Understanding Ethical Dilemmas in the Medical Field – Asbury University
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Understanding Ethical Dilemmas in the Medical Field

Asbury Welcomes Dr. Christian Marx

March 25, 2024

Dr. Christian Marx

On March 21, the Asbury University Honors Program (AUHP) hosted Dr. Christian Marx to speak on his work at the at the Brandenburg Euthanasia Memorial through his presentation, Educating Germany’s Health Workers in Light of a Troublesome Past: National Socialist Euthanasia Killings and Their Consequences for Today.

Marx’s field of study explores a historical and scientific perspective of medicine through the lens of National Socialism and the ethical dilemmas health workers faced, which remains relevant for healthcare workers today to reflect on respect for patients, moral decisions, and care for the weak.

“I was a nurse working in a hospital for several years with history as a hobby and eventually studied history at the university level,” said Marx. “With my qualifications as a nurse and historian, I made my way to speak at educational programs and several memorials.”

Since 2014, Marx has been employed at the Memorial for the Victims of Euthanasia Killings in Brandenburg, Germany. His tasks include working on exhibition projects as well as the development, implementation, execution, and evaluation of profession-specific educational formats.

“People training to become nurses should know the history of their professions and rarely do they know the role of medical professionals in the years of National Socialism,” said Marx. “Long before the crimes in Auschwitz, there have been other crimes, such as the Euthanasia Program.”

“Christian Marx and the work at the Brandenburg Euthanasia Memorial serve as the appropriate starting place for the Asbury Holocaust Studies Tour,” said Honors Program Director and Professor of Psychology Dr. Paul Nesselroade. “For it was at the Brandenburg facility that we find the first victims of the National Socialists’ Eugenics and Racial Hygiene program.”

The Memorial’s permanent exhibition addresses the murder of more than 9,000 ill persons and those from psychiatric hospitals in northern and central Germany. The exhibition emphasizes the euthanasia killing facility’s significance as a place where systematic mass murder was practiced on Jewish patients. The largest group of those murdered in Brandenburg were people with a broad array of psychiatric diagnoses and disabilities, as well as social outcasts. 

“Christian Marx is an excellent communicator of this history,” Nesselroade continued. “He helps students learn how the perpetrators, that is professional doctors and nurses, justified their actions to courts of law in the aftermath of the war. Marx is also adept at leading students through a time of reflection and discussion regarding this history.”

“We hope students will be empowered to reflect on strange or difficult situations when they have to think about the ethical standards of their work towards the weak,” Marx said.

The AUHP invites students to join a community of scholars engaged in a themed enrichment experience which gives particular focus to the concept of human value and dignity and the virtuous life. Learn more: https://www.asbury.edu/academics/honors/. You can regularly find AUHP guests on the This Is Asbury podcast.