Social Darwinists' Sterilization and Death Laws
Another of Social Darwinism's most wide-ranging practices is eugenics, the so-called science that seeks to improve the human race by means of breeding. The term was first proposed in 1883 by Charles Darwin's cousin Francis Galton, and consists of a combination of two Greek words; eu (good) and genet (birth). Put together, the word implies "well-born," or "genetic soundness." In contrast to its linguistic meaning, however, far from connoting good, this concept leads to savage cruelty.
A photograph of a 1914 eugenic training class
Supporters of eugenics claimed that only their own race or class needed protection and improvement, and that other races or classes needed to be subjected to "artificial selection." According to Galton, only the British upper class needed such protection. He therefore proposed that the poor, the sick, the weak and the untalented should be prevented from multiplying.
The Nazis, on the other hand, maintained that those who were not healthy Aryans were a burden on the state and needed to be eliminated by means of sterilization or extermination. They then put these ideas into practice. While sterilizing hundreds of thousands as part of their eugenics policy, the Nazis also killed more thousands for being sick, crippled, mentally handicapped, elderly, unskilled or without families, by sending them to the gas chambers, poisoning them, or leaving them to starve.
Proponents of eugenics think that most of the features of a person's character is inherited, or make partial claims to that effect. According to the supporters of eugenics, including Galton himself, undesirable characteristics like laziness or poverty are inherited. Imagining that idle parents would bear idle children, they attempted to prevent these people marrying in the first place. It is interesting how evolutionists could advocate such an illogical and nonsensical claim, in the name of so-called science.
The eugenics supported by Darwinists led to the suffering of a great many. Examining the development of this cruelty will give a better appreciation of the basic foundations of those who supported it. How Darwin supported and encouraged the perversion known as eugenics in the name of so-called science is therefore of great importance. Although the origins of eugenics extend back as far as Plato's Republic, with Darwinism it acquired an alleged scientific appearance and nearly became a branch of science in its own right. Karl Pearson, whose racist views we have already cited and who was strongly influenced by Galton, stated that the theory of evolution underlies the origin of eugenics:
Darwin's Legacy to His Cousin Galton: Eugenics
According to eugenicists, the elderly were also weak individuals needing to be eliminated. No respect or love was shown to them, and it was believed they needed to be removed from society.
The foundations of the perversion of eugenics were actually laid by Malthus and Darwin. Malthus's Essay, Darwin's source of inspiration, contained the basic ideas that would come to constitute eugenics. For example, Malthus claimed that human beings could multiply by means of the same methods as those used for breeding animal stock:
From this and a great many other statements, Malthus clearly regarded human beings as a kind of animal. His twisted perspective influenced Darwin, who made a number of predictions containing the disaster that was to become eugenics. In The Descent of Man, he expressed concern that thanks to various social practices, the weak were not being eliminated and that this could lead to a biologically backward trend. According to Darwin, the flawed ones among "savage peoples" and animals were swiftly eliminated, but it was a grave error for such members among civilized people to be protected by medicine and do-gooders. In the same way that animal breeders improved their stock lines through artificial selection, by eliminating the weak and sickly, human societies needed to do the same:
These words, the work of a diseased mentality, formed the basic encouragement for racists, proponents of eugenics and supporters of war; and eventually inflicted terrible catastrophes on humanity. At the end of The Descent of Man, Darwin made a great many more unscientific claims, including that the "struggle for existence" benefited humanity, in that the more gifted would be more successful in the battle of life than the less gifted; and that without it, people would sink into indolence.107
With these distorted theories, Darwin laid the groundwork for eugenic practices. The theory of evolution being regarded as so-called scientific fact led to eugenist and racist policies being accepted and put into practice.
Eugenics in Great Britain
Galton carried out an illogical and unsuccessful study to determine the common genetic features of criminals, based on fingerprints and face shape.
As already mentioned, the leader of eugenics was Darwin's cousin Francis Galton, but Leonard Darwin, Darwin's own son, was also one of the supporters and proponents of eugenics in Britain. Winston Churchill was another who lent the movement his support.108
Galton maintained that the principle of the "survival of the fittest" had to be complied with and that only the strongest should be allowed to participate in the world. According to Galton's unscientific and illogical thesis, humanity was in a position to take control of its own evolution and even to produce a master race. Galton openly stated his belief in the superiority of the "master class" and the "master race." He also claimed that blacks possessed a low level of intelligence, saying:
Galton went so far as to suggest that various breeds of dogs were higher in intellect than some races of human.110 But in his evaluation of blacks and slaves, he ignored one very evident truth: that the great majority of books about slaves were written by slave owners. In addition, since slaves were immersed in a society entirely foreign to them, in a culture of which they knew nothing, naturally much of their behavior and actions should seem ignorant. Clearly, any European taken to live in an African village would exhibit the same sort of incompetence in trying to adapt to a foreign culture and way of life.
