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Holocaust on Trial

Warsaw Ghetto Children Detailed notes kept by Jewish doctors on children and adults who starved to death in the Warsaw ghetto were later published as a seminal study on hunger disease.
What if you knew that the data might help save lives today?

Hypothermia expert Robert Pozos believes Nazi data on rapid rewarming could save lives, while Dr. John Hayward, also a specialist in hypothermia, has used Nazi cooling curves to determine how long cold-water survival suits would safeguard people at near-fatal temperatures. As journalist Kristine Moe has pointed out [44], scientists and physicians have gained valuable insights from other horrific events in history. Jewish doctors locked inside the Warsaw Ghetto took copious clinical notes on how their compatriots, many of them children, perished from starvation; smuggled out of the ghetto, those notes were later published as a landmark study on hunger disease. Survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki offered a valuable, albeit tragic, opportunity for specialists to learn more about radiation sickness. With human lives at stake, should we consider the Nazi data any differently?
"The argument that the information [from the Dachau hypothermia experiments] could be used to save human lives is a powerful one...."
—Dr. Robert Pozos, hypothermia expert [45]

"I'm trying to make something constructive out of it. I use it with my guard up, but it's useful."
—Dr. John S. Hayward, hypothermia expert at University of Victoria University, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, on why he used Nazi hypothermia data in his research [46]

"We won't argue that the experiments were well reported or well designed, but compared to what we had, they offered a measure of improvement. They obviously had a lot of flaws. But we felt compelled to use it because it provided dose-response data."
—John Vandenberg, EPA project manager in charge of regulatory review of phosgene gas, on why he condoned citing data from the Nazi phosgene experiments [47]
Based on what you now know, do you think doctors and scientists should be able to use data from Nazi death-camp experiments?
Yes | No


References
44. Moe, p. 7.
45. Pozos, Robert S. "Scientific Inquiry and Ethics: The Dachau Data." In Caplan, p. 106.
46. Moe, p. 5.
47. Sun, Marjorie. "EPA Bars Use of Nazi Data." Science, Vol. 240 No. 4848, 4/1/88, p. 21.


Photo: National Archives, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives

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