From 1933 - 1945, the Jewish people were subjected to atrocities by the heavy hand of the National Socialist German Workers Party under the dictator Adolf Hitler. This dark period initially found the Jewish people segregated from society politically and legally as their civil rights quickly eroded. They were excluded from the economic sphere of Germany. Nazi legislation barred them from schools, cinemas, theaters and sports facilities in many cities. They were required to identify themselves by wearing a yellow star. This segregation eventually evolved into concentration camps. Six million Jews were murdered along with five million others that were not relevant to Nazi ideology.

In 1947, after the war, as a result of Nazi atrocities involving human experimentation the Nuremberg code was adopted, its directive to protect humans from experimental exploitation. The code specifies principles that must be observed to satisfy moral, ethical and legal concepts. The first principle listed is "The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential." The code reads on to prohibit experiments with unnecessary physical and mental suffering or disabling injury or death. In addition the individual involved in the experiment should be at liberty to bring the experiment to an end.

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