More importantly, Galton's claims about blacks or his own citizens going to live in other countries possess no scientific validity, but were based solely on the illusory assumptions of various so-called scientists, brainwashed by a materialist world view, under the primitive thinking of the time.
Prejudiced and inconsistent, Galton's theses were by no means restricted to these. For example, he also proposed that for there to be social progress, those with low intelligence and intellectual levels had to be prevented from multiplying, and the smarter ones encouraged to do so. Otherwise, he warned, there would be social collapse. Obviously however, real social collapse would come about when the model proposed by Galton and the like, based on slaughter, conflict, violence, and slaughter, were put into practice. During a lecture to the Huxley Institute in 1901, Galton claimed that "brains of our nation lie in the higher of our classes."111 In addition, he recommended that children of the upper class should be identified at birth and 1,000 pounds be paid to their families. He suggested that upper-class women should give birth to at least one extra son and daughter.112
Galton's belief—that an increase in the numbers of people whom he regarded as superior class could lead to social progress—is irrational, illogical, and unscientific. A great many elements lead any society to progress, but the most important are the moral values and characters of those who make up that society. A society whose members possess strong moral values and characters will progress swiftly, and permanently. It is impossible for such features to be passed on genetically. If someone wants his society to make progress, he must turn his attention to the spiritual strengthening of individuals by various cultural and educational means. Galton and those like him sought to increase the numbers of the rich and reduce those of the poor by treating human beings literally like animals in the countries in which they were influential, and even sought to justify even murder on that account—a terrible cruelty and indescribable ignorance.
Nonetheless, at Galton's prompting, the first activity of the eugenics movement in Britain was based on birth control. This measure, taken by those who had been deceived by the deceptions of the theory of evolution, was aimed solely at the poor and those whom they regarded as of an "inferior" race.
In the 1920s and 1930s it was thought that the numbers of the poor increasing, even as the numbers of the upper class were going down, represented a threat. In 1925, for instance, Julian Huxley wrote the following in Nature magazine:
According to the eugenicists, the first step to ensure a balance between the "desirables" and "undesirables" was so-called racial hygiene. First, it needed to be determined for whom "racial hygiene" was desired and for whom it was not. Exceedingly primitive and unbelievable means were used to make that distinction. In Britain and the USA, for instance, people's heads began being measured. With these campaigns under Galton's leadership, the sizes of people's skulls were measured and their intelligence allegedly determined from the results. However, science would later reveal absolutely no direct relationship between skull measurements and intelligence.
Following on the skull measurements, intelligence tests began being employed. According to the results, it was decided that some should be sterilized and kept under lifetime observation and supervision. Later, however, it was realized that the intelligence tests used did not provide reliable results. These totally unreliable analyses reflected the scientific ignorance of the times. Factors such as the conditions under which test subjects were raised and the education they received were ignored, and it was concluded only whether they were inherently intelligent. In any case, the objective was not actually to secure reliable results, but to eliminate or isolate the "undesirable" poor, the sick and races regarded as "inferior."
Eugenics in the USA
The New York Eugenics Record Office (ERO) and Charles B. Davenport
The University of Heidelberg honored H. Laughlin, a prominent eugenist, for his work on "the science of racial hygiene." This newspaper cutting carries the report in question.
After Galton's death, the leadership of the eugenics movement passed to America. Henry Goddard, Henry Fairfield Osborn, Harry Laughlin and Madison Grant were just a few of Galton's American heirs.
The Rockefeller Institute and the Carnegie Foundation headed the list of the supporters of eugenics in the USA. The Rockefeller Institute financed the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, one of the leaders of the eugenics movement in Germany, and in the 1920s, had a special building constructed for the genetic research of Professor Ernst Rüdin, who was obsessed by the idea of racial hygiene. The Mental Hygiene Movement was largely supported by the Rockefeller Institute. Moreover, the Nobel prize-winning Dr. Alexis Carrel, also from the Rockefeller Institute, happily applauded the slaughter carried out in Germany, and had no reservations over the mentally ill and convicted prisoners being subjected to mass killings.114
The perversion of eugenics led to a great many American states passing compulsory sterilization laws. In the USA, a total of 100,000 people were sterilized mostly against their will. As just one example of the dimensions that eugenist barbarity assumed, in the early 20th century, 8,000 "unsuitable" people were sterilized in Virginia. This inhuman practice was legal in many states until as late as 1974.115
A graph showing the numbers of sterilizations for eugenics purposes in the USA between 1907 and 1935
One of the foremost Americans in eugenics was Charles B. Davenport, known for his articles that sought to combine genetic laws with Darwinism. Yet the claims put forward in his articles went no further than mere assumptions. In 1906 he insisted that the American Breeders' Association carry out studies on eugenics. In 1910 he founded the Eugenics Record Office (ERO), which received from 13 to 29% of the budget set aside for the Station for Experimental Evolution. In short, the ERO was much better financed than other scientific institutions of its time. This organization trained many people to work on spreading the barbarity of eugenics. Students were taught to implement and evaluate various intelligence tests, such as Stanford-Binet, intensively employed in eugenic practices.116
The American Eugenics Association gave lessons at state fairs and held competitions at which the "fittest" family was chosen.
