Science and Compassion: John W. Thompson’s Trajectory From Swarthmore to the Nuremberg Trials
Paul Weindling’s lecture will focus on his research contained in his new book, John W. Thompson: Psychiatrist in the Shadow of the Holocaust (University of Rochester Press) is the biography of a doctor whose revulsion at Nazi human experiments prompted him to seek a humane basis for physician-patient relations. As a military-scientific intelligence officer in 1945, Thompson was the first to name “medical war crimes” as a category for prosecution. His investigations laid the groundwork for the Nuremberg medical trials and for the novel idea of “informed consent.” Yet, Thompson has remained a little-known figure, despite his many scientific, literary, and religious connections. Thompson has a connection to Swarthmore College having taught as professor of Physiology and Anatomy from 1929 to 1932.
Paul Weindling is Wellcome Trust Research Professor for the History of Medicine at the Centre for Medical Humanities at Oxford Brookes University, UK. He has served on historical commissions on Nazi science including the Max Planck Society’s Presidential Commission for the Kaiser Wilhelm Society under National Socialism, and is a Trustee of the Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA) which originally rescued many scientists from Nazi persecution.
Sponsors: Sesquicentennial Events, Peace and Conflict Studies, Department of Biology