History in the Making

Document Type



With the conclusion of the Nuremburg Doctor’s trials in August 1947, the role of German physicians in the concentration camps of Europe became a widely discussed and researched topic in the historiography of the Holocaust. Like many other perpetrators indicted by the Allies following the Second World War, German physicians claimed to have been swept up in the mass indoctrination of the National Socialist movement and had ultimately become powerless cogs within the Nazi totalitarian regime. While this claim may be true in some cases, the historiography of German physicians-turned-killers reveals different sources of motivation which allowed doctors in the Third Reich to reverse the precepts of the Hippocratic Oath in order to therapeutically kill for the greater health of the German Völk.