Max Clara

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Max Clara

Max Clara (12 February 1899, Völs am Schlern, Italy – 13 March 1966, Munich) was a German anatomist. He was appointed as Chair of Anatomy at Leipzig University in 1935. Clara is known for having close ties with the Nazi Party, controversially basing much of his work on his studies of the bodies of executed prisoners, without the consent of the prisoners' families.[1] His main work, "Das Nervensystem des Menschen" (The Nervous System of Humans, alternatively The Human Nervous System)[2] was written in 1942 in Leipzig during the Third Reich's dictatorship.

In 1937, he discovered previously unknown cells found in human lungs, which were later eponymously named Clara cells;[1][3] in 2015, they were renamed "club cells".

Political activity[edit]

Clara was an active member of the Nazi Party,[4] and became a professor at the University of Leipzig as a result of support from Max de Crinis.[3] He subsequently proposed reforms to German law which had forbidden the scientific use of human cadavers without the consent of the deceased's family; he also proposed that, until such reforms could be implemented, researchers should preserve cadavers' external appearance so that the deceased's family would be unaware of what had been done.[1]

After the Second World War ended, Clara was officially denazified;[1] he subsequently taught at the University of Istanbul.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Winkelmann, Andreas; Noack, Thorsten (2010). "The Clara cell - a "Third Reich eponym"?". European Respiratory Journal Express. 36 (4): 722–727. doi:10.1183/09031936.00146609. PMID 20223917. 
  2. ^ Max Clara (1942). "Das Nervensystem des Menschen" [The Nervous System of Man] (in German). J.A. Barth: 772. 
  3. ^ a b Woywodt, A.; S. Lefrak; E. Matteson (October 1, 2010). "Tainted Eponyms in Medicine: the "Clara" Cell Joins the List". European Respiratory Journal. 36 (4): 704–706. doi:10.1183/09031936.00046110. Retrieved 2010-11-02. 
  4. ^ Wegener's Disease and Clara Cells: Eponyms and Dignity in Respiratory Medicine / Enfermedad de Wegener y células Clara: la eponimia y la dignidad médicas en medicina del aparato respiratorio, in Archivos de Bronconeumología, 2013; 49:126-7, by Joaquim Gea, Mauricio Orozco-Levib, and Rafel Aguilóa
  5. ^ Cleansing the Fatherland: Nazi Medicine and Racial Hygiene (original title: Beiträge zur Nationalsozialistichen Gesundheits- und Sozialpolitik), by Götz Aly, Peter Chroust, and Christian Pross (translated by Belinda Cooper); published in English by Johns Hopkins University Press, August 1994