It is my desire that this book be distributed as widely as possible; and thus I hereby not only give my consent, but urge the distribution, translation, publication, reprinting and quoting of this book in part or in whole by any person, group or organization that may wish to so do.
Unfortunately my financial situation made it impossible to distribute this book as widely as I would have liked, and I hope that the step I have taken will inspire others to actively participate in this German warning to the world.
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This book is humbly dedicated to the memory of countless ordinary people - those men, women, children and babies of many races and beliefs, whose lives were taken because they were considered less than perfect and, therefore, unworthy to live. Bernhard Schreiber was born in 1942 in Stuttgart after his father died in action as an officer of the Luftwaffe. After his education in Germany he studied journalism in America and travelled extensively as a freelance journalist. During the last five years he has been researching the material for this book and decided to publish the German Edition as a first result of his research. He will be continuing his research with colleagues. and he has received a grant from a large university for this purpose. When his work does not take him abroad he lives with his family in Germany.
I hope that this small book will serve in its own way to keep their memory alive and that it will help to remind us all of the price we have to pay when extremists have the power to decide upon our right to live.
Bernhard Schreiber was born in 1942 in Stuttgart after his father died in action as an officer of the Luftwaffe. After his education in Germany he studied journalism in America and travelled extensively as a freelance journalist. During the last five years he has been researching the material for this book and decided to publish the German Edition as a first result of his research. He will be continuing his research with colleagues. and he has received a grant from a large university for this purpose. When his work does not take him abroad he lives with his family in Germany.
y alive and that it
Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834) was an English political economist and historian who in 1798 published a book called An Essay on the Principle of Population. This document started a reaction against the earlier writings of Godwin, Condorcet and others, who reinforced the principles of emancipation and enlightenment which ensued after the French Revolution. Malthus' theories put forward here and in later works have a surprising influence even today.
He proposed that poverty, and thereby also vice and misery, are unavoidable because population growth will always exceed food production. The checks on population growth were wars, famine, and diseases. Malthus proposed "sexual abstinence" for the working class as a means by which the population excess could be diminished and a balance achieved. In this way, the "lower" social classes were made totally responsible for social misery.
This solution was based on the hypothesis that population increased in geometric progression (2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 and so on) while food production increased in arithmetic progression (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and so on). The situation already existing in his time would get worse, according to his claims and would reach alarming proportions.
Malthus was one of the earliest, but not the last, to turn away from the economic solutions of that period, and seek to solve social problems, such as poverty, through the use of biological measures. His premises, presented as facts and his figures with an air of mathematical authority, were impressive and convincing, although his ideas were based solely on some small travels and minor observations. However, despite the grand display and presentation, some of his critics realisedthe absurdity of it all. Both of the growth-rates were arbitrary, for there were no statistics on population increase or food production, before or during this time, which would have permitted a forecast for the future. Apart from this, no one knew lust how much land was actually cultivated or partially cultivated and how much was barren
Malthus' presentations had the impact of a bomb; his mathematical and geometrical explanations and diagrams had a hypnotic effect, and only a few asked on what his claims were actually based. His theory has retained its persuasive power to such an extent that many of our present authorities use it as a basis of operation. Yet neither Malthus nor his later disciples ever managed to put forward any scientific proof for his theory, and in fact excellent scientists have at various times disproven Malthus' theory and the ideology resulting from it.
However, with the book, Malthus created an atmosphere which not only prevented a real solution to the social problems, but also promoted the repressive legislation which worsened the conditions of the poor in England. It was reasoned that better conditions for the poor would only encourage them to further propagate, putting those who were capable of work at a disadvantage. Malthusianism then moved forward to achieve its greatest triumph in 1834 with a new law providing for the institution of workhouses for the poor, in which the sexes were strictly separated to curb the otherwise inevitable over-breeding. This type of thinking has an inherent devaluation of human fife through fear that the ever increasing population of lower classes will devour the more civilized or "better" people. This kind of philosophy, of course, urged the calling forth of drastic measures to handle the problem. The first resurgence took place a hundred and fifty years after his death, resulting in the birth-control movement, a principle which is based on Malthusianism. Following the Second World War, the idea was again taken up and today receives new momentum in the "population explosion" campaigns.
Charles Robert Darwin [1809-1882], English naturalist. After years of research work formulated in 1859 his theory of evolution in his book The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or The Preservation of FavouredRace In the Struggle for Life. Without at that time going into a study of mankind, he tried to explain the development of life-forms in terms of a struggle for existence. The result of this struggle would be a natural selection of those species and races who were to triumph over those weaker ones who would perish.
During his research he came across Malthus' essay and suddenly saw that his own theory could be expanded to include all life in the struggle for existence that would be inevitable if food production was to lag behind the growth-rate of the population. And so Darwin took over the false doctrine of Malthus and made it a cornerstone of his own theory. In 1871 he published his next large work entitled The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex which was based on his earlier book but which dealt almost exclusively with man. In it he came to the reasonable conclusion that both in physical structure and physiological behaviour, there was no difference between man and other mammals. However, the idea that this was also applicable to mental and moral qualities, shows that he was on unsound ground. Although Darwin was an excellent naturalist, he was not a very good philosopher. In his attempt to explain the social development of Man as a struggle for existence and selection through natural means, he compounded the error that Malthus had made by yet another attempt to apply a biological solution to philosophical and social problems. Darwin's speculations, to be found in his "Notebook", that thought was a brain secretion, is completely without basis.
Modern theories of evolution finally succeeded in clarifying this confusion by separating the development of man into two different steps, animal and psycho-social. Despite this, Darwin's theses and those of his followers have been very influential over a long period. They caused a significant shift in the social thinking of that time, the consequences of which can still be felt today.
Francis Galton [1822-1911] was an English psychologist and a half-cousin of Darwin. Very erratic in his thought processes, he was unable to complete research in even one area. Hardly would he begin a research project before throwing out a theory and then move on to a new field leaving the proof of the theory to others. He was so fascinated with Darwin's theory, that he spent an unusually lengthy period of years trying to prove that mental abilities were hereditary. In 1869 he published his book Hereditary Genius and in 1883 Enquiries into Human Faculty. In his "Enquiries" he undertook to transfer his hereditary theories from the individual to the whole race.
Galton extended Darwin's theory of natural selection into a concept of deliberate social intervention, which he held to be the logical application of evolution to the human race. Galton was by no means satisfied to let evolution take its course freely. Having decided to improve the human race through selective breeding, brought about through social intervention, he developed a subject which he called "Eugenics", the principle of which was that by encouraging better human stock to breed and discouraging the reproduction of less desirable stock, the whole race could be improved.
The pseudo-science resulting from the fusion of Darwin's evolutionary theory with social and political theories.
Charles Darwin was a very humane man, who probably would have been greatly enraged at the extremes to which his theories were taken. He had made a tragic error in attempting to extend the biological law of the struggle for survival to the social life of man. In so doing he played into the hands of "experts" of later generations, by giving them the impressive scientific justification for their barbaric actions of "natural selection", "preservation of favouredraces" and the "struggle for life". It was passages of the following type in "The Descent of Man" that would have been most welcomed by them:
With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilisedmen, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilisedsocieties propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed"
Social theories based on the "survival of the fittest" had been circulating before the publication of "Origin of Species", and even before Darwin himself. Herbert Spencer, a social theorist and scientist had already propounded the social implications of this theory some years before the appearance of Darwin's book:
The well-being of existing humanity, and the unfolding of it into this ultimate perfection, are both secured by the same beneficent, though severe discipline, to which the animate creation at large is subject; a discipline which is pitiless in the working out of good; a felicity- pursuing law which never swerves for the avoidance of partial and temporary suffering. The poverty of the incapable, the distresses that come upon the imprudent, the starvation of the idle, and those shoulderingsaside of the weak by the strong... are the decrees of a large far-seeing providence...
Or, in plain language, the fittest survive. In a later edition of "Origin of Species", Darwin himself described Spencer's "survival of the fittest" phrase as being more accurate than his own "natural selection". Finally, in Darwin's work the social theorists had found the scientific rationale that lent respectability to their arguments. This fusion came to be known as Social Darwinism, a movement that gained increasing momentum with its demands for social legislation in accordance with the principle of "the fittest must survive", and its effects were calamitous for later generations.
Racism and Racial Hygiene
Although the beginnings of racism lie far back in history, its actual modern development really begins with the Frenchman, Arthur Count de Gobineau[1816-1882] who published his classic racist pronouncement Essay on the Inequality of Human Races. in 1853-1857. Greatly misinterpreted by others, he wrote in a romantic fashion of a fair-haired Aryan race that was superior to all others. Gobineaumaintained that remnants of this race could be found in various countries in Europe constituting a tiny racial aristocracy decaying under the overwhelming weight of inferior races. He made no special claims for the superiority of German Aryans, nor markedly denigrated other races. His racialism embraced not so much the races as the classes, the aristocracy versus the proletariat. Nevertheless, his ideas were widely distorted to fit the racial superiority theories of others. Hardly noticed in his own country, he enjoyed great popularity in Germany.
As we have already seen, an amalgamation of ideas occurred shortly before the turn of the century. Darwinism, united with social theories, became Social Darwinism, which in turn included Eugenics. In 1890 Gobineau's book was revived and in 1894 the GobineauAssociation was founded in Germany. His writings were popularisedat this time by the Pan-Germans, an extremely nationalistic and anti-Jewish group who, though small in numbers, were very strong, their members including a high proportion of teachers.
In 1899, Gobineau's disciples Houston Stewart Chamberlain [1855-1927], an Englishman holding German citizenship, published his two volume work, The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, in Germany. It proved immensely popular and ran into many editions. Departing from Gobineau'srather flowery ideas, he upheld the German race to be the purest form of Aryanism and damned the inferior races, the Jews and Negroes, as degenerate.
Chamberlain combined the scientific fact of the existence of different races with an enriched mystical significance attached to one race, the Aryans, who had supposedly existed since the dawn of time. These mystical Aryans were held to be responsible for all the great cultures of the past, each of which had declined because the Aryans allowed other races to intermix with them resulting in the fall of that civilisation-Egypt, Greece, Rome all perished.
Eugenics, Social Darwinism and Racial Hygiene now join hands, although Eugenics is the only one of these that one could manage to call a science. It is a movement which has attracted many medical men, and these have given the scientific means of assisting Social Darwinism in its endeavoursto favourthe fittest, and Racial Hygienists in their efforts to improve the race.
From this point on, Eugenics, Social Darwinism and Racial Hygiene fused so strongly that it would prove a useless endeavourto try to differentiate between them.
THE SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST
In 1900 the founder of racial hygiene in Germany, Dr. Alfred Ploetz, participated in an essay contest. It was sponsored by the industrialist Alfred Krupp, who gave a prize for the best essay on the subject "What can we learn from the principles of Darwinism for application to Inner Political development and the laws of the state?"
Wilhelm Schallmeyer, who won first prize, interpreted culture society, morality, and even "right" and "wrong" in terms of the struggle for survival. He wanted all laws brought into line with these concepts to prevent the white races from degenerating to the level of the Australian Aborigines. Such a degradation would be unavoidable if society continued to pander to the physically or mentally weak. His colleague, Dr. Alfred Ploetz, endorsed the whole essay and supported the superiority of the Caucasian race from which, of course he excepted the Jews' while the Aryans were claimed as the apex of racial perfection. For instance, he suggested that in times of war in order to preserve the race, only racially inferior persons should be sent to the front. As the soldiers in the front lines are usually the ones who are killed, this would preserve the purer part of the race from being unnecessarily weakened. He further suggested that a panel of Doctors be present at the birth of each child to judge whether the child was fit enough to live, and, if not, kill it.
In 1901 Galton delivered a lecture to the English Royal Anthropological Society stressing the various possibilities of improving human breeding under the present social, legal and moral conditions. In 1904 the first chair in Eugenics and working society in Eugenics were instituted at University College, London, and these led to the establishment of the Galton Laboratory of National Eugenics in 1907. Soon Eugenics groups began to spring up all around the world.
In 1908 the Eugenics Education Society (renamed the Eugenics Society in the 20's) was founded in England and in 1910 the Eugenic Record Office in the United States. Both institutes used the research results of the Galton Laboratory of National Eugenics to propose practical applications, and they made it their task to intensely propagandise the eugenic idea to the public.
Dr. Alfred Ploetz, the same man who had assisted Schallmeyer with his prize essay, in 1905 founded the "Gesellschaft für Rassenhygiene" [Society for Racial Hygiene] in Germany. Later it changed its name to "Gesellschaft für Rassenhygiene (Eugenik)", which means the Society for Racial Hygiene (Eugenics). This change of name took place after Galton's announcement that racial hygiene and eugenics were in fact synonymous terms. These terms used in the German language were not only interchangeable, but racial hygiene was taken to be the German translation of eugenics. As racial hygiene was closely connected with political anthropology - a pseudo-science developed by Gobineau - eugenics was used as the scientific basis upon which racialist and political ideas, especially those of the Nazis, were based.
In 1904 Dr. Alfred Ploetz founded the journal Archiv für Rassen-und Gesellschaftsbiologie [Archive for Racial and Social Biology] which after one year of existence became the official organ of the "Gesellschaft für Rassenhygiene" [Society for Racial Hygiene], which Ploetz had created. A co-founder of this society was the later world-famous psychiatrist and racial hygienist, Professor Dr. Ernst Rüdin.
Eugenics Becomes a Mental Therapy
Psychiatry already had a strong physical, biological and organic foundation by this period. Emil Kraepelin, a pupil of Wundt, had earlier and in agreement with contemporaries suggested that mental and physical illnesses could be divided into two categories, those which are hereditarily caused and those due to the environment.
Psychiatrists Dr. Benedict Morel, Wilhelm Griesinger, Emil Kraepelin and Henry Maudsley in the 19th century had stressed the hereditary, biological and organic causes of mental illnesses. Their "scientific" principles had considerable influence on psychiatry and are found echoed throughout the psychiatric texts of the nineteenth century.
