Introduction to the Doctors' Trial
Experience the Nuremberg Doctors' Trial with a "real time" 75-year delay
About the Trial
The Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial began seventy-five years ago in December of 1946 and ran through the summer of 1947. 23 defendants (20 of whom were doctors) stood trial for a variety of crimes against humanity: 7 were acquitted; 16 convicted. Of those convicted 7 were condemned to death by hanging, 5 to life imprisonment, and 4 sentenced to terms of imprisonment ranging between 10 and 25 years in prison.
After the trial, the judges crafted the Nuremberg Code, which has been called “the most important document in the history of the ethics of medical research. … It served as a blueprint for today's principles that ensure the rights of subjects in medical research.”
As Students of History, we must never forget the horrors of the holocaust. Reading primary source documents, such as the transcript of this historic trial, is one way to do that. Additionally, medical ethics are extremely relevant in our own day as well.
How our “real time” 75-year delay works
This substack will republish the official court transcripts day-by-day in “real time” albeit on a 75-year delay. Since the trial began on December 9th, 1946, our first real post will begin tomorrow, December 9th, 2021 and we’ll post every day that court was in session until we reach July 19th, 1947 on July 19th, 2022.
Evelyne Shuster, Ph.D., “Fifty Years Later: The Significance of the Nuremberg Code,” New England Journal of Medicine (November 13, 1997), 1436-1440.