Letters

Alan Nixon's essay struck in me a sympathetic chord. The issue with which he dealt, the propriety of using data obtained by the Nazis under inhuman conditions, is certainly a provocative one which invites the weighing of moral issues (whether we condone the mode of experimentation) vs. scientific and more important human welfare considerations. I share with Nixon the belief that we cannot undo these dreadful acts of carnage but that we can make amends for them by deriving information of use in

Wells Farnsworth
Jan 8, 1989

Alan Nixon's essay struck in me a sympathetic chord. The issue with which he dealt, the propriety of using data obtained by the Nazis under inhuman conditions, is certainly a provocative one which invites the weighing of moral issues (whether we condone the mode of experimentation) vs. scientific and more important human welfare considerations. I share with Nixon the belief that we cannot undo these dreadful acts of carnage but that we can make amends for them by deriving information of use in relieving human suffering. Permit me to briefly clarify my point.

Another atrocious activity of the Nazis was their experimental hypothermia trials, wherein prisoners underwent immersion in ice water. Dreadful though this was, the data obtained have proven of great value in applied physiology and especially in the management of accidental hypothermia. They contributed very significantly, for example, to the successful recovery of a youngster who fell into...

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