Hitler’s call for a halt to the T4 action did not mean an end to the “euthanasia” killing operation. The child “euthanasia” program continued as before. Moreover, in August 1942, German medical professionals and healthcare workers resumed the killings, albeit in a more carefully concealed manner than before. More decentralized than the initial gassing phase, the renewed effort relied closely upon regional exigencies, with local authorities determining the pace of the killing.
Phase 2 of Hitler’s euthanasia attacked adults with disabilities with secret gassing and cremation
This photo originates from a film produced by the Reich Propaganda Ministry. It shows two doctors in a ward in an unidentified asylum. The existence of the patients in the ward is described as "life only as a burden." Such propaganda images were intended to develop public sympathy for the Euthanasia Program.
Euthanasia planners quickly envisioned extending the killing program to adult disabled patients living in institutional settings. In the autumn of 1939, Adolf Hitler signed a secret authorization in order to protect participating physicians, medical staff, and administrators from prosecution; this authorization was backdated to September 1, 1939, to suggest that the effort was related to wartime measures.
Because the Führer Chancellery was insular, compact, and separate from state, government, or Nazi Party apparatuses, Hitler chose this, his private chancellery, to serve as the engine for the “euthanasia” campaign. Its functionaries called their secret enterprise “T4.” The operation took its code-name from the street address of the program’s coordinating office in Berlin: Tiergartenstrasse 4. Continue reading →
Campaign that killed 6 million Jews, dissidents and Romans was perfected first on Germans with disabilities
Buses used to transport patients to Hadamar euthanasia center. The windows were painted to prevent people from seeing those inside. Germany, between May and September 1941.
Part 1 in a series of 4 articles
The term “euthanasia” (literally, “good death”) usually refers to the inducement of a painless death for a chronically or terminally ill individual who would otherwise suffer. In the Nazi context, however, “euthanasia” represented a euphemistic term for a clandestine murder program which targeted for systematic killing mentally and physically disabled patients living in institutional settings in Germany and German-annexed territories.
The so-called “Euthanasia” program was National Socialist Germany’s first program of mass murder, predating the genocide of European Jewry, which we call the Holocaust, by approximately two years. The effort represented one of many radical eugenic measures which aimed to restore the racial “integrity” of the German nation. It endeavored to eliminate what eugenicists and their supporters considered “life unworthy of life”: those individuals who–they believed–because of severe psychiatric, neurological, or physical disabilities represented at once a genetic and a financial burden upon German society and the state. Continue reading →