Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Modern Languages and Literatures

Second Department

German Studies

First Advisor

Michele Ricci-Bell




Germany, euthanasia, Nazi, experimentation


The idea in Nazi-Germany of a “pure” Germany culminated in the systematic murder of millions of people, and within that, the crimes against humanity of euthanasia and human experimentation. The memories of child and adult euthanasia pervade society even today. This project looks at the development of Nazi-euthanasia and the memoirs and films about it, which leave lasting impressions by engraining in audience member’s minds the real facts about euthanasia and euthanasia institutions. The victims of euthanasia were often used in Nazi human experimentation, a product of the Nazi pursuit of scientific advancement. This project also examines these human experiments, which left the victims mutilated or dead, without producing much viable data, and the accounts about human experimentation. These accounts invite audiences to question the purpose of the experimentation and the very definition of humanity, in light of the myriad of suffering caused by many experiments with no reasonable chance of success. Therefore, these human experiments and the experimenters were judged upon biomedical ethical standards to determine if the experiments or experimenters were in any respect ethical, and whether or not it would be permissible to use any legitimate results from the experiments. After careful, close analysis with Tom Beauchamp and James Childress’ biomedical ethical principles, the experiments, experimenters, and results are by all measures unethical as they stand.