People trained by the ERO were charged with collecting statistics in their working areas. With these data, the ERO aimed to prevent those it deemed unsuitable from marrying and having children. In 1924, the ERO drew up a sterilization bill which recommended that people regarded as committing the "crime" of being sick be sterilized.
To both reason and conscience, it is unacceptable for people to be sterilized against their will. Those with genetic defects, sicknesses of various kinds, and physical or mental handicaps should be treated with affection and compassion. In societies where religious moral values prevail, such people are protected, and their needs met in the best way possible. It is nothing short of barbarity to seek to forcibly sterilize or eliminate those described as having "criminal tendencies" by the proponents of the barbarity of eugenics. Such people can be educated with the requisite cultural programmes and made useful members of society. Even where the people in question are difficult to improve, the most ethical and just solutions must be found, rather than exterminating them.
In the years that followed, Americans' common sense realized that eugenics was literally nothing more than savagery and took necessary measures to halt these practices. Yet at that same time the Nazis had adopted the American laws as a role model in their first measures regarding sterilization and forcibly sterilized 2 million people.117
As the examples cited so far clearly show, deceptive propaganda so full of falsehoods of Social Darwinism tries to make people less sensitive to one another, to eliminate feelings of sympathy and compassion, until human beings treat each other literally like animals. This is the exact opposite of the virtues imparted by religious moral values. The Qur'an commands looking after the weak and needy, and protecting the sick and those with nobody to care for them. No matter what the circumstances, God commands believers to ensure others' comfort before their own, and to be patient and altruistic always. To those who do good by displaying patience, God imparts these glad tidings:
They give food, despite their love for it, to the poor and orphans and captives:
"We feed you only out of desire for the Face of God. We do not want any repayment from you or any thanks. Truly We fear from our Lord a glowering, calamitous Day." So God has safeguarded them from the evil of that Day and has made them meet with radiance and pure joy and will reward them for their steadfastness with a Garden and with silk. (Surat al-Insan, 8-12)
Eugenics in Nazi Germany
Ian Kershaw's 1998 biography of Adolf Hitler states that Social Darwinism, eugenics and fascism were closely interconnected in 1920s Germany:
Dr. Robert Youngson, who has studied errors in the history of science, states in his analysis that the idea of eugenics underlay the Nazi slaughter, and that eugenics itself was a great scientific error:
Describing Galton's irrational, unscientific views as merely a "scientific blunder" is actually a too "optimistic" approach. Actually, the claims made by Galton and those like him formed the basis of unprecedented savagery and slaughter. When Nazi Germany adapted the Social Darwinist world view to society, the catastrophes that ensued are a historical lesson of what can happen.
The Nazis adopted as a state policy the killing of every "inferior," "deficient," "flawed" and sick" human being who "polluted" the Aryan race. Hitler set out the reason:
A great many children were left neglected and unloved because they were not of the Aryan race, and there were even efforts to kill or sterilize them on various pretexts.
Hitler made the grievous error of suggesting that various phenomena that maintain the ecological balance in nature also applied to human beings. If animals regard each other as prey, that does not mean that humans should ruthlessly destroy those they regard as weaker. Animals have no conscience. Human beings, on the other hand, possess both conscience and consciousness, the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, good and bad, and the capacity for judgment. Only those, like Hitler, who seek to justify their own psychological imbalances maintain that human beings should lead an animalistic lifestyle. Indeed, Hitler expressed the extent to which he had carried this deception:
The life of every human being is valuable, no matter what his or her race, gender or language. What those of good conscience should do is to do all in their power to protect every human being, with no regard to race or physical characteristics. During World War II, the catastrophes caused by the Nazi ideologues regarding human life as of so little value, and their vengeful feelings towards other nations, became apparent to all. Furthermore, Hitler's world view represented a nightmare also for his own people, not only for other races. Eugenics, widely implemented in Germany, is one instance of this.
• The Rise of the Eugenics Movement in Germany
Samples of eugenic studies carried out by the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute
In 1900, the German industrialist Alfred Krupp sponsored a contest for the best essay on the subject of "What can we learn from the principles of Darwinism for application to inner political development and the laws of the state?"