With the beginning of the 20th century the more brutal forms of psychiatric treatment had begun to be abandoned. The whirling stools, head-beating machines, whips, clubs and similar instruments had not proven successful, as so far no one had been healed. As more and more methods of treatment were being discarded, the profession suddenly became aware that no adequate treatment could be found to justify the existence of psychiatry as a profession. Who first had the brilliant idea is lost in the untraceable annals of endless psychiatric journals and texts, but the whole discipline gradually turned to the subject of heredity, as well as eugenics as a possible method of eliminating mental illness even if mental illness could not be cured.
Various principles developed from an attempt to prevent further mental illness, some championed by one group, others by another, but all of them attempted to solve the problem of mental illnesses while maintaining the facade of scientific theory and practice.
The mentally ill should not breed with non-mentally ill
This slogan led to the establishment of colonies which separated the insane and mentally defective from the rest of society.
The supporters of eugenics also believed that the result of procreation of a mentally-ill person with a mentally healthy person would be mentally-ill offspring. If the offspring were not mentally ill, the danger of a recessive gene causing a mental defect in later generations was a much too serious a danger to be tolerated.
The mentally-ill element in the population is increasing
This slogan led to measures which were directly intended to inhibit the birth of mentally ill children. This led to a series of principles, escalating in the force of their application: separation from society, restraint, separation of the sexes in defective colonies, and sterilisations.
Clifford Beers, a former mental patient, campaigned heavily in America for better treatment of the mentally ill. A Swiss-German professor operating in America, Adolf Meyer, coined the term "Mental Hygiene".
In 1908 the Connecticut Society for Mental Hygiene, the starting point of the Mental Hygiene movement as an organised body, was founded. Its aims were: improved treatment for the insane, and the safeguarding of the public's mental health.
In the 1920's groups were formed in other countries-Canada, France, Belgium, England, Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Russia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Australia. By 1930 twenty-four countries had Mental Hygiene Associations.
Routinely these associations had as their medical specialists psychiatrists who espoused eugenic medicine and lay members who were simultaneously active in the Eugenics Societies which had by this time become very numerous.
In France one of the leaders of mental hygiene was Dr. Edouard Toulouse, in Great Britain it was Miss Evelyn Fox, Secretary of the Central Association for Mental Welfare. She had been an active member of the Eugenics Society before the foundation of the National Council for Mental Hygiene, of which she was an officer and founder, and finally was recognised as leader of the Mental Hygiene movement as a whole. Among the board members of the National Council for Mental Hygiene was Sir Cyril Burt, who had been a member of the Eugenics Society for eleven years before the foundation of the National Council. Later he was founder of MENSA, a high l.Q. group which espouses eugenic principles. From the annual reports of the National Council for Mental Hygiene one can see many names that are also common in the Eugenics Society, including:
Dr. E. Mapother- active Eugenicist
Major Leonard Darwin - Officer of the Eugenics Society
Dr. A. F. Tredgold - Psychiatric Member of the Eugenics Society
Dr. Adolf Meyer - Member of the Eugenics Society.
The Mental Hygiene movement drew strongly from the Eugenic movements of whatever country they were in, and in fact the Mental Hygiene Movements were permeated with Eugenic thought. In 1931 the publishing firm Walter de Gruyter and Co. published the "Handwörterbuch der Psychischen Hygiene und der Psychiatrischen Fürsorge" [Handbook of Mental Hygiene and Psychiatric Care] as an official psychiatric reference work containing a high proportion of eugenically-oriented contributors. Frequent references are made throughout the book to Eugenics, Planned Marriages, Heredity, Degeneration, etc. and under the heading "mental hygiene" we find the following:
Therefore the hereditary constitution of a personality is the first and most effective point of prophylactic intervention: in the sense of eugenic psychiatry it is necessary to hinder unfavourable hereditary combinations and bring about favourable ones, and especially to prevent the propagation of the hereditary traits of physical illness and the socially inferior psychopathies.
In Germany, as in other countries, the theoreticians and practitioners of Mental Hygiene recruited mainly from eugenically oriented groups. Among them was the psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin, a close friend of Dr. Alfred Ploetz and Dr. Ernst Rüdin, Professor of Psychiatry at Munich University, co-editor with Ploetz of the Archiv for Rassen-und Gesellschaftsbiologie and co-founder of the Gesellschaft für Rassenhygiene (Eugenik) [Society for Racial Hygiene (Eugenics)]. In 1933 the Nazi Reichsminister of the Interior, Wilhelm Frick, nominated Rüdin as his honorary representative on the board of directors of two German racial hygiene unions. It is even more significant that Rüdin was appointed by Frick to work together with the Ministry in the reconstruction of the German race.
On the occasion of Rüdin's 65th birthday, Ploetz honoured his achievements in the Archiv für Rassen-und Gesellschaftsbiologie:
So just recently he received the Göthe Medal for Art and Science from the Führer in recognition of his achievements in the development of German Racial Hygiene.
To the indefatigable champion of racial hygiene and meritorious pioneer of the racial-hygienic measures of the Third Reich I send my sincerest congratulations on his 65th birthday. May you be granted many more years to continue your research for the welfare of mankind.
The Congress of German Psychiatrists, Neurologists and Internists at Wiesbaden awarded him the Heredity Medal. Also Dr. Luxenburger, a well known racial hygienist and colleague of Rüdin's in the Genealogical Department of the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Psychiatrie (German Research Institute for Psychiatry) at the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institute in Munich, and Dr. W. Wlassack, racial-hygienist and exponent of the Swiss Mental Hygiene movement, both mental hygiene theorists with a racial hygienic background.
These extreme views were not, however, limited to German Psychiatrists and Racial Hygienists. In the following examples an Englishman and Swiss Frenchman are representative of this type of thinking in other nations.
The English eugenicist Karl Pearson, first Professor for Eugenics at London University, published his thoughts at the turn of the century:
History shows me one way and one way only, in which a high state of civilisation has been produced, namely the struggle of race with race, and the survival of the physically and mentally fitter race. If men want to know whether the lower races of man can evolve a higher type, I fear the only course is to leave them to fight it out among themselves.
Professor August Forel, the well-known psychiatrist, has made interesting studies in the United States and the West Indian Islands, on the victory of intellectually inferior races over higher ones because of their greater virility. Though the brain of the Negro is weaker than that of the white, yet his generative power and the predominance of his qualities in the descendants are all greater than those of the whites. The white race isolates itself (therefore) from them more and more strictly, not only in sexual but in all relations, because it has at last recognised that crossing means its own destruction'. Forel shows by numerous examples how impossible it is for the Negro to assimilate our civilisation more than skin-deep, and how so soon as he is left to himself he everywhere degenerates into the `most absolute primitive African savagery'. (For more detail on this subject, see the interesting book of Hesketh Pritchard, `Where Black Rules White',1900; any one who has been reared on phrases of the equality of mankind, etc., will shudder when he learns how matters really stand so soon as the blacks in a State get the upper hand). And Forel, who as a scientist is educated in the dogma of the one, everywhere equal, humanity, comes to the conclusion: `Even for their own good the blacks must be treated as what they are, an absolutely subordinate, inferior, lower type of men, incapable themselves of culture. That must once for all be clearly and openly stated.
Eugenics had been formulated and made known by Galton in 1883. During the following years the subject was popularised and shortly after the turn of the century eugenic organisations were set up throughout the world. The movement attracted an increasing number of supporters and adherents particularly in America and Germany. And to the extent that the organisations grew, they enlarged their sphere of political influence. The legislation of various countries started to orient itself to eugenic principles and parliaments began to enact many new laws of a purely eugenic nature. Although they varied in form and execution, they all were aimed at the same objective - the mentally deficient and the mentally ill.
Laws of a general nature provided for the establishment of institutions and colonies, enabling the mentally deficient or mentally ill to be segregated from the rest of the population, thus facilitating the control and prohibition of the procreation of the insane. Two such laws were Great Britain's Mental Deficiency Act, passed in 1913 and the South African Mental Disorders Act, passed in 1916.
Other laws were much more definite and aimed directly at the sterilisation of the insane. It should be noted here that the term "sterilisation" in the legislation of many American States includes castration and hundreds of such emasculations have already been carried out.
An examination of the dates of this legislation in the case of America shows it to have occurred in two waves. The first one began with the passing of a sterilisation law in Pennsylvania in 1905, which the Governor immediately vetoed. However, other states followed this example and had more success. This first wave reached its peak in 1913, and then declined soon after [the War probably taking attention off domestic matters to some extent], and little activity can be traced until 1920. At this point it would appear that the pure eugenically-inspired "push" exhausted itself.
However, with the growth of the mental hygiene movement [starting in 1908 in Connecticut and spreading throughout the world in the 1920's] a second more vigorous phase was entered. The Mental Health movement in each country became the primary lobbyist for the Eugenic cause, frequently doing the front-line work of the Eugenics movements and generally acting as an authoritative pressure group with the result that eugenic principles began to appear again in legislation.
Gaining momentum throughout the 20's a second wave of enactments and amendments passed through the legislatures under the combined pressure of the interlocking eugenic and mental hygiene movements. By 1929 this had also reached its peak in America but with the added influence of the more broadly-based mental hygiene movement the surge continued throughout other parts of the world. As a result many countries had passed or were considering the passage of laws providing for compulsory and occasionally voluntary sterilisation of the mentally ill or defective, alcoholic, or socially undesirable. Amongst these were Germany, Australia (various states), New Zealand, Canada (various provinces), Finland, Sweden and many of the American states. In addition Norway, Sweden and Switzerland included castration in their measures.
In 1932 the Minister of Health in England set up a committee to look into the whole question and the findings were published in 1936. However no law was passed probably because the public after seeing first-hand the glorious achievements of a eugenically and racially based state in Nazi Germany would have raised a tremendous outcry. With no popular support and often considerable opposition at the best of times it proved more difficult to get laws passed after 1935. As the original supposed purpose of the mental hygiene movement was improved care of the mentally ill, it is strikingly odd that the first laws passed on an international basis at the instigation of the mental hygiene movement were laws to sterilise the mentally ill and prevent them from reproducing.
While the whole world was being prepared by propaganda to the sterilisation of the insane the adherent of mental hygiene and eugenics were preparing their next step.
Euthanasia by definition means an easy death. It is usually understood that it should be in a painless peaceful fashion for someone who is incurable and dying. It is also known as "mercy-killing".
In 1895 Alfred Ploetz had, as we have seen, introduced Social Darwinism into Germany and founded Racial Hygiene. In his book Fundamental Outline of Racial Hygiene he calls for the elimination of counter-selective processes i.e. those processes which eliminate the strong and favour the weak. Amongst these he includes war and the protection of the weak and the ill. As an illustration he gives the example of a newly married couple who give birth to a weak or malformed child who would be given an easy death with a small dose of morphine by a Board of Doctors.
In 1922 Karl Binding a Jurist and Alfred Hoche a psychiatrist wrote The Release of the Destruction of Life Devoid of Value (Die Freigabe der Vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens). They argued in favour of euthanasia that the unfortunate are a burden to themselves and society and their parting would cause no great loss, the cost of keeping these useless people was excessive and that the State could better spend the money on more productive issues. They felt that the physically and mentally defective should be painlessly eliminated and demanded the nullification of the religious and legal barriers which stood in the way. Hoche was an influential, authoritative psychiatrist and argued that the moral attitudes towards the preservation of life would soon drop away and the destruction of useless lives would become a necessity for the survival of society.
At a German medical conference in Karlsruhe in 1921 a proposal was put forward for the legalisation of Euthanasia but was rejected. At a psychiatric congress in Dresden in 1922 the same motion and report that had been presented in Karlsruhe was brought up again and again rejected. At about the same time the Monist League [one of its founders was Ernst Haeckel convinced supporter of Social Darwinism] made a similar suggestion to the Reichstag again without success. In the U.S.A. Dr. Alexis Carrel a French-American Nobel Prize winner who had been on the staff of the Rockefeller Institute since its inception published his book "Man the Unknown" in 1935 its message cannot be said to have been limited to home consumption for within three years it had been translated into nine other languages.
In his last chapter "The Remaking of Man", Carrel repeatedly looks to Eugenics as the solution to the ills of society. He suggests the removal of the mentally ill and the criminal by small euthanasia institutions which were to be equipped with suitable gases:
There remains the unsolved problem of the immense number of defectives and criminals. They are an enormous burden for the part of the population that has remained normal. As already pointed out, gigantic sums are now required to maintain prisons and insane asylums and protect the public against gangsters and lunatics. Why do we preserve these useless and harmful beings? The abnormal prevent the development of the normal. This fact must be squarely faced. Why should society not dispose of the criminals and the insane in a more economical manner? We cannot go on trying to separate the responsible from the irresponsible, punish the guilty, spare those who although having committed a crime, are thought to be morally innocent. We are not capable of judging men. However the community must be protected against troublesome and dangerous elements. How can this be done? Certainly not by building larger and more comfortable prisons, just as real health will not be promoted by larger and more scientific hospitals. In Germany the Government has taken energetic measures against the multiplication of inferior types, the insane and criminals. The ideal solution would be to eliminate all such individuals as soon as they proved dangerous. Criminality and insanity can be prevented only by a better knowledge of man, by eugenics, by changes in education and in social conditions. Meanwhile criminals have to be dealt with effectively. Perhaps prisons should be abolished. They could be replaced by smaller and less expensive institutions. The conditioning of petty criminals with the whip or some more scientific procedure, followed by a short stay in hospital would probably suffice to insure order. Those who have murdered, robbed while armed with automatic pistol or machine gun, kidnapped children, despoiled the poor of their savings, misled the public in important matters, should be humanely and economically disposed of in small euthanasic institutions supplied with proper gases. A similar treatment could be advantageously applied to the insane, guilty of criminal acts. Modern society should not hesitate to organize itself with reference to the normal individual. Philosophical systems and sentimental prejudices must give way before such a necessity. The development of human personality is the ultimate purpose of civilisation.
THE FÜHRER APPEARS
Hitler and his life have been dealt with by various authors. I refer the reader who is interested in more information to these. It is however necessary to briefly recount some of his early history in order to better understand events which took place later.
After leaving school he spent the next four years doing whatever he pleased spending most of his time at Linz with the occasional visit to Vienna. In early 1908 he moved to Vienna where he rented a room and made a second unsuccessful attempt to gain entry to the Vienna Academy of Art.
