In 2006, the Museum hosted conversations with leaders about the continuing impact of the Holocaust on our world today.
Legitimizing the Unthinkable: A Disability Rights Perspective on Nazi Medicine with Harriet McBryde Johnson
Nazi science and medicine focused on eliminating both physical and mental impairments, real and perceived, as part of the path to "racial purity." Eugenics-based sterilization policies in Germany and throughout the world as well as the Nazis' so-called "euthanasia" program were often justified by physicians and scientists as relieving individual suffering while contributing to the "greater good." Renowned author, advocate, and attorney Harriet McBryde Johnson brought a disability rights perspective to bear on issues raised by the Museum's Deadly Medicine exhibition.
Arthur Caplan, Director, Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Caplan explores how moral inquiry into this history can inform the field of bioethics today as it confronts controversial issues and practices.
A More Perfect Human: The Promise and Peril of Modern Science
Dr. Leon Kass, a physician and scientist engaged for more than 30 years with ethical and philosophical questions raised by biomedical advances, explored how modern science's pursuit of "human perfection" paved the way for Nazi programs to eliminate the "unfit." Dr. Kass addressed the persistence of biological "idealism" in contemporary scientific and medical thinking.
Leon Wieseltier (Literary Editor, The New Republic) explores how the history presented in Deadly Medicine can help inform contemporary debate about the complex moral and social issues associated with scientific and technological advances.
The Nazis drew on the science of their day in their pursuit of "perfection" and the creation of the "master race." Dr. Ruth Faden, Director of the Phoebe R. Berman Bioethics Institute at Johns Hopkins University, and the daughter of Holocaust survivors, explored the implications of this history in light of current medical innovations to enhance appearance and intelligence or prevent disease.