Image of Sabine Hildebrandt

Sabine Hildebrandt, MD

Associate Professor of Pediatrics

Sabine Hildebrandt is an associate professor of pediatrics in the Division of General Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital, and a lecturer on Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She teaches anatomy and history of anatomy at Harvard Medical School and Harvard College. Her research interests are the history and ethics of anatomy, and specifically the history of anatomy in National Socialist Germany. Her educational approach integrates anatomy, medical history and medical ethics. Her book “The Anatomy of Murder: Ethical Transgressions and Anatomical Science during the Third Reich” was published by Berghahn Books in January 2016, in paperback in August 2017, and is the first systematic study of anatomy during National Socialism. The biography of Jewish physician refugee Käthe Beutler was published by Hentrich& Hentrich in 2019. She is currently researching the history of the Anatomical Institute as a member of the Historical Commission on the Reichsuniversität Strassburg 1941-44. She is also co-editor of “Recognizing the Past in the Present: Medicine before, during and after the Holocaust” to be published by Berghahn Books in 2021.

Current research includes:

  • History of under-researched individual anatomical departments and projects on related medical disciplines, such as gynecology
  • Ethics in anatomical education, national and international: development of recommendations and guidelines on various questions of ethics in anatomy
  • Medicine during and beyond the Holocaust: reconstruction of biographies of victims and survivors
  • Work on project: Reframing Anatomy as a “Safe Space” for Acquiring Professional Competencies: The Role of History and Ethics of Anatomy in Medical Education

1. Hildebrandt S. Anatomy From Nazi Germany to Today. JAMA. 2023 01 17; 329(3):207-208. PMID: 36648461.

2. Cornwall J, Hildebrandt S, Champney T. Skeletons in the closet: time to give human bones acquired by health practitioners for educational purposes the respect they deserve. Med J Aust. 2022 10 03; 217(7):379. PMID: 36039799.

3. Sumner DR, Hildebrandt S, Nesbitt A, Carroll MA, Smocovitis VB, Laitman JT, Beresheim AC, Ramnanan CJ, Blakey ML. Racism, structural racism, and the American Association for Anatomy: Initial report from a task force. Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2022 04; 305(4):772-787. PMID: 35226417.

4. Roelcke V, Hildebrandt S, Seidelman WE. The German Medical Association's hesitant dealing with the Nazi past. Lancet. 2021 10 30; 398(10311):1564-1565. PMID: 34562389.

5. Anteby R, Hildebrandt S. Limited use of a Nazi-era anatomy atlas in the operating theater: Remembering the victims. Isr Med Assoc J. 2021 Sep; 23(9):605-606. PMID: 34472241.

6. Yee A, Coombs DM, Hildebrandt S, Seidelman WE, Coer JH, Mackinnon SE. Nerve Surgeons' Assessment of the Role of Eduard Pernkopf's Atlas of Topographic and Applied Human Anatomy in Surgical Practice. J Biocommun. 2021; 45(1):E7. PMID: 36407922; PMCID: PMC9139514.

7. Hildebrandt S. Anatomy in Nazi Germany: The Use of Victims' Bodies in Academia and Present-Day Legacies. J Biocommun. 2021; 45(1):E12. PMID: 36407926; PMCID: PMC9140205.

8. Hildebrandt S. An Excerpt from The Anatomy of Murder: Excerpted from the Section: "The Pernkopf Controversy" (pages 278 - 281, 287, 288). J Biocommun. 2021; 45(1):E6. PMID: 36407921; PMCID: PMC9139448.

9. Hildebrandt S. Books, bones and bodies: The relevance of the history of anatomy in Nazi Germany for medical education today. Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2022 04; 305(4):886-901. PMID: 34118137.

10. Roelcke V, Hildebrandt S, Reis S. Announcing the Lancet Commission on Medicine and the Holocaust: Historical Evidence, Implications for Today, Teaching for Tomorrow. Lancet. 2021 03 06; 397(10277):862-864. PMID: 33513379.

11. Yee A, Li J, Lilly J, Hildebrandt S, Seidelman WE, Brown D, Kopar P, Coert JH, Mackinnon SE, Israel HA. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons' assessment of the role of Pernkopf's atlas in surgical practice. Ann Anat. 2021 Mar; 234:151614. PMID: 33171220.

12. McDaniel KG, Brown T, Radford CC, McDermott CH, van Houten T, Katz ME, Stearns DA, Hildebrandt S. Anatomy as a Model Environment for Acquiring Professional Competencies in Medicine: Experiences at Harvard Medical School. Anat Sci Educ. 2021 Mar; 14(2):241-251. PMID: 32657538.

