The Disabled in Nazi Ideology
In class this week we discussed the nazi ideology and racial views of the third reich. Trying to follow the train of thought used in these ideas is extremely confusing. We talked about Hitler’s theories of racial purity and distinctions in class, but not very much on the nazi policies on the mentally and physically disabled. Nazis believed that these individuals were also a liability to the aryan race, and should not be allowed to be part of the bloodline. They are portrayed as a burden on the rest of society, as this can be seen in table on page 211, in our Inside Hitler’s Germany book, that shows the prices it takes to support them compared to the averages person’s wage. Hitler would pass laws in order to try and solve the impurity problem in the aryan race by sterilizing and and killing the mentally and physically disabled. According to one document directed towards teachers, “Be also warned of misguided compassion; stress instead that the law is a blessing for the child to be sterilized as wells for the parents and the entire family, for the unborn generation, and for the entire national community.(1)” In this sense the nazis were trying to convince people that this is a benefit for everyone. In 1939 Hitler passed through the euthanasia program. It was documented in one letter that, “Others are of the opinion that it is necessary in view of the regenerating process of the German people to exterminate as quickly as possible all those feebleminded and otherwise hopeless cases, as well as abnormal, antisocial, and those unable to live within the community.(2)” Many people deemed mentally ill were transferred from hospitals and then murdered. The program was attempted under secrecy, but it was found out. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the nazis wished and attempted to do away with disabled instead of helping them in order to create a more “pure” race.
(1) Benjamin Sax & Dieter Kuntz “National Socialist Ideology” Inside Hitler’s Germany D.C. Heath and Company, 1992 page 213
(2) Benjamin Sax & Dieter Kuntz “National Socialist Ideology” Inside Hitler’s Germany D.C. Heath and Company, 1992 page 215
(3) “Action T4” Wikipedia, published October 6th, 2015, accessed October 8th, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_T4