Doctors From Hell Book Term Paper

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Doctors From Hell

The Five Greatest Lessons to be Learned from Vivian Spitz's Book

LESSON #1:

The first great lesson that should have been learned from Spitz goes a bit beyond the literal pages of her book. It comes from the heart, after an alert reader plows through this book. This is the lesson the world seemed to have learned and must never forget: an accounting of how and why the Nazis were allowed to seize control of the German people so totally and thoroughly. While the Western world - and people in Germany who could have done more - watched in stunned silence for so long - or in some cases, turned a blind eye to the truth - Hitler turned a nation into a killing machine, using Jews, Gypsies and other minorities as scapegoats.

The ordinary German population in general looked the other way when their Jewish neighbors were being rounded up and taken away" (Spitz 22). But meanwhile, any observation a reader makes with reference to Spitz's book - which is excellent, chilling and historically accurate - must be prefaced philosophically with a brief review of the Holocaust itself. Spitz's book is brilliant in its theme and format, but it is indeed a sidebar story when the big picture is presented on WWII and the atrocities conducted by the Nazis.

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In the future, when a nation becomes so subservient to a tyrant such as Hitler, the United Nations and other respected world bodies must take action to prevent the slaughter, the genocide, the awful human experiments that are detailed in Spitz's book. As Spitz writes on page 22, in a crime, "there is always a perpetrator and a victim. If you look the other way, do not get involved, stay neutral, or remain silent, you will always help the perpetrator and never the victim." Silent bystanders "helped the Nazi perpetrators by their silenced... [and] far too many pastors and community leaders spoke up."

LESSON #2:

TOPIC: Term Paper on Doctors From Hell Book Assignment

Journalists and bona fide writers, chroniclers, must always be given access to the accounting of important events - in particular, gruesome, horrific events such as were carried out in Nazi Germany. No matter how devastated Nuremberg was at the time Spitz attended the Trials, she needed to go, and was allowed to go because she was a court reporter. And the lesson is that reporters, journalists, freelance writers who are professional court reporters but later become reporters to the whole world through the medium of publications, must always be given access to events, no matter the difficulties in logistics. And no matter that governments offer condescending views on occasion - the people don't need to know, we'll handle it from here - the people do need to know, and government should not act as a censor. In this case, Spitz was attending "Subsequent Proceedings" including the "Medical Case," which the book is all about. But she took the information available to her and made it into a very well crafted book.

And this brings to mind some cases where the journalist is able to access information from sources that wish to remain confidential, the journalist should not be compelled to reveal those sources or face prison if refusing to reveal sources. This is not directly linked to the experiences of Vivian Spitz - she was a court reporter who later took the information she gleaned and wrote a book - but the lesson is there nonetheless. Readers are able to access information that never would be available to them about the trials or about the specific horrific deeds of the Nazis in terms of experiments on humans unless Spitz had written her book.

LESSON #3:

Science must always be kept separate from political power. Just like the separation of "church and state," science and scientists must have independence from the heavy hand of politics and political leaders. Scientists should be independent agents of research for the betterment of humanity. The "distinguished German scientists" (Spitz 47) that were defendants in the trials had ignored their own Hippocratic Oath. This is a lesson that needs to be learned by all countries, including the United States.

To wit, recently the Bush Administration has altered or blatantly censored science reports that government-funded researchers have collected, analyzed and presented. This is known and factual because former members of the Administration have testified under oath that their job was to water down science presented to the Environmental Protection Agency or other government agencies so that the truth about how devastating Global Warming may be in the future would not go against the grain of the Administration's position that there is no imminent threat.

It is valid to bring this up in the context of Spitz's book because we are discussing how noted, celebrated scientists in Nazi Germany were corrupted into ignoring their own oaths and their own previously held duties and responsibilities. Other scientists in the U.S. have researched habitats and animal species in reference to the Endangered Species Act, and have turned their work in to the Interior Department, only to learn that political appointees in the Interior Department (some of whom testified before Congressional Hearings on the matter) have altered, amended, or otherwise edited (and sometimes censored) the raw empirical data that had been gathered and presented by the scientists. This is a valid lesson that can be learned from Spitz's book, even though the corruption and manipulation of science in the case of the U.S. does not even approach the gruesome and hideously unkind science "research" conducted by the Nazi scientists and doctors.

LESSON #4:

Cruelty to humans - in the name of science - should never be tolerated under any circumstances, nor should cruelty to animals; in particular, domestic animals that civilized peoples have embraced as pets and have trained as helpful sources of support for the blind and others. There are instances that have been brought to light in some areas of the world where animals like dogs and cats are used for experiments that are cruel and heartless. This is not an attempt to equate what the Germans did to humans, but the point can be made that it is unconscionable for humans or domestic animals that are used as pets or helpful assistants to be tortured in the name of science. On page 87, it was certainly inhumane for the Nazis to perform experiments on prisoners at the camp. In Spitz's book, the Prosecutor (McHaney) asked witness Walter Neff about the Nazi freezing experiments, which were apparently designed to help Nazi soldiers whose planes may unfortunately crash in cold water survive the terrible chilling effect of the water.

Out of the total of two hundred eighty or three hundred prisoners used, how many died?" Neff responded, "Approximately eighty to ninety subjects died..." Some of the subjects used in these experiments were placed in a basin of water naked; the temperature of the water had been lowered to three decrees Centigrade. After the subjects' body had been frozen "down to a twenty-five degrees body temperature" (89), the individual lost consciousness. Some were simply kept in the water until "they were dead."

Now anyone reading this book in this section can feel enormous empathy and sympathy for a victim of such a cruel experiment; but it is also possible to imagine the Nazis putting a dog (let's say a Black Labrador or a Beagle) or a Gray Tabby cat - or even a pig - into icy cold water to see if they could survive very long. Is that any different from science experiments that allow researchers to cut open a live dog or pig for research purposes? The lesson here is civilized humans of course should never conduct experiments on humans that cause pain and serious injury - but the same should be true when it comes to pets that people normally love and care for as participants in a family environment.

Moreover, mentally ill persons should always be treated with respect and dignity, in war or in peacetime, in industrialized nations or in developing nations. The United Nations, the World Health Organization, and other internationally respected organizations such as the Red Cross, have well spelled out covenants dealing with the rights of those who suffer from handicaps. But in all too many cases throughout the world, persons with emotional and mental handicaps are misunderstood, mistreated, and often receive improper care. In the case of the Nazi experimenters, the Germans of course went to extreme, as "...amputations of the whole leg (at the hip joint) were carried out [on mentally challenged prisoners] or on others, amputation of the whole arm (with the shoulder blade) were carried out" (118), according to Dr. Maczka at the trial for the medical experiments.

Can anyone who was brought up to respect human life imagine a mentally or emotionally challenged person being strapped down on a table and having their whole leg sliced off without any proper medication? The book that Spitz has written brings readers closer… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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