Before leaving Vienna in 1913, as Hitler reveals in his Mein Kampf, he spent much of his time in the Hofbibliothek (City Library) where he claims to have studied the history of a number of subjects particularly, and increasingly, politico-economic theories and military-political works. Because he rarely mentioned the title of anything he had read it is difficult to determine what the actual titles of the books were but there are clues to these. The similarities between Hitler's ideas and those of Gustave Le Bon (1841-1931) the French psychologist, are so striking that one can definitely draw the conclusion that he studied Le Bon's book Psychologie des Foules which was translated into German in 1908 under the title Psychologie der Massen [Psychology of the Masses] and was acquired by the Hofbibliothek in the same year.
Hitler, as we have already seen was well steeped in Pan-German literature and must have been familiar with Gobineau. Also, Dietrich Eckart, an intimate friend and early supporter, claimed in a crudely written brochure published in 1924, that amongst other works Hitler had studied the Frenchman Vacher de Lapouge's L'Aryen Son Role Social published in 1899. This was later translated into German in 1939 and published in Frankfurt under the title Der Arier und seine Bedeutung für die Gemeinschaft [The Aryan and His Role in the Community]. Lapouge seems to have had a wide field of interest. Apart from being a leading eugenicist he also found time to engage his attention with crude social Darwinism and racism. It might have almost been Hitler speaking when Lapouge stated in his book "the idea of justice... is an illusion. There is nothing but force". And "the race, the nation, is everything."
In addition to these topics Hitler was also certainly familiar with the subject of geo-politics as formulated by its English originator Sir Halford Mackinder and German exponent Karl Haushofer. Geo-politics, a relatively unknown subject, was based on the theory that the foreign policy of a country was determined by its location natural resources raw materials and opportunities rather than its political development or outlook. Karl Haushofer (1869-1946) who was later to become teacher, adviser and friend of Rudolf Hess, visited Hitler in Landsberg prison.
When Hitler left Vienna he was, as he declared later, an absolute anti-Semite a sworn enemy of the Marxist ideology and very Pan-German in sentiment. His view of life was strongly Social Darwinist, Society being seen as an arena in which individuals and groups were engaged in a ceaseless struggle to assert their superiority by force and cunning.
Hitler having been declared unfit by the Austrian Army moved to Munich applied there for the German Reichswehr and was recruited and inducted as an infantryman in August 1914. At the end of the war he returned from a military hospital to his regiment in Munich where he performed various menial tasks. In June 1919 he received political indoctrination in "national thinking" at Munich University from the Educational or Propaganda Department of a local Group Headquarters of the Bavarian Reichswehr.
During the course his fanaticism and vehemence attracted the attention of the organisers who recruited him as a V-man (someone charged with special assignments). Shortly after this, in July, he was made a member of an Enlightenment Commando for the Lechfeld transit camp, whose duty it was to organise psycho-political instruction for the returning soldiers in anti-socialist, national thinking, while at the same time being a training ground for the Commando personnel themselves in agitation and public speaking.
In addition to his psycho-political duties he also performed the task of being a confidential agent and spy for the Group H.Q. which was keeping a careful watch on local political groups. To accomplish this, Hitler was instructed to attend meetings of the tiny German Workers Party (D.A.P.). At first he was bored with the meetings, but as he continued to attend and was enrolled as a member, his interest increased steadily, and his involvement and activities grew. At a public meeting in February 1920 he announced the twenty-five point party programme and about this time the name of the party was changed to the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) known in its more familiar form as the Nazi Party.
Released from the army in March 1920 he threw himself wholeheartedly into party activity and proceeded to make a bid for the leadership in which he was successful. In 1921 he went to Berlin in order to give a speech there to the ultra-conservative National Club, and here established the first contacts with industrialists and business circles. During the following years these increased to an ever-widening circle of supporters including Fritz Thyssen, Alfred Hugenberg (newspapers), Alfred Krupp (heavy industry), and others. There is also some evidence for the belief that Hitler visited Switzerland during the summer of 1923 in order to receive financial support.
Also in 1923 the abortive Munich Putsch, staged by Hitler, carried his name for the first time beyond the borders of Germany and earned him a short term in Landsberg prison, where with the assistance of Rudolf Hess he wrote Mein Kampf. As an excellent illustration of the degree of his absorption of Social Darwinism, eugenic and racial ideas it makes fascinating, if turgid, reading. Here we meet the familiar arguments of these three groups; the merciless struggle of all life forms; the victory of the strong over the weak; the ruthless disregard for the rights of others; the Jewish menace; the advocacy of techniques for breeding of superior citizens, and so on.
Upon his release from prison in December 1924 Hitler busied himself with re-asserting his control over the party. Successes followed over the next few years and, despite various setbacks and difficulties, the seizure of power came in the year 1933.
THE SECRET SEIZURE OF POWER
Apart from the pseudo-scientific falsehoods, myths and aggrandisement of the author, Hitler's Mein Kampf also contains the explanation of his plan of action. Here he deals in detail with propaganda, the leadership principle (Führer prinzip), organisation of the movement and its structure, and after the seizure of power his plans for the nation. And, after leaving Landsberg prison, Hitler proceeded to lay the foundations for his shadow state.
In 1933 with so much preparation behind it the Nazi Party was in an excellent position to rapidly consolidate its control of power. Other groups saw the chance to extend their control and influence as well, and they too were prepared and ready. The blueprint was to hand, all that was needed was to move the programme into top gear to achieve the desired result. The magazine of the Eugenic and Racial Hygiene Society welcomed Hitler's accession to power as a major gain for them, as he was so much in accord with their own thinking.
In June of that year, at a scientific gathering dealing with eugenic problems, Wilhelm Frick (Minister of the Interior) described the number of feeble-minded and defective children born to German parents as being huge. According to him some authorities regarded one in five of the German population as biologically unsound. These should be prevented from reproducing because their offspring were no longer desirable.
A signal victory was scored by the eugenic and mental hygiene movement on July 14, 1933, only four months after the March elections which brought the Nazis to power. Before this date it had, according to the interpretation of a majority of judges, been illegal to perform sterilisation for eugenic reasons. This was now totally reversed by the passage of the "Law for the Prevention of Hereditary Disease in Posterity" or as it was better known the Sterilisation Law. The chief architect of this was Professor Ernst Rüdin, Professor of Psychiatry at the Munich University, Director of the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institute for Genealogy and Demography, and of the Research Institute for Psychiatry. Rüdin was also among the German delegates to the First International Congress for Mental Hygiene which was held in Washington in 1930 and at which he urged and intensified integration of eugenics and mental hygiene.
A short time after the passing of the Sterilisation Law, he published a commentary about the meaning and purpose of the Law together with the lawyer Dr. Falk Ruttke, director of the Reich's Commission for the Public Health Service of the Interior and Arthur Gütt, the Nazi population expert and head of a government department in the Reich s Ministry of the interior.
The law itself was to take effect from 5th January 1934. Very comprehensive in scope its main purpose was to cleanse the nation of impure and undesirable elements toward the realisation of the Germanic ideal.
The categories of people covered by Law were:
(1) Anyone suffering from a hereditary disease could be sterilised by means of a surgical operation if it could be expected with some certainty, according to the experiences of medical science, that his posterity would suffer from serious physical or mental hereditary disease.
(2) Persons would be considered as hereditarily diseased in the sense of this law if they suffered from any one of the following diseases:
(i) Innate mental deficiency
(iii) Manic-depressive insanity
(iv) Hereditary epilepsy
(v) Hereditary (Huntington's) chorea
(vi) Hereditary blindness
(vii) Hereditary deafness
(viii) Severe hereditary physical abnormality.
A whole legal system was set up. Courts for the prevention of hereditary illnesses were instituted called "Erbgesundheitsgerichte" (Hereditary Health Courts) and attached to the existing district courts as well as the Higher Courts. Sitting on these were always one judge and two doctors (usually psychiatrists) present in court hearings of this nature. Witnesses and specialists could be called upon and the rules for civil procedure were to be normally applied.
The Act went on to order that if the Court finally decided on sterilisation it should be carried out even against the person's will, provided that the application had not originated from him alone. The official doctor had to request the police to take the necessary measures. If other methods proved of no avail the application of force was permissible.
In his book Into the Darkness - Nazi Germany Today, Lothrop Stoddard, an American Social Darwinist, Racist and pro-Nazi had the following comments to make after a visit to Germany where he had looked into socialised health and the eugenic courts. He states that in a conversation with an earnest young man who was officially in charge of the tuberculosis section of the public health service headquarters, he was told that:
The treatment given a tuberculosis patient is partly determined by his social worth. If he is a valuable citizen and his case is curable no expense is spared. If he is adjudged incurable he is kept comfortable of course but no special effort is made to prolong slightly an existence which will benefit neither the community nor himself. Germany can nourish only a certain amount of human life at a given time. We National Socialists are in duty bound to foster individuals of social and biological value.
Stoddard was apparently impressed by the health measures taken by the Nazis and later in the book recounts his visit to the Upper Court for Hereditary Health in Berlin-Charlottenburg. Having long been interested in the practical applications of biology and eugenics he had studied much along these lines. He made first-hand investigations whilst in Germany which included discussions with outstanding authorities on the subject. These included official spokesmen such as Frick and Darré and leading scientists Eugen Fischer, Fritz Lenz, Hans Günther and others. It was through their recommendations that he was able to sit beside the judges during a session of the Eugenic High Court of Appeals. He also quoted Professor Günther who wrote:
The Nordic ideal becomes for us an ideal of unity. That which is common to all divisions of the German people is the Nordic strain. The question is not so much whether we men now living are more or less Nordic; the question put to us is whether we have the courage to make ready for future generations a world cleansing itself racially and eugenically.
Without attempting to appraise this highly controversial racial doctrine (regarding the Jews), it is fair to say that Nazi Germany's eugenic programme is the most ambitious and far-reaching experiment in eugenics ever attempted by any nation.
Stoddard went on to describe various aspects of Nazi eugenic population policies but before closing his survey noted the psychological aspects of these. He had found that the rulers of the Third Reich did not stop at legal and economic measures. They were aware that ideology had to be mobilised in order to completely reach their goal. So the German people were systematically propagandised for the upbuilding of what may be described as racial and eugenic consciousness.
The occurrences of the following years make it evident, that the national socialist experts had far more thorough measures in mind than simple sterilization and castration as the final solution to social problems.
The Nuremberg Laws
Germany in 1933 was a unique example of the type of political climate in which a eugenic-mental hygiene movement could thrive. Economic conditions were not so markedly different from various other countries in the world but nowhere else was the political situation so conducive to the rapid and unfettered realization of a eugenic paradise. Although the Sterilization Law marked a major victory in the establishment of a mentally pure community, action was still needed in order to ensure racial purity. This came in 1935 with the so-called "Nuremberg Laws".
Prior to 1933 anti-Jewish acts by the Nazis had no legal basis under the Constitution. After the seizure of power a stream of anti-Jewish legislation commenced. Initially these were concerned with compulsory retirement of "non-Aryan" government employees, attempts to define "non-Aryan", and questionnaires to civil servants for details of their racial background. Also during this period "spontaneous" harassment of the Jews continued but this was largely disapproved of by the Party leaders who preferred to solve the question legally. Even Julius Streicher, the notorious and obscene Jew-baiter publicly condemned the use of non-legal methods going so far as to accuse the perpetrators of being Jews themselves !
The climax of the initial steps was reached in the Nuremberg Party Day celebrations on September 15, 1935 when Göring, to the acclaim of the assembled Nazi officials, read out what have become known as the "Nuremberg Laws". Already preceded by an assortment of citizenship laws beginning in 1933, the two new laws were sharply to the point. The first, the Reich Law of Citizenship, divided the German nation into classes of citizens, those who were merely subjects of the State and those who possessed full citizenship including political rights. Based on racial and ideological grounds this law, with one stroke, placed all Jews into the category of second-class citizens.
The law "For the Protection of German Blood and German Honour" [the second of the Nuremberg laws and called the "Blood Protection Law" for short] was intended to ensure the racial purity of the nation for all time. Fundamentally it made criminal any sexual intercourse between both these new groups the "Reich Citizens" and the "Subjects" but it was aimed specifically at the Jews. Apart from that, this law also served as a basis for further isolation of the socially undesirable in the following years.
It goes without saying that Ernst Rüdin unblushingly claimed for the German Racial Hygiene and Eugenic Movement a measure of responsibility for the inspiration of these Laws. The aim of racial hygiene was to create a fictitious Aryan race. In accordance with this all "non-Aryan" elements had to be rooted out. Apart from having a wrong combination of chromosomes, it also seems to have been a "non-Aryan" trait to have or to be of a different opinion. Consequently, all minorities fell into this category, and liquidation, with the exception of the Jews who were declared scapegoats, started with the smallest groups and worked up from there. Because of this, the larger minorities were left with the belief that it never would be their turn. If the Nazis had started from the other end, everyone would have known that it was to be everyone's neck and they could have united themselves against this procedure when the Nazis were not yet firmly established.
Amongst the minorities that were considered "non-Aryan" were included the Gypsies, Free-masons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews and Christians. A common denominator of these religions and ideological minorities is that they all strongly believed in something spiritual and mental and oriented their lives according to this belief. They were unlikely to respond to a psychiatric dream world and therefore found no place in the psychiatric view of life.
If we look back at the numerous paths the various currents of activity took in the first three decades of the twentieth century, we see that in the Thirties they gradually amalgamated and a trend emerged in a certain direction [sterilisation of the mentally ill, Nuremberg Laws etc.] which was striving to "even greater heights". The German racial and mental hygienists had prepared the ground for an all-embracing project which they called the "Euthanasia Programme", but would more accurately have been called "Mass murder of mental patients".
In 1921 the Professors Dr. Erwin Baur, Dr. Eugen Fischer, and Dr. Fritz Lenz jointly published the first edition of their two volume book Human Hereditary Teaching and Racial Hygiene which was internationally recognised as a standard text-book and soon was even used in universities abroad.
