Holocaust Genocide and Contemporary Bioethics Program

​Promoting education, scholarship and community engagement on the lessons of the Holocaust for health care and society.​

April 25-29, 2022
Keynote Speaker:
Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH
AMA's 1st Chief Health Equity Officer

HOW HEALERS BECAME KILLERS, presentation by Matthew Wynia, MD, MPH
on Thursday, January 27, 2022 from Noon-1:00pm. 
Followed by a panel discussion
on the Legacy of the Holocaust in Health Professions Education. RSVP>>


Then and Now: Courage, Complicity and Compromise
Between Darkness and Light, Marc Chagall, 1943


Rebecca Carter-Chand, PhD is the director of the Programs on Ethics,
Religion, and the Holocaust in the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust
Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. She received
her PhD in History and Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto in 2016.
Her research focuses on Christian minority groups in Nazi Germany and
their international networks during the 1930s and 40s. 

Susannah Sirkin, M.Ed is the director of policy and a senior advisor at
Physicians for Human Rights. She oversees PHR’s policy engagement,
including with the United Nations, domestic and international justice systems,
and human rights coalitions. Sirkin has worked with physicians in the US and
abroad to organize health and human rights investigations in dozens of countries,
including those involving crimes against humanity and genocide.

Tessa Chelouche, MD is the co-director of the Maimonides Institute for Medicine,
Ethics and the Holocaust (MIMEH), and the Co-Chair of the Department of
Bioethics and the Holocaust of the UNESCO Chair of Bioethics (Haifa). She is
the co-editor of the Casebook on Bioethics and the Holocaust and co-editor
of the recently published AMA Journal of Ethics Special Issue Legacies of the
Holocaust in Healthcare. For 15 years she has taught an undergraduate
course on Medicine and the Holocaust as part of Technion's Faculty of Medicine
at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.

April 5th Recording: The Forgotten Doctors : Courage, Complicity and Compromise During the Holocaust. Presentation by Tessa Chelouche, MD.  This program explored the courageous role of Jewish doctors who continued to practice and teach in Nazi Germany during the Holocaust, and the ethical dilemmas they faced during this tragic time in history.

April 6th Recording:  Then and Now:  Courage, Complicity, and CompromisePresentation and Discussion by Rebecca Carter-Chand, PhD and Susannah Sirkin, M.Ed.  Moderated by Elias Sacks, PhD, Director of The Program in Jewish Studies at CU Boulder.  This program explored how the clergy, health care professionals and others in Nazi Germany were complicit in facilitating the Holocaust and how this complex legacy intersects with efforts of contemporary health care workers who have faced a moral choice to speak up or remain silent while in the line of professional duty.  How we can inspire moral courage in responding to ethical dilemmas and human rights violations today?

April 7th Recording:  Department of Medicine Grand Rounds with Dr. Charter-Chand and Ms. Sirkin.  Co-hosted by the CU Department of Medicine, in this Grand Rounds Presentation, keynotes Dr. Carter-Chand and Ms. Sirkin reprised their public facing presentations from April 6th for a more clinical audience.  This program was shorter, with less time for questions and discussion.

April 8th Recording:  Moral Courage in Healthcare Discussion.  Panelists:  Barbara Morris, MD, Janine Young, MD, Rabbi Mendel Popack, and MD/MPH student Abby Leibowitz.  Moderated by Mark A. Levine, MD.

The 2021 Virtual Program was sponsored by Silver Sponsors JEWISHcolorado and the Rose Community Foundation, in addition to the William S. Silvers, MD Holocaust Genocide and Contemporary Bioethics Program Fund.  For more information about becoming a 2022 sponsor, contact Meleah.Himber@cuanschutz.edu.


"Put Me Back Like They Found Me," Artwork by Daisy Patton on virtual display. 

