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Mental and Disabled Victims Of The Nazis
The Nazi Euthanasia (T4) Programme
T4 programme and Hadamar
When the nazis came to power in 1933 the one of their first acts they committed was to issue anti disability propaganda to the public, the nazis claimed that the existence of disabled people weakened societies ability to operate efficiently and that the social and economic problems that germany had suffered during the 1920s and 1930s were partly caused by the burden of supporting disabled people. The nazis stated that the life of mentally impaired and severely disabled were living ‘a life unworthy of living’.
The Nazis used posters that showed images of disabled people with captions such as ‘DEFORMED’ and various others to gain support from the german public, later the nazis made a film which was purely propaganda depicting ‘a husband carrying out a so called ‘mercy killing’
on his wife and then using the harsh and twisted nazi arguments to justify why he committed this criminal act of murder upon his wife.’
In July 1933 the Nazis passed a law for the ‘prevention of progeny with hereditary disease’ which ordered the forced sterilizations of all people with conditions the nazis considered hereditary disease and these included:
·Visual and Hearing Impairment
·Physical and Learning Disabilities
It is known that more than 17,000 deaf people were sterilized during the nazi regime, often disabled children were handed over to the authorities by their teachers then later doctors were given the legal right to perform forced abortions if the suspected that a foetus was disabled,
however compulsory abortion and sterilization was only the beginning in this dark time.
In 1939 the nazis took the whole disabled policy one step further and set out to completely eradicate disabled people from society altogether.
This began with a new ‘T4 programme’ disabled people living in care homes were transported to six killing centers, two of the most notorious are ‘Hartheim Castle’ in Austria and also ‘Hadamar’ near Weisbaden in Germany.
Hadamar was a killing center designed by the nazis to eliminate all disabled people under the T4 programme, from the outside the building looked like a factory and at its peak it employed more than 100 staff to run it, their routine was pretty simple to understand and as follows:
The disabled victims would first arrive at hadamar and would be undressed.
They would then be given a superficial medical examination by the doctors and nurses.
Then 60 at a time they would be taken to a shower room.
When the last one had entered, the doors would be closed behind them sealing them into an air locked room, then poison gas would be pumped through the vents of the shower heads in the ceiling.
Sometime later the dead bodies would be collected and then dissected, organs removed would be sent for medical research.
The corpses would be then incinerated removing all trace.
It is estimated that 70,000 disabled people perished under the T4 programme by 1941 then in 1945 the total was estimated at 200,000.
The nazis also had other ways of killing the disabled, one that we are aware of was the lethal injections they mainly administered in children’s homes for the disabled. Then a letter would be written to the parents or guardians of the children saying that they developed infections or pneumonia and died of natural causes.
Newborn babies with any physical or mental disabilities could be removed from their parents and taken to special wards and killed by lethal injections or starvation, in most cases parents were lied to and told that the children died of natural causes.
Public disquiet brought about a halt to the T4 programme in 1941 but some tens of thousands more were murdered in hospitals, concentration camps despite an official stop to the programme.
Today disabled people live freely in today's society they lead normal lives alongside every one else however this topic of the nazis cruel and barbaric treatment to the disabled should be prophesized more as not many of today's generations are aware of the suffering endured by the disabled victims of the holocaust.