First prize went to Wilhelm Schallmeyer, who interpreted culture society, morality, and even "right" and "wrong" in terms of the struggle for survival. He wanted all laws brought into line with these concepts to prevent the white races from degenerating to the level of the Australian Aborigines—and as long as society protected the physically and mentally weak, degeneration was inevitable. Dr. Alfred Ploetz, the Social Darwinist who founded racial hygiene in Germany, announced that he fully supported Schallmeyer's barbaric ideas. He insisted, for example, that at times of war, the racially inferior should be sent to the front in order to protect the white race. Since soldiers fighting in the front lines were generally killed, this would preserve the "purer" part of the race from being weakened unnecessarily. Going even further, he suggested that a panel of doctors be present at each birth to judge whether the infant was fit enough to live, and, if not, kill it.122
These terrifying recommendations were the first moves made by the eugenics movement prior to Nazi rule. On 14 July 1933, four months after the elections that brought the Nazis to power, the eugenics and so-called "mental hygiene" movement began spreading rapidly. Before that date, sterilization for purposes of eugenics was banned, even though it was carried out in practice. But now, permission was given for the implementation of eugenic savagery under the "Law for the Prevention of Hereditary Disease in Posterity," better known as the Sterilization Law. The chief architect of this tyranny was Ernst Rüdin, a professor of psychiatry at Munich University and director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute. Shortly after the Sterilization Law was passed, Rüdin—together with a number of Nazi Party lawyers and specialists—published a statement on the law's meaning and aims. Essentially, its intent was to rid the nation of "impure and undesirable" elements so that it might achieve the Aryan ideal.
To subject the helpless in need of protection to the inhuman treatment of eugenics could be acceptable only to those deceived by the falsehoods of Social Darwinism. All these people need to be helped with their sicknesses and weaknesses. The Nazis thought they could treat them as they wished, caused terrible scenes of barbarity for as long as they remained in power.
Posters designed in the light of Nazi Aryan race propaganda. The people in these posters, with blond hair, long skulls, narrow noses and blue eyes, are totally compatible with the Aryan ideal...
According to this terrible law put into effect in Germany, sterilization could be performed without the permission of the person concerned. A state doctor had the legal right to conduct forcible sterilization, with police assistance. In his book Into the Darkness: Nazi Germany Today, the pro-Nazi American Lothrop Stoddard wrote of his impressions of the eugenic courts during a visit to Germany. An official from the tuberculosis section of the public health service headquarters told Stoddard the following:
In Islamic moral values, however, people possess an equal right to treatment, no matter what their material means, rank or status. To abandon people to die because they have various physical defects or are not wealthy is clearly murder; and to seek to implement this in the social sphere constitutes mass murder.
The scope of Nazi Germany's Sterilization Law was increasingly broadened. On 24 November 1933, it was decreed that "habitual offenders against public morals" were to be sterilized. The Nazis' "racial pollution" theses now included the crime of opposing public morality. The years that followed would show that the National Socialists' terrible plans were by no means limited to sterilization.
• The Nuremberg Laws
The Sterilization Law was not sufficient for the Nazis to achieve their real objective. In order to establish a "purified Aryan race," the Nuremberg Laws were passed in 1935. Under these laws—savagery and primitiveness legalized—, enshrined the ideal of the so-called purification of the Aryan race.
Work on racial purification began with an enquiry into civil servants' family trees. Those thought not to belong to the Aryan race were forced into retirement. The Nuremberg Laws divided the German people into half: those who were subjects of the state and those who enjoyed full citizenship and political rights. Jews, Gypsies and members of other races were merely subjects of the state who did not enjoy citizenship rights. The second of the Nuremberg Laws, "For the Protection of German Blood and German Honor," (known as the Blood Protection Law for short) sought to guarantee the nation's so-called racial purity.
Under this new law, marriage between German citizens and German subjects became a crime. It also constituted a precedent for future practices implemented to isolate "undesirable individuals."
• Master Race Specification Programs
One of the Aryan race propaganda posters used by the Nazis
The first step in the eugenics program was to classify the features possessed by the race the Nazis regarded as superior. The characteristics of the so-called master race were enumerated as follows:
These and similar criteria, manifestly the product of a diseased mentality, are both a violation of science and also morally unacceptable. As already emphasized, there are no logical or moral grounds for discriminating against people on the grounds of the color of their skin, eyes or hair.
Despite these irrational criteria, it wasn't that easy for the Nazis to distinguish the races from one another. To that end, they carried out various measurements, using exceedingly primitive methods, to measure people's skulls, and implemented a number of intelligence tests with no scientific validity. Women who met their necessary racial requirements were placed in special houses and kept pregnant by Nazi officers for as long as this primitive state of affairs continued. Children of unknown fathers were brought into the world in these immoral "human stud farms." These children represented the next generation of the so-called master race. However, the totally unexpected result was that the average IQs of children born on these farms were lower than the average IQs of their mothers and fathers.125
The T4 Euthanasia Program: "Scientific" Murders
These laws laid the foundations for even more unimaginable measures. One of these practices may be summarized as mass murder of the mentally impaired. The T4 Euthanasia Program took its name from the initials of the address of the headquarters in Berlin where the measures were administered: Tiergartenstrasse 4.
Under the T4 program, the incurable, the physically or mentally impaired, those with psychological problems and the elderly were killed to ensure so-called racial purity. Children, women and the elderly were subjected to the gas chambers, simply for being members of a different race, while thousands of innocent people of the same race were slaughtered for being viewed as weak and powerless. Hitler initiated this ruthless campaign in 1939. The killings continued officially until 1941, but on an unofficial basis until the final Nazi defeat in 1945.
