BIOGRAPHY
HISTORICAL ARTICLE
JOURNAL ARTICLE
PORTRAIT
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The physician Hans Reiter as prisoner of war in Nuremberg: a contextual review of his interrogations (1945-1947).

OBJECTIVE: Crimes against humanity by Nazi Germany led to the codification of procedures for trying medical professionals. The principles detailed in the Nuremberg Code formulated by the Allies represented their effort to prevent future excesses and embody today's Institutional Review Boards. Reactive arthritis is often termed Reiter's syndrome, after Hans Reiter, who was incarcerated at Nuremberg.

METHODS: The authors reviewed Dr Hans Reiter's Nuremberg file at the National Archives in Washington, DC, and present chronologic excerpts of his interrogations between 1945 and 1947, with interpretative commentary.

RESULTS: Reiter was involved with or knowledgeable of involuntary sterilization and euthanasia undertaken by the Nazi regime. He also played an active role in the design of a study that inoculated concentration camp internees at Buchenwald with an experimental typhus vaccine, which resulted in hundreds of deaths.

CONCLUSIONS: A brilliant investigator and erudite intellectual, the career of Hans Reiter shows the importance and the relevance of scientific inquiry to adhere to principles enumerated in the Nuremberg Code. Because he was not the first to describe reactive arthritis, and in view of the above, Reiter's syndrome should only be used to cite an older reference that uses the term or in a historical context.

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