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Abortion in Auschwitz


GeoBQn

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The Holocaust History Project has an article on Dr. Gisella Perl, a female Jewish gynecologist who was imprisoned in Auschwitz during the Holocaust. She was assigned to work in the infirmary and assist Dr. Mengele, and ended up performing abortions--without instruments or anesthesia--so that pregnant women would not be subject to his horrific medical experiments. It's a very difficult read, but a valuable illustration of how morality is not a black-and-white issue.

http://www.holocaust-history.org/auschw ... ella-perl/

In an interview with Nadine Brozan for the New York Times in 1982, Dr. Perl recalled her initial experiences with Dr. Mengele's "cure" for pregnancy in Auschwitz. ''Dr. Mengele told me that it was my duty to report every pregnant woman to him,'' Dr. Perl said. ''He said that they would go to another camp for better nutrition, even for milk. So women began to run directly to him, telling him, 'I am pregnant.' I learned that they were all taken to the research block to be used as guinea pigs, and then two lives would be thrown into the crematorium. I decided that never again would there be a pregnant woman in Auschwitz.''
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Dr Perl was a hero. When Ray Cumfart released his abomination 180 I asked him what he thought of Dr Perl. Never did get a response.

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Wow, what an amazing hero.

Also:

"Eventually, Dr. Perl was able to resume her practice of gynecology. Her prayer at the entrance to the delivery room was always the same: "God, you owe me a life - a living baby." "

"Dr. Perl ended the lives of the fetuses in their mothers' womb (estimated at around 3,000) in the hopes that the mother would survive and later, perhaps, be able to bear children."

"After forty-three years and the delivery of approximately 3,000 healthy babies after liberation. . ."

:')

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Wow. An amazing woman!

How does the argument that god takes care of the babies stand up when at birth they were killed.

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I can't bring myself to read the article, but what a hero. It's like one of those moral dilemmas "you can save a woman from torture and death, but you must torture her yourself".

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Dr Perl is one of my personal heroes. I hope that if I'm in a horrendous situation, that I could be so brave! I will be looking for her book.

Oh, and yes, i cried while reading that article.

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Wow, what an amazing hero.

Also:

"Eventually, Dr. Perl was able to resume her practice of gynecology. Her prayer at the entrance to the delivery room was always the same: "God, you owe me a life - a living baby." "

"Dr. Perl ended the lives of the fetuses in their mothers' womb (estimated at around 3,000) in the hopes that the mother would survive and later, perhaps, be able to bear children."

"After forty-three years and the delivery of approximately 3,000 healthy babies after liberation. . ."

:')

That made me teary.

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Showtime did what I think was a great portrayal, starring Christine Lahti. The film/Tv show was called "Out of the Ashes" and it was based on Dr. Perl's book, "I was a Doctor at Auschwiz? (sp?).Horrendous choices during horrendous times. God/goddess/universe protect any of us from having to make those decisions.

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How can anyone think that an abortion was not the better option in those circumstances? Dr. Perl should be known by everyone.

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How can anyone think that an abortion was not the better option in those circumstances? Dr. Perl should be known by everyone.

I'm curious how pro-lifers would react. I haven't seen any of their reactions, tbh. I can't imagine, though, that even they wouldn't say abortion was right in these circumstances. Now, I'm really curious. I kind of want to send the link into some rabid anti-choice groups on facebook and see what the half-wit admins would say.

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Thank you, Its amazing what people had to do to survive. That woman is a hero. I think she's also a testament to how brave and capable a young woman can be. Imagine how difficult it must have been for her to do what she did and survive. The idea that women are weak of mind and will is completely dis-proven when you hear stories like this.

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I'm curious how pro-lifers would react. I haven't seen any of their reactions, tbh. I can't imagine, though, that even they wouldn't say abortion was right in these circumstances. Now, I'm really curious. I kind of want to send the link into some rabid anti-choice groups on facebook and see what the half-wit admins would say.

From what I can tell, some of them claim that she was just helping the Nazis fulfill their goal, and murdered children just them, even if it wasn't her intention :roll:

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From what I can tell, some of them claim that she was just helping the Nazis fulfill their goal, and murdered children just them, even if it wasn't her intention :roll:

And the women she saved from Mengele's horrible experiments? The fetuses and the women would both have surely ended up in the crematoria. But whatever. As long as the fetuses weren't killed before their mother, right? FUCK. I HATE that these people have the audacity to call themselves pro-life. And to compare abortion to the Holocaust. Seriously, fuck them.

