The Nazi and the Psychiatrist

Encounters behind bars between Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering and an American doctor 65 years ago raise questions about responsibility, allegiance and the nature of evil

Excerpt from Scientific American Mind: January 2011: “In the aftermath of World War II, American psychiatrist Douglas M. Kelley worked closely with captured Nazis as their general physician and psychiatric evaluator.

Despite Kelley’s abhorrence of Nazi crimes, he formed a close relationship with the highest-ranking prisoner, Hermann Goering, who impressed Kelley with his intelligence, tenacity, and dedication to his country, family and friends.

The balancing act Kelley performed—as he tried to remain loyal to his superiors as well as dedicated to his patients’ health and wellness—is echoed in the modern dilemmas faced by doctors and psychologists in situations such as the prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.”


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