The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: places/germany/euthanasia//14f13.04

File: euthanasia 14f13.04
Last-modified: 1993/04/25

Sender: (Danny Keren)

I thought to follow this article by posting some original transcripts
about the killing of the insane. They are followed by the testimony
of Brandt. It is interesting to see that the Nazis also liquidated
the insane in the USSR.

Letter from chief of institution for feeble-minded in Stetten to
Reich Minister of justice Dr. Frank, September 6 1940
[ToWC, Vol. I, p. 854]
Dear Reich Minister,

The measure being taken at present with mental patients of all
kinds have caused a complete lack of confidence in justice among
large groups of people. Without the consent of relatives and
guardians, such patients are being transferred to different
institutions. After a short time they are notified that the
person concerned has died of some disease...

If the state really wants to carry out the extermination of these
or at least of some mental patients, shouldn't a law be
promulgated, which can be justified before the people - a law
that would give everyone the assurance od careful examination
as to whether he is due to die or entitled to live and which
would also give the relatives a chance to be heard, in a
similar way, as provided by the law for the prevention of
Hereditarily affected Progeny?

Letter from Dr. Wurm, of the Wuerttemberg Evangelical Provincial Church,
to Reich Minister of interior Dr. Frick, September 5 1940
[NCaA, Supp. A, p. 1223]
Dear Reich Minister,

On July 19th I sent you a letter about the systematic extermination
of lunatics, feeble-minded and epileptic persons. Since then this
practice has reached tremendous proportions: recently the inmates of
old-age homes have also been included. The basis for this practice
seems to be that in an efficient nation there should be no room
for weak and frail people. It is evident from the many reports which
we are receiving that the people's feelings are being badly hurt
by the measures ordered and that the feeling of legal insecurity
is spreading which is regrettable from the point of view of national
and state interest.

Letter to Reich Minister of Justice From Roman Catholic Bishop of
Limburg, 13 August 1941
[ToWC, Vol. I, p. 845]
Buses arrive in Hadamar several times a week with a large number of these
victims. School children in the neighborhood know these vehicles and say:
"Here comes the murder wagon." After the arrival of such vehicles the
citizens of Hadamar then see the smoke coming from the chimney and are upset
by constant thoughts about the poor victims especially when, depending on the
direction of the wind, they have to put up with the revolting smell. The
consequence of the principles being practiced here is that children, when
quarreling with one another make remarks like: "You are thick, you'll be put
in the oven in Hadamar." People who do not want to get married or who do not
get the opportunity say: "Get married? No fear. Put children into the world
who then end up going through the stack." Old people are saying "on no
account will I go into a state hospital! After the feeble-minded, the old
will be next in line as useless mouths to feed.

Letter from Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler to SS-Oberfuehrer Brack,
19 December 1940
[ToWC, Vol. I, p. 856]
Dear Brack,

I hear there is great excitement on the Alb because of the Grafeneck
The population recognizes the gray automobiles of the SS and think they
know what is going on at the constantly smoking crematory.  What happens
there is a secret and yet is no longer one.  Thus the worst feeling has
arisen there, and in my opinion there remains only one thing, to
discontinue the use of the institution in this place and in any event
disseminate information in a clever and sensible manner by showing motion
pictures on the subject of inherited and mental diseases in just that
May I ask for a report as to how the difficult problem is solved?

Extract from the Diary of General Halder, September-November 1941
[ToWC, Vol. X, p. 1195]
26 September 1941:
h. Mental institutions in Army Group North. Russians regards the
   feebleminded as sacred beings. Killing them is necessary,

Testimony of Brack, regarding gassing of insane people in Germany
[ToWC, Vol. I, p. 876]
Q: Witness, when adult persons were selected for euthanasia and sent
   by transport to euthanasia stations for that purpose, by what
   methods were the mercy deaths given?

A: The patients went to a euthanasia institution after the written
   formalities were concluded - I need not repeat these formalities
   here, they were physical examinations, comparison of the files,
   etc. The the patients were led to a gas chamber and were there
   killed by the doctors with carbon monoxide gas (CO).

Q: Where was that carbon monoxide obtained, by what process?

A: It was in a compressed gas container, like a steel oxygen
   container, such as is used for welding - a hollow steel

Q: And these people were placed in this chamber in groups, I
   suppose, and then the carbon monoxide was turned into the

A: Perhaps I had better explain this in some detail. Bouhler's
   basic requirement was that the killing should not only be
   painless, but also imperceptible. For this reason, the
   photographing of the patients, which was only done for
   scientific reasons, took place before they entered the
   chambers, and the patients were completely diverted thereby.
   Then they were led into the gas chamber which they were
   told was a shower room. They were in groups of perhaps
   20 or 30. They were gassed by the doctor in charge.

Q. What was done with the bodies of these people after mercy deaths
   were given?

A. When the room had been cleared of gas again, stretchers were
   brought in and the bodies were carried into an adjoining
   room. There the doctor examined them to determine whether they
   were dead.

Q. Then what happened to the bodies?

A. After the doctor had determined death, he freed the bodies for
   cremation and they were cremated.

Q. After he had freed the bodies, had determined that they were
   dead, they were then cremated? Is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. There was a crematory built for every one of these institutions?

A. Yes. Crematoriums were built in the institutions.
Q. And these people thought that they were going in to take a shower

A. If any of them had any power of reasoning, they had no doubt
   thought that.

Q. Well now, were they taken into the shower rooms with their
   clothes on or were they nude?

A. No. They were nude.

Q. In every case?

A. Whenever I saw them, yes.

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.