Bachelor of Arts
Date of Expected Graduation
This paper analyzes both sides of the debate over using the Nazi medical data and brings forth one possible compromise. While using the data can provide the scientific community information that can be beneficial for society—and thus salvaging some good out of the evil—are the survivors’ sentiments on the subject truly being heard? The idea that the victims are once again being abused by using the information without their consent is not a matter to be taken lightly. On the other hand, if the data is valuable, it can be detrimental to scientific experimentation to deny access or destroy the data. Though one side of the argument may not get full control over the fate of the medical data, there are possible compromises that might satisfy both sides of the debate. One compromise is to combine the idea of crediting the victims and memorializing the data. So long as the credit is only given to the victims to honor them, even unethically-obtained data can prove prosperous and necessary despite its origins. Likewise, the dignity that was stolen from them must be returned in some form, thus giving the victims the power to tell their personal stories is crucial. To diminish the importance of the survivors’ personal narratives runs the risk that once the overall population begins to forget about the atrocities, the scientific community over time may feel it is no longer necessary to mention the victims. When it comes to unethical human experimentation, it is essential for the victims to be remembered always.
William P. Williams
Mitchell, Kathleen M., "Honoring the Victims: How the Change in Ethics Ruined Science in the Third Reich and What to Do With the Remaining Medical Data" (2015). Williams Honors College, Honors Research Projects. 78.