Towards Informed Use of the Pernkopf Atlas
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Knowledge of the dark history and inherent ethical dilemmas of Pernkopf's atlas is essential to individual decisions on use. Seventy-five years after the Holocaust, the legacy of Pernkopf’s Atlas of Topographical and Applied Human Anatomy continues to unfold. Informed use of the atlas needs to be integrated in academia and in practice. This paper advocates for the adoption of The Vienna Protocol and improving informed use of the atlas by: (1) updating and inserting an information letter in as many volumes as possible, so that the history can be known before use; (2) conducting and publishing a research study within the medical art community, to examine knowledge of the history of the atlas and elevate awareness; and (3) creating a museum archive and permanent exhibition of the original anatomical illustrations, to document historical facts, disseminate visual evidence, and illuminate embedded controversies. Moving towards informed use, in these ways, provides opportunities for continued ethical discourse, personal reflection and future Holocaust education. Through informed use we memorialize and pay tribute to the Nazi victims portrayed in the atlas.
Image credit: Table of Contents image provided by the Medical University of Vienna, MUW-AD-003250-5-ABB-223.
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