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Medical professionals played a "central role" in the crimes committed by the Nazis, according to a new study published Thursday, which aims to debunk "long-held misconceptions" about the scale of their involvement.

Medical atrocities during the Nazi era were not solely carried out by "a few extremist doctors" or perpetrators that acted "under coercion," according to a report published in The Lancet journal, described by its authors as the most comprehensive of its kind to date.

By 1945, between 50 to 65 per cent of non-Jewish German doctors had joined the Nazi party, which represents a "much higher proportion than in any other academic profession," said the 73-page report.

The abhorrent eugenics and euphemistically termed "euthanasia" murder programmes of the Nazis during World War II resulted in "at least 230,000" deaths, including 7,000 to 10,000 children.

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