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On This Day



On This Day… Nazi Germany’s Euthanasia Program

Written by: George Chittenden : 05 Aug 2019

It was on this day, 1st Sept back in 1939 when Nazi Germany's first program of mass murder, the Euthanasia Program was approved, with Adolf Hitler signing a backdated secret authorisation to his physician Karl Brandt and Reichsleiter Philipp Bouhler to implement the programme. The authorisation was to protect the doctors and employees involved from prosecution. Many believe that the killing began in Nazi Germany with the genocide of European Jews, however Hitler’s attempts to restore what he believed to be the integrity of the German nation began with the disabled who he considered to be both a genetic and a financial burden on German society and the state. Could it get any worse? sadly yes, they started with children before moving on to adults. Parents were encouraged to admit the kids to specially designated paediatric clinics, which were in fact children's killing wards.

Victims of the Euthanasia Program

Victims of the Euthanasia Program

Of course it was a closely guarded secret and people working on the Euthanasia Program took measures to hide what was going on, and even falsified official records in every case to indicate that the victims died of natural causes. The program was eventually when the truth came out Hitler ordered a halt to the euthanasia program in late August 1941. Sadly in August 1942, German medical professionals and healthcare workers resumed the killings, although in a more carefully concealed manner than before and they continued until the final days of the war. Conservative estimates suggest that at least 5,000 physically and mentally disabled German children perished as a result of the child "euthanasia" program during the war years, however when you factor adults into the equation that number increases to about 200,000 in Germany and Austria, with about 100,000 victims in other European countries.

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