The Shmooze

'Dr. Death' Jack Kevorkian Dies at 83

By Michael Kaminer

  • Print
  • Share Share
Getty Images

“Dr. Death” has finally lived up to his name. Jack Kevorkian, who has spent decades campaigning for the legalization of euthanasia, has died at 83. Kevorkian, who expired — unassisted — in a Detroit hospital, served eight years in prison and was arrested multiple times for helping more than 130 patients commit suicide between 1990 and 2000. His methods, according to the Washington Post: “Injections, carbon monoxide and his infamous suicide machine, built from scraps for $30.”

Kevorkian also gained notoriety for using the words “final solution” in a 1999 Michigan trial of administering a fatal injection. According to trial coverage in Northern California mag JWeekly, “This is the man who sought to mount an exhibition featuring paintings by none other than Adolf Hitler. Kevorkian has conducted experiments that evoke memories of the infamous Nazi doctors.” Ironically, the Council of Orthodox Rabbis of Greater Detroit was labeled “Nazis” by Kevorkian’s half-Jewish lawyer, Geoffrey Fieger, “for the unspeakable atrocity of stating that assisted suicide went against the Torah.” Kevorkian was convicted and sentenced to 10-25 years in prison in that case, according to Frontline.

As the Forward reported last year, Kevorkian was the subject of an HBO film, “You Don’t Know Jack,” by Jewish director Barry Levinson. At the time, Levinson said he hoped the film will put assisted suicide back in the national dialogue. “If nothing else. It should be up for discussion, as opposed to everyone being afraid to talk about it,” he said.


Would you like to receive updates about new stories?






















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.