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April 9, 1997

Origins of the Pernkopf Anatomy Atlas-Reply

Author Affiliations

Columbia University New York, NY
University of Toronto Toronto, Ontario

JAMA. 1997;277(14):1123. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540380037021

In Reply.  —Since the publication of our letters in JAMA concerning the controversy surrounding the Nazi origins of Pernkopf Anatomy, there has been significant worldwide response to the bioethical issues raised. The letters by Dr Weissmann and Mr Cutler reflect the opinions of many supporting investigations of the origins of Pernkopf's work and the memorialization of the victims of Nazi terror in a preface to the atlas. Weissmann's publication of a decade ago exposed Pernkopf as an ardent Nazi whose words and actions promulgated racial hygiene in the faculty of medicine at the University of Vienna from 1938 to 1945.1 In spite of this, the atlas, stripped of most of the original Nazi icons, has contiuned to be published in Pernkopf's name and used by medical students, surgeons, and anatomists without any knowledge of Pernkopf's background or the controversy concerning the origins of the cadavers. As a result, persons using the