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February 13, 1997 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-02-13

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12A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 13, 1997 NA IO IW RL
Vienna University apologizes for
Nazi involvement, plans investigation


A holy day


VIENNA, Austria (AP) - Vienna
University apologized yesterday for its
involvement with Nazism and
announced a broad investigation into
whether the bodies of Holocaust vic-
tims were the basis for detailed draw-
ings in a highly acclaimed, widely used
anatomy book.
"As a human being, and as a repre-
sentative of the University of Vienna, I
am ashamed by the University's culpa-
ble involvement in the horrors of
Nazism," university Rector Alfred
Ebenbauer said.
"I regret that relatively little was done
in the past 50 years to work through this
dark chapter of the University of
Vienna, and that working through cer-
tain events now is more difficult."
The atlas, "Topographical Anatomy
of the Human Being," was compiled by
Eduard Pernkopf, a leading Nazi who
headed the university's medical faculty
after Hitler annexed Austria in 1938.
Pernkopf served as University Rector
from 1943-45.
The atlas, first published in the late
1930s, is considered a classic text, high-
ly regarded for its detailed anatomical
Ebenbauer's stark apology illustrated
the growing movement to strip away the
illusion that Austria simply was Hitler's

first victim, and to examine Austrians'
participation in Nazi crimes.
The new inquiry will be conducted
by the university, the Jewish communi-
ty and a group representing Austrians
who resisted Nazism. Initial investiga-
tions have found it was unlikely con-
centration camp victims were among
those depicted in the atlas, the universi-
ty said Wednesday.
But those probes did find that the
university's anatomy department regu-
larly received the corpses of those exe-
cuted by the Nazis, including Austrian
resisters, according to a university
statement given to The Associated
Wolfgang Neugebauer, a historian
who heads the archive documenting
Austrian resistance to the Nazis, said
his organization knows of at least two
Austrians killed by the Nazis whose
bodies or body parts were used by the
The university's statement said that
while the chances are "not very high"
that Jews or other victims of the
Nazi's race laws were used for
research, "it cannot be 100 percent
excluded" that body parts from
Mauthausen, Austria's Nazi concen-
tration camp, were used.
The current dean of the medical fac-

ulty, Wolfgang Schuetz, apologized that
it undertook no research at all into the
events of the Nazi era, "which were
largely repressed and forgotten, like
much else in an era linked also with a
unique and tragic exodus of faculty
members" - Jews forbidden to teach
or study under Nazi race laws.
As Ebenbauer noted Wednesday, the
new frankness began in 1988, when the
50th anniversary of Hitler's annexation
of Austria coincided with the furor sur-
rounding then-President Kurt Waldheim
and his concealed past as a soldier in the
German army in World War II.
Best-selling books, a new documen-
tary film and touring exhibit have
underscored the new interest in re-
examining the Nazi era. One book,
"Hitler's Vienna," traces how the
Austrian capital of the early 20th centu-
ry fed and formed the Nazi leader's
The film, titled in English "East of
Eden," reveals that ordinary Austrian
soldiers serving in Hitler's army knew
of mass executions and witnessed tor-
ture and looting on the eastern front -
denting the myth that only special units
like the dreaded SS perpetrated atroci-
ties. ,
Questions about Pernkopf's anato-
my book arose in 1995 when Yad

Vashem, the Holocaust museum in
Jerusalem, approached Vienna
University and Austrian officials, ask-
ing whether Holocaust victims were
depicted in the atlas.
Last fall, physicians pressed the issue
in letters published in the Journal of the
American Medical Association, ques-
tioning whether use of the book was
ethically proper.
In early editions of the atlas,
swastikas and SS lightning-bolt sym-
bols are part of some of the artists' sig-
natures, according to one of the physi-
cians, Dr. Howard Israel of New York's
Columbia University. Those Nazi
emblems were airbrushed out of later
editions, he said.
The new probe, expected to take a
year, will encompass research in
archives in Germany and the United
States, university spokesman Bernd
Matouschek said. Investigators also
will attempt to find people who worked
in the University's anatomy department
during the Nazi years.
Results will be published, and the
university will try to ensure that a fore-
word is attached to the atlas. Its first
two volumes were published between
1937 and '45, the third in '53 and the
fourth in '57, two years after Pernkopf's



Pope John Paul 1i celebrates Ash Wednesday Mass, which officially opens
the annual Lenten period, yesterday in the St. Sabine Church in central
Rome. The Pope talked of the "purification and sanctification" Lent affords.

If you can't take her to Broadway this

Clinton clears way for CNN post in Cuba.

Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - In a move that the White House
believes will help "bring about peaceful democratic
change in Cuba," the Clinton administration cleared
the way for CNN to open a bureau on the island and
gave nine other news organizations permission to do
the same - if Havana agrees.
The decision effectively waives restrictions imposed
under the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba. If all pro-
ceeds as planned, CNN next month will open its bureau
on the 20th floor of a Havana hotel and become the first
American news organization to have a permanent
reporter in the Communist nation since 1969.
But CNN is the only news organization, so far, that
has won Cuban permission to operate there; the other
nine await approval by Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro's
American reporters have been permitted to take
brief trips to Cuba but visas for such travel usually
have been restricted, as has movement of the journal-
ists once in the country.

CNN lobbied heavily for a permanent presence on
the island, taking its case direct to Castro; his govern-
ment gave its approval in August. But the obstacle of
U.S. permission remained.
Last week, Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), chairman of
the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, wrote to
the president urging him to let CNN open its bureau.
"I am persuaded that the spotlight of a free press
focused on Castro's tropical gulag will only hasten the
day when the Cuban people are free of his brutal
Communist tyranny," Helms wrote Clinton, urging
him to drop the ban on American news organizations
opening bureaus in Cuba.
Helms argued that a permanent U.S. media pres-
ence in Cuba also could provide protection for Cuban
dissidents, recording government attempts to repress
them for the world to see.
Yesterday, White House spokesman Mike McCurry
echoed Helms' sentiments: "We in some measure
expect that the reporting of truth about the conditions
in Cuba would further our policy, which seeks to bring

about peaceful democratic change in Cuba."
He added that one condition imposed by the United
States is that the news organizations "be allowed to
operate in an unrestricted environment so that they
could freely and impartially report the news."
"It's important for us to be there because there's
intense interest in the United States and around the
world in Cuba," said Eason Jordan, executive vio
president of CNN International.
Cuba remains one of the few countries that prevents
foreign reporters from setting up bureaus, said
Thomas Kent, Associated Press international editor.
Vietnam had long banned foreign media but now
some organizations, including the AP, have been
allowed to open bureaus there.
The organizations that have applied for U.S. per-
mission to open bureaus in Cuba are: CNN, the AP, the
Miami Herald, Dow Jones, the Chicago Tribune, the
Sun-Sentinel of South Florida, ABC, CBS, Univisi ,
and the School for Advanced International Studies e
Johns Hopkins, which publishes a Cuban newsletter.



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