Hitler was aware of the importance of genes for Nazi Germany. The new generation, raised in the light of twisted Nazi propaganda, was planned to be followers of Hitler. Youth was one of the areas most concentrated on by Nazi propaganda experts. A number of young people with superior physical characteristics were brought together at special eugenic camps, to be used as private stud farms. By this perverted and immoral method, it was believed that the German race would become purified and improved. Young people were brainwashed with Nazi propaganda to become blindly devoted to that ideology. These people, poisoned by Nazi propaganda from a very young age, were made unable to distinguish right from wrong.
T4 contained measures known as "Geheime Reichssache" (Secret Reich Matters), and those charged with implementing them were obliged to remain silent. One reason why little information could be obtained about euthanasia in Nazi Germany is that later, the personnel trained and employed within the program were sent as soldiers to the most dangerous fronts. The resistance partisans in Yugoslavia were known for killing enemy troops rather than taking them prisoner. Most witnesses to the euthanasia were sent to that particular front and eliminated.
In Fundamental Outline of Racial Hygiene, Alfred Ploetz was one of the first to speak about the killing of the sick and handicapped. According to Ploetz, from the point of view of "the protection and hygiene of the race," it was a grave error for the sick and weak to be protected and cared for (which is exactly what should happen in a healthy society). According to his perverted thinking, the weak were being protected and kept alive when they ought to be eliminated. Ploetz was sufficiently heartless as to maintain that the doctors' board should immediately kill a handicapped or flawed newborn baby with a low dose of morphine.
Others followed in Ploetz's footsteps. In 1922 the jurist Karl Binding and the psychiatrist Alfred Hoche published a book supporting euthanasia titled Die Freigabe der Vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens (The Release of the Destruction of Life Devoid of Value). Their book claimed that the sick and handicapped were a burden both to themselves and to society, that killing them would be no great loss, that the cost of keeping such "useless" individuals alive was very high, and that the state could spend that money in more productive areas. As a solution, they proposed killing the physically and mentally handicapped, and demanded that the religious and legal obstacles be lifted.126 One of Hoche's irrational assumptions was that the moral values concerning the protection of life would soon disappear, and the elimination of "unnecessary" life would be essential to society's survival.127
A 1945 cartoon showing how all of Hitler's policies ended in death and savagery
To have a clearer grasp of just how terrifying that recommendation was, consider if you found yourself in a society where these proposed models were actually practiced. What if your deaf sister, your blind mother, your psychologically disturbed grandfather, your lame grandmother, or aging father were taken away for death before your very eyes, in the name of science and for the benefit of society? No doubt you would understand that there was nothing scientific whatsoever about the murder of people you love. You would have no difficulty seeing these claims as the result of a diseased mentality. Such barbarity would inflict indescribable suffering on you and everyone you know. Such suffering was indeed experienced in many societies, especially in Nazi Germany, and murders in the hysteria of eugenics left deep wounds in the conscience of society.
The efforts made by evolutionists to ignore or forget the scale of these depravities are ultimately doomed to failure. No matter how they seek to cover them up, the facts are clear. Humanity experienced terrible suffering and grave losses on account of the ideological foundations laid by Darwinism.
Eugenicists invented special terms with no place in medical literature. For example, members of other races or the mentally ill were diagnosed as having a "weak mental state" and were later left to die. Above: mentally ill Americans of the time
At the same time that the barbarity of eugenics was taking place in Nazi Germany, it also spread to a number of other countries, particularly the USA. In 1935, Dr. Alexis Carrel of the Rockefeller Institute published his book, Man the Unknown, which was translated into nine different languages within three years. In his book's final chapter, "The Remaking of Man," Carrel pointed to eugenics and euthanasia as alleged solutions to social problems. He said that the mentally ill and criminals should be killed at small euthanasia centers equipped with appropriate gasses, and sought to justify murder in the following words:
Dr. Alexis Carrel, a supporter of the eugenic perversion
Dr. Carrel maintained that the murder of criminals and those thought to be harmful to society was the best, most "economic" solution. As already made clear, when Social Darwinism seeks a solution to social problems, it fails to consider the human dimension, and proposes exceedingly mechanical, inhumane, ruthless and cruel solutions that are totally incompatible with human conscience. It maintains that human beings, especially the so- called "undesirable," should be regarded as animals or chattels.
True, the fight against crime and criminals is of the greatest importance to society. But this fight must absolutely be waged on the level of ideas. Environments that lay the groundwork for crime must be eliminated, and various cultural and educational programs must try to win back those who engage in criminal activity. Falsehoods that portray human beings as a species of animal lay the basis for crime of all sorts; purporting to justify murder, theft, rape, aggression and all forms of evil. Depicting people as justified in committing crimes, and then suggesting that they be punished by death is totally inexplicable. For that reason, it's of the greatest importance that those who keep supporting the theory of evolution—either for lack of sufficient information or because they fail to consider the catastrophes to which these claims can lead—realize the scale of the danger. To seek well-being for a society by killing criminals is most savage, primitive and barbaric. The most effective, permanent means of lowering the crime rate and the numbers of those engaged in criminal activity is to strengthen society in spiritual terms, and to improve education, living standards, and levels of well-being. Most important of all, society's religious belief and love of God must be strengthened. Someone who fears God knows that after death he will receive a reward or punishment for his actions in this world; someone who loves God, also loves those things He has created. He respects and loves other people and always behaves in a moral manner. The more such a conception becomes rooted in society, the more that society will enjoy well-being, peace, and progress.
