Eugenics, the Disabled, the Nazis, and Today
Nicky Clark was shocked that programs designed to kill disabled people were not part of a recent BBC documentary that discussed the Nazi eugenics regime, so she wrote this article detailing a painful, shocking history which is often ignored:
As the Nazi stranglehold on Germany rolled forward, on the 14th of July 1933 the Law for the prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases made sterilization of disabled people compulsory.
The Nazis so enamoured by their myth of racial purity were also terrified by the notion that disabled people were thriving and would eventually dominate, thereby “polluting” the gene pool and exterminating their myth of perfection. Using Social Darwinism in its most sickening form they began to murder disabled children by lethal injection. This was a slow process, so they perfected a method of gassing children and the mobile gas vans began rolling up to the institutions and sanatoriums special schools and clinics. Parents whose disabled children lived at home were lied to. They were told their children were going to receive dedicated treatment to help them.
Estimates suggest that 5000 disabled children were murdered in total.
It's hard reading, but important. I hope we are all made uncomfortable by the similarity between how these programs were justified to the German people and current advertising campaigns emphasizing the cost of autism:
German children were taught to hate in their lessons. A typical mathematical question posed to millions of German children would be how much it might cost for a disabled person who didn’t work and occupied a hospital bed when there wasn’t enough money for wounded soldiers or new homes to be built. Ad campaigns featuring pictures of disabled people asked “why should disabled people take bread from decent non-disabled German mouths?”
Or the hearts from their chests, right?
Via John Greally.