Re-examining the Nuremberg Medical Trial

June, 2004

The Nuremberg Medical Trail: The Holocaust and the Origin of the Nuremberg Medical Code (Peter Lang Publishing, 2004) by Horst H. Freyhofer examines the trial of 23 Nazi doctors and administrators for performing horrific medical experiments on concentration camp inmates. Using court documents as a primary source, Freyhofer describes the events leading to the trial and analyzes the trial from both a legal and an ethical perspective.

In his introduction, Freyhofer says, “The Nuremberg Medical Trial revealed what may have been one of the most gruesome chapters in the Holocaust. The defendants were brought to account for the torturous murder and mutilation of thousands of test subjects. Yet they tried to convince the court that these acts had been legally correct, medically necessary and morally right. … Although their arguments were firmly dismissed by the tribunal, reading the court records provides little comfort for anyone who would like to believe the case left no unanswered questions.”

Freyhofer is associate professor of social science at Plymouth State University, where he teaches central and eastern European history. He is also the author of The Vitalism of Hans Driesch (Peter Lang Publishing, 1982), a study of the rise and fall of a scientific theory in the 20th century.

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