In my name and in the name of the Committee of the Nahariya Conference on Medicine in the Holocaust, I welcome you to our 12th annual conference.  Special thanks go to Prof. George Weiss from Australia and Dr. Hanna Van-Den Anda from Amsterdam University, Holland.

This year's conference will consist of three sessions: the first will deal with doctors and medicine during the Holocaust. We will begin the discussion with a movie about the disturbing subject of child birth in concentration camps and listen to Chana Klein's experience. Following that, we will learn about the Jewish hospitals in Holland during World War II from Dr. Van-Den Anda. Two lectures will be devoted to medical and moral dilemmas in the Vilna Ghetto.  Simcha Stein, historian and educator who is the former director of the Ghetto Fighters Museum and has been a member of our conference committee from its inception, will discuss the interface between medicine and the Jewish Council (the Judenrat). Dr. Tasa from Clalit HMO will talk about the life and endeavors of Dr. Abraham Weinrib who faced heartbreaking dilemmas, some of which were described in Hanoch Levin's play “Ghetto.”  Dr. Miriam Ofer of the Western Galilee College will discuss the role, and possibly the duty, of medical care during the holocaust from the point of view of the battle against epidemics in the Warsaw Ghetto. The session will conclude with comments by Danny Nadav of Tel Aviv University.

Dr.  Ada Shain of the International Institute of Holocaust Studies in Yad Vashem will lecture on rehabilitation within the displaced persons camps of physically disabled Jewish survivors.  Prof. Weiss will discuss the influence of starvation on newborns as a cause for illnesses in older age, specifically bone related injuries and Osteoporosis in particular.  Ms. Anat Terner and Dr. Erna Levin-Meged from the Group Analysis Institute and the Amcha Organization will lecture on the effectiveness of group therapy in dealing with recurring trauma in old age. We will conclude with surprising findings on the effects of birth under the conditions of the Holocaust on children.  Mr. Eyal Berkovich et al. will present the findings.

The third session will be a clinical-pathological discussion. This is the accepted method in medicine to perform a "diagnostic investigation," when an autopsy shows that the medical diagnosis was wrong. The case study will be shown, followed by a medical expert who will analyze the data and relate it to the diagnosis and treatment. Participants will have the opportunity to express their opinions and offer alternative diagnoses. The discussion will end with the pathologist sharing his findings, pointing to the "final diagnosis," revealed by the autopsy and an analysis of the date and relevant lessons to be learned.

In a similar way we will analyze the assassination of the German diplomat, Ernest vom Rath by a Herschel Grynszpan, which many believe provided the excuse for launching Kristallnacht.  A small number of researchers who have examined recently opened documents have published papers doubting the credibility of the assassination’s case study and the actual cause of death of vom Rath. Prof. Ariye Eitan, Head of the Department of Surgery “A” in Western Galilee Hospital, will analyze the findings and try to solve the actual cause of the diplomat's death.

In conclusion, I would like to thank all my colleagues who assisted in arranging this conference; to my friends in the hospital administration, and in particular its director, Dr. Barhoum. A thank you is sent to my friends in the organizing committee, with a special thanks to Ms. Aya Kipershlak whose devotion and endless efforts have made this conference possible. Thank you to the Ghetto Fighter’s House- our partners of many years, to our medical faculty, and to the Israeli Medical History Association. Thank you to all the researchers and lecturers who came from Australia, Holland and to those who came from all corners of Israel to share their work and research. And thank you conference attendees for your consistent participation in this forum and your contribution to the important discussions here.

I wish all of us an interesting and insightful conference. May we have many more.

Yours truly,
Prof. Shaul M. Shasha
Conference Chair