• Hitler's Secret Death Warrant
This authorization, known as the "Führer-Order," empowered Nazi doctors to kill those patients whose deaths they regarded as necessary. It constituted the alleged "legal" basis of the crimes perpetrated by Nazi doctors.
After Nazi Germany passed its racist laws, the time had come to obtain public acceptance of eugenic measures, especially euthanasia. Various propaganda methods, with films heading the list, were employed to bring people to believe the lie that there is no point in making great efforts to keep harmful people alive. Newspapers published reports and articles about how much money was being spent on the mentally handicapped, and how that money could be more usefully spent elsewhere. The campaign was initiated on such a scale that it even entered school textbooks.129
Germany's first euthanasia measures were taken at the end of 1938, at which time a certain Knauer from Leipzig wrote Hitler a letter, saying that he wanted a doctor to put an end to a child of his who was born blind, with only parts of its arms and legs and seemed to be an idiot. In response, Hitler sent his private physician, Professor Karl Brandt, to Leipzig, where the child was duly put to death.130
Hitler signed a document authorizing Karl Brandt and Reich-leader Philip Bouhler to permit euthanasia in special cases. The official permission, known as the "Führer-Order," read:
This authority, which made murder a part of daily life, formed the basis for crimes perpetrated by the psychiatrists of the Nazi Germany. Later, ironically, the defendants in the Nuremberg and other war crimes trials tried to depict it as an order and a mitigating factor in their crimes.
How Was the T4 Euthanasia Program Put into Practice?
Smoking chimney from the ovens used to burn the corpses at the Hadamar killing center
In mid-1939 the final preparations for the program were initiated. In October, questionnaires about the mentally ill, prepared by advisors and the Psychiatry Committee, were sent out to hospitals and institutions. These sought the following information: "Name of patient, marital status, nationality, next of kin. Is patient visited on a regular basis? If so, by whom? With whom does financial responsibility lie? How long has patient been in hospital? How long has patient been ill? Diagnosis, main symptoms. Is patient bed-ridden? Is patient under restraint? Was patient admitted because of an incurable disease or condition? Is the patient war-wounded? And patient's race." Front groups operating under the T4 program distributed the questionnaires.
Under the T4 system, four front groups had been set up to carry out orders from the real T4 team, and in the event of any investigation, the groups would conceal the true source of the operations. Any hospital or family investigating a death warrant or the form of death found it impossible to reach anyone further back than the four front groups.
Working in parallel to these four groups was another group, whose members had become expert on the killing of children in particular. This group was named the Realms Committee for Scientific Approach to Severe Illness due to Heredity and Constitution and had two other organizations in association with it. The Charitable Company for the Transport of the Sick was responsible for transporting patients to the killing centers. The Charitable Foundation for Institutional Care dealt with final arrangements and procedures.
Photographs from different angles of the Bernburg killing center
One of the Nazis' heartless practices was to demand "expenses" from the families of the patients killed, although the families were unaware they were actually paying for their relatives' murder.
The questionnaires were filled in by the doctors or psychiatrists responsible for the patients in the asylum. The returned forms were evaluated by T4's own psychiatrists and other experts. No patients were examined or observed directly. The decision on whether or not a patient was to be killed was based on information in the questionnaires.
When the forms were first sent out, a number of mental hospitals and suitable buildings were re-arranged for use as killing sites and murder training schools. The death chambers inside the buildings were camouflaged as showers.
This is how this terrifying system functioned: After the questionnaires' responses were received, a notice was sent to the institutions caring for those patients selected for death, announcing that space was to be made available for war-wounded, or that patients were to be removed elsewhere to receive better treatment. One of the front groups collected these patients and transported them to one of the killing centers. There, they were exterminated within a few hours of their arrival.
Not only the mentally incurable were butchered. As the practice of euthanasia gained pace, the Nazis began to include other "undesirables." Death warrants were issued for the mentally unstable, schizophrenics, the elderly and infirm, epileptics, and people suffering from Parkinson's disease, paralysis, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors and other organic neurological disorders. Children were killed in the same way, and orphanages and reformatories were investigated in detail to discover new victims.
One very important point must be made clear: 50% of those killed might have recovered had they been permitted to do so.132
In order to conceal the T4 operations, great efforts went in to making the death centers appear like ordinary mental hospitals. This was admitted at the Nuremberg trials by Viktor Brack, head of the 2nd unit of the KdF (a term used to refer to the Chancellery of the Führer) and one of the main figures responsible for the euthanasia program. Brack stated that on entering the death chambers, the patients carried towels and soap and thought they were going to have a real shower. Instead of water, though, they were "showered" with poison gas.