13. Hildebrandt S. "The Vienna Protocol: Medicine's confrontation with continuing legacies of its Nazi past,". Ann Anat. 2020 May; 229:151459. PMID: 31972271.

14. Cornwall J, Hildebrandt S. Anatomy, Education, and Ethics in a Changing World. Anat Sci Educ. 2019 Jul; 12(4):329-331. PMID: 31125503.

15. Yee A, Coombs DM, Hildebrandt S, Seidelman WE, Coert JH, Mackinnon SE. Nerve Surgeons' Assessment of the Role of Eduard Pernkopf's Atlas of Topographic and Applied Human Anatomy in Surgical Practice. Neurosurgery. 2019 02 01; 84(2):491-498. PMID: 29741720.

16. Hildebrandt S. The Role of History and Ethics of Anatomy in Medical Education. Anat Sci Educ. 2019 Jul; 12(4):425-431. PMID: 30580499.

17. Yee A, Hildebrandt S, Seidelman WE, Mackinnon SE. Letter to the Editor: Nazi Medicine-Part 2: The Downfall of a Profession and Pernkopf's Anatomy Atlas. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2018 12; 476(12):2465-2466. PMID: 30427319; PMCID: PMC6259895.

18. Yee A, Coombs DM, Hildebrandt S, Seidelman WE, Coert JH, Mackinnon SE. In Reply: Nerve Surgeons' Assessment of the Role of Eduard Pernkopf's Atlas of Topographic and Applied Human Anatomy in Surgical Practice. Neurosurgery. 2018 10 01; 83(4):E189. PMID: 30011031.

19. Champney TH, Hildebrandt S, Gareth Jones D, Winkelmann A. BODIES R US: Ethical Views on the Commercialization of the Dead in Medical Education and Research. Anat Sci Educ. 2019 May; 12(3):317-325. PMID: 30240149.

20. Yee A, Zubovic E, Yu J, Ray S, Hildebrandt S, Seidelman WE, Polak RJA, Grodin MA, Coert JH, Brown D, Kodner IJ, Mackinnon SE. Ethical considerations in the use of Pernkopf's Atlas of Anatomy: A surgical case study. Surgery. 2019 05; 165(5):860-867. PMID: 30224084.

21. Hildebrandt S, Benedict S, Miller E, Gaffney M, Grodin MA. "Forgotten" Chapters in the History of Transcervical Sterilization: Carl Clauberg and Hans-Joachim Lindemann. J Hist Med Allied Sci. 2017 Jul 01; 72(3):272-301. PMID: 28873982.

22. Hildebrandt S, Seidelman WE. Where do they come from? A call for complete transparency regarding the origin of human tissues in research. ESMO Open. 2017; 2(2):e000201. PMID: 28761755; PMCID: PMC5519783.

23. Hildebrandt S, Czarnowski G. Alfred Pischinger (1899-1983): An Austrian career in anatomy continuing through National Socialism to postwar leadership. Ann Anat. 2017 May; 211:104-113. PMID: 28219632.

24. Hildebrandt S. Strkalj G, Pather N (eds.): Commemoration and Memorials in Anatomy. Remembering the victims of abusive practice in anatomy: the example of Nazi Germany. 2017.

25. Kahn PA, Champney TH, Hildebrandt S. The incompatibility of the use of unclaimed bodies with ethical anatomical education in the United States. Anat Sci Educ. 2017 03; 10(2):200-201. PMID: 27911987.

26. Cornwall J, Winkelmann A, Hildebrandt S. Cadaver Exome Sequencing for Teaching First-Year Medical Students. JAMA. 2016 Jul 05; 316(1):102-3. PMID: 27380355.

27. Hildebrandt S. Insights into the Freiburg Anatomical Institute during National Socialism, 1933-1945. Ann Anat. 2016 May; 205:90-102. PMID: 26965250.

28. Hildebrandt, Sabine. The Anatomy of Murder: Ethical Transgressions and Anatomical Science during the Third Reich. 2016; 374.View Publication.

29. Hildebrandt S, Von Villiez A, Seidelman WE. Posthumous Testimony for Dr. Leo Gross and his Family / Restoration of the 'Lost' Biography of a Physician Victim of the Holocaust Medizinhist J. 2016; 51(4):295-326. PMID: 29845826.