In the second volume by Dr. Lenz, first Professor for racial hygiene in Germany (the chair was established in 1923 at the Munich University), entitled Human Selection and Racial Hygiene (Eugenics), he wrote:
A real restoration to health of the race cannot be begun without generous measures and the organisation of social-racial hygiene; but these are mostly only introduced when the racial hygienic idea has become the popular knowledge of the population or at least of the mental leaders. These must first develop a feeling for the senselessness of a civilisation which allows the race to decay, an order of society and economics which has no regard for the interests of eternal life, which in fact is often detrimental. The introduction of racial hygienic education in the secondary schools (high-schools) and universities could effectively counter this illiteracy (lack of education); unfortunately this will only be possible when the importance of racial hygiene has become known in the right places. As long as this is not the case, the most important practical duty of racial hygiene is the private promulgation of racial hygienic ideas. As soon as racial hygienic conviction has become a living ideology, then the racial hygienic organisation of life, even public life, will happen by itself... Anyone who loves his race cannot wish for it to fall into decadence. He must realise that the industriousness of the race is the first and unrelenting condition for the thriving of the race. Even the fight for freedom and self-assertion of the race must in the final instance serve the race. When in a fight for power the best blood is sacrificed without substituting it then it is senseless... And when racial damage has been caused through war, be it through error or because it was inevitable, it must be the first concern of those who do not want to see the race blind but seeing, to even out these damages. This is not just the substitution in number, much more important is the substitution of racial fitness. Even this requires the spirit of sacrifice and fortunately there is no lack of this …there is only a lack of understanding.
A brief look at the professional and ideological background of both of the authors of the first volume proves very interesting. Baur and Fischer had both worked devotedly in the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Hereditary Teaching and Eugenics, in which Rüdin first acted as curator.
Baur, the biologist, later became the first Nazi Rector of Berlin University, where Fischer later lectured as a Professor for Anthropology. In his debasement of knowledge, Fischer sank to the depths of praising Hans F.K. Günther, the author of Racial Knowledge of the German Race who was a popular target for general ridicule even in Germany, before the Nazis promoted him to a university professorship.
Later, in 1941, Dr. Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer, Nazi professor and former colleague of Baur, Fischer and Rüdin in the above mentioned Kaiser-Wilhelm Institute, supported the Baur-Fischer-Lenz textbook with warm recommendations.
Verschuer was the founder and first director of the Institute for Hereditary Biology and Racial Research at Frankfurt University opened in 1934. Even if it produced nothing else it brought a further star into the Nazi sky; Verschuer's former assistant Dr. Josef Mengele. From this position he later advanced to be one of the most infamous doctors in the concentration camp at Auschwitz, where he conducted experiments with living and fully conscious prisoners and tortured the camp-inmates for the benefit of "scientific advancement". After the war, Mengele succeeded in escaping the Allies and the law, he left Germany and fled via Italy to Paraguay, settled there, acquired citizenship in his new home country and apparently lives there to this day. The time of his peaceful existence however, will hopefully soon be over; the well known Nazi criminal hunter, Wiesenthal, is on his tracks and will not rest until he has caught up with him.
At the 12th meeting of the International Federation of Eugenic Organisations, held in 1936 in Holland, Verschuer appeared as the representative of his Institute together with Ploetz, Rüdin and Fischer. One of the papers read to the meeting was by fellow delegate Professor Karl Astel from Himmler's SS "Race and Resettlement Office" (RuSHA).
In 1923 Lenz took a further step forward in his endeavours to find a solution to racial hygienic problems by stating that Euthanasia definitely had its place in the racial hygiene plan. The propaganda drums beat without pause, but it was only in the Thirties that the fatal Euthanasia propaganda campaign broke loose and went far beyond Germany's borders.
In July 1931 the Union of Bavarian Psychiatrists held a Congress at Munich University. V. Faltlhauser, psychiatrist and active proponent of the mental hygiene movement, who was striving towards yet greater achievement of the euthanasia programme, laid bare the basic thoughts behind the campaign for sterilisation and euthanasia with the following words:
Here we will only discuss sterilisation. Basically it represents only one of the paths which lead towards the goal. You know that these measures are heavily opposed. Not only is the unjustified claim, that the question of heredity has not been clarified enough, the obstacle; the obstacles lie rather as already stated in ideological moral and ethical considerations, they lie in the idleness of the broad masses and in obsolete views which I do not wish to go into here. This outlook must cause us to advance carefully but steadily. What primarily seems to be needed is educational work and propaganda for the broad masses, and the facts have to be constantly hammered into them. And this is also one of the many duties of our public welfare section, which should point out this fact in private life and in lectures. It will also be our imperative task to research and make more exact the laws of heredity and their final consequences. And herein again a special task will fall to our public welfare section. At this point I cannot suppress the comment that it must have other methods than those at its disposal today. Today the welfare doctors are swamped in their social tasks especially when you consider they have to do their work in a subsidiary office. If the public welfare section is to do justice to the requests for research made of it, then it should be provided with the means and the personnel. I know what I am demanding at this time of scarce means. But it must be said to prevent the blame being put on public welfare, as it has failed to fulfil demands put on it.
When demanding sterilisation, compulsory action is at present to be avoided; on the other hand voluntary sterilisation is to be promoted by any means. For this a clear unequivocal legal safety precaution must be created. It is quite evident that even voluntary sterilisation must be based on certain prerequisites and safety precautions and that clear, flawless, medically-determined indicators must be present. What these safety precautions are to look like, whether it is to be a commission or not, whether the commission should consist of doctors, civil-servant doctors or be mixed etc. is a question to be considered and is not relevant to the principle. The clear indication will be in the cases of the gravest strain, which with today's knowledge we must now recognise will have a high probability of heavy hereditary defects in the descendants. It need only be mentioned incidentally that sterilisation is only to occur in the form of severing the spermatic duct whilst preserving the gonads or the operative interruption of the Fallopian tube. Also the question of possibly demanding compulsory sterilisation in the cases of criminal tendencies and high-probability hereditary insanity should also be considered. This however should occur only when the broad masses have intensively been worked over in the ways mentioned earlier, and have become mature enough to accept such ideas.
Many have said that internment is the only sound measure against the bearers of very bad hereditary mass. But quite apart from the fact that it is the most expensive preventive measure, is it really more humane and a lesser violation of the principle of personal freedom? Do we not forcibly prohibit the party concerned from procreation for their whole life?
We Germans cannot totally neglect events which occur outside our borders. A whole series of nations have positively accepted that the laws of heredity do affect the development of mental abnormality and have understood the consequences of that and created sterilisation laws. The Americans have been reproached with reckless pluck because of laws they have passed in 22 of their states. But when we see that an otherwise cool and calculating race such as the Danes pass a sterilisation law, how the canton Waadt has also done this, when the Swedish ministries are seriously dealing with this problem, then this must really give us something to think about.
Before I end, I must permit myself a few short comments which are forced upon me by an objective conscience. I believe that we must beware of exaggerated expectations of the success of sterilisation. Sterilisation, even compulsory, will not be able to plug all the fountains of bad hereditary mass.
The principle used here to hoodwink the public into accepting enforced sterilisation is to first start a propaganda campaign for voluntary sterilisation. This same rule also applies for compulsory euthanasia where propaganda starts with the introduction of voluntary euthanasia. Both Germany and England were literally flooded with Euthanasia campaigns.
In England, Dr. Charles Killick Millard, President of the Society of Medical Officers of Health, brought up in his 1931 Presidential speech the question of voluntary euthanasia and proposed a suitable law. A few years later, he became a fellow founder of the Voluntary Euthanasia Legislation Society and its Honorary Secretary.
In 1935 Lord Moynihan, President of the Royal College of Surgeons, founded the Euthanasia Society. A year later this Society handed its recommendations for a Euthanasia project to the House of Lords. Among other things, it provided for the possibility of incurably ill persons being able to petition a Euthanasia Office of the Ministry of Health to let themselves be delivered from their sufferings. It suggested that the applicant should, after consulting his close relatives, handle his estate and choose two medical advisors and a doctor. The Ministry could give its consent for the mercy death to take place after a period of seven days, time allowed for the chance of a change of heart, or an appeal if the relatives so desired. This proposal was fortunately turned down.
However, as early as 1923, a step in this direction was taken in Switzerland and a draft for such a law was presented in Denmark in 1924. In the U.S.A., The Chamber of Doctors of the State of Illinois even requested the approval of mercy death. The year 1938 was marked by the establishment of the American Society of Euthanasia, and on similar lines, a society for voluntary euthanasia was founded in Connecticut and drafts of laws were presented to the parliaments of Nebraska and Canada in 1937. In Germany, the activities in the field of euthanasia, reached their climax. In 1934 Baur, who had long advocated the sterilisation law, foretold that such a law would only be a start.
The actual campaign for euthanasia in Germany took many forms. Films were produced (among others I accuse) which were to make obvious that there were useful and less useful members of society, and were intended to cause astonishment on the part of the viewer as to why anybody bothered to prolong these unproductive human lives at all. Articles in newspapers informed the reader about costs caused by the mentally ill. and showed plainly how the money could be used for more productive and creative things. The campaign was so extensive that it even reached school books, in which the nature of the problems were to direct the attention of the pupil to this subject. One such example is the arithmetic textbook written in 1935 by Alfred Dorner, whose series of distorted and disguised questions were to have the desired influence.
So we see that sterilisation and euthanasia were not the ideas of the Nazis and never had been. They were ideas which were supported and promoted throughout the whole world by groups with a strong interest in the progressive development of mental hygiene and mental health. There is no doubt that euthanasia was supported in many countries, among them America, Finland, England, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Australia and New Zealand. Germany however was the only country in which the political climate was such as to allow materialisation of the final goal of the supporters of sterilisation and euthanasia.
Sterilisation laws at the same time were preparing the ground in other countries such as U.S.A. (some states) for much larger endeavours. However the step from sterilisation to murder is great (though apparently less great for someone who has fully absorbed the state of mind of the mental hygiene movement). Therefore it seems only logical that one tried to win the politicians to the new ideals, to manipulate them and to appoint them in the right places, in order to bring about the desired goal. In Germany the politicians were ideal for this purpose, and consequently the action moved much faster there. But, as we will see later, because of the German activities, the attitude towards the subjects of sterilisation and euthanasia changed shortly after the Second World War.
The next step, towards the end of 1938 and the beginning of 1939, was publicly tested in Germany after endless discussions and propaganda moves. A letter addressed to Adolf Hitler written by a man called Knauer from Leipzig asked for permission for a doctor to shorten the fife of his child who was born blind, seemed to be an idiot and had only parts of its arms and legs. The child itself was at this time at the Children's Clinic in the University of Leipzig, which was headed by Professor Werner Catel, Professor for Neurology and Psychiatry at the same university.
At that time Catel was already an exponent of euthanasia and has remained one to this day which fact he acknowledged in his book Border Situations of Life - Contribution to the Problem of a Limited Euthanasia. it was Catel who made the suggestion to the father, or at least focused his attention in that direction, to write a letter to the Führer. As an answer to this letter, Hitler sent his physician, Professor Karl Brandt, to Leipzig and after consultations with Catel, put the child to sleep.
Several months later, Hitler signed a document authorising Dr. Karl Brandt and Reich-leader Philipp Bouhler to permit euthanasia in special cases. This authorisation was supposedly signed in October 1939, but was backdated to the beginning of September of the same year. The document was really nothing more than an authorisation and formulated in such a way that a doctor who truly felt bound to the Hippocratic Oath could interpret it in such a way that no-one would have to die. The "Führer-order" as it was generally called, had apparently come about after a lively discussion between Dr. Karl Brandt, Dr. Leonardo Conti and Philipp Bouhler and was as follows:
Reichsleader Bouhler and Dr. Brandt M.D. are charged with the responsibility of enlarging the authority of certain physicians to be designated by name in such a manner that persons who according to human judgment can upon most careful diagnosis of their condition of sickness be accorded a mercy death.
Signed - A. Hitler.
In spite of this, the document was regarded not only as a "legal" basis for the crimes committed by the psychiatrists of Nazi Germany, but later at the Nuremberg trials and in other court cases, it was used as a justification where the accused attempted to interpret this authorisation as an order.
The Third Reich is usually looked upon as a monolithic state, a pyramid structure with Hitler at the top followed by the administrative machinery of government and its subordinate organisations, which form a wide basis, the whole system unified and dynamic. In actual fact, the Third Reich was a system of agencies, departments and branches of government all in competition with each other. All endeavoured to play each other off against each other for reasons of prestige, in order to win the favour of the Führer or to increase their power. Hitler himself issued different versions of the same order to keep his subordinates divided and in competition with each other. This way there was less chance of their becoming dangerous to him.
Hitler had purposely disarranged the "whole" structure of the Reich, with the aim of achieving a shift of emphasis of function, a tactic which proved successful in ensuring his own position of power. Apart from the actual government offices the NSDAP committees established before the seizure of power remained in existence, so that Hitler had two organisations at his disposal with greatly overlapping functions. The administration of the Third Reich was, therefore, a chaotic confusion of conflicts, jealousies and duplication of actions. An order which was not taken up by someone and worked on or passed on, just remained an order and ended up in a desk-drawer, never executed. Actually a great deal of effort was necessary to get a lot of things moving at all.
Additionally, after the seizure of power, Hitler was only interested in activities for which he had a special affinity and he neglected other activities. Ministers and functionaries often did not see him at all for long periods of time. To the degree that Hitler engrossed himself in the plans for the expansion of the Reich, he had to deal more and more with the solution of military problems and with diplomatic matters. His interest in non-military matters and initiatives declined
Thus because Hitler's attention was unequivocally on other matters, the "experts" who were continuously exerting pressure on internal affairs, such as initiating the mass-murder of mental patients, also assumed responsibility for it. This is affirmed by the two well known and informed American journalists William L. Shirer and Joseph Harsch both active as foreign correspondents in Berlin in those years.
Shirer collected his impressions in his Berlin Diary published in England in 1941. Towards the end of his diary notes the author deals with his experiences with the euthanasia programme. He writes:
What is stilt unclear to me is the motive for these murders.
That they are being carried out to save food.
That they are done for the purpose of experimenting with new poison gases and death rays.
That they are simply the result of the extreme Nazis deciding to carry out their eugenic and sociological ideas.
Shirer continues with his views and comes to the conclusion:
The first motive is obviously absurd, since the death of 100,000 persons will not save much food for a nation of 80 million. Besides, there is no acute food shortage in Germany. The second motive is possible, though I doubt it. Poison gases may have been used in putting these unfortunates out of the way, but if so, the experimentation was only incidental. Many Germans I have talked to think that some new gas which disfigures the body has been used, and that this is the reason why the remains of the victims have been cremated. But I can get no real evidence of this.
