In this conversation, we’ll focus on the theme of medicine and the Third Reich. As well as examining the history of medical experimentation within the concentration camp network, this Conversation will reveal the details of the Nazis’ first campaign of mass murder: the ‘T4’ operation, by which hundreds of thousands of disabled Germans and Austrians were sterilized and later murdered in ‘euthanasia centers’ staffed by medical professionals. From here, we will learn about the connection between Hans Asperger and the Third Reich, and see how some of the children at his Spiegelgrund clinic in Vienna also fell victim to ‘T4.’
We will also discuss the complicity of the pharmaceutical industry in the crimes of Nazi Germany, and the development of the drug Pervitin (today’s ‘meth’), as a stimulant for German soldiers. In conclusion, we will examine the staggeringly unenthusiastic effort, beyond the "Doctors’ Trial" at Nuremberg, to punish medical professionals who played their part in the Third Reich.
Led by an expert on modern German history, Dr. Finn Ballard, this conversation will tell the tale of the Third Reich’s medical industry, and its ramifications for us today. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of a lesser-known chapter of Nazi history.
Please be advised, this presentation will contain sensitive material and is intended for audiences 18 and older.
About Your Expert
Finn grew up in Northern Ireland before moving to England to study and later teach in the department of Film and Literature at the University of Warwick. He completed his doctoral study on German folklore and popular cinema in 2012, and has published extensively in the fields of Film Studies and Gender Studies. Since 2008, he has been living and guiding in Berlin. He now works as a historical advisor for television and film productions set in Berlin, particularly during the Weimar era or Third Reich. He is a journalist for the 'Siegessauele', Europe's foremost Queer magazine, and organises events at Berlin's English-language bookstore 'Another Country'.
Not suitable for children under age 13 (sensitive content).
90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.
Very well presented with extensive detail. I look forward to more courses by Dr Ballard.
Dr. Ballard’s vast knowledge of this time and place in history is astonishing! Thank you for presenting this dark time so that it hopefully will never happen again.
Finn delivered a difficult task about Nazi experiments. I thought it. might be too raw a topic for me (the victims were many of my relatives) but it was handled with sensitivity and compassion.
This is a difficult subject. Dr. Ballard emphasized that from the beginning. I’d heard a little about Mengele and experiments in the camps, but the Nazis quest for ‘racial purity’ & ‘racial hygiene’ was far worse than I’d imagined. Of course eugenics & euthanasia were familiar ideas before the Third Reich, but the Nazis actually made it legal.
With relevantly-placed warnings and a sensitive manner, Finn Ballard related the atrocities of the treatment of fellow humans during the Nazi occupation. Yes, an awful time in the world's history but an aspect we should not lose awareness of. What started out as 'merciful deaths' for the disabled or mass sterilization ended up paving the way to mass genocide and inhumane human experimentation. Very hard to listen to but the speaker was also impacted by these crimes. Must have been difficult to research but Dr Ballard related the facts with compassion and sensitivity. Follow-up as to what happened to some perpetrators and a look at "What came out of this?" encompassed the ending. Hats off to this speaker for covering this topic. We can and should not forget.