How Healers Became Killers , was presented by Matthew Wynia, MD, MPH on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, 2021.  The involvement of health professionals in the Holocaust has influenced the way we think about every ethical issue in medicine today, from abortion to xenotransplantation - including pandemic triage protocols, aid-in-dying, genetics, research ethics, and health equity. Dr. Wynia guides audiences through the role of US and other international health care leaders in transforming racist and eugenic theories into policies, which were then adopted and expanded by Nazi public health campaigns, including the forcible sterilization program, the child "euthanasia" program, the T4 program and eventually the Holocaust itself. Health professionals played leading roles all along this path to evil, acting in the name of “science” and public health. This foundational lecture will be useful to anyone teaching or learning about health professional ethics today.  View Program & Panelist Profiles.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2021 Panel Discussion. The Center for Bioethics and Humanities invited an international panel to discuss Challenges and Opportunities in Teaching the Legacy of the Holocaust to Health Professions Students.   This virtual event was held on January 27, 2021 and features Richard Horton, FRCP, FMedSci, Tessa Chelouche, MD, Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA, Patricia Heberer-Rice, PhD, Peter Schwartz, MD, PhD, Sabine Hildebrandt, MD, Rebecca Brendel, MD, JD and Mark Levine, MD.   View Program & Panelist Profiles .

The Witness to the Holocaust Sculpture Series, 1988-91 by Devorah Sperber is part of the permanent collection at the CU Strauss Health Sciences Library.  While the library is currently closed to the public due to COVID, images are available online here.  The sculptures debuted with the Anne Frank Exhibit at the Denver Museum of Natural History, Denver, CO in 1991. The sculpture series traveled with the Anne Frank Exhibition for over 25 years before arriving at the University of Colorado in 2018 when the collection was donated to the Holocaust, Genocide and Contemporary Bioethics Program by the Sperber family in memory of Henry Sperber, husband, father, and Holocaust survivor.


The January, 2021 AMA Journal of Ethics is dedicated entirely to contemporary lessons to be learned from health professional involvement in the Holocaust. Matthew Wynia and Tessa Chelouche were co-editors and there are multiple articles featuring faculty and associates of the Center.  This edition featured the #6, #7 and #8 most read articles of 2021.

UNC School of Nursing Associate Professor and student in our Certificate in Health Humanities and Ethics Program,
Darcy Copeland, RN, PhD, published 2 articles: Psychiatric nurses’ role in the Holocaust and current implications in the Journal of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing, July, 2020 and Nurses' participation in the Holocaust: A call to nursing educators in the Journal of Professional Nursing, May, 2020.

Hard Lessons: Most of the Nazi Doctors Volunteered, interview with Matthew Wynia, MD, MPH.  Feature story by Andrea Jacobs for the Intermountain Jewish News, won the 2020 award for best education journalism from the American Jewish Press Association. 

What Contemporary Lessons Should be Taught by Studying Physician Participation in the Holocaust?, is an article recently published by Mark Levine, Matthew Wynia, Meleah Himber and William Silvers in Conatus; Journal of Philosophy.


2020 Program: Postponed until 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
2019 Program: Medicine and Morality in Times of War​ 

2018 Program; Echoes of the Holocaust: Cultivating Compassion in 21st Century Healers​
2017 Program; Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Nuremberg Doctors' Trial
2016 Inaugural Program; featuring Art Caplan, PhD
2008 Inaugural Lecture; featuring Donald Seldin,MD


There are several ways to get involved:

Join our mailing list to stay up-to-date on HGCB programming.

Donate to the William S. Silvers, MD, Holocaust Genocide Contemporary Bioethics Program Fund
to support current programming and ensure the future of this program. For information about making a gift to the HGCB Program Fund, contact Michael Tortoro at Michael.Tortoro@cuanschutz.edu or (303) 724-7618 in the CU Office of Advancement.​​​​

Join our Advisory Group to help develop and promote future events - contact Meleah Himber​ at Meleah.Himber@cuanschutz.edu or (303) 724-8332 for more information.​

Become a Sponsor for our 2022 program.  For more information about becoming a 2022 sponsor, contact Meleah.Himber@cuanschutz.edu.

Image: Between Darkness and Light, Marc Chagall, 1943