And now he comes to a very interesting section in which he writes:
The third motive seems the most likely to me. For years a group of radical Nazi sociologists who were instrumental in putting through the Reich's sterilisation laws have pressed for a national policy of eliminating the mentally unfit. They say they have disciples among many sociologists in other lands and perhaps they have.
Some suggest a fourth motive. They say the Nazis calculate that for every 3 or 4 institutional cases, there must be one healthy German to look after them. This takes several thousand good Germans away from more profitable employment. If the insane are killed off, it is further argued by the Nazis, there will be plenty of hospital space for the war wounded should the war be prolonged and large casualties occur.
This information which Shirer for some reason does not consider or puts aside as being absurd or unimportant, when examined proves to be rather useful. Of the motives the Germans propagate as their reason for these murders, three seem to hold up under examination.
The second reason, that the murders had been committed in order to experiment with new poisonous gases, also makes sense. In the beginning stages of the euthanasia programme, many experiments were carried out to find the most effective and fastest method of exterminating the victims.
The third motive which the Germans propagated themselves, was that these murderous actions were the result of extreme National Socialists who wanted to materialise their social-hygienic and social ideas. As the whole programme was kept strictly confidential and therefore was known only by a very few people, it seems as though the Nazis had carried it out themselves. However, from the history of the preparations for these murder actions, it is obvious [and in the following chapter we will go into this in detail] that it was the extremist psychiatrists and the Nazis who together put these ideas into action.
The fourth motive offered to Shirer by some Germans that new gases were used which deformed bodies and that this was the reason for the cremation of the mortal remains is also worth examining in more detail. The new gas which was used in the beginning was not so new. In fact it was simply carbon monoxide from combustion engines which did indeed deform bodies. The patients usually died under circumstances which caused deformations [some of the bodies discoloured and excrement and other fluids ran out]. It is evident that they were often in a condition which did not permit them to be put in a coffin and to be transferred. A further point which must be considered is that such a corpse, if returned to relatives would hardly have stood up to an examination to confirm the cause of death, should the family have wanted it.
The distressing thing about Shirer's Diary is that he received his information from Germans not as a rumour but as fact, and obviously obtained it first hand. He describes the Nazis as sociologists and probably uses this term as a collective term which includes psychiatrists, psychologists, anthropologists, sociohygienists and mental hygienists. And his conclusion is correct. They were racial, they served as tools to pass the Sterilisation Laws, they exerted pressure to direct the national politics towards the elimination of the mentally ill and they were very successful in all these. Shirer's claim that German sociologists had many supporters abroad was also valid.
Joseph Harsch the second American journalist in Berlin, confirms Shirer's information in his book Pattern for Conquest:
Those who proposed it (the plan for euthanasia) are understood to have asked Hitler for a written edict, or law which would officially authorise them to proceed with the "mercy killings". Hitler is represented as having hesitated for several weeks. Finally, doubting that Hitler would ever sign the official order the proponents of the project, drafted a letter for him to sign which merely expressed his, Hitler's, general approval of the theory of euthanasia as a means of relieving incompetents of the burden of life. While this letter did not have the character of law it was adequate in Nazi Germany. The Führer had expressed approval of the practice. It went ahead.
Following the Knauer case, a group of competent specialists were called to the Reich Chancellery to form a Euthanasia Committee. Psychiatrist, and ministerial adviser for health in the Reich Ministry, SS Oberführer Dr. Herbert Linden, was appointed as its head. Later Linden was to act as liaison between the Chancellery and the Reich Health Service, which was attached to the Ministry of the Interior and led by Reich Doctor Führer Leonardo Conti. The founding of this committee was the first of what were to become regular meetings of the medical advisers for the purpose of better estimating the necessary administrative and technical facilities.
Professor Hans Heinze, Chief of the Brandenberg Mental Institute.
Professor Werner Catel, Lecturer in Neurology and Psychiatry at Leipzig University and head of the Pediatric Clinic in Leipzig.
Dr. Helmut Unger, Ophthalmologist, author of a novel on the euthanasia question ("Mission and Conscience") and Press liaison officer for the Reich Doctor Führer Dr. Wagner.
Dr. Ernst Wentzler Pediatrician.
Professor Max de Crinis, Lecturer in Neurology and Psychiatry at Berlin University, secret agent and friend of Waiter Schellenburg -who held a high post in the Nazi Secret Service. [Dr. Crinis was involved in the Venlo Incident staged shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War in which two British and a Dutch Intelligence agent were kidnapped by the Germans].
Professor Berthold Kihn, Lecturer in Neurology and Psychiatry at the University of Jena.
Professor Carl Schneider, Lecturer in Neurology and Psychiatry at Heidelberg University.
Dr. Hermann Pfannmüller, who was Dr. Faltlhauser's assistant in the Asylum at Kaufbeuren and as of 1938 Director of the Mental Hospital Eglfing-Haar.
Dr. Bender - director of the Buch Mental Hospital near Berlin.
Professor Werner Heyde, Lecturer in Neurology and Psychiatry at Würzburg University.
Professor Paul Nitsche, Lecturer in Psychiatry at Halle University up to 1939. Director of the Sonnenstein institute near Pirna, which became one of the murder schools.
THE DEATH MACHINE
There is not a great deal known about T4 in comparison with other aspects of Nazi Germany and the Second World War; what little is known is difficult to verify and amongst the accounts there is conflicting or contradictory data. T4 in fact was the Führer Chancellery and the initials "T4" came from the full address which was Tiergartenstrasse 4, Berlin. However, it is important to bear in mind two factors when attempting to appreciate the lack of information.
T4 was the source of orders and measures which were "Geheime Reichssache" [Secret Reich Matters] and those involved who served as tools in its execution were bound by silence. The euthanasia programme was considered to be one of these, and this is one of the reasons why there is so little information, with much of it conflicting, concerning its workings and its relation with the Chancellery itself. A second factor to be borne in mind is that the whole thing was planned with great care prior to the signing of the authorization by Hitler and in fact meetings involving top German psychiatrists had been taking place some months prior to the date of his authorization. As it was a very thorough programme, the creators were sufficiently foresighted to take steps to cover their tracks and conceal the evidence. One of their more brilliant ideas was to finally assign the personnel who had been trained in the euthanasia institute, and who later went on to much bigger things, to theatres of war where their survival was most certainly to be minimal. Many of the personnel were assigned to the Jugoslav front where Tito's partisans had a reputation for never taking prisoners, and a great many of them died there.
The "Project T4" was fully integrated into the organizational structure of the Reich and fell under section IIb. "Mercy-death" of the Chancellery of the Führer [KdF]. It was divided into two departments the administrative one headed by Philipp Bouhler, a shadowy figure (once described as one of the dictators of the dictators) and the medical section headed by Hitler's personal physician Dr. Karl Brandt.
In the middle of 1939 the end-phase of the administrative preparations of the euthanasia programme was started. It dealt almost entirely with keeping it secure and secret. The German people were under no circumstances to become suspicious and the project was to roll without any interference. It was therefore necessary to disguise the activities as much as possible.
Questionnaires had already been prepared by the psychiatric committee and advisers, and in October these were sent to the mental institutions of Germany. These questionnaires required answers to a number of questions including name, marital status, nationality, next of kin, whether regularly visited and by whom, who bore the financial responsibility and how long in the institution, how long sick, diagnosis, chief symptoms, whether bed-ridden, whether under restraint, whether suffering from an incurable sickness or complaint, and whether a war injury or not. And, what was the race of the patient. These questionnaires were prepared and sent out by one of the front groups which operated under T4.
In classic psychiatric style four front groups had been set up to shield the actual source of the operations in T4 from scrutiny. The idea being essentially that T4 itself would issue orders to the front group who would then carry out the necessary measures. Anybody seeking to trace back the administrative chain, say from a hospital where patients were being taken to be murdered, would arrive at one of these four front groups and the chances of getting any further back than that were very small.
The front group which sent out the questionnaires, had them returned and handled them, was named Realms Work Committee for Institutions for Cure and Care. This became the Headquarters for the whole of the organization and was started for this purpose.
There was a parallel organization, another front group devoted exclusively to the killing of children, for obviously some specialization was needed in this area, and the front group catered for those who had knowledge and experience of children. It was known under the ambiguous name of Realms Committee for Scientific Approach to Severe Illness due to Heredity and Constitution. In association with these two organizations were the Charitable Company for the Transport of the Sick which transported patients to the killing centres, and the Charitable Foundation for Institutional Care which was in charge of making the final arrangements.
The decree of the Reich Ministry of the Interior of August 18 1939, which introduced the requirements for registration of "deformed new-born" was a great advantage to the children project. At first this applied only the children up to the age of 3, but after 1941 this project included youths to the age of 16.
These four cover organizations safeguarded the project T4, the Reich Chancellery, and the euthanasia committee from unwanted discoveries. Those who took the initiative were very secure and if anyone had attempted to retrace the administrative chain, let us say from an institute whose patients were moved to killing-institutes, he would probably have reached one of the four cover organizations. The chances that he would get much further were very small.
Ironically the relatives of the patients were charged with the cost of the killing, without however being informed as to what they were paying for. The questionnaires having been sent out were completed by the psychiatrists, doctors in charge of the patients in the asylums. When the questionnaires came back they were evaluated by the psychiatric and professional members of T4 who were mainly leading professors of psychiatry in German Universities. The whole business was in keeping with the euthanasia programme in that no one was ever actually examined in person, in direct violation of any normal medical approach or standards, especially when one considers that life or death hung on the decision of the psychiatrist evaluating. Processing of the questionnaires was done very rapidly; for example one expert between November 14th and December 1st 1940 evaluated 2,109 of them.
At the beginning of the euthanasia programme and for some time during it, Jews were very carefully excluded from amongst the people who were being accorded a blessed release from their sufferings. The reason, apparently, was that such a worthwhile fate was obviously not to be given to Jews, that only Germans could benefit by such a humane measure. That the euthanasia programme was such a haphazard stab at resolving the social problem as an emergency measure was shown by the approach and organization of the whole thing.
At the time the questionnaires went out, or perhaps even earlier, a number of mental hospitals or convenient buildings were being converted for their later use and were to be the killing centres and schools for murder. Death chambers were erected in the buildings disguised as shower-baths and crematoriums both of which were identical to those later to be established in the Jew-killing centres in Poland.
There appear to have been six principal death institutes and murder schools, and these were Grafeneck, Hadamar, Hartheim (in Austria), Brandenberg, Bernberg, and Sonnenstein, the hospital of the super-expert Dr. Nitsche. The system seems to have worked in the following fashion.
On the basis of the replies to the questionnaires, the Institute from which they had been returned were notified that a number of patients were to be moved, allegedly to make available beds for the war wounded, or to be moved for better treatment. A number of reasons were made known or put around as the reason for removal. These patients were collected by the front organisation Charitable Transport Company for the Sick, which then took them to one of these killing centres, where they were exterminated within a few hours of their arrival. As a further camouflage they were not always taken directly to the killing centre; on some occasions they were taken to an intermediate hospital where people were led to believe that they were there to be placed under observation.
The total number of victims of the euthanasia programme is difficult to determine but as there were 300,000 to 320,000 mental patients in 1939 and only 40,000 in 1946 it would seem that the figure of 275,000 deaths mentioned in the Nuremberg Trials was reasonably accurate.
The victims were not confined to mentally incurable patients; as the programme progressed and gained momentum other undesirables were included. It was obviously too great an opportunity to be missed to not include anyone else who wasn't worthy of life. Amongst those caught up in the dragnet for the murder institutes were psychotics, schizophrenics, patients suffering from infirmities of old age, as well as epileptics, and other patients suffering from a variety of organic neurology disorders, including the various forms of infantile paralysis, parkinsonism, multiple sclerosis and brain tumours. We also know that children were disposed of similarly, when the orphanages and reformatories were searched for further candidates.
It should be borne in mind that according to one expert at least 50% of the patients murdered would, if allowed to survive, have been able to recover and lead useful lives.
As we have seen, T4 went into a great deal planning to disguise its operations and those of the killing centres as ordinary mental hospitals and this was testified to in the Nuremberg trials by Viktor Brack, the chief of the whole section II of KdF and therefore one of the main persons responsible for the smooth execution of the euthanasia program. At the Nuremberg trials, he testified that patients walked calmly in with their towels and stood with their lithe pieces of soap under the shower outlets waiting for the water to start running.
I have been able to find more material on some murder institutions than others, but the following account could be taken as fairly representative of the other five murder institutions. Hartheim was situated near Linz which was in turn also close to Hitler's birthplace in Austria. It was an old castle dedicated as an asylum to the poor, feeble minded and stupid in 1898. Hartheim, in company with the other institutions, not only served as a murder institute for the disposal of mental patients, but also functioned as a murder school for personnel. The medical directors in charge of Hartheim were two doctors, Dr. Rudolf Lohnauer, an Austrian who later became an expert in 14fl3 of which we will hear more later, and Dr. Georg Renno. They took their orders direct from T4 and were responsible for the "medical" training of personnel. The training of staff was designed to harden the personnel psychologically to the experience of having to exterminate and observe the deaths of tens of thousands of people, day after day, week after week, apart from any technical training they were given. However, from later activities in the operation of the death chambers and crematoriums, it was obvious that they were being schooled for bigger things in the workings of the Third Reich. Most of the personnel concerned in these later activities had passed through one of these murder schools.
The administrative official in charge at Hartheim was Captain Christian Wirth, a former policeman, who had been selected by T4 to supervise the training. Apart from being paid for disposing of unwanted mental patients, and to train personnel, these institutes also provided scientific testing grounds for the perfection of the murder techniques as devised by the psychiatrists on the euthanasia committees of T4. The deaths of the victims were clinically studied photographed and perfected. In the war crimes trials that took place after the war in Germany, it was proved that in the death camps of Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka, special photographers also took pictures of people being gassed, just as they had at Hartheim and other institutes. In addition, experiments took place with various mixtures of gases in order to perfect the most effective one. During these tests, psychiatrists with stop-watches would observe the dying patients through the peepholes in the cellar door, which served as the gas chamber in Hartheim, and the length of the death struggle was clocked down to one-tenth of a second. Slow motion pictures were made and studied by the psychiatric experts at T4 in Berlin. People's brains were photographed to see exactly when death had occurred. Nothing was left to chance. The psychiatrists were very thorough.
