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Sept 18, 1967


JAMA. 1967;201(12):966. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130120074022

If pessimists become pessimists by contemplating the evil man commits upon man, optimists may be those who look beyond evil to the good that some men derive from the most hideous situations. The decimation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany constitutes perhaps history's most abominable example of man's inhumanity. Yet even this carnage produced some benefits for humanity.

No benefits, of course, ameliorate the horror of the situation or lessen the guilt of those responsible. But the victims who performed scientific work despite appalling circumstances deserve our admiration. At least two examples of this remarkable determination and dedication occurred-in the Warsaw Ghetto. This ghetto existed from autumn 1940 until May 16, 1943, when the Germans finally crushed the stubborn fighting of the starved remnants to Warsaw's Jewish population.

Starvation was probably the commonest cause of death within the ghetto at Warsaw. The sad but endless hordes of starved choked the