The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: places/germany/euthanasia//frick.001

Archive/File: places/germany/euthanasia/frick.001 
Last-Modified: 1994/03/05

   "'One category of Frick's contribution ... deserves special
   notice,' Robert Kempner asserted to the court. 'This is the
   systematic killing of persons regarded as useless to the German war
   machine, such as the insane, the crippled, the aged, and foreign
   laborers who were no longer able to work.'

   The euthanasia action had had its wellspring in a passage of Mein
   Kampf: 'The right of personal freedom recedes before the duty to
   preserve the race. There must be no half measures. It is a half
   measure to let incurably sick people steadily contaminate the
   remaining healthy ones. This is in keeping with the humanitarianism
   which, to avoid hurting one individual, lets a hundred others
   perish. If necessary, the incurably sick will be pitilessly
   segregated -- a barbaric measure for the unfortunate who is struck
   by it, but a blessing for his fellow men and posterity.'

   Implementation of this philosophy had begun on July 14, 1933, the
   same day that the Fu"hrer Principle had been promulgated, when the
   cabinet enacted 'The Law for the Prevention of Offspring with
   Hereditary Diseases,' providing that 'Anyone who is suffering from
   a hereditary disease can be sterilized by a surgical operation.'

   Though the law established a 'eugenics court' to which a
   sterilization order could be appealed, the procedure was a fiction.
   As in so many of the other Nazi measures the appearance of legality
   served merely to cloak the dehumanized application of Hitler's
   aberrant concepts.

   In the summer of 1937, a year after Hitler remilitarized the
   Rhineland, he had ordered the secret roundup and sterilization of
   all the 'Rhineland bastards' -- children fathered by the French and
   Belgian occupation troops. Neither their parents nor guardians were
   informed, and no public acknowledgement of the action was ever
   permitted. As was the case throughout the Nazi regime in all the
   various professions, Hitler had no difficulty finding doctors,
   nurses, and hospitals to execute his designs.

   During the same period that Hitler decreed the Rhineland
   sterilizations, a German medical economist pointed out, in an
   article entitled 'The Fight Against Degeneration,' that the care of
   a deaf-mute or cripple cost 6 marks a day, that of a reform school
   inmate 4.85 marks, and that of a mentally ill or deficient person
   4.50 marks. The average earnings of a laborer, on the other hand,
   were only 2.50 marks, and those of a civil servant 4 marks daily.
   (The exchange rate at the time was about forty cents -- 2.50 marks
   to the dollar.) The economist lamented: 'The state spends far more
   for the existence of these actually worthless compatriots than for
   the salary of a healthy man, who must bring up a healthy family,'
   and hinted that it was too bad that a more radical program than
   sterilization could not be employed.

   The economist's dissertation took on added meaning upon the
   outbreak of the war, when the Nazis earlier elimination of Jewish
   physicians generated a medical crises. (Approximately ten percent
   of doctors in Germany and half in Austria had been Jewish.) Because
   of Hitler's neglect of the civilian economy, jampacked, rundown
   institutions for the aged, the insance, and physically and mentally
   handicapped were turning into veritable snakepits. 'In connection
   with the limited space, this question of euthanasia came up,' Dr.
   Hermann Pfannmu"ller, chief psychiatrist at the Egglfing-Haar
   Asylum near Munich, related to Major John J. Monigan, a ... New
   Jersey lawyer who had responsibility for investigating euthanasia
   and medical experiments. For three thousand patients there had been
   only fifteen doctors, and some of these had been diverted to care
   for war casualties.

   Writing a report on what was required to maintain the patients,
   Pfannmu"ller's superior, the director of Egglfing-Haar, expressed
   the opinion: 'These days when our worthy men must make the hard
   sacrifice of blood and life teach us impressively that it is not
   possible on economic grounds to continue operating the
   installations of living corpses. The conception is unbearable for
   me that, while the best young men lose their lives at the front,
   the tainted asocial and unquestionably antisocial in the
   institutiions have a guaranteed existence.'

   Such and opinion fitted in completely with that of Hitler and his
   personal physician, Dr. Karl Brandt, the Reich Commissioner for
   Health and Sanitation. Early during the campaign in Poland, Brandt
   suggested to the Fu"hrer the necessity of weeding incurables out of
   the institutions.

   When the Reich Public Health Director, Dr. Leonardo Conti, and Hans
   Lammers, the state secretary and chief of the Reich (government)
   Chancellery, proved too bureaucratic and legalistic to work out
   practical implementation of such a program, the Fu"her put it in
   the hands of Brandt and the director of his personal chancellery,
   Philip Bouhler.

   'Reichsleiter Bouhler and Dr. Brandt,' Hitler wrote, 'are charged
   with the responsibility of expanding the authority of certain
   officially appointed doctors, so that after a critical diagnosis
   incurable persons may be granted a mercy death.'

   Hitler vested operational authority for the exterminations in
   Himmler, who was immediately to close down the institutions in the
   annexed portion of Poland and liquidate the inmates.

   In Germany itself, the first category of unfortunates to be
   victimized were the so-called _Ausschusskinderer_, translatable
   either as 'committee children' or 'garbage children,' who had
   previously been institutionalized or sterilized. On October 12, the
   SS expropriated the Grafeneck crippled children's institution....
   Under the supervision of Christian Wirth, criminal police
   commissioner of Wu"rttemberg, the children of Grafeneck were killed
   with overdoses of drugs secreted in their food. If they would not
   eat, they were dispatched with suppositories or injections. Setting
   up a front organization, the Public Corporation for Nursing Homes,
   Bouhler and Brandt sent questionnaires, to be filled out for every
   patient, to all child-care institutions in Germany. On the basis of
   the completed questionnaires, children who were considered
   'incurable' or had hereditary diseases were picked for 'Besonderes
   Heilverfahren' (special healing procedure) and transported to
   Grafeneck and a half-dozen similar installations subsequently set
   up throughout Germany....

   Then, early in 1940, with the liquidation of the children well under
   way, the exterminations were expanded to adults. Every institution
   caring for the mentally or physically afflicted was required to
   fill out patient questionnaires. One the basis of these,
   commissions of doctors and medical students made the selections for
   transportation -- soon, in fact, the selection became pro forma,
   and the asylums were cleared en masse." (Conot, 204-207)

                              Work Cited 

   Conot, Robert E.  Justice at Nuremberg.  New York: Harper & Row,

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.