Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Between the Lines

Deafening silences

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 28 April 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1719
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    Are there any depths of cruelty and absurdity to which bureaucracy cannot plunge? It seems unlikely that there are, an impression confirmed by reading Jean-Claude Dreyfus’s short and laconic Souvenirs lointains de Buchenwald et Dora, 1943-1945.

    Dreyfus was a young doctor in Paris when the second world war broke out. After the war he was to become a distinguished professor of biochemistry. During the first period of the occupation he continued to work in Parisian hospitals where, as a Jew, he experienced neither hostility nor sympathy.

    Eventually it became too dangerous for him to remain in Paris, and he went to Lyon, where he assumed the identity of Raymond Leclerc, pretending to be a travelling salesman but …

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