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Ann Anat. 2012 Jun;194(3):228-36. doi: 10.1016/j.aanat.2011.11.013. Epub 2011 Dec 29.

Dissecting the history of anatomy in the Third Reich--1989-2010: A personal account.

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Department of Family and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Canada.


This paper is a personal narrative of involvement with the revelations of the use of anatomical and pathological specimens of victims of Nazi terror. The narrative documents responses to the question of the retention and use of anatomical and pathological specimens from victims of Nazi terror by leading academic and scientific institutions and organizations in Germany and Austria including the government of the Federal Republic of (West) Germany, the University of Tübingen, the University of Vienna, the Max Planck Society and the Anatomische Gesellschaft. It begins with the public revelations of 1989 and concludes with the September 2010 Symposium on the History of Anatomy during the Third Reich at the University of Würzburg. The narrative documents a 22-year transition in attitude and responses to the investigation and documentation of the history of anatomy and pathology during the Third Reich. The chronicle includes the 1989 proposed "Call for an International Commemoration" by the author, together with the bioethicist Professor Arthur Caplan, on the occasion of the planned burial of the misbegotten specimens and the responses to that proposal.

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