The Vienna Protocol
Recommendations/Guidelines for the Handling of Future Discoveries of Remains of Human Victims of Nazi Terror "Vienna Protocol" for when Jewish or Possibly-Jewish Human Remains are Discovered
The "Vienna Protocol" was authored by Rabbi Joseph Polak, the Chief Justice of the Rabbinical Court of Massachusetts, with input from Prof. Michael Grodin of the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies at Boston University. The "Vienna Protocol" initially arose from a question posed by Prof. Susan Mackinnon of Washington University and her associate Andrew Yee with respect to the use of paintings from the Pernkopf Atlas of Human Anatomy, many of which are believed to be based on the dissection of victims of Nazi terror in Vienna. Questions about the use of these images and of how one deals, in Jewish tradition, with human remains of Nazi victims, have not been addressed. The "Vienna Protocol" is a unique and unprecedented religious and ethical analysis in the tradition of a Rabbinical "Responsum." While it was undertaken from a Jewish religious and ethical perspective, it is, in fact, a universal document that can be considered as a model for people of other faiths and beliefs.
Image credit for the 1930s photo showing Nazi flags flying on the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics: Archives of the Max Planck Society, Berlin. Used with permission.
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