Deadly Medicine: German Doctors and the Nazi State
William Meinecke, Jr.
Historian, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
William Frederick Meinecke, Jr. received his undergraduate degree in German and History from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 1983, followed by studies at the Universities of Bonn and Berlin in Germany, earning his M.A. in 1988. He returned to the University of Maryland where he earned Ph.D. in History in 1998, doing his original research on the Supreme Court in Weimar and Nazi Germany. In 1992, William joined the staff of the Wexner Learning Center of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. He was on the design team for the center's multi-media program on the Holocaust, the Historical Atlas of the Holocaust in both book and CD-ROM, and the Student Learning Web site on the Holocaust. William joined the staff of the Museum's Education Division in June of 2000. For the last nine years William has worked with law enforcement officers, judges, prosecutors and attorneys in the training program, Law Enforcement and Society: Lessons of the Holocaust. He is currently working in the National Institute for Holocaust Education on Holocaust education for adult professionals. His book, Nazi Ideology and the Holocaust was published by the Museum in December 2007.
"Deadly Medicine: German Doctors and the Nazi State"
This program explores the perversion of medical ethics in Nazi Germany. Between 1933 and 1945, a politically extreme, antisemitic variation of eugenics determined the course of state policy in Nazi Germany. The Nazis justified their program of territorial expansion with claims of biological superiority—an "Aryan master race"—and virulent antisemitism. Adolph Hitler enlisted the help of medical professionals, many of whom applauded the Nazi regime's emphasis on biology and heredity, as well as new career opportunities and additional funding for research. In the process, broad segments of the German medical profession became embroiled in Nazi crimes, especially in forced sterilization, the "Euthanasia" killing program, and ultimately in the Holocaust.