The Origins of Pernkopf’s Anatomy Atlas & the Role of Nazi Medicine in the Holocaust: Lessons in Biomedical Ethics
(1 CE Credit)

On Tuesday, February 11th, come to the Penn Club of New York at 30 W 44th Street in New York City at 6:00pm to hear the incredible story of how Dr. Howard Israel uncovered the dark truth behind an anatomy atlas that physicians have depended on through the ages. The images of the atlas have been praised as artistic masterpieces, but what muse, what model, was used to create them? Whose hollow cheeks were carefully drawn below?

Learn more at Dr. Howard Israel’s lecture:

The Origins of Pernkopf’s Anatomy Atlas & the Role of Nazi Medicine in the Holocaust: Lessons in Biomedical Ethics

Sponsored by the Manhattan Dental Study Club in conjunction with New York City Study Club, 1 CE Credit

When: February 11th, 2014 at6:00pm
Where: Penn Club of New York,30 W 44th Street,New York City

To RSVP, call:212-753-5540
Non-Manhattan Dental Study Club members would
be considered guests of the doctor
There is a $90 registration fee for non-members.


Course Summary by Dr. Howard Israel:

The incredible story of the discovery of the Nazi origins of a critically acclaimed anatomy atlas will be revealed. The mystery of how an anatomy atlas, still present in medical libraries throughout the world and used by anatomists, physicians and dentists, escaped detection or was ignored as a product of horrific crimes against humanity will be uncovered. How did one of the world’s most prestigious academic medical schools become a center for racial hygiene providing pseudoscience as the medical rationale for National Socialism in Europe in the 1930’s and 1940’s? The strange coincidences and unexplainable twists and turns that led to the uncovering of the true evil origins of Pernkopf’s Anatomy Atlas will not only fascinate the clinician, but will also provide important lessons in biomedical ethics to all clinicians and scientists so that history does not repeat itself.

Dr. Howard Israel will reveal the story of how he used and benefited from this book for over twenty years, from his years as a dental student at Columbia University, through residency training in oral & maxillofacial surgery and as a full time academician at Columbia University. Dr. Israel used this book on a daily basis totally unaware of who Pernkopf was and how the book was created. A brief comment by a colleague led Dr. Israel to the old library stacks in the basement of Columbia’s medical school library where to his astonishment he saw anatomy pictures from the 1937 and 1943 editions signed with swastikas and SS symbols. However the same anatomy drawings in the 1963 edition that Dr. Israel had used for over twenty years had the Nazi icons erased. Once the Nazi origins of the creators of the book were realized, this led to the question: what was the origin of the people whose pictures were illustrated in this anatomy book? Could they have been victims of the Nazis?

Dr. Israel will tell the story of years of research and a search for the truth which ultimately led to uncovering the Nazi origins of this critically acclaimed anatomy atlas, which hid its evil creation to unsuspecting physicians, dentists and surgeons for decades following World War II. Publications and protests by several doctors, including Dr. Israel were initially met with resistance by the University of Vienna, which was the site of Pernkopf’s Anatomy Institute. Ultimately, the mystery of the book’s origins was revealed after continued political pressure led to an investigation at the University of Vienna. This investigation concluded that the source of the material in Pernkopf’s Anatomy Atlas was indeed from victims of the Nazis. This was then followed by a commemorative ceremony in which specimens from the University of Vienna School of Medicine, which had been kept for teaching purposes from the Pernkopf era, were buried in a cemetery in Vienna. This was followed by an invitation for Dr. Israel to present this material at the International Conference for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons in Vienna in 2005. This amazing visit to Vienna was filled with twists and turns, which unraveled layer after layer of the mystery and a haunting historical journey of Nazi atrocities in Vienna. There were so many incredible coincidences during this trip which defied any logical explanation which will continue to fascinate and haunt us.

The discovery of the Nazi origins of the Pernkopf Atlas is just one of many examples of the influence of Nazi medicine on the Holocaust. Academic medical centers under the National Socialist regime, performed pseudo-scientific research that became the scientific rationale for racial hygiene. The horrendous experiments performed by Nazi doctors represent one of many horrific crimes against humanity as these experiments created incredible suffering of the victims of the Holocaust. The relevance for today’s health care professionals and the biomedical ethical issues raised will be emphasized.

Course Objective: People attending this course should be aware of the the biomedical ethical issues raised from the tainted origins of the Pernkopf Anatomy Atlas.

Individuals should be able to use the biomedical ethical lessons learned from this presentation in how they approach ethics as a practicing health care professional.