The actual training of the students proceeded in an orderly progression of familiarization. At first they watched the experiment as observers, as their training progressed they graduated to participation in the actual murders by conducting the patients into the chambers, releasing the gases, watching during the death struggle and finally ventilating the chambers and removing the bodies. The selection of the students was conducted by the high ranking Nazi officials who were personally and directly responsible to the Führer Chancellery.
The whole operation was shrouded in very tight security. Everybody involved realized that there could be no slip-ups - there could be no leakage of information, because they weren't dealing with sub-humans and Jews; these victims were Germans and Austrians and the reaction of the public would be very strong. And in fact, when the programme later became obvious to the inhabitants in the vicinity of the murder institutes, there was an outcry against it.
Obviously, after so much familiarity with the deaths of the victims, the students became insensible to the cries and pleas of the murdered. In the process of their being hardened, the students were observed closely by their teachers who noted their reactions and made reports on their progress as pupils. If the students were able to observe and participate in the murders of their own nationalities, even though they were deformed or mad and were of German or Austrian nationality, how much easier it would be to do the same to "sub-humans". Students who didn't complete the course because they cracked, couldn't go o in with it or were unsuitable, were sent to the war front where the Commander in charge of the unit would assign them to a suicide squad. This would account for the lack of people with conscience willing to come forward to testify to what had been involved in.
The total number of victims at Hartheim is difficult to estimate but at the Dachau trial in 1947 testimony was given that from 30-40 unwanted humans were treated in the cellars every day. As Hartheim was in operation for about three years that would account for about 30,000 people. Hartheim also had another purpose. It served as a safety valve when executions taking place in nearby concentration camps such as Mauthausen and Dachau became more than the staff could manage. Victims were sent to Hartheim and "dispatched" there. Later, towards the end of the war Hartheim became just another place for extermination, its staff and personnel having been assigned to other duties. It was well situated for use in the euthanasia programme lying near a railway, but not too close, and around the castle were a few little houses and farms. It was 17 kilometers from Linz and from there only another 23 kilometers from Mauthausen.
Schooling of the personnel produced perfect murderers who were used to the smell of burnt flesh, had been taught how to trick people being led to their death, and how to steel themselves against the crying and pleading of the victims. Pupils were naturally rewarded, not only with alcohol and women, which were always kept handy for them, but also received medals. Usually, these were the Iron Cross Second Class and, unlike other awards which had noted in the register the reason for their being given, in these cases " Geheime Reichssache" [Secret Reich matter] was noted in the appropriate column.
One of the murder institutes, Hadamar, achieved some notoriety at the time of the euthanasia programme. In December 1939 a member of the Court of Appeals of Frankfurt-on-Main wrote to the Minister of Justice complaining about the situation. He said that among the population there were constant discussions over the question of the destruction of the socially unfit, especially in places where there were mental institutions. Vehicles used to transport the mental patients from the institutes had come to be recognised by the inhabitants. With busloads of victims converging on Hadamar, things had reached such a state that even the children were calling out as the buses passed that "they are taking some more people to be gassed".
The writer had obviously found out enough to be able to describe in his letter that there were stories circulating about transported victims being immediately stripped to the skin, dressed in paper shirts and forthwith taken to a gas chamber where they were liquidated with hydrocyanic acid gas, and the bodies reported to be moved to crematoriums by means of conveyor belts, six bodies to a furnace. He also went on to recount rumours about future victims and believed that these would include the inhabitants of Homes for the Aged and others. Interestingly, the psychiatrist in charge at Hadamar was Dr. Adolf Wahlmann an active member of the German mental hygiene movement, who had demonstrated cardiazol-shock treatment to delegates from the European Mental Hygiene Reunion (which took place in Munich in 1938).
This was not, however, the only letter of complaint, and many more followed when the never-ending smoke that fined the skies in the vicinity of the institutes for murder indicated that something was obviously terribly wrong. Various members of the communities (usually people with some standing), sent complaints to whoever they thought would be in a position to act. The main source of complaints appear to have come from the Church, and protests were raised by various Bishops and Cardinals usually addressed to the Ministry of Justice. The Bishop of Limburg for instance addressed a complaint to the Ministry concerning the institute of Hadamar, and it was very similar to the one by the member of the Court of Appeals, mentioned earlier, when children were calling out as the vans arrived, only now parents were even threatening their children that if they weren't quite bright, they would be put in the oven at Hadamar.
Obviously, with the mounting protests and complaints, the whole operation was receiving far too much publicity and it was at this point in about December 1941 that a change in procedure occurred. And here we come to another of the myths with which this period is littered. It was commonly believed that as the protests grew they came to the ears of the Führer who ordered an end to the killings. However, be that as it may, the killings did not stop. They simply took on a different form. Many of the writers and articles dealing with this period state that the programme ended. What actually happened was that the same aims were procured by different means. The gas chambers were no longer used and the crematoria also fell into disuse. These were replaced by lethal injections and even starvation, the bodies being disposed of by mass burial.
As far as the psychiatrists were concerned it was business as usual, and the euthanasia programme continued throughout the war. And in Bavaria it continued even until a few days after the war when children were still being murdered. If Hitler did order an end to the euthanasia murders, their continuance only goes to show how determined the psychiatrists were to pursue their own aims regardless of his wishes.
Special Action 14f13
After the State had been relieved of the ghastly burden of so many of these undesirables, mental patients and useless-eaters, the operation, still under the direction of eminent mental health psychiatrists in T4, was expanded under the code of 14f13. From being limited to mental hospitals and institutions it now embraced German and Austrian inmates and Jews in concentration camps who were sick or invalid, usually as a result of the conditions extant in these places. The starting date for the operation of 14f13 appears to have been some time in December 1941. Special commissions composed of psychiatrists attached to the Berlin staff of T4 were dispatched to the concentration camps to clear the medical bays and sick quarters by way of selection of ill and undesirables. Patients selected were usually despatched to one of the six killing centres and disposed of there.
At Auschwitz around this time about 800 patients in the infectious block were sent to death chambers. Testimony was given at Nuremberg after the war by the S.S. camp doctor at Dachau that at the end of 1941 a commission composed of 4 psychiatrists under the leadership of Professor Dr. Werner Heyde, SS Standartenführer and lecturer in neurology and psychiatry at Würzburg University, arrived at the camp and immediately proceeded to their business. They selected several hundred patients incapable of work who were thenceforth transported to the gas chambers and disposed of. The decision for selection rested upon the incapacity of the prisoners to perform work. Jews were disposed of much more easily by the declaration that they were enemies of National Socialism.
Evidence is shown in a letter written by Dr. Fritz Mennecke, a member of this commission dated November 25th, 1941, which he wrote from Buchenwald, another concentration camp which they visited. The letter was addressed to his wife and gave a brief account of his clinical duties on the commission during the day:
At noon we took time off for lunch then we continued our examinations until 4.00 p.m. I examined 105 patients whilst Müller took 78 so that we finished off the first lot of 183 questionnaires. The second lot consisted of 1200 Jews who were not examined and it was enough to pick out from their documents the reason for their arrest and enter it in the questionnaires.
Apart from the people already covered, the action was extended to include adults and children in many Polish asylums. However there is little evidence available to me at this time regarding these particular murders, and this is a very fruitful area to be examined in the future. Apart from the psychiatrists themselves involved in the programme, others also took advantage of the rare opportunity of so many specimens offered them. One of these was a brain specialist Dr. Julius Hailervorden, Director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Dillenberg, Hessen-Nassau, who had the good luck to be able to obtain hundreds of brains from the killing centres for use in his laboratory. These brains were from mental patients in various institutions who had been killed by carbon monoxide gas. He freely admitted that he himself had initiated this collaboration in the euthanasia programme and stated:
I heard that they were going to do that, and so I went up to them and told them, `Look here now, boys (Menschenskinder), if you are going to kill all these people, at least take the brains out so that the material could be utilized.
They asked me: `How many can you examine?' and so I told them `An unlimited number-the more the better.' I gave them the fixatives, jars and boxes, and instructions for removing and fixing the brains, and then they came bringing them in like the delivery van from the furniture company. The Charitable Transport Company for the Sick brought the brains in batches of 150-250 at a time... There was wonderful material among those brains beautiful mental defectives, mal-formations and early infantile diseases. I accepted those brains of course. Where they came from and how they came to me was realty none of my business.
The development of occurrences up to this time shows plainly that there were no limits to the enthusiasm that the psychiatrists in Berlin felt for T4. How patriotic they must have considered themselves when they then decided to put their brave teams into action in the East, to help the wounded in ice and snow. As Dr. Fritz Mennecke told his wife in a letter on 12th January 1942.
Since the day before yesterday a large delegation from our organization, headed by Herr Brack, is on the battlefields of the East to help in saving our wounded in the ice and snow. They include doctors, clerks, nurses, and male nurses from Hadamar and Sonnenstein, a whole detachment of 20-30 persons. This is a top secret. Only those persons who could not be spared were excluded. Professor Nitsche regrets that the staff of our institution at Eichberg had to be taken away so soon.
This quote speaks for itself, when one considers who was "helping" the wounded in ice and snow. It becomes evident that the German soldiers in the East had to fight three fronts: the Russian Army, the partisans and the enemies in their own ranks. As if the war-killing had not been enough, now special committees were put into action to relieve the wounded German soldiers from their painful existence. The soldiers thus were not only in a fix strategically, but also morally as well; if they were wounded, how would they be "helped"?
THE PSYCHIATRIC FINAL SOLUTION TO THE JEWISH QUESTION
The Nazi extermination camps need to be clearly distinguished from the concentration camps opened a few months after the Nazi accession to power with the establishment of Dachau (near Munich). The extermination camps had not followed in the line of progression of the concentration camps, but had a quite separate evolution of their own, which up to now has puzzled many students of the subject. However, with what we know about psychiatric plans we can fit the apparently unprecedented in its place in the logical sequence of the psychiatric-eugenic programme. The extermination camps, the apex of development on the sterilisation, castration, and euthanasia chain of evolution could be considered to be the full flowering of the plans laid by the psychiatrists and on the basis of experience gained in the euthanasia programme were the perfection of murder on assembly line basis.
The names of the camps were Belsec, Treblinka, Sobibor and Chelmno and they were established between 1941 and 1943. A number of features distinguish these extermination camps from the better known concentration camps including the following:
· They were all situated in Poland usually in a desolate, virtually uninhabited area.
· Their only purpose was to kill Jews as quickly, efficiency, economically, and profitably as possible.
· Although being run on the spot by the SS and their auxiliaries, daily orders came from a different source.
Without going into too many horrifying details, it would be as well to give a brief picture of how the extermination camps operated.
The camps resembled very closely a mass-production line in a modern industrial plant. Nothing was wasted. When a transport full of Jewish victims rolled into the nearby station the "passengers" were herded into the camp and had to surrender their valuables and currency supposedly for safe-keeping. They were then taken to changing rooms where they stripped, their clothes being later sent to a charity relief in Germany, and were horse-whipped into the death chambers and gassed. When they were all dead the doors were opened and bodies pulled out and hosed down by the Jewish commandos, mouths were inspected, gold teeth removed and later remitted to the Reichsbank and the various cavities of the body were explored for other hidden valuables.
Prior to the gassing, of course, the hair had been shaved from the heads of the women. This had been found to be very useful for knitting felt slippers for U-boat crews. Having searched the corpses for valuables they were then loaded into railway wagons and taken to the crematorium. After burning, the bones were ground in a bone-crushing mill and sacked up, ashes also being put in sacks and both of these sent back to Germany to be used as fertiliser. There was even a formula for their use 1 layer of ashes 1 layer of bone and 1 layer of earth.
Although there are a number of other cases on record, I shall give just two examples which show where the orders for the camps came from. On August 7-8, 1946, at Nuremberg, Sturmbannführer Georg Konrad Morgen, an SS judge gave evidence on behalf of the SS as an indicted organisation. Morgen had been transferred in July 1943 from the SS Military Courts to the Criminal Police at Himmler's request. His job was the investigation of embezzlement in concentration camps. In following up cases of corruption in the camps, he stumbled upon some top secret evidence. Morgen's argument at the Nuremberg trials was that the extermination camps were not run by the SS at all. Apparently in the summer of 1943 he heard from the commander of the Security Police and SD in the Lublin region of Poland that there had been a wedding in a Jewish labour camp which had been attended by 1100 guests including many German SS men. Morgen amazed at this weird tale looked further and in doing so came across another camp, "rather peculiar and impenetrable" which was run by Christian Wirth, who confirmed the story of the Jewish wedding and explained that it was part of a plan by which Wirth hoped to persuade Jews to serve in the camps where they would assist in the exterminations.
Although the four camps had been mentioned earlier in the Nuremberg trials, this was the first clue concerning their ultimate headquarters. Morgen insisted that the administration of the camps was actually not in SS hands having seen Wirth's daily orders. These did not come from Himmler's Office but from the Führer's Chancellery (T4) and had been signed "Blankenberg". Morgen's evidence was the only clue to the true command lines of the Jewish extermination programme.
This was confirmed years later in the recent trial of the notorious Franz Stangl. He was an Austrian policeman who automatically became a member of the Austrian Gestapo following the Anschluss. In November 1940 he was transferred to the General Foundation for institutional Care, one of the T4 front groups. He was told to report to a Dr. Werner at the Reichskriminalpolizeiamt in Berlin.
Werner told him that he'd been selected for a very difficult and demanding job of police superintendent at a special institute administered by the Foundation. Werner explained to him that both Russia and America had for some time had a law which allowed them to carry out mercy killings (this of course was not true) on people who were insane or badly deformed. He explained that a law was going to be passed in Germany in the near future but it was going to be done only after a great deal of psychological preparation. However, in the meantime the task had begun under absolute secrecy.
He then went on to explain that the patients selected for the action were carefully examined and a series of tests were carried out by at least two physicians and only those absolutely incurable were put to a totally painless death. Stangl was told that all he had to do was to be responsible for law and order in the institute and not actually involved in the operation himself, this being carried out entirely by doctors. He was to be responsible for maintaining maximum security.
