Shock Treatment

New exhibit's bad medicine looks nothing like Bon Jovi's.

Cleveland theater
The Maltz Museum’s latest exhibit, Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race, isn’t an easy one to view. The objects, images, and documents on display include photographs of murdered children, sharp instruments used to measure faces, and yellowed notes that detail some very sinister experiments. They all chronicle the Third Reich’s plans to eradicate European Jews more than 60 years ago through medical means. “It stops you cold,” says Judi Feniger, the museum’s executive director. “One part of my brain wanted to say, ‘This couldn’t have happened in such recent history.’ But of course, the other side of my brain knows it did.”

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., loaned more than 500 artifacts to the Maltz. They’re arranged thematically and follow the dark channels of medical history between 1919 and 1945 -- from government-funded eugenics research to Hitler’s grisly Final Solution. Look for Nazi-bestowed “mother crosses” (which were awarded to women who birthed at least four Aryan children), instruments used to establish the eye and skin color of human research subjects, and a wooden observation door from a psychiatric isolation cell. “It wasn’t just ‘mad scientists,’ but respected physicians and academics who thought they were going to help the world,” says Feniger. “There are many perspectives to any question that deals with human life and ethical behavior.”
Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturdays, 12-5 p.m.; Wednesdays, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Starts: Sept. 28. Continues through Jan. 20, 2007

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