How Should Students Learn About Contemporary Implications of Health Professionals' Roles in the Holocaust?

AMA J Ethics. 2021 Jan 1;23(1):E31-37. doi: 10.1001/amajethics.2021.31.


Foundational documents of modern biomedical ethics, such as the Nuremberg Code, the World Medical Association's declarations of Geneva and Helsinki, and the Belmont Report, trace their origins to health care professionals' complicity in the Holocaust. Rituals of contemporary medical education, such as white coat ceremonies and oath swearing at graduations, are practices that express professional resolve to never again be complicit in genocide or human exploitation. This article considers a historical approach to teaching the Holocaust's contemporary ethical implications for clinicians and their practices.