After his talk with Werner, Stangl reported to the KdF. He recalled that he thought it was Brack who greeted him at T4, explained to him his specific police duties and left him the choice of where he should be posted. He decided to be posted to Austria where he would be near his family. He was given a telephone number and the name of a village where he was to go and make a `phone call and would be given instructions.' He carried out the instructions for making contact and was driven to Hartheim.
After arrival he met the doctors and Captain Christian Wirth, who was his superior in his duties. Wirth apparently didn't bother too much with the scientific justifications that the psychiatrists employed, because as he said, sentimental slobber about such people made him puke. The two chief medical officers were Dr. Lohnauer and Dr. Renno and in addition to these there were 14 nurses; 7 men and 7 women. Hartheim was set up and run as a hospital where examinations were given and Stangl's job was to see that such things as identity papers and certificates for the mental patients were dealt with and done correctly.
After Hartheim, Stangl took a brief tour of duty at another euthanasia institute, Bernberg and after that was told to report back to T4 to get new orders. in the interview he was informed that he had a choice either to return to his former police post (where he hadn't in fact got on very welt with his superiors) or go to Lublin, in Poland. He decided on the latter and was told to report to Higher SS and Police Chief Odilo Globocnik at SS Headquarters, Lublin. Globocnik gave him the task of building a new extermination camp - Sobibor.
Shortly after his arrival at the site that was to be Sobibor, personnel from the "euthanasia action" started to arrive. Amongst them were many old friends from Hartheim and work started on the camp which Stangl was to command from May until August 1942, when he took over Treblinka until August 1943.
Although he was able to evade justice after the war he was finally caught and sentenced in 1970 to life imprisonment for co-responsibility in the murder of 400,000 men, women and children in Treblinka during the year of his command. It is difficult to arrive at even approximate totals of the number of men, women and children who died in these camps but the following figures from the Polish Commission for War Crimes will give some idea of the enormity of the crime:
Treblinka ... ... ... ... ... ... . 700,000-800,000
Sobibor ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .. . over 250,000
Belzec ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... almost 600,000
Chelmno ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... over 300,000
Interestingly some of the "students" trained in the murder schools were later traced to the extermination camps, 130 to Belzec, 106 to Sobibor and 90 to Treblinka. Many of these had learned their skills in Hartheim.
Amongst the "bureaucrats of death" there was the inevitable scramble to evade the Allied armies as they closed in on the Reich. Some were successful, others not. Philip Bouhler committed suicide as the Russians approached Berlin and Leonardo Conti also in his cell at Nuremberg. Karl Brandt was caught, sentenced and executed.
The Limburg trial planned in 1961 was concerned with some of the top psychiatrists and bureaucrats, one of whom was the eminent psychiatrist Professor Dr. Werner Heyde super expert in T4. In the preceding years he had adopted an alias, being known as Dr. Sawade and had practised openly in Germany. He had done a variety of work for a state insurance agency, and law courts. Many people including Judges, Prosecutors, physicians, university professors and high state officials knew his identity. And they preserved the conspiracy of silence. Whilst awaiting trial he attempted to escape. Five days before the trial at a time when he was left unguarded, he committed suicide.
His co-defendants in the trial also managed to escape justice. Dr. Friedrich Tillman for 10 years prior to 1945 Director of Cologne orphanages jumped (or was pushed) from a tenth-storey window; another Dr. Bohne escaped on the Nazi escape-route to South America. The fourth Defendant, Dr. Hans Hefelmann, chief of section IIb ("mercy killing") in the Chancellery of the Führer was declared medically unable to stand trial due to illness. it seems that people in high places didn't want these trials to take place.
Another personality who was questioned during the preparation of the same trial was Dr. Werner Villinger, who has been credited with being instrumental in starting the mental hygiene movement in pre-war Germany, and re-starting the same movement as a mental health movement after the war. An eminent psychiatrist who, two years before Hitler came to power, had advocated the sterilisation of patients with hereditary diseases, he was convinced that the roots of what we call temperament and character lay deep in the inherited constitution. At the time of his questioning for the Limburg trial it became known publicly that he was implicated in the euthanasia murders in a prominent and very active role. He went into the mountains and committed suicide. A former colleague and assistant of his Dr. Helmut Ehrhardt, in an obituary published in the journal "Der Nervenarzt" [The Nerve Doctor] explained Dr. Villager's sad demise as an accident and with much sorrow, regretted his passing, and mourned the loss for humanity of such a wonderful and humane man.
However, for those who survived the war, did not commit suicide, and were still at large, there was at least one place where they could appear with impunity in an understanding community who welcomed their talents and shared their viewpoint.
Especially since the last world war we have done much to infiltrate the various social organisations throughout the country, and in their work and in their point of view one can see clearly how the principles for which this society and others stood in the past have become accepted as part of the ordinary working plan of these various bodies. That is as it should be, and while we can take heart from this we must be healthily discontented and realise that there is still more work to be done along this line. Similarly we have made a useful attack upon a number of professions. The two easiest of them naturally are the teaching profession and the Church: the two most difficult are law and medicine...
~John Rawlings Rees M.D.
Address to the Annual Meeting of the National Council for Mental Hygiene June 18, 1940
During the war the name of Eugenics became even more heavily associated with the Nazis and consequently afterwards a whitewashing procedure began, the first step of which was the reconstitution of the various National Councils of Mental Hygiene. The first to be re-founded was the British National Association for Mental Health. But before we go into detail on this a bit of history is important.
Montagu Norman had been Governor of the Bank of England for many years. He and his right hand man Otto Niemeyer (of German origin) had persistently backed the re-arming of Germany made loans to Germany and encouraged the financiers of the City of London to do the same. Norman supported and financed Germany's cause right up until the Declaration of War.
When German troops crashed into Czechoslovakia in September 1938 Germany claimed Czech assets. They applied through the Bank for International Settlements, of which Norman was a Director, for the release of Czech gold held in the Bank of England.
The financial tomfoolery that followed would leave anyone confused, but the outcome was that £6,000,000 worth of Czech gold was transferred to Hitler's Government, released by Norman.
Before the war, Norman attended the christening of the son of his comrade-in-arms, Dr. Hjalmar Schacht, Minister of Finance and President of the Reichsbank, and in July 1942 was suspected of having visited Schacht in Germany during the War. This alleged visit has always been dismissed by stating that Schacht was in fact being held in a concentration camp for disagreeing with Hitler, and obviously Norman would have been unable to visit him there. The documents of the Nuremberg Trials, however, show quite clearly that Schacht had only been sent to the concentration camp in 1944 - more than two years after the suspected visit by Norman. Whether or not he visited Schacht remains a mystery but that he did financially support Germany is a recorded fact.
Norman had married Priscilla Koch de Gooreynd (now Lady Norman) who was a disciple of Dame Evelyn Fox, long-standing member of the eugenics society. In her own words she was completely dedicated to Evelyn Fox. And so Priscilla Norman had been working in the Mental Hygiene movement since the 20's.
Recommendations had been put forward by Lord Feversham in the week that War broke out, that the Central Association for Mental Welfare; The National Council for Mental Hygiene and the Mental After Care-Association should amalgamate into one Association. So, for the duration of the war a Provisional Association for Mental Health was formed under the Chairmanship of Lady Norman.
At the end of the war Montagu and Priscilla Norman gave themselves whole-heartedly to the establishment of such an Association as Lord Feversham had suggested, in which the related organisations were amalgamated. As Montagu had retired in 1944, he dedicated himself completely to his wife's scheme and complemented her methods with his own. From meetings at Thorpe Lodge, the home of the Normans, the National Association for Mental Health became a reality and the framework for similar changes to take place in the rest of the world. Otto Niemeyer was made Treasurer, and the next phase began.
Upon the invitation of the NAMH, the international Committee for Mental Hygiene held a congress at the Ministry of Health in London, where it formally established itself under the new name, World Federation for Mental Health - WFMH. It became the international co-ordinator for national Mental Health and Mental Hygiene groups in many countries of the world, and besides a new name, the meeting initiated a change in the direction of its activities.
Already we see the strong involvement of the NAMH in the WFMH, and in future history the NAMH succeeded in exerting considerable influence in the activities of the WFMH.
Lady Norman was appointed to the Executive Board of WFMH and with Otto Niemeyer's niece, Mary Appleby, as the General Secretary of the British NAMH, the chain was complete. Miss Appleby s previous experience in the German Section of the British Foreign Office would serve her well.
The first elected president of the WFMH was Dr. John Rawlings Rees, a British psychiatrist who was quoted at the beginning of this chapter. The full lecture details a plan whereby each mental hygienist operates as a lone-agent, constantly feeding propaganda to private individuals and groups without naming the Mental Hygiene movement as the true sponsor.
He asks that constant propaganda be fed to and pressure put on: Universities, Educational Establishments, Medicine, Press, Parliament, Magazines and Weeklies, Literary figures, Film makers, medical students, civil servants and trades union leaders. To obtain the goals of the Mental Hygiene movement, without the movement ever being named.
In 1948 when he was elected Chairman of the WFMH he accepted the position on this newly-formed august body. The congress at which the WFMH was inaugurated was the Third International Congress on Mental Health. A Vice-President of the Congress was Dr. Carl G. Jung who had been described by Dr. Conti as "representing German psychiatry under the Nazis". He had been co-editor of the Journal for Psychotherapy with Dr. M.H. Göring, the cousin of Marshal Hermann Göring. There is definite evidence that Dr. Göring was fully cognisant of the euthanasia murders. Another of the German delegates to the 1948 congress was Dr. Friedrich Mauz, Professor of Psychiatry at Koenigsburg University. He denied his connection to the euthanasia programme, without condemning it, by indicating that his invitation to a euthanasia conference was no conclusive evidence of his complicity in any such activities.
Dr Adolf Wahlmann, a noted psychiatrist in the European League for Mental Hygiene would have attended if he had not previously stood trial and been imprisoned for the murder of Polish and other labourers in his institution, Hadamar, which had already been emptied by the mass-murder of all the patients contained therein. As already mentioned, Hadamar Institution trained many of the extermination camp officers on special assignments by T4. Among them there was a man called Gomerski who was engaged in mass killings at Treblinka and Sobibor with such skill, as a result of his training, that he was nicknamed "The Doctor".
Thanks to the propaganda and social education of the eugenicists and mental healers, the killing of mental patients has never been considered a terribly serious matter, and Wahlmann, a mass-murderer, was released in 1954.
Dr. Paul Nitsche would also have attended, as he was a leading member of the Mental Hygiene movement, had it not been for the fact that he was executed for the mass-murder of mental patients in 1947.
Shortly, other surviving members of the old gang began to gather in the WFMH.
Dr Werner Villinger had, after the war become a world-famous psychiatrist. His specialities included juvenile delinquency, child guidance and group therapy. He was also Professor of Psychiatry at Marburg and a very important member of the WFMH. He sat on the US White House Conference on Children and Youth. In the conference of the WFMH on Health and Human Relations which took place in Hiddesen-near-Detmold in 1951, he was co-chairman together with Rees. In 1952 he was a member of a WFMH group on Educating the Public which met during the Annual Conference in Brussels. Doris Odlum, late member of the Eugenics Society and Miss Appleby, already mentioned were Chairman and Secretary respectively of the group.
In 1961 German Federal Authorities caught up with Villinger and after three preliminary sessions prior to the Limburg trial, as we have seen already, he threw himself off a mountain top near Innsbruck to his death. His apologist and author of his obituary Dr. Ehrhardt, was also an active member of the WFMH.
In the book Contemporary European Psychiatry (a book on different psychiatric practices in Europe) which was published in 1961 in the United States and Europe, the Austrian psychiatrist Dr. Hans Hoff claims in his chapter on Germany and Austria, that sterilisation of mentally ill was a scientific procedure so long as a psychiatrist was adviser to the Eugenic Courts.
As did Ehrhard, Hoff praises the work of Villinger. Hoff was an active supporter of the WFMH, and in 1959 he became its President. Shortly after Ehrhardt's whitewash of Villinger's suicide, Hoff attempted an even trickier whitewash job, in a preface to Ehrhardt's book "Euthanasie und Vernichtung Lebensunwerten Lebens" (Euthanasia and the Destruction of `Life-unworthy' Life) and he gives it full approval. Basically, they confused the whole issue by pointing out that the question of euthanasia is stilt a medical and moral one. In 1968, Ehrhardt was elected to the Executive Board of the WFMH. The book was favourably reviewed in an American psychiatric journal.
Ehrhardt also praised Dr. Max de Crinis as a "courageous and energetic physician" and spoke of the "comparatively few mental patients" killed. De Crinis had of course been one the T4 advisers. His former assistant, Dr. Muller-Hegemann, was left behind the Iron Curtain after the Second World War ended. However, even so daunting a situation could not halt the course of progress and by 1969 Dr. Muller-Hegemann had been elected to the Executive Board of the WFMH.
The supporters of the eugenic movement from all over the world who had backed the mass-murders morally, streamed into the WFMH and its member associations at an alarming rate, and yesterday's euthanasiasts became today's Mental Healthists. Some of them kept their membership card of the Eugenics Society others let it drop, but didn't forget its ideals. Others again, to be fair, must have realised their error and disappeared from the picture, but this was only a small percentage.
In Great Britain the eugenically oriented Salvationists who became active mental health supporters were:
Dr. Doris Odlum; Dr. E. Slater; Sir Aubrey Lewis; Dr. Lancelot Hogben; Miss Robina Addis; Lord and Lady Adrian; Lord Brain; Sir Russell Brain; Prof. C. Fraser Brockington; Dr. Felix W. Brown; Rt. Hon. Sir John Brunner; Prof. Cyril Burt; Comdr. and Mrs. B.R. Darwin; Lady Darwin; Prof. H.J. Eysenck; The Earl of Feversham; Miss Evelyn Fox; Dame Katherine Furse; The Earl of Iveagh; Dr. F.M. Martin; Dr. T.A. Munro; Lady Petrie; Dr. R.E. Pilkington; Kenneth Robinson; The Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Scott; Mrs H.M. Strickland; Prof. J.M. Tanner; Prof. Sir G.H. Thomson; Prof. R.M. Titmuss; Dr. J. Tizard; Dr. A.F. Tredgold; Dr. R.F. Tredgold; Dr. Isabel G.H. Wilson; Prof. R.C. Wofinden; Dr. T.L. Pilkington.
