26 November 2008

Germany: 9,000 euthanasia victims' register

German publication Deutsche Welle carried a story on the compilation of a register of 9,000 mentally ill people killed by the Nazis as part of Hitler's euthanasia policy. Germany historians at Berlin's Freie University and Brandenburg's memorial trust are spearheading the effort.


Hitler first outlined his Nazi euthanasia campaign, which would later be called Operation T4, in his book "Mein Kampf." Believed to have claimed 70,000 victims between January 1940 and August 1941 alone, the idea behind Operation T4 was disseminated through Nazi propaganda films depicting the mentally or terminally ill as "useless mouths to feed."

Financed by the German lottery, the university in Berlin and the state of Brandenburg's memorial trust, which is located in the town of Brandenburg, have decided to lead the one year project because they feel the issue of euthanasia during Hitler's reign has not received the proper attention it deserves.

"We have wanted to do this for years, but the state archives and many of the necessary information sources only became available after German re-unification," said Guenter Morsch, a researcher at the Brandenburg memorial trust.

Historians believe that more than 100,000 people - most previously unidentified - were euthanized. Researchers say exposing this horror is an important step for Germany as it continues to delve into its Nazi past.

Brandenburg was where the first mentally ill Jews were killed. "Too few people are aware of how significant this town was during the Jewish Holocaust," said Morsch, who added that the register is a dignified way to remember the deceased, it's a service to families left behind, important for general historical research and will serve an educational purpose.

Read the complete story at the link above.

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