Yesterday, I blogged about the Courage to Remember exhibit which is currently traveling around to American colleges. Another USHMM exhibit, entitled Creating the Master Race is also available on loan to colleges and universities. This exhibit explains the connection between the Nazi program of killing the handicapped, in order to “create a Master Race,” and the subsequent killing of the Jews, which was part of the Nazi plan to keep the German race pure.
The Jewish Weekly has a current article about two students at Emory University (where Deborah Lipstadt is a professor) who had many discussions about “how doctors and nurses were complicit in mass murder” during the Holocaust.
This quote is from the article in The Jewish Weekly:
A Ghanaian medical student at Emory University in Atlanta, Pierre Ankomah had a Jewish roommate with whom he’d often discuss how their profession “seriously erred” during the years of the Holocaust, how doctors and nurses were complicit in mass murder.
They spent many hours “questioning why people were able to, en masse, buy into the hideous ideas that were perpetrated by the Nazis,” he says. “Why were there such few and muted voices of dissent?” [...]
Along with other future members of the medical profession, he [the Ghanaian student] visited the venues of the Final Solution as part of a program sponsored by New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust to teach young professionals the moral lessons offered by the Shoah. The museum recently featured those lessons in the exhibit, “Creating the Master Race,” on loan from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
The gist of the article in The Jewish Weekly is contained in this quote:
The doctors who aided and enabled the Nazis’ racist policies — in the name of eugenics, the Nazi-endorsed study of heredity — provide the strongest example imaginable of people abandoning their morality and professional ethics …..
You can read about the USHMM exhibit Creating the Master Race here. The title of the exhibit is “Deadly Medicine Creating the Master Race.” A video on the USHMM website explains it.
This quote is from the USHMM website:
From 1933 to 1945, Nazi Germany carried out a campaign to “cleanse” German society of individuals viewed as biological threats to the nation’s “health.” Enlisting the help of physicians and medically trained geneticists, psychiatrists, and anthropologists, the Nazis developed racial health policies that began with the mass sterilization of “genetically diseased” persons and ended with the near annihilation of European Jewry.
A few years ago, I went to see Hartheim Castle where handicapped and mentally ill people were killed. From the exhibits there, I learned why Holocaust historians maintain that there was a direct connection between the killing of the “genetically diseased” and the genocide of the Jews.
I took the photo below on my visit to Hartheim Castle.
The photo above shows a picture of Franz Stangl on the left hand side. His picture is the third one from the left on the left side of the poster.
Franz Stangl was the man who was appointed by Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler in 1940 to be the superintendent of the T-4 Euthanasia Program at Hartheim Castle. He was later transferred to the Sobibor extermination camp in Poland in March 1942 where he was the Commandant until September 1942 when he was transferred to the extermination camp at Treblinka.
Do you get the connection? The man who was put in charge of killing the handicapped and mentally ill was the same man who was put in charge of killing the Jews in Sobibor and Treblinka, two of the Operation Reinhard camps that were set up following the Wannsee Conference in which “The Final Solution” was planned on January 20, 1942.
The photo above shows an antique chair that is displayed in a glass case in the exhibit area at Hartheim Castle. This is a very old chair with no wheels in which a handicapped person had to be carried by two people.
The title of the exhibits at Hartheim Castle is “Wert des lebens” which means “the value of life” in English. This is also the theme of the Hartheim Memorial Site, which promotes the concept that handicapped students should be mainstreamed in the schools. The exhibits put the issue of the handicapped into a positive perspective; they are shown as being “worthy of life” and as people who should be treated with respect.
Before sending the victims into the gas chamber at Hartheim Castle, the Nazis took a photograph of each one. However, in the exhibits at Hartheim Castle, the photos of the people who were killed are not shown. Instead of showing the photographs of the pathetic institutionalized people who were killed at Hartheim, there are present-day photos of 3 handicapped students and 2 mentally or physically challenged adults who are leading normal lives.
