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April 9, 1997

Origins of the Pernkopf Anatomy Atlas

Author Affiliations

New York University Medical Center

JAMA. 1997;277(14):1122. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540380036019

To the Editor.  —I feel somewhat responsible for resurrecting the issue of Dr Eduard Pernkopf, dean of the medical faculty of the University of Vienna in 1938, since I first called public attention to his sordid career a decade ago.1 Reporting the views of your correspondents,2,3 the New York Times (November 26,1996) published a picture of Pernkopf standing at a University of Vienna rostrum in full Nazi regalia. In that uniform and from that platform, on April 6, 1938, Pernkopf invited his faculty to join him in a Begeistergstrum (gale of rapture) on the advent of Adolf Hitler's Anschluss (annexation) of Austria. Pernkopf, a rabid Nazi, had immediately purged his faculty of many eminent scientists for "racial" reasons and usurped editorship of the Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift, the leading Austrian medical journal of the time. In its May 20, 1938, issue, he reprinted his invitation under the title of