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Paul Weindling
Senior Fellow (12/2015 - 03/2016)

Medicine in Austria under National Socialism: Forced Migration and Medical Experiments


Paul-WeindlingThis project consists of two elements:


  1.    1. The persecution and emigration of Jewish doctors from Vienna
  2.    2. Austrian victims of Nazi medical experiments and coerced research


Both approaches seek to exploit thoroughly Austrian records to develop biographical databases of victims within a wider National Socialist and European context. The Austrian experience of Nazi persecution was particularly intense. In medicine, distinctively Nazi measures were rapidly applied with dismissals from university and hospital posts, the cancellation of insurance contracts, and annulment of degrees. These measures aimed at medical practitioners were accompanied by the general terror of street violence, the vandalisation and confiscation of property, boycotts, and round-ups and deportations to concentration camps. The relatively high proportion of Jews as members of the Vienna Chamber of Physicians meant that the impact on the Jewish community was far-reaching. The project aims to use records of the Vienna Jewish Community to study responses under persecution and preparation for emigration.

The Austrian experience of Nazi experimental medicine was also intense. A number of clinicians were involved in coerced experiments. Not only were euthanasia killings in pediatric units and psychiatric hospitals extensive, but there was interest in research on brain specimens. It also aims to consult documents on Austrian survivors of the Nazi experiments.


Paul Julian Weindling is Research Professor in the History of Medicine at Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom. His research interests include the history of eugenics and social welfare, victims of Nazi coerced research and medical experiments, and the history of international health. His most recent book is: Victims and Survivors of Nazi Human Experiments: Science and Suffering in the Holocaust.


June 2024
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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:


bmbwf en 179


wienkultur 179


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