Official opening of the exhibition outlining the background and aims of this groundbreaking project
Yesterday saw the opening of the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin's exhibition 'Social Responsibility in Science – On the path to a GeDenkOrt.Charité Memorial Site'. This exhibition aims to provide insights into the rationale behind, and steps towards, the development of an official memorial site, which will offer the opportunity to reflect on the history of university-based medicine in Berlin. The purpose of this project is to remember the plight of the victims, to provide information on the actions of the perpetrators, and to prompt an ongoing dialog regarding the responsibilities incumbent upon modern-day medical science.
Speaking at the opening of the exhibition, Prof. Dr. Karl Max Einhäupl, Chairman of the Board of the Charité, said ”during the Nazi era, German physicians, including physicians from the Charité, committed horrific deeds in the course of exercising their professional duties,” adding that ”it is our obligation to acknowledge the consequences of their actions“. Prof. Einhäupl went on to state that ”this project is not intended as a mere lesson in history. Instead, it creates an official and visible memorial site that should promote reflection on medical practice and research, as well as highlighting the obligations and responsibilities of physicians and scientists past, present, and future.”
For some time, the Charité has been actively engaged in historical and scientific endeavors to better understand its own history, and that of its predecessors. By providing a public platform for these endeavors, the project GeDenkOrt.Charité, and this new exhibition, highlight the relevance of past events with regard to the present.
In her speech, Sandra Scheeres, Chairman of the Supervisory Board and Senator for Education, Youth, and Science, emphasized ”it is of immense importance that the training provided to future physicians should encourage them to reflect on ethical issues. This of course includes issues pertaining to the history of medicine and, in particular, the specific responsibilities incumbent upon us as a direct result of the Nazi era. The Charité is committed to actively implementing the principles of Social Responsibility in Science.”
The exhibition's introductory section is dedicated to presenting the project's underlying concept, and includes contributions from project partners, which outline their views regarding the aims and opportunities inherent in its concept. The historical section of the exhibition uses a selection of biographies to highlight the extent to which some Charité members of staff were involved in the activities, and even crimes, of the Nazi era.
The exhibition is open daily from 9 am to 6 pm and is situated in the building housing the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Campus Charité Mitte, Charitéplatz 1 in 10117 Berlin (Campus address: Bonhoefferweg 3). The exhibition has been made possible by a grant from Freundeskreis Charité e.V. Entrance is free.
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Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
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