HOUSTON, TX (Feb. 6, 2006) - In October 1945, 21
men entered the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg, Germany, to stand trial
for crimes against humanity committed during World War II. During that
trial, survivors of medical "experiments" stood witness against the men
who tortured them by recounting their experiences in prisoner camps
such as Auschwitz, Dachau and Ravensbruck.
Houston resident Vivien R. Spitz was one of 26 court reporters
selected by the U.S. War Department to report and record events in that
Nuremberg courtroom, including the Nazi doctors' case.
She will discuss that experience and her observations of the trial
that set the standards for modern-day medical ethics in a free public
lecture on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006 at 7 p.m. at the Herzstein Theater
at Holocaust Museum Houston's Morgan Family Center, 5401 Caroline St.
in Houston's Museum District.
In "Doctor's from Hell: The Horrific Account of Nazi Experiments on
Humans," Spitz will give an eyewitness account of her experience in
post-war Nuremberg while working on the war crimes trials of Nazi
doctors. She will recount the chilling story of human depravity, the
dramatic testimony and the reactions of the defendants to the
proceedings. The landmark trial resulted in the establishment of the
Nuremberg Code, which set the guidelines for modern-day medical
research involving human beings.
As a court reporter in 1946, Spitz was recruited by the U.S. War
Department to go to Nuremberg to report verbatim proceedings at the
Nuremberg War Crimes Trials.
She has served as an official certified shorthand court reporter in
the Denver district court and was recruited in 1969 to substitute as an
official reporter of debates in the United States Senate, the first
woman to do so. Before a permanent position opened in the Senate, she
was hired as an official reporter of debates and in 1978 as chief
reporter in the U.S. House of Representatives, a job she held for 10
years under four presidents.
Since retiring, Spitz has spoken throughout the country about her
experiences in Nuremberg and the Nazi crimes against humanity to more
than 47,000 students and adults interested in medical ethics and human
rights. She has received several humanitarian awards nationally for her
She has been confronted several times by Holocaust deniers and had
to be rushed from the podium by security personnel for her protection
during a speech in 1999. In 2005, she published a nonfiction account of
her experiences, also titled, "Doctors from Hell: The Horrific Account
of Nazi Experiments on Humans."
She has received positive reviews of her book nationally. On Sept. 15, 2005, the New England Journal of Medicine
printed a review by Dr. Paul S. Applebaum of the University of
Massachusetts Medical School in which he wrote, "There is no shortage
of accounts of the perverse acts committed by the Nazi doctors. But no
academic summary that I have read transmits the horror of their actions
so powerfully as this book does."
Spitz recently moved to Houston and resides at Eagle's Trace.
Her appearance is underwritten by the Lillian Kaiser Lewis
Foundation, with special thanks to Continental Airlines, official
airline of Holocaust Museum Houston.
To RSVP or for more information, contact Tamara Savage at 713-942-8000, ext. 104.
Holocaust Museum Houston promotes awareness and educates the public
of the dangers of prejudice, hatred and violence against the backdrop
of the Holocaust by fostering remembrance, understanding and education.
Holocaust Museum Houston is free and open to the public and is
located in Houston's Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX
For more information about Holocaust Museum Houston, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.