Heard on Campus: Allen Hornblum at the Penn State Forum

"A lot of people were looking the other way. The AMA (American Medical Association) was looking the other way. They were constantly, in their journal. A very well-recognized journal was constantly publishing articles by well-known academics and physicians using all sorts of different vulnerable test subjects — going into mental hospitals, going into the institutions for retarded children, going into prisons — and many of these articles would state who was being used. Somebody should have realized that this was wrong. I mean, we were the country that tried the Nazi doctors. We put them on trial — 23 physicians and medical administrators — and we said, 'What you did at Ravensbrück, what you did at Dachau, at Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz was horrendous, and that's not how you do research medicine.' At the end of that we executed seven of them; many others got long prison sentences. [We] came down with the Nuremberg Code, which in my mind is still one of the best codes that has ever come down. What happened? It was dispensed with. It's almost as if it was put on the Titanic over there in Nuremberg and it sunk in the Atlantic, because the '50s and '60s became the gilded age of research in American medicine."

— Allen M. Hornblum, Penn State alumnus, researcher and author of the books "Sentenced to Silence" (published by Penn State Press) and "Acres of Skin," both of which chronicle disturbing medical experiments performed from the mid-1950s through the mid-1970s on inmates in Holmesburg Prison, the largest of Philadelphia's county jails, which closed in 1995 after 110 years of operation.

Hornblum, a Penn State alumnus, spoke with former Philadelphia prison inmate and medical test subject survivor Edward Anthony on the topic "Cold War Prison Experimentation in America," Friday, Nov. 7, at the Nittany Lion Inn, as part of the Penn State Forum Speaker Series at Penn State's University Park campus.

The next Penn State Forum will be held on Monday, Dec. 8, at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel and will feature Steve Pomerantz, associate executive director and director of counter terrorism programs at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). He will speak on the topic "The Ten Commandments of Counter Terrorism." More information is available at http://www.psu.edu/dept/psforum.

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Last Updated January 10, 2013