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Clara Cell

German anatomist Max Clara (1899–1966) described the ‘‘Clara cell’’ of the
bronchiolar epithelium in 1937. The present article investigates Clara’s relationship with National
Socialism, as well as his use of tissue from executed prisoners for research purposes, details
about both of which are largely unknown to date. Our methodology for the present study focussed
on analysis of material from historical archives and the publications of Clara and his co-workers.
Clara was appointed as Chair of Anatomy at Leipzig University (Leipzig, Germany) in 1935. He
owed his career, at least in part, to Nazi support. He was an active member of the Nazi party
(Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP)) and engaged in university politics; this
included making anti-Semitic statements about other academics in appointment procedures.
Nevertheless, he also supported prosecuted colleagues.
Much of Clara’s histological research in Leipzig, including his original description of the
bronchial epithelium, was based on tissue taken from prisoners executed in nearby Dresden
Max Clara was an active and outspoken Nazi and his histological research exploited the rising
number of executions during the Nazi period. Clara’s discovery is thus linked to the Nazi system.
The facts given in the present paper invite discussion about the eponym’s neglected history and
its continued and problematic use in medical terminology. ** For this short paper, you will read The Clara Cell, a scholarly article chronicling an ethical conflict from World War II. Identify and describe the central
ethical conflict of the case. If Max Clara and his research had been subject to the APA Code of Ethics, explain what principles and standards would have been
violated. After discussing these violations, identify the ethical implications of the Clara cell case for contemporary psychology. Based on these implications,
examine the role of research in society and analyze psychology professionals’ responsibilities to research participants and/or their families.