30. Hildebrandt S, Villiez Av, Seidelman WE. Posthumous testimony for Dr. Leo Gross and his family: the restoration of the ‘lost’ biography of a physician victim of the Holocaust. Medizinhistorisches Journal,. 2016; (4):295-326.

31. Hildebrandt S. Thoughts on practical core elements of an ethical anatomical education. Clin Anat. 2016 Jan; 29(1):37-45. PMID: 26474826.

32. Longacre M, Beinfeld S, Hildebrandt S, Glantz L, Grodin MA. Public health in the Vilna Ghetto as a form of Jewish resistance. Am J Public Health. 2015 Feb; 105(2):293-301. PMID: 25521892; PMCID: PMC4318312.

33. Hansson N, Hildebrandt S. Swedish-German contacts in the field of anatomy 1930-1950: Gösta Häggqvist and Hermann Stieve. Ann Anat. 2014 Sep; 196(5):259-67. PMID: 25017735.

34. Hildebrandt S. What is happening in our anatomical dissection rooms? Clin Anat. 2014 Sep; 27(6):833-4. PMID: 24648394.

35. Hildebrandt S. [The Herrlinger case: a controversy of ethics in anatomy and medical history]. Hist Hosp. 2014-2015; 29:447-65. PMID: 27501569.

36. Hildebrandt S. Current status of identification of victims of the National Socialist regime whose bodies were used for anatomical purposes. Clin Anat. 2014 May; 27(4):514-36. PMID: 24000089.

37. Hildebrandt S. Anatomische Gesellschaft from 1933 to 1950: a professional society under political strain - the Benninghoff papers. Ann Anat. 2013 Oct; 195(5):381-92. PMID: 23856416.

38. Hildebrandt S. Wolfgang Bargmann (1906-1978) and Heinrich von Hayek (1900-1969): careers in anatomy continuing through German National Socialism to postwar leadership. Ann Anat. 2013 Jul; 195(4):283-295. PMID: 23683502.

39. Hildebrandt S. [Anatomy in National Socialism: stages of an ethical transgression]. Medizinhist J. 2013; 48(2):153-85. PMID: 25188998.

40. Hildebrandt S. The women on Stieve's list: Victims of national socialism whose bodies were used for anatomical research. Clin Anat. 2013 Jan; 26(1):3-21. PMID: 23238847.

41. Bohl M, Holman A, Mueller DA, Gruppen LD, Hildebrandt S. The willed body donor interview project: medical student and donor expectations. Anat Sci Educ. 2013 Mar-Apr; 6(2):90-100. PMID: 23109299.

42. Hildebrandt S. Commentary on "First hand accounts of events in the laboratory of Prof. Eduard Pernkopf" by S.H. Aharinejad and S.W. Carmichael. Clin Anat. 2013 Apr; 26(3):292-3. PMID: 22949175.

43. Hildebrandt S. The case of Robert Herrlinger: a unique postwar controversy on the ethics of the anatomical use of bodies of the executed during National Socialism. Ann Anat. 2013 Jan; 195(1):11-24. PMID: 22939191.

44. Hildebrandt S. Research on bodies of the executed in German anatomy: an accepted method that changed during the Third Reich. Study of anatomical journals from 1924 to 1951. Clin Anat. 2013 Apr; 26(3):304-26. PMID: 22674739.

45. Hildebrandt S. The anatomist Hans Elias: A Jewish German in exile. Clin Anat. 2012 Apr; 25(3):284-94. PMID: 22038841.

46. Hildebrandt S. Anatomy in the Third Reich: Careers disrupted by National Socialist Policies. Ann Anat. 2012 Jun; 194(3):251-66. PMID: 21996707.

47. Hildebrandt S, Redies C. Anatomy in the Third Reich. Ann Anat. 2012 Jun; 194(3):225-7. PMID: 21975114.

48. Bohl M, Bosch P, Hildebrandt S. Medical students' perceptions of the body donor as a "first patient" or "teacher": a pilot study. Anat Sci Educ. 2011 Jul-Aug; 4(4):208-13. PMID: 21618447.

49. Hildebrandt S. First symposium on "Anatomie im Nationalsozialismus" ("Anatomy in National Socialism"), Würzburg, Germany, September 29, 2010. Clin Anat. 2011 Jan; 24(1):97-100. PMID: 21154645.

50. Gest TR, Hildebrandt S. The pattern of the thoracic splanchnic nerves as they pass through the diaphragm. Clin Anat. 2010 Sep; 23(6):732. PMID: 20669271.