The Nazi euthanasia program began in August 1939 when a five-month-old baby boy, named Gerhard Kretschmar, was “put to sleep” after the boy’s father made a request to Adolf Hitler for a “mercy killing.” Hitler sent his personal physician, Karl Brandt, to conduct a medical examination before giving his permission for the infant to be given a lethal injection.
Karl Brandt was put on trial at Nuremberg in the “Doctor’s Trial.” In his testimony, Brandt said that the baby’s father, Richard Kretchmar, had written to Hitler’s office in early 1939, asking for permission to kill his blind and deformed son.
The following quote is from Brandt’s testimony:
The father of a deformed child wrote to the Fuhrer with a request to be allowed to take the life of this child or this creature. Hitler ordered me to take care of this case. The child had been born blind, seemed to be idiotic, and a leg and parts of the arm were missing.
An estimated 8,000 deformed children were killed in the same manner, some without the consent of their parents.
The Nazi euthanasia program was code-named T4, named after the address on Tiergartensstrasse in Berlin; this was the street address of the Privatkanzlei des Führers run by Philip Bouhler. By the beginning of 1940, six hospitals were involved in these “mercy killings.” Records discovered in 2003 show that the euthanasia program was eventually extended to 296 medical facilities in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Poland where mentally and physically disabled children and adults were injected, gassed or starved to death.
The Nazis made a documentary film of some of the adult victims before they were killed; this was an attempt to justify the murder of disabled and deformed people. Many of the victims, who were crippled by a birth defect called spina bifida, are shown in the film, walking on all fours. This film is not shown at the Hartheim Memorial Site.
One room in the exhibit area at Hartheim Castle is devoted to posters from America, as shown in the two photographs above. These American posters promote the theory that heredity is to blame for the mentally and physically handicapped.
Eugenics was a new science that was first developed in America around the turn of the 20ieth century; it quickly spread to Germany and other countries in Europe. This was the science of selective breeding of people, based on the premise that mental and physical characteristics are hereditary.
Eugenics was very popular at one time and the exhibit area at Hartheim has one small room devoted to the subject of eugenics. The photo below shows a poster which encouraged the German people to have normal, healthy families.
In Hitler’s Germany, deformed and mentally retarded persons, who had been institutionalized by their families, were sent to Hartheim Castle or the five other euthanasia centers, where they were murdered. The Nazis kept track of how much money the government had saved by putting these people to death. After the war these documents were found by General Patton’s army. The total amount saved by killing over 70,000 handicapped people was 885,000,000 Reichsmark or 3 billion dollars in today’s money.
The original German term for “Master Race” was Herrenvolk. The British translation of Herrenvolk is “Race of Lords.” Herren is the plural of Herr which can be translated into English as Mister or Master. In America today, the term “Master Race” has the connotation of evil. I will leave it up to the native German speakers, who read this blog, to explain the real meaning of the term Herrenvolk.
Update 12:54 p.m.
According to my wordpress “site stats,” the most popular post on my blog is the one about Dr. Mengele the “surgeon of Birkenau.” Dr. Mengele has been demonized because he was doing research on heredity to find out how genetic traits are inherited. The photo below shows a Jewish dwarf who was selected for research by Dr. Mengele. This photo is shown in the Courage to Remember exhibit.
In 1935, Hitler enacted the Nuremberg Laws which included a law against intercourse between Jews and non-Jews. The purpose was to prevent the birth of children with deformities which were prevalent among the Jews due to years of in-breeding.
The Jews were affronted by the implication that the Germans considered the Jews to be inferior. Terms like Herrenvolk and Übermensch were considered an insult by the Jews. The Jewish religion teaches, in the Talmud, that Jews are the only human beings; non-Jews are animals.
This is why “Creating the Master Race” is lumped in with the genocide of the Jews in the official Holocaust history. The implication is that the Hitler wanted to get rid of the Jews because he thought that the Jews were racially inferior, not because the Jews had ever done anything wrong with regard to the German nation.