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April 9, 1997

Origins of the Pernkopf Anatomy Atlas

Author Affiliations

University of Michigan Ann Arbor

JAMA. 1997;277(14):1122. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540380036020

To the Editor.  —Anatomist Eduard Pernkopf was appointed dean of the Vienna Medical School faculty within days of the Nazi takeover of Austria. In his new position Pernkopf summarily fired his Jewish colleagues and those who were married to Jews. As an epidemic of suicides swept through Vienna's despairing medical scientists, Pernkopf set about revamping the curriculum of the famous school that had been turned over to his control. He promised to focus all the intellectual power of the venerable institution on the single most pressing scientific concern of the new Reich—the problem of race.1 The Austrian physician, he further declared, wished nothing other than to be a humble servant in the work of Der Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler.2Were Jewish corpses used as models for Pernkopf s classic anatomy atlas? As Williams3 has pointed out, it is unlikely. That they were non-Jewish Fatherland Front activists or other non-Jewish enemies of