Nobel Laureates James Dewey Watson, Ph.D., and Eric Kandel, M.D., will open the Museum’s 15-part "Medical Ethics and the Holocaust" series beginning at 7 p.m. on Sept. 9 in a discussion moderated by Nobel Prize-winner Ferid Murad, M.D., Ph.D.
The provocative lecture series and companion exhibit "How Healing Becomes Killing: Eugenics, Euthanasia and Extermination" will explore how the medical practices of the Third Reich continue to challenge modern medical ethics.
"Who has the right to procreate? What defines the perfect human? Who is disabled? Are ‘euthanasia’ and physician-assisted suicide ever permissible? When do doctors and biomedical scientists become killers? These questions were raised more than 65 years ago as the doctors of Nazi Germany attempted to create a ‘master race,’ and yet we continue to struggle with many of the same issues today," said Dr. Sheldon Rubenfeld, who created the series and serves as chair of its steering committee.
"Our goal is to tell the story of the indispensable and enthusiastic participation of physicians and biomedical scientists in the deaths of their very own patients and to explore how – despite the world's horror at their activities – those same actions haunt modern medicine today," said Rubenfeld, who will moderate the series.
Watson, credited with the discovery of the structure of DNA, will open the series with his talk "The Discovery of DNA: Implications for the 21st Century." Kandel will follow with "In Search of Memory: Psychological and Medical Contributions to the Holocaust," during the opening event at the Cullen Performance Hall at the University of Houston.
Other lectures will be held at the Museum and will include topics such as euthanasia and the Human Genome Project, the lasting legacy of the Nuremberg trials, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and how the doctor-patient relationship has changed over the years since the Holocaust.
Admission to each of the 15 lectures is free, but advance registration is required.
"Medical Ethics and the Holocaust" begins with the official opening of the exhibit on Friday, Sept. 7. This Holocaust Museum Houston exhibition will provide provocative historical documentation of the role played by scientists, physicians and government officials at the six "euthanasia" centers where they murdered thousands of Germany’s most vulnerable citizens.
There also is no admission charge to view the exhibit, on view in the Mincberg Gallery at the Museum’s Morgan Family Center, 5401 Caroline St., in Houston’s Museum District. The exhibit runs through Feb. 3, 2008. Viewing hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
For a complete listing of lecture series speakers, venues and times; other related special events; or to register to attend any event, visit www.hmh.org/medethics.
Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors' legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, the Museum teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy.
Holocaust Museum Houston is located at 5401 Caroline St., in Houston’s Museum District. For more information about the Museum, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.