Pre-conference visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum

6 May, 9:00–14:45


7 May

Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology
ul. M. Konopnickiej 26, 30-302 Kraków
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Welcome address


The Holocaust as a critical point in the development of medical and research ethics?

Dr. Stacy Gallin

Maimonides Institute for Medicine, Ethics and the Holocaust, USA


Medicine and morality under the Nazis

Dr. Tessa Chelouche

Department of Bioethics and the Holocaust, UNESCO Chair in Bioethics (Haifa)


Motivations of Nazi doctors and whether these motivations have modern day relevance

Prof. Susan Miller

Houston Methodist Research Institute, USA


Teaching medical students about the history of doctors' involvement in the Holocaust: opportunities and challenges

Prof. Matthew Wynia

University of Colorado, USA


Refreshment break


"The corpses are still walking ...": a discussion about the case of German SS doctor Johann Paul Kremer*

Dr. Maria Ciesielska

Unit of UNESCO Chair in Bioethics (Haifa), Lazarski University, Poland


A doctor from Auschwitz called Mephisto*

Helena Kubica

Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, Poland


Doctor Stefania Perzanowska: the founder of the women's camp hospital in KL Lublin*

Marta Grudzińska

State Museum at Majdanek
Nazi German Concentration and Extermination Camp, Poland


Moral and ethical dilemmas faced by physicians who were Auschwitz prisoners: Stefan Budziaszek, Krankenbauältester of Buna-Monowitz prisoners' hospital*

Prof. Bogdan Musiał

Institute of National Remembrance, Poland


Lunch break


Professor Antoni Kępiński on the concentration camp syndrome*

Prof. Zdzisław Jan Ryn

Jagiellonian University, Poland


Long-term psychosomatic impact in Holocaust offspring

Prof. Jacques Barth

University of Southern California, USA


Resilience and the role of the doctor: the Auschwitz experience

Prof. Rael Strous

Tel Aviv University, Israel


Professor Julian Aleksandrowicz, physician of the hospital in the Kraków Ghetto, initiator of the Righteous Among the Nations Medal*

Prof. Aleksander Skotnicki

Jagiellonian University, Poland


Panel discussion

* Lecture in Polish translated simultaneously into English.


8 May

Conference Centre Faculty of Medicine
Jagiellonian University Medical College
ul. św. Łazarza 16, 31-530 Kraków
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 8:00 Residents and students

Prof. Rael Strous, Director Department of Psychiatry, Maayenei Hayeshua Medical Center; Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University (Tel Aviv)
Max. number of participants: 40
Fee: 30 €
Eligible participants: Physicians, mental health practitioners and students
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

Rationale: The aim of the workshop will be to explore the role of psychiatrists during the period of the Holocaust as well as ethical violations of relevance to contemporary practice. Discussion will include both negative and positive behavior of psychiatrists and mental health care providers during this time. A focus will be made on the function of psychiatrists leading up to as well as during the Holocaust and how the Auschwitz experience in many ways was defined by this period. It will be shown how the learning of ethics has diminished worth and meaning without a focus on where members of the profession in the past have gone astray from an ethical perspective.

Learning objectives:

  1. The aim of the workshop will be to discuss the activities of psychiatrists, allied medical staff and other mental health practitioners before and during the Holocaust and how their unethical practice came to influence much of the Holocaust including most importantly the Auschwitz experience. Participants will learn how and why psychiatrists and mental health care providers in Nazi Germany became involved, what they did to their long-suffering patients and how they influenced the course of the Holocaust.
  2. An in-depth discussion of ethical lessons which can be learned from the Holocaust era in relation to current medical and mental health care practice will take place. Interesting case examples from the Holocaust and other historical ethical breaches by members of the professions as well as more contemporary care studies with ethical dilemmas will be presented and analyzed. A focus on particular ethical lessons that may be learned from the Holocaust era in order to solve these ethical problems will be explored. Participants will leave the workshop with practical tools to analyze and solve ethical dilemmas with dignity and sensitivity surrounding patients with mental health conditions.

 11:00 Residents and students

Speakers and trainers:
Dr. Tessa Chelouche, Department of Bioethics and the Holocaust, UNESCO Chair in Bioethics (Haifa)
Monika Siorek, Centre for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust
Max. number of participants: 20
Fee: 30 €
Eligible participants: Physicians and students
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes each of the two parts

Rationale: The aim of the seminars will be to present some ethical dilemmas in the historical context of medicine involvement in the Holocaust and the Second World War, with particular emphasis on the Auschwitz concentration camp. The ethical dilemmas to be discussed include human dignity, the value of life, the rights of vulnerable populations, medicine in times of conflict, physicians participation in torture, research on human participants, medical practice under duress, and others.

Learning objectives:

  1. The aim of the introductory workshops will be to discuss the activities of National Socialist doctors and prisoners in KL Auschwitz-Birkenau. Participants will learn about the two aspects of medical practice in a concentration camp: medicine practised by SS doctors on the one hand, and on the other medical service of the prisoner physicians in the camp blocks and hospitals.
  2. The bioethical workshop will include discourse on the stories of SS doctors and prisoner doctors in addition to a commentary and discussion on this topic from a medical-ethical perspective. During the seminar we will examine testimonies of the former camp prisoners, prisoners who were experimented on, and we will discuss memoirs by prisoner physicians and other prisoner medical personnel. We will use bibliographic material such as that presented in Casebook on Bioethics and the Holocaust by Tessa Chelouche and Geoffrey Brahmer.

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