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Nurses in Nazi Germany : moral choice in history / Bronwyn Rebekah McFarland-Icke.

By: McFarland-Icke, Bronwyn Rebekah, 1965-.
Material type: TextTextPublisher: Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1999Description: xv, 343 p. ; 24 cm.ISBN: 0691006652 (cl. : alk. paper); 9780691006659 (cl. : alk. paper).Subject(s): Psychiatric nursing -- Moral and ethical aspects -- Germany -- History -- 20th century | Nursing ethics -- Germany -- History -- 20th century | Medical policy -- Germany -- History -- 20th century | National socialism and medicine | World War, 1939-1945 -- Atrocities | Euthanasia -- Germany -- History -- 20th century | Medical ethics -- Germany -- History -- 20th centuryDDC classification: 610.73/0943/0904 Other classification: 15.70 | 44.02
Contents:
Ch. 1. Ordinary Germans revisited: nurses, psychiatry, and morality in historical context -- Ch. 2. Neither riffraff nor saints: the ambivalent professionalization of the psychiatric nurse -- Ch. 3. Educating nurses in the spirit of the times: Weimar psychiatry in theory and practice -- Ch. 4. The evasiveness of the ideal: private and professional obstacles -- Ch. 5. Cleaning house in Wittenau: 1933 and the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service -- Ch. 6. Reeducating nurses in the spirit of the times: Geisteskrankenpflege in the service of national socialism.
Ch. 7. Politics and professional life under national socialism -- Ch. 8. War, mass murder, and moral flight: psychiatric nursing, 1939-1945 -- Ch. 9. Concluding remarks.
Review: "This book tells the story of German nurses who, directly or indirectly, participated in the Nazis' "euthanasia" measures against patients with mental and physical disabilities, measures that claimed well over 100,000 victims from 1939 to 1945. How could men and women who were trained to care for their patients come to kill or assist in murder or mistreatment? This is the central question pursued by Bronwyn McFarland-Icke as she details the lives of nurses from the beginning of the Weimar Republic through the years of National Socialist rule. Rather than examine what the Party did or did not order, she looks into the hearts and minds of people whose complicity in murder is not easily explained with reference to ideological enthusiasm."--BOOK JACKET.
List(s) this item appears in: Nursing Collection | Nursing Research/Theory/Philosophy/History
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Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
RC440 .M325 1999 (Browse shelf) Available 0000001483288

Includes bibliographical references (p. [317]-335) and index.

Ch. 1. Ordinary Germans revisited: nurses, psychiatry, and morality in historical context -- Ch. 2. Neither riffraff nor saints: the ambivalent professionalization of the psychiatric nurse -- Ch. 3. Educating nurses in the spirit of the times: Weimar psychiatry in theory and practice -- Ch. 4. The evasiveness of the ideal: private and professional obstacles -- Ch. 5. Cleaning house in Wittenau: 1933 and the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service -- Ch. 6. Reeducating nurses in the spirit of the times: Geisteskrankenpflege in the service of national socialism.

Ch. 7. Politics and professional life under national socialism -- Ch. 8. War, mass murder, and moral flight: psychiatric nursing, 1939-1945 -- Ch. 9. Concluding remarks.

"This book tells the story of German nurses who, directly or indirectly, participated in the Nazis' "euthanasia" measures against patients with mental and physical disabilities, measures that claimed well over 100,000 victims from 1939 to 1945. How could men and women who were trained to care for their patients come to kill or assist in murder or mistreatment? This is the central question pursued by Bronwyn McFarland-Icke as she details the lives of nurses from the beginning of the Weimar Republic through the years of National Socialist rule. Rather than examine what the Party did or did not order, she looks into the hearts and minds of people whose complicity in murder is not easily explained with reference to ideological enthusiasm."--BOOK JACKET.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Many scholars have examined the "euthanasia" policies that took place in Nazi Germany. While most studies look at the role of higher-level administrators and physicians, McFarland-Icke questions how the lower-level staff, the "ordinary Germans," reacted to orders to participate in these programs. The author researched personnel files, trial testimonies, and articles from German nursing journals and textbooks to analyze the training and behavior of nurses employed in mental institutions. Based on her dissertation, the book describes the history of German psychiatric nursing in the years leading up to and including the National Socialism era. This analysis shows how nurses were treated and furnishes insight into the coping strategies they developed. Prior knowledge of Nazi terminology, history, and programs is assumed. Recommended for academic and bioethics collections.--Tina Neville, Univ. of South Florida at St. Petersburg Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

CHOICE Review

McFarland-Icke examines the role of psychiatric nurses in carrying out Nazi policies of "racial hygiene," shifting focus away from doctors and psychiatrists to an occupational group of much lower status. The basic question remains the same--how could people whose training and system of values stressed healing and the preservation of life lend themselves to the sterilization and "euthanasia" programs of the Third Reich? Based primarily on instructional materials brought out by the nurses' professional organizations, personnel records from various institutions thought to have been destroyed during or after the war, and the postwar trial testimony of those involved in the intentional killing of 100,000-200,000 institutionalized patients between 1939 and 1945, this thoughtful, thorough, and nuanced study rejects easy answers to this question. Instead, the author seeks to explain how training, organization, and retraining under the Nazis prepared nurses to participate in murder. This was not, she shows convincingly, a matter of overt force, but a rather more subtle "dampening of alarm," which allowed the regime to enlist those who would kill for it without a guilty conscience as well as those who killed "in spite" of a guilty conscience. Cooperation took place in the gray area between agreement and the absence of objection. All levels. R. S. Levy; University of Illinois at Chicago

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Bronwyn Rebekah McFarland-Icke lives in Germany and is an adjunct lecturer in the University of Maryland's European Division.

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