Nazi euthanasia files are made public – BMJ

Nazi euthanasia files are made public – BMJ

Fri, 17 Oct 2003

Documents pertaining to Nazi euthanasia–i.e., medically approved murder (1939-1944) have been concealed for half a century by the secret service of the former German Democratic Republic. Among the victims targeted for medical murder were mentally and physically disabled adults and children.

“Eighty eight year old Rosemarie Albrecht, former director of the Ear Nose and Throat Hospital and former dean of the medical faculty in Jena, is accused of taking part in the killing of at least 159 women and 11 children when in 1940 she worked as a junior doctor in a psychiatric hospital in Stadtroda, Thuringia.”

Notwithstanding the admission of German medicine guilt, by the honorary president of the German Medical Association, the murderers are mostly assured protection from legal prosecution. Had these documents been brought to light when there were still living witnesses, they could have served as evidence in a court of law.

The unthinkable is possible when medicine deviates from the physician’s personal oath to patients to “do no harm.” When medicine serves government or corporate agendas illegitimate medical practices are concealed by a veil of secrecy and protected by a fraternal culture of silence.

British Medical Journal 2003;327:832 (11 October)

Nazi’s euthanasia files are made public

Heidelberg
Annette Tuffs

For the first time, files relating to the 200 000 euthanasia crimes of the Nazi regime from 1939 to 1944 are available online in a central databank. The German Federal Archive in Berlin has gathered information from almost 300 archives in Germany, Austria, Poland, and the former Czechoslovakia.

The research project was partly financed by the German Medical Association. Speaking at the press launch in Berlin, the association’s honorary president, Karsten Vilmar, once more admitted the guilt of German medicine, which had taken an active part in the euthanasia.

In 1990 about 70 000 previously unknown documents dating from the Nazi era, which had been preserved in the central archives of the Ministry for State Security, were found. The secret service of the former German Democratic Republic had kept them for decades without following up the crimes.

The new databank also contains files from many other sources. Altogether, about 200 000 people were killed in gas chambers, with drugs, or through starvation because they were considered handicapped, socially unacceptable, or mentally ill and were therefore deemed worth killing, according to Nazi ideology. The databank, which is in German, can be accessed by relatives of victims of euthanasia and historians. However, the names of victims are not listed.

Rediscovered files have already led to the investigation, starting in 2000, of a former member of Jena University.

Eighty eight year old Rosemarie Albrecht, former director of the Ear Nose and Throat Hospital and former dean of the medical faculty in Jena, is accused of taking part in the killing of at least 159 women and 11 children when in 1940 she worked as a junior doctor in a psychiatric hospital in Stadtroda, Thuringia.

Legal investigations are proving difficult because of a lack of witnesses and because knowledge of the victims and their fate is scarce.

Rosemarie Albrecht rejects the accusations and claims that she was only looking after the small percentage of the patients in the psychiatric hospital who were considered treatable and that she did not know what happened to the majority of “untreatable” patients in the ward, who were looked after by nursing staff.

The central databank of the German Federal Archives is at
http://www.bundesarchiv.de/findbuecher/stab/euth/einfueh.php

http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/327/7419/832-a
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