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I can't bring myself to read the article, but what a hero. It's like one of those moral dilemmas "you can save a woman from torture and death, but you must torture her yourself".

I'm on this page. Amazing woman during an extraordinary work in the most dire of circumstances.

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I'm curious how pro-lifers would react. I haven't seen any of their reactions, tbh. I can't imagine, though, that even they wouldn't say abortion was right in these circumstances. Now, I'm really curious. I kind of want to send the link into some rabid anti-choice groups on facebook and see what the half-wit admins would say.

I'd like to bring it out when someone links to 180 and say, "This is what some actual Jews thought about abortion during the Holocaust," then sit back and watch the cognitive dissonance begin. Pro-lifer arguments aren't so simple when the people they are trying to exploit don't agree with their central premise.

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Pro-lifer here - and still a bit tearful from reading the article. I've been to Auschwitz before (which was a terrible but really worthwhile experience that will never ever leave me) but even so had never heard of this doctor. It was such - well, I don't know what to say - complex time and place, and people were making "choices" they would never have made in normal life under the unbelievable stress and trauma of the holocaust. I'm thinking of the women who would apparently run away from their children who were screaming "mama!" claiming they weren't mothers, in order to try and survive the first selection process when mothers and children were automatically sent to their deaths. Or the women in the puff houses (brothels) or those who worked at processing their fellow Jews towards the death chambers or who stole food. None of these were bad people, just people trying to survive.

I think Dr Perl was trying to help and to save lives, and in extremis we all have to make choices based on the deepest personal morality, regardless of normal social norms or religious rules or the law. Because I pro-life I am also a pacifist and against the death penalty in all cases, but if I had, say, the chance to kill Hitler I'd be very tempted and I think I'd probably do it. I personally find it hard to make judgements on something that was so beyond all norms, when the babies would die if they were born, and perhaps by taking the life of the unborn, the mother would be able to live.

So I can't say I am rejoicing that those babies were aborted because they should have had the chance to be born to happy, healthy, free mothers living in a safe place and whether they were aborted or born, that was never going to happen which breaks my heart - but I understand the motivation and can try to imagine the pain and fear and stress Dr Perl, her colleagues and their patients were living through - and so I have nothing but respect for them and their fortitude.

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I think Dr Perl was trying to help and to save lives, and in extremis we all have to make choices based on the deepest personal morality, regardless of normal social norms or religious rules or the law.

I'm not Jewish but, iirc, abortion to save the life of the mother is actually in line with Jewish religious law.

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'Rena's Promise-Two Sisters in Auschwitz' is a very powerful survivor autobiography; Rena survived from the first transport to Auschwitz until liberation by the Allies. Warning though, don't read the book unless you're prepared to cry. *very ugly cry*

ETA: Rena is one of my personal heroes, but Dr. Perl is on my list as well. I can't imagine how much courage it must have taken to survive that kind of horror.

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I'm not Jewish but, iirc, abortion to save the life of the mother is actually in line with Jewish religious law.

I second that. Jewish law distinguishes clearly between actual life, and potential life. If a mother's life is threatened then whatever is necessary to save her life is done. This is why the whole idea that abortion bans are biblically based is laughable. The original texts say that accidentally causing a woman to abort (two men fighting, accidentally hit a pregnant woman) owe her a financial payment. If they kill the woman they owe their lives (imprisonment).

I understand that uneasiness with abortion, but I also don't think we should dictate what women should do according to false readings of the bible. I also cannot believe that in this day and age the anti-choicers have the power to deny women contraception that prevents unplanned pregnancy. It just boggles my mind, no matter what reasons they give I still can't wrap my head around it because there is NOTHING in the Bible that says a woman can't take a pill that will prevent her eggs from being released monthly. And the Jewish/Biblical law also goes on to describe sexual intercourse as a requirement in marriage even when the woman is pregnant or when the couple are infertile.

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Anti-choicers(I won't call them pro-life because they don't really care about the life and health of the mother) don't want this story talked about because it is really hard to condemn her for murdering babies but at the same time they want to hold the moral highground that abortion is always murder. Well, if abortion is murder, she murdered thousands of people, but most anti-choicers don't want to say that. So instead of having to look at what they really believe(maybe abortion isn't murder) they just ignore this story.

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