinic, and a brief financial health report.

Flip through the pages of the report below or follow this link to read Annual Report of New York Hospital Department of Psychiatry-Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic for 1935.

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

New to the MHL!

Here in the US, we’ve just come back from two weeks of much-needed and refreshing vacation — but that doesn’t mean we don’t have new titles for you!

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

Guest Post: What Can We Learn from Hospital Reports?

Since becoming an MHL contributor in 2013, the Medical Center Archives of NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell has been steadily adding materials, funded by a series of “micro-grants” from the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) Digitization Grant Program.

I reported on materials digitized in our first micro-grant in my post here. In subsequent projects, we’ve focused on more specific topical materials. Among materials digitized in our second project were reports from several maternity and children’s hospitals:

• New York Asylum for Lying-In Women (merged with New York Infant Asylum in 1899)
• New York Infant Asylum (merged with Nursery and Child’s Hospital in 1909 to form New York Nursery and Child’s Hospital)
• Nursery and Child’s Hospital (merged with New York Infant Asylum in 1909 to form New York Nursery and Child’s Hospital)
• New York Nursery and Child’s Hospital (merged with New York Hospital in 1934)
• Manhattan Maternity & Dispensary (merged with New York Hospital in 1932 and became the NYH Department of Pediatrics)
• Lying-in Hospital of the City of New York

You can see that there are some complex administrative relationships between the various hospitals. All eventually became part of the New York Hospital, now NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.


From Annual Report – The Society of the Lying-in Hospital of the City of New York 1900

Reports from these hospitals form a chronicle of women’s health care, practices surrounding childbirth, and child care through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, documenting changes over time – but they are so much more than that.

I find them especially fascinating, as they paint a vivid picture of life in New York City in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They are a resource for demographic studies, presenting aggregate data on demographics such as the national origins of patients and the occupations of patients’ husbands. On this list of occupations from 1900, you’ll see occupations that no longer exist, such as “egg handler”. You can see the full list here and turn the pages for data on wages, number of living children, and more.


From New York Infant Asylum Annual Report 1872

The reports are a valuable resource for studying social history and treatment of immigrants and the poor. This statement from 1872 on the mission of the New York Infant Asylum also says much about attitudes toward women, sex, and the poor.

You can read the full statement here.

Some of the hospitals include reports of “cases visited” (such as this one from the Lying-In Hospital, 1914) that tell evocative stories of tenement life.


From Annual Report – The Society of the Lying-in Hospital of the City of New York 1914

Read more here!

We just began work on our third METRO micro-grant, and recently added the annual reports of the New York Hospital Westchester Division (formerly Bloomingdale Asylum for the Insane, then Bloomingdale Hospital). The reports, such as this one from 1943, present a picture of treatment of the mentally ill at that time.

Over the next six months, we’ll be adding annual reports from various departments, as well as several hospital publications. So please check back at our page!