Nurses and Midwives in Nazi Germany: The

Nurses and Midwives in Nazi Germany

The "Euthanasia Programs", 1st Edition

Edited by Susan Benedict, Linda Shields


266 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2014-04-09
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This book is about the ethics of nursing and midwifery, and how these were abrogated during the Nazi era. Nurses and midwives actively killed their patients, many of whom were disabled children and infants and patients with mental (and other) illnesses or intellectual disabilities. The book gives the facts as well as theoretical perspectives as a lens through which these crimes can be viewed. It also provides a way to teach this history to nursing and midwifery students, and, for the first time, explains the role of one of the world’s most historically prominent midwifery leaders in the Nazi crimes.


"a groundbreaking and chilling historical analysis of a medical system in which death becomes a medical cure and nursing professionals view their allegiance to the state, their superiors and society above that of individual patients."Michael Grodin, Boston University

"All the contributions present a compelling aggregation of the current status of research and give us a good picture of this field. The result is a work that should especially be recommended to health care professionals, midwives and their teachers, while it also outlines the current status of research for historians of the period and medical historians." -Anne-Kathleen Tillack-Graf, University of Potsdam

"The editors of this book do nurses and the public a great service by examining the little-known but crucial role of nurses in the Nazi euthanasia programs.

Each chapter of this small but densely packed book deals with a different aspect of nursing and midwifery involvement in the Nazi euthanasia regime, information often surprising as well as disturbing."-Nancy Valko, National Association of Prolife Nurses

Table of Contents

1. Setting the Scene Linda Shields 2. Fertile Ground for Murder Susan Benedict 3. Nursing During National Socialism Thomas Foth, Jochen Kuhla and Susan Benedict 4. Psychiatric Nursing During the Era of National Socialism Susan Benedict, Mary Lagerwey and Linda Shields 5. The Medicalization of Murder: The "Euthanasia" Programs Susan Benedict 6. Meseritz-Obrawalde: A Site for "Wild Euthanasia" Susan Benedict 7. Klagenfurt: "She Killed As Part of Her Daily Duties" Susan Benedict 8. German Midwifery in the "Third Reich" Wiebke Lisner and Anja Peters 9. From History to Memory: Using the "Euthanasia" Programs to Teach Nursing Ethics Ellen Ben-Sefer and Dganit Sharon 10. Changing Perspectives: From "Euthanasia Killings" to the "Killing of Sick Persons" Thomas Foth 11. Conclusion Linda Shields and Susan Benedict

About the Editors

Susan Benedict is Professor of Nursing, Director of Global Health, and Co-Director of the Campus-Wide Ethics Program at the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Nursing in Houston.

Linda Shields is Director of the Tropical Health Research Unit, a partnership between James Cook University and Townsville Hospital and Health Service in Queensland, and Honorary Professor, School of Medicine, The University of Queensland.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Modern European History

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Europe / Germany
HISTORY / Military / World War II
HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century
HISTORY / Holocaust