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United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Exhibition “Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race” to Open at Stony Brook University

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Exhibition “Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race” to Open at Stony Brook University

Traveling Exhibition Comes to Stony Brook University—Commences Events and Lecture Series

“Nazism is applied biology.” 
— Rudolf Hess, Deputy to Adolf Hitler

STONY BROOK, NY, March 26, 2009 — The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s traveling exhibition, Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race, makes its debut at Stony Brook University on Monday, April 6 at the Charles B. Wang Center. The exhibition examines how the Nazi leadership, in collaboration with individuals in professions traditionally charged with healing and the public good, used science to help legitimize persecution, murder and, ultimately, genocide. This traveling version of Deadly Medicine is based on the acclaimed exhibition of the same name that originally opened at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. in April 2004.

The first of 10 public lectures and events scheduled to add context to the Deadly Medicine exhibition at Stony Brook will be held on Monday, April 20 in honor of Holocaust Commemoration Day, Yom Hashoah. The evening, sponsored by the Hillel Foundation, begins with a Memorial Service at 7 pm, followed by a lecture entitled “National Catastrophe and the History of Jewish Thought,” led by Robert Goldenberg, Ph.D., Professor of History and Judaic Studies at Stony Brook. The following Monday, April 27, the university will host an opening celebration from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm which is open to the campus community and community residents.  For complete schedule of lectures, please visit: 

An additional event of note includes a Tuesday, April 28, 4 pm lecture entitled, “Kristallnacht 1938: Personal Experiences and Reflections,” given by Dr. Fred Rosner, Professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Rosner was born in Berlin when Hitler was already in power. He was shipped out two weeks after Kristallnacht with his two siblings on the Kinder Transport [children’s transport] to England, which accepted 10,000 Jewish children to save them from death. Dr. Rosner will provide a powerful perspective on the Holocaust as he speaks from personal experiences and a lifetime of reflection.

Another notable lecture takes place on Tuesday, May 12 at 4 pm, when Eva Feder Kittay, Professor of Philosophy at Stony Brook University and the daughter of two Holocaust survivors presents “T-4, Mental Disability and the Meaning of Racism.” Kittay’s discussion will encompass how the earliest victims of gassings under the Nazi regime were not Jews, Gypsies, or political enemies. They were German adults and children with mental disabilities. They were the first casualties of the racism that drove the Nazi exterminations.

Deadly Medicine has been made possible by The Lerner Foundation and Eric F. and Lore Ross. Stony Brook University was able to secure the Deadly Medicine exhibition through the generosity of the Sam and Maria Miller Foundation, and collaboration between the University’s Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics in the School of Medicine, the Center for the Study of Jewish, Christian and Muslim Relations, and the Hillel Foundation at Stony Brook University. Two other successful traveling versions of the exhibition have been on display in Canada and Germany. An online version of the exhibition is available at

Deadly Medicine is on display at the Charles B. Wang Center at Stony Brook University through June 12. Media interested in attending the press preview should contact Stony Brook University School of Medicine media relations office at 631-444-7880. 

About the Deadly Medicine Exhibition and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
Eugenics theory sprang from turn-of-the-century scientific beliefs asserting that Charles Darwin’s theories of “survival of the fittest” could be applied to humans. Supporters, spanning the globe and political spectrum, believed that through careful controls on marriage and reproduction, a nation’s genetic health could be improved. 

The Nazi regime was founded upon the conviction that “inferior” races and individuals had to be eliminated from German society so that the fittest “Aryans” could thrive. The Nazi state fully committed itself to implementing a uniquely racist and anti-Semitic variation of eugenics to “scientifically” build what it considered to be a “superior race.” By the end of World War II, six million Jews had been murdered. Millions of others also became victims of persecution and murder through Nazi “racial hygiene” programs designed to cleanse Germany of “biological threats” to the nation’s “health,” including “foreign-blooded” Roma and Sinti (Gypsies), persons diagnosed as “hereditarily ill,” and homosexuals. In German-occupied territories, Poles and others belonging to ethnic groups deemed “inferior” were also murdered. 

In response to the medical community’s interest in Deadly Medicine, the Museum established its Science and Medicine Initiative to augment medical ethics education in the healthcare professions. The Initiative is creating collaborative opportunities to explore the implications for contemporary bioethics by presenting the history in Deadly Medicine to prompt exploration of such 21st-century ethical issues as the rapid advances in genetics and medicine, and the value of individual lives, especially those of people considered to be disabled. The exhibition will travel to medical schools and universities around the country. Exhibition brochures in French, German and Spanish will be available on site. 

A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders to confront hatred, promote human dignity and prevent genocide. Its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by the generosity of donors nationwide through legacy and annual giving. For more information, visit




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