Patricia Heberer

in The Oxford Handbook of Holocaust Studies

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199211869
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology


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This article shows how science and medicine, as practiced by influential researchers and physicians in Nazi Germany, were also among the enablers of the Holocaust. It explores a disturbing paradox that remains at the centre of research in this area of Holocaust studies: National Socialism's aim to destroy Jews and other ‘inferior’ groups was legitimated and promoted by respected members of one of the world's preeminent scientific communities. This reality raises a vexing question: Was there such a thing as Nazi science, and, if so, what were its defining features? Investigation of those issues reveals how Nazi authorities harnessed the efforts of scientists and physicians, not only to fuel Germany's war machine and to advance its prestige abroad, but also to achieve the regime's ideological goals and to implement many of its most radical racialist policies.

Keywords: medicine; Nazi Germany; Holocaust enablers; National Socialism; Nazi science; racialism

Article.  6524 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Religion and Science ; Judaism and Jewish Studies

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