Fifty years after the Nuremberg Nazi Doctors' Trial: reviewing how the laws of the Third Reich applied to individuals with oral clefts.

Abstract

The Nazi Doctors' Trial, held in the city of Nuremberg 50 years ago, is a landmark in the history of medicine and science. For the first time, the horrors inflicted by a group of German scientists on innocent victims became widely known. Most of the defendants received sentences that ranged from relatively short imprisonment to death. The Trial also provided elements to develop standards for permissible medical experimentation, known as the Nuremberg Code. The atrocities judged in the Nazi Doctors' Trial, however, were not isolated. They were part of an overall eugenic system that encouraged euthanasia, compulsory sterilization, and selective marriages based on "genetic health" and "racial hygiene." Individuals with oral clefts were considered subject to these laws and suffered their consequences. This paper describes the main features of the Trial, reviews the state of knowledge on oral clefts in the 1930s and 1940s, presents how the laws of the Third Reich impacted the lives of individuals with oral clefts, and speculates on the implications of past and present eugenic policies in the future of humankind.

Cite this paper

@article{Wyszynski1998FiftyYA, title={Fifty years after the Nuremberg Nazi Doctors' Trial: reviewing how the laws of the Third Reich applied to individuals with oral clefts.}, author={Diego F. Wyszynski}, journal={Plastic and reconstructive surgery}, year={1998}, volume={101 2}, pages={519-27} }