Normalizing Evil: The National Socialist Physicians Leagues

Published: Dec 31, 2019
National Socialist Physicians League Professional Ethics Bioethics Holocaust
Sheena M. Eagan
The National Socialist Physicians League (or NSDÄB), was a professional medical organization founded upon the same ideologies that shaped the broader National Socialist agenda. Despite the vast historical and ethical literature focused on physician involvement in Nazi atrocities during the Holocaust, little attention has been paid to the NSDÄB. However, the establishment of this group is important to understanding the forces shaping physician participation in the Nazi party. Physicians often look to professional medical organizations as a source of moral guidance; thus, ideologies of racism and the active harassment of ethnic or racial minority groups by this professional organization may have contributed to the establishment of this behavior as not only permissive but normal. This article will explore how this organization contributed to normalizing, desensitizing and legitimizing behavior that could not be justified by any normative theory of professional medical ethics.
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Author Biography
Sheena M. Eagan, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University
Assistant Professor, Bioethics & Interdisciplinary Studies
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