The above picture shows a model of the Bernburg Psychiatric Hospital. Blue arrows indicate the route taken by patients on their way to the killing area, and the circled building contains the crematorium and gas chambers. Far right: Dr. Kathe Leichte, a professor in the field of social sciences, was sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp in 1940. In 1942, she was gassed to death by the Gestapo at the Bernburg Euthanasia Institute. Right: Margarita Singer, the daughter of a professor of zoology, was killed under the euthanasia program..
High-level Nazis devoted to Hitler selected the students who carried out the killings, who were given very special training. At first they would watch the killings and, as their training progressed, they would take patients to the chambers and begin to switch on the poison gas. They would watch the victims in their death throes, and after death had been ascertained, they would ventilate the chambers and remove the bodies. They thus massacred thousands of innocent victims.
These murders were all carried out under tight security, with every possible precaution to prevent the slightest leak of information, because the people killed in these buildings were not members of "other races." Most were Germans and Austrians. If the German public ever learned that their compatriots were being killed in this way, the Nazis would find this difficult to explain, and so adopted all possible security measures.
Top left: The way to the gas chambers Top right: Dissecting room Bottom left: Observation window used to ensure that all "patients" were dead Bottom right: Sprinkler installed to make patients think they were going to bathe when they were sent to the gas chambers
The students, who had now turned into executioners of sorts, soon grew used to the murder procedures, and became immune to the pleadings, screams and writhings of the victims. During this process, their instructors closely observed their reactions and wrote reports about them. It was calculated that if students had no difficulty in killing members of their own race simply because they were sick, then it would be even easier for them to kill members of "inferior races," and they were trained for "wider ranging" practices in future. Students who were unable to bear these killings or who protested were sent to the front and placed in "suicide squads" by their unit commanders.
In order to become executioners, the students were trained to be cold-blooded, "flawless assassins"—to withstand the cries and writhings of the dying and the smell of burning human flesh and, to be able to speak to the people they were sending to their deaths as if they really were just going to the showers. They were rewarded and encouraged in various ways. In addition to these various incentives, they were also awarded the Iron Cross Second Class medals, for "Secret Reich matter."
Slowly the public became aware of what was going on in these institutes, and protests began. It was then announced that Hitler had issued an order for the killings to cease. They did not, however, and all that happened was a change of methods, involving either lethal injection or starvation, with the dead buried in mass graves. In this way, the savagery of euthanasia continued throughout the war.
Special Action 14f13
Monument to those killed under the euthanasia program Left: "Nazis also murdered 200,000 'sick.'" Milliyet report dated October 10, 2003
After slaughtering a great many "undesirable" and allegedly "useless" mentally ill people, the T4 program widened its sphere of activity under the code name 14f13.
Far left: Construction of a wall dividing the Warsaw ghetto from the rest of the city
Previously restricted to mental hospitals and research institutes, the program was now directed toward German and Austrian prisoners who fell sick because of the conditions they were kept in, and towards Jews, Poles and Gypsies in the concentration camps. Operation 14f13 began in December 1941. Special commissions consisting of psychiatrists were added to the Berlin T4 team, and they selected sick and in their view, otherwise, undesirable individuals and sent them to concentration camps to empty out medical departments and sick centers. The patients selected were generally sent to one of six killing centers and killed there. The people selected from the concentration camps were generally classified according to their ability to work, and if unfit for hard labor, were sent to their deaths.
In 1943, children, too, began being killed in Hadamar, one of the death stations. In addition to the physically or mentally handicapped, these also included those in state shelters or orphanages.133
Irreligion Lies at the Root of Ruthlessness and Lack of Compassion
...Whatever good you do, God knows it. (Surat an-Nisa’, 127)
Nazi Germany is a clear example of the sufferings inflicted on people when Social Darwinist ideas are put into practice. Joseph L. Graves Jr., professor of evolutionary biology and author of The Emperor's New Clothes, which criticizes racist theories, makes this comment:
How did these people come to harbor such great hatred, insensitivity and ruthlessness? How did they come to be such murderers and enemies of the human race? The manifest answer is that people educated in the light of Darwinist teachings, who regard human beings as no more than animals, who imagine life as a battleground, and who believe that all forms of evil are justified in the struggle for survival will inevitably constitute a ruthless social order. Those who deny that man is created and possesses a soul breathed into him by God, who refuse to regard their fellow humans as valuable entities with reason and conscience, and who regard them as no different than animals and plants, will naturally be unaffected by mass murder and the sufferings of the helpless. When such people think that harm might come to them or their own interests, they can easily kill others, feeling no pity or compassion, or abandon them to a life of poverty and unhappiness. One cannot expect such a heartless individual to protect the sick, help the needy, or engage in altruistic behavior. Such a person will not even protect his ailing and elderly parents. He will regard caring for his handicapped brother as a waste of time, energy and money. If this diseased world view spreads, then everyone—administrators to family members, from doctors to teachers—will behave under its influence. It is impossible for such virtues as altruism, patience, compassion, affection, respect or devotion to apply in societies that do not live by religious moral values, whose lack has always brought destruction and catastrophe.
