||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
Holocaust Documentary to Screen|
At UW-Eau Claire
MAILED: April 1, 1999|
"Healing By Killing" (Israel 1997), a dispassionately scathing documentary about the role of doctors in designing the Holocaust, will screen April 8-11 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
The International Film Society will present the 90-minute film at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday in Davies Theatre.
The documentary brings to light an overlooked episode in Holocaust history Nazi Germany's euthanasia program, instituted in 1939 to eliminate the mentally handicapped. As early as 1940, medical professionals and scientists had developed the first model of the gas chamber and crematorium. It is estimated that between 70,000 and 100,000 German patients were executed in that operation. When the euthanasia program was officially ended in 1941, the Nazi doctors were transferred to Poland to help plan and build the industrialized death camps. From planning and organizing, through mass selections and actual killing, doctors misused their medical authority and provided a scientific legitimacy for the Nazi killing machine. Without the initiative and cooperation of Nazi doctors, it is doubtful that the death industry of the Holocaust would have developed to the extent that it did.
"With chilling efficiency, [the film] chronicles the subversive process that turned German health care professionals into Nazi doctors," wrote The New York Times. "Step by step this businesslike account traces the progress of medical horror and explores the erosion of these doctors' ethics and independence."
Inspired by Robert Jay Lifton's book "The Nazi Doctors," the documentary weaves together interviews with survivors, former Nazis and historians, biographies of the most notorious perpetrators, and cinema-verite encounters with present-day medical students. The film explores the wider implications of medical ethics as they bear on such contemporary issues as forced sterilization, genetic engineering, abortion and capital punishment.
Directed by Nitzan Aviram, the film is in English and German with English subtitles, and is not rated.
Tickets are $2 for International Film Society members and UW-Eau Claire faculty/staff, or $1 for UW-Eau Claire students, at the University Service Center, (715) 836-3727.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: April 6, 1999