Dr. Gisella Perl was a Hungarian Jewish gynecologist who was imprisoned at Auschwitz. While there, she acted to address the terrors that were visited upon women by the Nazi regime, as happened in all concentration camps. If a woman was discovered to be pregnant, she was often beaten or killed; Dr. Perl vowed to help these women by ending their pregnancies to save their lives. As Dr. Perl worked to save those around her, she was also forced to work under the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele; everything she did put her life at risk in Auschwitz.
This program will discuss the life, legacy, heroics, and complicated moral decision making of Dr. Perl in the greater context of Nazi policies around reproduction and bodily autonomy. Dr. Jason Adam Wasserman, Professor of Foundational Medical Studies at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, and Dr. Katharina von Kellenbach, Professor emerita of Religious Studies at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, will be in conversation with science journalist Rachel E. Gross, author of Vagina Obscura: An Anatomical Voyage.