In the Ottoman Empire where Islamic moral values prevailed, families looked after not only their own sick, but also those around them. The ailing were cared for in special clinics and efforts were made to treat them using various means. The
• Doctors will examine all patients on specific days and at specific times of the week, and in a specific place, free of charge, making no distinction between rich and poor. The necessary vaccinations will also be given free of charge.
• Doctors will examine those who are unable to attend physical examination in their own homes, and a predetermined fee will be charged to those who have the means to pay. No fee will be taken from the poor, and costs incurred will be paid to the doctor from municipal funds.
• Failing to care for the sick without a valid reason, or receiving fees from the poor, will be a cause for sacking.135 Ottoman mental hospitals also employed special treatment methods. In the 15th-century Ottoman Empire, special hospitals were built for mental patients. Efforts were made to heal the sick, depending on their illness, by means of specially selected Turkish melodies, special meals, and flowers. Patients were fed poultry in particular. Every patient's room had two windows, preferably looking out over a rose garden.136
Long before the Ottoman Empire, other Muslim states employed special methods to care for the physically and mentally ill. During the time of the Abbasid Caliphate in particular, the Islamic world attained the highest medical and psychiatric sophistication. The world's first hospitals were built in the Islamic world, and the treatment of the mentally ill by means of suggestion was first applied there. The moral values of the Qur'an gave Muslims the compassion, affection, reason and understanding to do this.
Islamic moral values encourage believers to feel affection and act compassionately towards the poor, the weak, the lowly, the needy and those unable to care for themselves, and to make sacrifices for, care for and protect them. In some of the verses of
"… Worship none but God and be good to your parents and to relatives and orphans and the very poor. And speak good words to people. And perform prayer and give the alms." (Surat al-Baqara, 83)
It is not devoutness to turn your faces to the East or to the West. Rather, those with true devoutness are those who believe in God and the Last Day, the Angels, the Book and the prophets, and who, despite their love for it, give away their wealth to their relatives and to orphans and the very poor, and to travelers and beggars and to set slaves free, and who perform prayer and give the alms; those who honor their contracts when they make them, and are steadfast in poverty and illness and in battle.
Those are the people who are true. They are the people who guard against evil.(Surat al-Baqara, 177)
They will ask you what they should give away. Say, "Any wealth you give away should go to your parents and relatives and to orphans and the very poor and travelers." Whatever good you do, God knows it. (Surat al-Baqara, 215)
Worship God and do not associate anything with Him. Be good to your parents and relatives and to orphans and the very poor, and to neighbors who are related to you and neighbors who are not related to you, and to companions and travelers and your slaves. God does not love anyone vain or boastful. (Surat an-Nisa', 36)
103. K. Ludmerer, Eugenics, In: Encyclopedia of Bioethics, Edited by Mark Lappe, New York: The Free Press, 1978, p. 457.
104. Thomas Robert Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population, Sixth Edition, 1826, based on the second edition (1803).
105. Darwin, The Descent of Man, pp.133–134.
106. Ibid., p. 133.
107. Ibid,, p. 945.
108. Allan Chase, The Legacy of Malthus, Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1980, p. 136.
109. Francis Galton, Hereditary Genius: An Inquiry into its Laws and Consequences, London: Macmillan, 1892, p. 330.
110. Joseph L. Graves Jr., The Emperor's New Clothes, Rutgers Universtiy Press, 2001, p. 96.
111. Ibid., p. 99.
113. Nature 116 (1925), p. 456.
114. Bernhard Schreiber, The Men Behind Hitler - A German Warning to the World, p. 18.
115. Bob Brown, "Va. House Voices Regret for Eugenics," Washington Post, February 3, 2001.
116. Graves, Jr., The Emperor's New Clothes, pp. 116-117.
117. Ibid., p. 119.
118. Ian Kershaw, Hitler, New York: W.W Norton & Company, 1998, p. 134.
119. R. Youngson, Scientific Blunders; A Brief History of How Wrong Scientists Can Sometimes Be, New York: Carroll and Graf Pub., 1998.
120. A. Hitler, Hitler's Secret Conversations 1941–1944, With an introductory essay on The Mind of Adolf Hitler by H.R. Trevor-Roper, New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, 1953, p. 116.
122. Schreiber, The Men Behind Hitler.
124. J. C. Fest, The Face of the Third Reich, New York: Pantheon, 1970, pp. 99–100.
125. Jerry Bergman, "Darwinism and the Nazi Race Holocaust;" http://home.christianity.com/worldviews/52476.html
126. Schreiber, The Men Behind Hitler.
134. Graves, Jr., The Emperor's New Clothes, p. 128.