Paper Title

[2.1] As a Woman: Female Physicians as Perpetrators of Nazi Medical Atrocities

Location

International Building 1014, Moderated by Dr. Wilson Bell

Start Date

19-1-2019 10:30 AM

End Date

19-1-2019 11:15 AM

Disciplines

History

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

On December 9th, 1946, Dr. Herta Oberheuser stood trial with 23 other defendants for medical crimes committed during the Third Reich. She was the only female physician to be prosecuted and was one of two women to be tried in the American Nuremberg zonal trials.[1] She was also one of the few women to be tried in the post-war trials, which included the Nuremberg tribunals, specific camp trials, and zonal trials. As such, Oberheuser stands out. While the role of female nurses who participated in medical atrocities, namely the T4 euthanasia program, has been examined at length, the role of female physicians who participated in similar atrocities is largely missing from the current historiography. This gap in the literature raises key questions: how did individuals who were both women and physicians work in the highly gendered atmosphere of the Third Reich? How did Nazism’s ideologized view of gender impact the work of women as medical doctors? This paper analyzes the role and motivations of Dr. Herta Oberheuser in willingly participating in Nazi medical atrocities as a means to examine the gendered and complex role of female perpetrators of genocide, a topic scarcely covered in current literature.

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Jan 19th, 10:30 AM Jan 19th, 11:15 AM

[2.1] As a Woman: Female Physicians as Perpetrators of Nazi Medical Atrocities

International Building 1014, Moderated by Dr. Wilson Bell

On December 9th, 1946, Dr. Herta Oberheuser stood trial with 23 other defendants for medical crimes committed during the Third Reich. She was the only female physician to be prosecuted and was one of two women to be tried in the American Nuremberg zonal trials.[1] She was also one of the few women to be tried in the post-war trials, which included the Nuremberg tribunals, specific camp trials, and zonal trials. As such, Oberheuser stands out. While the role of female nurses who participated in medical atrocities, namely the T4 euthanasia program, has been examined at length, the role of female physicians who participated in similar atrocities is largely missing from the current historiography. This gap in the literature raises key questions: how did individuals who were both women and physicians work in the highly gendered atmosphere of the Third Reich? How did Nazism’s ideologized view of gender impact the work of women as medical doctors? This paper analyzes the role and motivations of Dr. Herta Oberheuser in willingly participating in Nazi medical atrocities as a means to examine the gendered and complex role of female perpetrators of genocide, a topic scarcely covered in current literature.