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February 23, 1990

Perversions of Medical Technology

Author Affiliations

Boston, Mass

Boston, Mass

JAMA. 1990;263(8):1066. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440080038010

To the Editor.—  The articles in the August 4 issue of JAMA on chemical weapons, biological warfare, and radiation safety are timely and important. However, we were disappointed that two articles that attempted to provide an historical review of these subjects failed to include some of the most blatant examples of misuse of chemical and radiation technology in war.Orient1 discusses the German chemical industry during World War II, including the development of tabun and sarin by the Germans. However, she does not mention Zyklon B, the pellet form of a gas with a prussic acid base, which was used by the Germans to annihilate millions of Jewish and non-Jewish enemies of the Third Reich.2 This fact is of particular importance to physicians because Zyklon B was tested and administered in mass murder with the active participation of the German medical profession.3Walker4 documents some of