The ideology of the Nazis was based on social Darwinism that held unreservedly to the notion of the survival of the fittest, at both the level of the individual as well das Staatsarchiv, Vol. 3 PDF the level of entire peoples and states. This notion claimed to have natural law on its side.
Författare: Ludwig Karl Aegidi.
All opposing religious and humanitarian views would ultimately prove to be unnatural. In 1929 Hitler said at the Nazi Party Conference in Nuremberg, „that an average annual removal of 700,000-800,000 of the weakest of a million babies meant an increase in the power of the nation and not a weakening“. If, nevertheless, it turns out that the newborn baby is a weak and misbegotten child, the medical council, which decides on citizenship for the community, should prepare a gentle death for it, say, using a little dose of morphine . In 1935 Hitler also announced at the Nuremberg Nazi Party to the Reich Medical Leader Gerhard Wagner that he should aim to „eliminate the incurably insane“, at the latest, in the event of a future war.
The elimination of „undesirable elements“ was implemented under the term „euthanasia“ at the beginning of the Second World War. According to the latest estimates about 260,000 people fell victim to the „War Against the Sick“. The immediate occasion for the beginning of the organized euthanasia of children is considered in the literature to be the so-called case of „Child K“. The common name, „Knauer Case“, should not be used according to the findings of medical historian, Udo Benzenhöfer. Until recently the identity of the child had not been disclosed, although it was known to German medical historians. One German historian, Udo Benzenhöfer, argued that the child’s name could not be disclosed because of Germany’s privacy laws relating to medical records. According to the testimony of the participants, the request on 23 May 1939 led to a meeting of the parents of the child with the director of the University Children’s Hospital, Leipzig, Werner Catel, about the chances of survival of the child.
According to Catel’s own statement, he held that the release of the child by an early death was the best solution for everyone involved. I worked on this request, as it was in my department. Since Hitler’s decision was requested, I forwarded it without comment to the Head of Main Office I in the KdF, Albert Bormann. As a simple act of mercy was being requested, I did not deem the involvement of the Reich Interior Minister and the Minister of Justice necessary. As early as about half a year before the outbreak of the war, there were more and more requests from incurably sick or very seriously injured people who asked for relief from their suffering, which was unbearable to them. These requests were especially tragic, because under existing laws a doctor was not allowed to take such wishes into account. I personally know of a petition that was sent to the Führer in 1939 via his adjutant’s office .
The case was about the father of a malformed child who applied to the Führer asking that the life of this child or this creature would be taken. At the time, Hitler ordered me to address this matter and to go to Leipzig immediately – it had happened in Leipzig – in order to confirm on the spot what had been asserted. The Knauer case led to Hitler authorizing Brandt and Bouhler to do likewise in cases of a similar nature to that of the Knauer child. Whether this authorization was granted in writing or verbally, I cannot say.
In any case, Brandt did not show us a written authorization. This authorization must have been granted, when Brandt told Hitler about the Knauer case. Brandt personally told me that this authorization had been granted in this way. 39 – 1079 Mi, which was marked „Strictly Confidential“ and specified the groups to be included and how they were to be assembled. Malformations of all kinds, particularly the absence of limbs, severe midline defects of the head and spine, etc. A template of a reporting form was enclosed with the circular, which had to be sent by public health authorities as required to their higher administrative authority. This form was withdrawn by a decree of 7 June 1940 and replaced by an improved one.
Uniquely, a reward of 2 RM for each report was given to the midwives affected „for professional services rendered“. Initially only children under the age of 3 were to be reported. The prescribed registration form gave the impression that registration was only being sought with the aim of providing special medical care. The district doctors sent the completed registration form to the National Committee where Office IIb of the KdF with its two medical laymen, Hefelmann and Hegener, screened out cases that they considered should not be sent to a „Special Children’s Ward“, i. Wentzler supported euthanasia with great enthusiasm and Professor Catel with conviction, and so they agreed without any pressure to so act as expert assessors. These three received the registration forms in sequence, so that the third expert knew the assessment of his two predecessors.
The decision over life or death of the child was taken only on the basis of the reporting form, without the experts having seen the child’s medical records nor the child in person. Included on these forms was a section indicating the race of the patient, for which ‚Jew‘ could be entered if applicable. Among the best preserved of these evaluation records belonged to an adult patient,“Klara B. Am Steinhof, where the Children’s Ward Am Spiegelgrund was also located. The health authority responsible and the proposed „Special Children’s Ward“ received a notice from the National Committee of its decision and assignment.
The local doctor then had to initiate the referral and notify the parents. The latter, however, were deliberately misled about the actual purpose of the referral, being tricked into believing it was for the special care and treatment of their children by specially equipped departments. As early as the first half of 1941 the age of the children was specified as up to 16 years in order to prevent mentally or physically disabled young people being gassed as victims of a „summary method“ within the framework of the Action T4. The circle of those affected was widened more and more.