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The challenging and nearly impossible situations confronting Jewish victims during the Holocaust presented many varied moral dilemmas. This episode will explore some of those stories and dilemmas faced by members of the medical profession – physicians, nurses and healthcare providers. In ghettos and camps, with a dearth of medical supplies and proper hygienic conditions, many rose to the challenge and continued to provide health care and attempted to save as many lives as possible under increasingly dire straits.
Dr. Adina Swajger in the Warsaw Ghetto tried to provide care for children in the Jewish children’s hospital in the ghetto. When she realized she couldn’t save them, she decided to at least spare them the horrors of Treblinka. Dr. Gisele Perl performed abortions at Auschwitz in order to save the mother’s lives, and then spent the rest of her postwar career as a fertility specialist in order to bring more life into the world. Dr. Marc Dvorzhetzki served as a physician in the Vilna Ghetto and even in a concentration camp in Estonia towards the end of the war. And there are so many more. The dilemmas they faced, the heroic and selfless acts they courageously did to save others, can serve as a legacy to Jewish heroism in the face of Nazi atrocity.
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