A teacher of medical ethics reflects on his pedagogy on medical ethics and the history of the Holocaust after participation in the Center for Medicine after the Holocaust’s (CMATH) 2012 conference in Houston. Although his scheduled talk was on his research interests in the neuroethics of disorders of consciousness, his experience at the conference was more one of avid listener than invited guest. His impressions of the conference and how it has influenced his thinking and work as a physician-educator are the subjects of this essay. His most notable encounter was with Eva Kor, one of the speakers and a former subject in Josef Mengele’s twin “studies” at Auschwitz. The pathos and courage of her narrative as a survivor and living link to that dark past holds special meaning for the author, who as a teacher had lectured about Mengele’s “research.’ Ms. Kor’s presence leads the author to reflect on personal responsibility as understood by the late philosopher, Hannah Arendt, and to reconsider his own father’s wartime narrative as a combat medic in the US Army during the liberation of Europe. Collectively, these reflections lead the author to reconsider his approach to medical ethics and the Holocaust when teaching students at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York.
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