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Mental and Disabled Victims Of The Nazis

Updated on January 16, 2012

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.


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    • calpol25 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      Hi Steph

      Our government makes my blood boil, I believe history will repeat here, as they have already begun stripping LGBT slowly of their rights. Nothing major that would catch the eye of the media but slowly they are. Thanks for bringing to light your comment though as by the sounds of it genocide may be at the back door.

      Lets hope we are wrong but it makes you wonder doesn't it :(

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      History repeats itself unless it is consciously remembered and prevented. The UK Coalition Govt is currently conducting similar propaganda campaigns against disabled people, claiming their care and support is 'unaffordable' and branding them all as workshy scroungers. They might not yet have the 'courage' to openly advocate sterilisation or genocide, but paying £billions to a private unaccountable quango, ATOS, to deprive vulnerable people of ALL financial support for up to 12 months whilst they appeal against decisions that they are 'fit for work', especially when there is NO work for able-bodied well people to do, is genocide by the back door and it is happening all around us right here and now!

    • calpol25 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      Thanks for commenting Case1worker

      I know,If only they had of complained they could have prevented the deportations... :)

    • CASE1WORKER profile image


      7 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      This is one of the less known parts of the German policy. It does illustrate however something that was abandoned owing to public unrest. This and protests by arian women against the deportation of their jewish husbands, caused the authorities to reconsider- which begs the question why did the population at large not complain and protest about the deportation of the jews?

    • calpol25 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      Thank you for commenting, it is a sad topic to research but it deserves to be brought to light, Good luck with your paper and research if you have any questions please do get in touch, I will help as best I can.

      Good Luck

      Calpol x

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      thanks for posting this :) i'm doing a research paper on the persecution of the disabled during the holocaust and how it was justified in hitler's mind because they were "an economic burden" it's so sad to research! and hardly anyone recognizes that it wasn't just jews that were murdered

    • calpol25 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      Thankyou am glad it helped :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for posting, really helped for my project! :)

    • calpol25 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      Thanks Lee am glad you like it all and hope to catch up with you soon :)

    • profile image

      Lee Wicks 

      7 years ago

      firstly thank you for the web address Callum. I agree these attrocities NEED to be brought to peoples attention, as some folk still think it was just Jews who perished,and that was bad enough, Many comunnities perished Gay men & Transgender, the elderly of infirm. im glad you mentioned the T4 project people today definitely don't know it existed. well done on all your research and hard work.

    • calpol25 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      OMG it must have scared you to death :) I cried my heart out when I researched all these hubs and that's why I had to bring them to the public :)

    • PR_am profile image


      7 years ago from Oregon

      I watched an insider Nazi terror video in a German class (this video is not open to the public) and believe me, it's more than horrific

    • calpol25 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      Thank you for reading klarawieck, it was something that just had to be told, it should never be forgotten.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      They sterilized so many jewish women too! It's horrific! Great article.

    • calpol25 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      Your welcome, you see not many people know or are aware of just what went on in those dark years xx

    • AEvans profile image


      8 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      How horrific!!! I know his soul and many others are burning in hell, for God Sake that was horrifying, cruel and heartless talk about evildoers thank you again for bringing more to light. :)


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