From Smithsonian.com by Brigit Katz:
It has been said that Johann “Hans” Asperger, the pioneering Austrian physician who first described the profile of distinct psychological characteristics that later became known as Asperger syndrome in a workship in 1938, resisted the Nazi’s brutal “euthanasia” program by refusing to hand his patients over to officials. But as Kate Connolly reports for the Guardian, an expansive study published in the journal Molecular Autism has found that Asperger played an active—if complex—role in the regime, even sending his patients to near-certain death at a notorious euthanasia clinic.
The new study joins previous research into Asperger’s connection with the Nazis, including work led by Fred Volkmar of the Yale Child Study Center and John Donvan and Caren Zucker, authors of In a Different Key. This latest effort is the product of eight years of research by historian Herwig Czech of the Medical University of Vienna, who pored through Asperger’s personnel files, assessments by Nazi authorities and medical case records, among other documentary evidence.
Nazi Germany’s “euthanasia program,” which began approximately two years before the genocide of European Jews, targeted people with psychiatric, neurological or physical disabilities who were said to be a genetic and financial drain on the German state, and therefore “unworthy of life,” according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It has been estimated that 200,000 adults and children were murdered in the name of this policy.
Categories: World War II