CHANDIGARH, FEB 8 : The Society for Promotion of Science & Technology in India (SPSTI) held its monthly lecture today at the Seminar Room of Department of Biotechnology, Panjab University on Human Experimentation in Nazi era. Senior Professor S. K. Jindal of PGIMER was the speaker. A lively discussion followed the lecture and there was general consensus that there should safeguards to ensure humans are not used for the promotion of political and commercial interests.
Prof. Jindal said that human experimentation involves the use of human beings for conducting experiments to obtain data for understanding functioning of human body and diseases through interventions or identifiable private information. Citing several cases, he said that it was tragic that the Nazis during the World War II period used humans including the children, mostly lodged in concentration camps, in the most inhuman and cruel ways for medical experiments to help the German military personnel in combat situations, aid in recovery of their soldiers and to advance the racial ideology backed by the Third Reich. Such experiments resulted in naming of several diseases after the names of the doctors, who were involved in the experiments.
A number of medical personnel involved in the perpetuation of such crimes were tried in the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial in 1946-47. Twenty doctors were ordered to be executed. Some had, however, escaped.
Interestingly, it has come to the light in the last few years that many medical syndromes, tests and treatments have continued to bear the names of the Nazi doctors. A concerted movement to change this terminology has finally succeeded and the Nazi stigma is being gradually washed away.
Prof. Rupinder Tewari, Dean of Sciences, Panjab University welcomed the speaker and Dharam Vir, President of the Society proposed the vote of thanks.