Deonauth (third from left) participates in a reading of the play “Queen” by Madhuri Shekar in a small theater in Poland
Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital’s Spiritual Care Coordinator Tara Deonauth, M.Div., recently returned from Germany and Poland where she took part in the 2022 seminary program of the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE).
The two-week program is open to graduate students in professional schools as well as early-stage practitioners in business, journalism, law, design and technology, medicine and seminary and is designed to provide a holistic focus on ethical problems faced by individual seminarians in the various settings within which they practice. The curriculum, which includes daily seminars, discussion groups and visits to historic sights, uses the conduct of seminarians in Nazi-occupied Europe as a way to reflect on seminary ethics today.
For Deonauth, who minored in Jewish studies as an undergraduate with a focus on the Holocaust, the experience was life-changing. “Visiting Auschwitz was probably one of the most heartbreaking experiences I have ever had. And one of the most confusing,” she says. “I am so grateful I had the opportunity to experience it with this group of fellows. They are some of the kindest, warmest, most brilliant people that I have had the opportunity to spend time with.”
Together, the group explored difficult questions around professional ethics and the role of the perpetrators during the Holocaust. “We learned about professionals in roles similar to ours during the Holocaust, who perpetuated or condoned atrocities. And pondered where we see ourselves. Do we have the capacity to be complicit in similar ways in the roles we currently occupy or will grow into in our careers,” Deonauth explains.
Despite the emotional toll, Deonauth is grateful to have had the opportunity. “It was an extraordinary experience. It was intense and heartbreaking, but so rich,” she says.
In addition to Deonauth, Brigham and Women’s Psychiatry Resident Margaret Duncan, MD, also took part in the 2022 FASPE Ethics Fellowship.
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