51. Hildebrandt S. Lessons to be learned from the history of anatomical teaching in the United States: the example of the University of Michigan. Anat Sci Educ. 2010 Jul-Aug; 3(4):202-12. PMID: 20648596.

52. Hildebrandt S. Developing empathy and clinical detachment during the dissection course in gross anatomy. Anat Sci Educ. 2010 Jul-Aug; 3(4):216; author reply 217. PMID: 20213694.

53. Hildebrandt S. Response to the commentary on "Anatomy in the Third Reich: An outline" by G. Aumüller and R. Hildebrand. Clin Anat. 2010 Mar; 23(2):242. PMID: 20014393.

54. Hildebrandt S. Letter in response to Winkelmann and Schagen, Seidelman and Levi: call for a new era in research on "Medicine/Anatomy in the Third Reich". Clin Anat. 2010 Jan; 23(1):124. PMID: 19998487.

55. Hildebrandt S. Anatomy in the Third Reich: an outline, part 3. The science and ethics of anatomy in National Socialist Germany and postwar consequences. Clin Anat. 2009 Nov; 22(8):906-15. PMID: 19852049.

56. Hildebrandt S. Anatomy in the Third Reich: an outline, part 1. National Socialist politics, anatomical institutions, and anatomists. Clin Anat. 2009 Nov; 22(8):883-93. PMID: 19852053.

57. Hildebrandt S. Anatomy in the Third Reich: an outline, part 2. Bodies for anatomy and related medical disciplines. Clin Anat. 2009 Nov; 22(8):894-905. PMID: 19852054.

58. Gest TR, Hildebrandt S. The pattern of the thoracic splanchnic nerves as they pass through the diaphragm. Clin Anat. 2009 Oct; 22(7):809-14. PMID: 19753645.

59. Hildebrandt S. Capital punishment and anatomy: history and ethics of an ongoing association. Clin Anat. 2008 Jan; 21(1):5-14. PMID: 18058917.

60. Hildebrandt S. How the Pernkopf controversy facilitated a historical and ethical analysis of the anatomical sciences in Austria and Germany: a recommendation for the continued use of the Pernkopf atlas. Clin Anat. 2006 Mar; 19(2):91-100. PMID: 16425297.

61. Hildebrandt S, Jäckh G, Weber S, Peter HH. A long-term longitudinal isotypic study of anti-topoisomerase I autoantibodies. Rheumatol Int. 1993; 12(6):231-4. PMID: 8387225.

62. Hildebrandt S, Noell GS, Vazquez-Abad D, Earnshaw WC, Zanetti M, Rothfield NF. Idiotypic analysis of human anti-topoisomerase I autoantibodies. Autoimmunity. 1991; 10(1):41-8. PMID: 1660312.

63. Hildebrandt S, Weiner ES, Earnshaw WC, Zanetti M, Rothfield NF. Idiotypic analysis of human anticentromere autoantibodies. Autoimmunity. 1991; 9(2):131-40. PMID: 1657226.

64. Weiner ES, Hildebrandt S, Senécal JL, Daniels L, Noell S, Joyal F, Roussin A, Earnshaw W, Rothfield NF. Prognostic significance of anticentromere antibodies and anti-topoisomerase I antibodies in Raynaud's disease. A prospective study. Arthritis Rheum. 1991 Jan; 34(1):68-77. PMID: 1845841.

65. Hildebrandt S, Weiner ES, Senecal JL, Noell GS, Earnshaw WC, Rothfield NF. Autoantibodies to topoisomerase I (Scl-70): analysis by gel diffusion, immunoblot, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Clin Immunol Immunopathol. 1990 Dec; 57(3):399-410. PMID: 2173985.

66. Hildebrandt S, Weiner E, Senécal JL, Noell S, Daniels L, Earnshaw WC, Rothfield NF. The IgG, IgM, and IgA isotypes of anti-topoisomerase I and anticentromere autoantibodies. Arthritis Rheum. 1990 May; 33(5):724-7. PMID: 2161233.

67. Hildebrandt S, von der Heydt I, von Wichert P. Expression of CD 21, CD 22, and the mouse erythrocyte receptor on peripheral B lymphocytes in rheumatoid arthritis. Ann Rheum Dis. 1988 Jul; 47(7):588-94. PMID: 2969703; PMCID: PMC1003575.

68. Hildebrandt S, Becker H, Schauer U. [B-cell subpopulation, rosetting with mouse erythrocytes, in patients with rheumatoid arthritis]. Immun Infekt. 1986 Feb; 14(1):26-7. PMID: 3485561.