Holocaust survivors' perspectives on the euthanasia debate

Ronit D. Leichtentritt, Kathryn D. Rettig, Steven H Miles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The paper reports on a qualitative analysis of 15 personal interviews with holocaust survivors in Israel concerning their perceptions of similarities and differences between socially-assisted dying and the holocaust policies. The design of the study was exploratory/descriptive and asked the following questions: 'Some discussions have expressed similarities between Nazi Germany and euthanasia. Do you believe the comparison is justified? In what ways are euthanasia and the holocaust similar? In what ways are they different?' Participants concluded that profound differences existed between Nazi Germany and socially assisted dying. These differences were established from four different perspectives in 10 different themes, and demonstrated by 24 different examples of the themes. Informants further cautioned philosophers about comparisons between the holocaust and other human behaviors. The survivors perceived that such a comparison has negative consequences for their own well-being, the dignity of their family members, the next generation and the Israeli society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-196
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1999

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2007 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Euthanasia
  • Holocaust
  • Israel
  • Slippery slope argument
  • Socially assisted dying


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