Dr. Werner Villinger (T4-adviser); Dr. Carl Jung; Dr. Werner Heyde (T4-adviser); Dr. Ehrhard (Villinger's Assistant).
Dr. Muller-Hegemann (De Crinis Assistant).
The German Society for Mental Hygiene, however, was dissolved, its members scattered for cover and its reports left incomplete. Until today no new German Society has been founded on a national basis.
Villinger had tried to collect the Mental Hygiene movement back into one group, but the murderers were not willing to come together in a German society, where they could easily be isolated as a cancer. Instead they preferred the mask of a group from which they could direct similar campaigns on each country in the world, just as they had done before. Their names are still to be found amongst the professors for psychiatry at the universities, the staff in scientific research institutes, and among the members of professional associations.
Professor Hans Hoff.
Dr. Karl Stern (who studied in Germany under Ernst Rüdin).
Dr. Georg K. Stürup; Dr Pout Bonnevie; Dr. Paul J. Reiter; Dr. Erik Strömgren; Dr. Einar Geert-Jorgensen; Dr August Wimmer; Dr Kurt Fremming; Dr. Jens Chr. Smidt; Dr. Tage Kemp; Dr. Max Schmidt; Dr. G.E. Schroder.
Dr. Jan Mohr; Dr. J. Schutz-Larsen.
In the USA:
Dr. Walter C. Alvarez.
In each of these countries, and in others, a National Association for Mental Health or an equivalent group existed which was recruited into the fold by the WFMH.
In Denmark, Louis Grandjean who had been Director of the Landsforeningen for Mentalhygiejne for 5 1/2 years wrote in 1954 "The Little Milieu" which was a study in family heredity. In the book he praises Herman Lundborg and Sören Hansen both notorious vice-presidents of the international Federation of Eugenic Organisations.
Stürup of the Danish "Landsforeningen" also had an interesting career. Immediately after the war he undertook a psychiatric study of Danes who had collaborated with the Nazis. The records and results on Stürup's insistence were declared secret. The effect is that these results are not available to the public and no-one can identify the Nazi collaborators and what happened to them.
In 1960 Eggert Petersen, former psychological-warfare operative in Danish Military Intelligence, was appointed director of the Danish "Landsforeningen". This may not be significant but it bears an amazing resemblance to the British NAMH.
The professional associations of medical men and psychiatrists were not immediately recruited, as the Board of the WFMH over the years contained many of the top men from these same professional associations. Influence was easily brought to bear on the American Psychiatric Association, the Association of Neurologists and Psychiatrists, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychiatrie und Nervenheilkunde (Marburg), the Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, the Canadian Psychiatric Association and many more. Today many of these associations have joined the WFMH ranks of member and affiliated associations. There remain only a few professional groups in the mental sciences who are not swayed by the hypnotic command to "Kill".
The influence of a huge professional body could not be halted by the mere death of over a quarter of a million mental patients and others, and at least a million Jews in the T4 extermination camps, it could only be slowed; but the ranks are reforming for the next social onslaught which this time may not be disguised by war but by charity. Lord Adrian, member of the Eugenics Society, the British NAMH and the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, expressed this kind of charity in a speech he gave in 1956:
...preventive health services are bound to interfere with individual liberty... and if they aim at mental as well as physical health they must be prepared to separate mothers from children and to supervise the lives of people who would like to be let alone.
THE SAME OLD TUNE
In 1957 Dr. C.P. Blacker, then Honorary Secretary of the Society, suggested a further retreat into the background, and adherence to the policy of crypto-Eugenics, that is, through finance and propaganda from behind the scenes.
This proposal was adopted in 1960 and the Society set out on a wide-spread programme of manipulation. Genetics and Eugenics as such - not behind the cloak of mental health - were still, in spite of their unsavoury associations in the public mind, able to make remarkable progress. And the various eugenics societies flourish today.
Some of the well-known arms of the octopus are: The Marie Stopes Memorial Foundation, a subsidiary subsidised bit the Eugenics Society; the Family Planning Association and the International Planned Parenthood Foundation, which are heavily financed by the Eugenics Society; the Voluntary Sterilisation Association was directed from the same address as the Eugenics Society; the Galton Foundation, run by the Eugenics Society; and others.
Dr. C.P. Blacker, now chairman of the Eugenics Society discovered, while a member of a committee of investigation on the atrocities committed by Nazi doctors, that although none of the experiments produced scientific conclusions and although the methods used by the Nazis were unfortunate, euthanasia of the insane was acceptable.
In an address to the Eugenics Society in 1951 he outlined the three following areas in relation to Germany:
· Sterilisation under the 1934 edict of law.
· Euthanasia of the chronically mentally ill and of those similarly handicapped.
· Experiments using live people for the purpose of developing an economical method of mass sterilisation
He acknowledged that he was quite satisfied with the area of legal sterilisation, the law governing which he thought was correct, except for sterilisation based on racial grounds - for Blacker naturally makes no attempt to pass moral judgement.
On the subject of euthanasia of the mentally ill he explains:
...these people were mercifully killed. The idea of merciful killing is not unknown in this country; in fact a society on a voluntary basis... exists to promote it.
Nevertheless, he condemns experiments on living people for three specific reasons:
a) It was not necessary to use human beings. Animal experiments would have met the purpose Just as well.
b) No results of the slightest scientific interest are recorded; nor in my opinion were any likely to have resulted even if more time had been available.
c) The experiments failed in their primary purpose of providing a cheap method of mass sterilisation or castration...
If we examine this condemnation more closely, it is easily recognised that had it been the case that an economical means of mass sterilisation had been discovered, the experiments could only have been condemned by reason of the first-named point. Apart from that, these three viewpoints implied that the development of a low-cost method of mass sterilisation would represent a worthwhile scientific product. Where and under what conditions could such a wonderful achievement be put to use? As if wishing to pursue his unspoken, logical train of thought, he recommends that the continuation of experimentation with one of the sterilisation-drugs which were being used by the Nazi doctors would be perfectly in order.
The profound and immeasurable silence of the medical profession in regard to the German doctors does not find its foundation on a lack of knowledge about what happened.
Today, sterilisations as well as euthanasia are encouraged for eugenic reasons by medical people, mainly psychiatrists, but of course now dressed in different garb. Just as the master builders of T4 went underground after the war and later emerged as members of the WFMH, so also did their ideals and their interests.
Eugenics has made a comeback as a so-called experimental field whose products are test-tube babies, artificial insemination, and the like. Articles in the popular press, about artificial insemination and genetic engineering in the future, are very common today. Sterilisation has been resuscitated as part of the Planned Parenthood Programme. Whereas formerly one heard the cry, "If we don't do something soon we'll be inundated by people", and Malthus proclaimed, "If we don t control birth we'll run out of supplies of food", nowadays the call goes out, "If we don't start using birth control, we won t have anywhere to stand". The melody is the same, only the words have changed.
Euthanasia has surfaced again as a charitable organisation dispensing "Death with Dignity", a new euphemism, with the aim of giving a person who is in a state of health which precludes any chance of being cured the opportunity of letting himself be killed, but of course only when he is complete agreement with the measure. In the case of mental unbalance, a relative can give consent. Once again the first signs of forced euthanasia are becoming visible, aimed at the mentally ill.
Should anyone be interested in getting a picture of the current situation, he should have a look around his home country, and at neighbouring ones, for he will surely find something along the lines of:
(1) A (national) association for Mental Health
(2) A Eugenics society or group
(3) Some type of Abortion Reform League
(4) An association for Voluntary Sterilisation
(5) An association for Voluntary Euthanasia
If the members and committees of these associations are then cross-checked, he will see that:
(1) Many names cross-check
(2) A large percentage of the members of branches 3, 4, and 5 above stem from sections 1 and 2.
(3) They constantly carry on mutual complementary propaganda.
Take Great Britain as a concrete example. The directorate of the Abortion Law Reform Association is comprised of:
Prof. Glanville Williams NAMH supporter and member of the Eugenics Society.
Sir Julian Huxley NAMH supporter, an officer of the Eugenics Society and of the Euthanasia Society.
Baroness Stocks member of the NAMH Galton Lecturer.
Dr Eliot Slater member of the Eugenics Society - and many others.
The Executive Committee of the Euthanasia Society:
Lord Adrian member of the NAMH and of the Eugenics Society.
Prof. Glanville Williams member of the NAMH and of the Eugenics Society.
Sir Julian Huxley member of the NAMH and of the Eugenics Society.
On the executive committee of the Birth Control Campaign figure among others:
Prof. Eliot Slater member of the Eugenics Society.
Baroness Stocks member of the NAMH and of the Eugenics Society.
Prof. Glanville Williams member of the Eugenics Society and of the NAMH.
A bill to be entitled
An act relating to the right to die with dignity; providing an effective date.
Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
Section 2. Any person with the same formalities as required by law for the execution of a last will and testament, may execute a document directing that he shall have the right to death with dignity, and that his life shall not be prolonged beyond the point of a meaningful existence.
Section 3. in the event any person is unable to make such a decision because of mental or physical incapacity, a spouse or person or persons of first degree kinship shall be allowed to make such a decision, provided written consent is obtained from:
(1) The spouse or person of first degree kinship or
(2) in the event of two (2) persons of first degree kinship both such persons or
(3) in the event of three (3) or more persons of first degree kinship the majority of those persons.
Section 4. If any person is disabled and there is no kinship as provided in section 3, death with dignity shall be granted any person if in the opinion of three (3) physicians the prolongation of life is meaningless.
Section 5. Any document executed hereunder must be recorded with the clerk of the circuit court in order to be effective.
Section 6. This act shall take effect upon becoming law.
Fortunately this bill was not passed, and so far the AMA has been silent on the whole issue, but judging by the silence with which the German atrocities were met I can safety predict that the AMA will soon be unofficially espousing the cause of voluntary euthanasia.
The principles and practices are exactly the same as those that the Nazi psychiatrists used. One British expert recently arguing the case for euthanasia even went so tar as to say that certain defectives are a burden to themselves and others (the State perhaps) and therefore should be put out of their misery.
With the full support of the South African Council for Mental Health and the Association of Neurologists and Psychiatrists, South Africa, which is heavily inclined in this direction anyway, will have sterilisation laws introduced before long. At this time heavy propaganda for sterilisation is being promoted there as a continuation of S. Africa's early history. In 1930 H.B. Fantham, Professor of Zoology at Witwatersrand, wrote in “Child Welfare Magazine”:
...there must be limitations of multiplication of those definitely inferior or below average in inborn good qualities. In South Africa there must be limitations of the `poor white' element.
In 1934 Dr. P.W. Laidler, Medical Officer for Health of East London, wrote an article for the S.A. Tydskrif vir Geneeskundiges called for a South African sterilisation law "on the lines of Germany". Some interesting quotes from his article:
"It is the white man's deficients who drag him down."
"The prevention of family is essential where stock is poor."
"A lessening of the increase of the unfit would lighten the tax payer's burden."
"We are overburdened with poor of normal minds and defectives. Possibly we are overburdened with better class minds."
"Man continues to load himself with a burden of deficients."
In October 1971 as this book was being written, Dr. Troskie an Executive member of the South African Medical and Dental Council called for the merciless elimination of weak genetic elements. He proposed the formation of a Genetic Committee composed of a judge and medical, sociological and religious experts to:
…prevent those parents from leaving a burden on society. The committee will make the decision for them.
This is apparently not a new idea in South Africa, as several groups are involved in a debate over whether there should be compulsory or voluntary sterilisation, and now a group of sociologists intend to approach the Prime Minister about the problem.
The parallel between Nazi Germany and modern South Africa is very close.
The Rockefeller institute that backs the AMA has produced devastating results at home and overseas. It was Rockefeller who financed the foundation of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, and gave Professor Rüdin one whole floor of the building for his genetic research in the 20's. The German Mental Hygiene Movement was heavily subsidised by Rockefeller and thereby put into a healthy position to continue its aims and objectives to the bitter end. Further it was Dr. Alexis Carrel of the Rockefeller institute and a Nobel Prize Winner who so loudly applauded the actions of the Germans and blatantly advocated the mass murder of mental patients and prisoners.
Currently in the U.S. the psychiatric profession is making extensive use of prisoners as experimental material for medical experiments with AMA approval. The Rockefeller family continues to subsidise the Medical-Psychiatric professors and one of the Rockefellers is on the Board of the American National Association for Mental Health. In 1970 in Hawaii, a bill was introduced the exact wording of which was:
A Bill for an Act Relating to Population Control.
The legislation finds
(1) that population growth is the most serious and most challenging problem for mankind today;
(2) that the time necessary for the population of the world to double is now about thirty-five years;
(3) that the "death rate solution" by war famine or pestilence is an unacceptable destructive solution to the problem of birth control;
(4) that population control is an acceptable humanitarian solution to the problem of population growth. The purpose of this Act is to control the population size of this State by a program of birth regulation.
Every physician attending a woman resident of this State at the time she is giving birth in the State shall, it the woman has two or more living children, perform such medical technique or operation as will render the woman sterile.
This Act shall take effect on July 1, 1971.
Even amongst our neighbours trends in this direction can be recognised. In Switzerland it was Dr. André Repond who had applauded Germany's efforts, and had been so proud of his own work in ensuring that only eugenically sound marriages took place in one of the Swiss cantons.
The question of euthanasia and sterilisation are not problems of yesterday to be discussed at club-meetings or amongst intellectuals as philosophic or historic subjects. The psychiatrists as strong as ever, have begun to agitate more and more loudly for the right to sterilise and kill.
In July 1972 Dr. T.L. Pilkington in The Practitioner called for yet further murders to be committed.
...there seem to be clear indications that technologically developed nations will be rapidly obliged to review the complexity of the life that they create, embark on a modern eugenic programme designed to steepen the tail of the graph of the normal I.Q. distribution below 100 or consider some form of legalised euthanasia. It is possible, of course, that the final `solution' will combine all these with increasing methods of specific prevention.
The Death March has again begun.
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Archiv für Rassen-und Gesellschaftsbiologie (G)
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