From 1933 to 1945, Nazi Germany carried out a campaign to “cleanse” German society of individuals viewed as biological threats to the nation’s “health.” With the help of physicians and medically-trained geneticists, psychiatrists and anthropologists, the Nazis developed racial health policies that began with the mass sterilization of “genetically diseased” persons and ended with the near annihilation of European Jewry.
To relate this history, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has assembled high quality scans of artifacts and documents, photographs and historic film footage and presents them in settings evoking medical and scientific environments in a traveling exhibition, Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race.
“Deadly Medicine explores the Holocaust’s roots in then-contemporary scientific and pseudo-scientific thought,” explains exhibition curator Susan Bachrach. “At the same time, it touches on complex ethical issues we face today, such as how societies acquire and use scientific knowledge and how they balance the rights of the individual with the needs of the larger community.”
From the early twentieth-century international eugenics movements – which sprang from the turn-of-the-century scientific beliefs asserting that Charles Darwin’s theories of “survival of the fittest” could be applied to humans – to present-day dreams of eliminating inherited disabilities through genetic manipulation, the issues explored in the exhibit remain timely. Deadly Medicine inspires reflection on the continuing attraction of biological utopias that promote the possibility of human perfection.
Beginning Friday, Jan. 18 through Sunday, March 31, Deadly Medicine will be displayed at the Arizona Health Sciences Library (AHSL), Tucson Campus, 1501 N. Campbell Ave., Tucson.
Free and open to the public, the exhibit may be viewed Sundays through Thursdays, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Please note: There is a parking fee of $1.50 per hour, cash only, Mondays-Fridays, 6 a.m.-9 p.m. (free on Saturdays and Sundays) in The University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus Visitor/Patient Parking Garage; the AHSL, Tucson Campus, is unable to validate parking. The UA 2012 Lot Specific Permit parking lot southwest of the AHSL, Tucson Campus, on N. Cherry Ave., between E. Drachman St. and E. Mabel St., has several metered parking spaces and parking in the lot is free after 5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and all day Saturdays and Sundays. Free parking also is available in nearby UA Zone 1 lots after 5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and all day Saturdays and Sundays.
A free opening reception with refreshments and guest speakers, open to the public, will be held Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 4 p.m., at the AHSL, Tucson Campus.
In addition, the public is invited to a free lecture by bioethics and medical ethics expert Norman Fost, MD, MPH, on Monday, Feb. 11, at noon, at the AHSL, Tucson Campus. Dr. Fost is professor of pediatrics and bioethics and director of the Program in Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
(Please note: Although the reception and lecture are free, there is a parking fee of $1.50 per hour, cash only, in The University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus Visitor/Patient Parking Garage; the AHSL, Tucson Campus, is unable to validate parking. Several metered parking spaces are available in the UA 2012 Lot Specific Permit parking lot on N. Cherry Ave., between E. Drachman St. and E. Mabel St., just southwest of the AHSL, Tucson Campus.)
Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race is produced by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and presented locally in partnership with the Arizona Health Sciences Library, Tucson Campus; the Program in Medical Humanities at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, and the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona.
For more information about the exhibit and related events, contact Jeanette Ryan, deputy director, AHSL, Tucson Campus, 520-626-6143, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website, www.ahsl.arizona.edu
Information about current and past exhibits at the Arizona Health Sciences Library, Tucson, is available at http://ahsl.arizona.edu/about/exhibits