Drawing commissioned by SS doctor Josef Mengele of different coloured irises of an Auschwitz experiment victim.
© State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, Oświęcim

Medical experiments conducted on human beings during the Nazi period are often associated with notorious SS doctors and concentration camps. The experiments have been described as ‘pseudo-science’ and viewed as a precursor to the killing centres of the Holocaust.

Yet many respected German scientists, research institutes and funding bodies were intimately involved in coerced experiments and research. Medical practitioners seized opportunities offered by war and genocide to advance scientific agendas, without regard for the moral and ethical consequences of human exploitation.

Based on the ground-breaking research of Wellcome Trust Professor at Oxford Brookes University, Paul Weindling, this exhibition examines coerced experimentation in Nazi-dominated Europe. Through the portraits of victims and perpetrators, the exhibition explores the legacy of medical research under Nazism, and its impact on bioethics today.

Science and Suffering Event Series

The exhibition run will include a series of events designed to amplify themes in the exhibition. All the events are free but space is limited – please register to attend below.

  • Film Screening: Unit 731 – Did Emperor Hirohito Know? With an introduction by film maker Peter Williams (31 May 2017)
  • Lecture: Children as Victims of Medical Experiments in Concentration Camps. Dr. Astrid Ley, Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum, Oranienburg, Germany (6 June 2017)
  • Film Screening: Forgiving Mengele. Chaired by Professor Dan Stone (26 June 2017)
  • Lecture: From Nuremberg to the Old Bailey: Memories of Forensic Pathologist, Professor A Keith Mant. Professor Tim Mant (12 July 2017)
  • Film Screening: Gray Matter. With talk by Dr Herwig Czech (11 September 2017)
  • Ruthless Science: The mind-set of Nazi medical researchers. Pears Annual Lecture with Professor Paul Weindling (19 September 2017)

With support from the Wellcome Trust.