How were people with mental illness treated under Nazi Government?

Discussions on the Holocaust and 20th Century War Crimes. Note that Holocaust denial is not allowed. Hosted by David Thompson.
JaneMary
Member
Posts: 12
Joined: 12 Apr 2017 06:12
Location: Wanganui, New Zealand

How were people with mental illness treated under Nazi Government?

Post by JaneMary » 14 Apr 2017 10:41

Are there any threads on resources on how mental illness was dealt with in the Third Reich, whether in military or in civilians? Nazis developed and used drugs and medications. Were the mentally ill experimented on in the development of these drugs? Were they medicated? Were they treated humanely in asylums? Was there stigma around mental illness like there is today? Did the Nazis develop any treatment still used today?

Wordsworth
Member
Posts: 62
Joined: 31 May 2016 20:25
Location: United States

Re: How were people with mental illness treated under Nazi Government?

Post by Wordsworth » 14 Apr 2017 14:15

People with mental illnesses were often euthanized under the T4 program, especially if it was determined that they were unable to perform some kind of meaningful work.

Doctors, realizing what would happen if they certified someone unable to work, would sometimes certify them as fit, even if they weren't. Families began keeping their relatives at home to prevent institutions from euthanizing them.

I have no doubt that some mentally ill people were experimented on.

David Thompson
Forum Staff
Posts: 23256
Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
Location: USA

Re: How were people with mental illness treated under Nazi Government?

Post by David Thompson » 14 Apr 2017 15:45

JaneMary -- You asked:
Are there any threads on resources on how mental illness was dealt with in the Third Reich, whether in military or in civilians?
:welcome: The discussions in this section of the forum deal with war crimes, rather than the medical treatment of mentally ill patients. We do, however, have some threads on euthanasia, which was used to "treat" hopelessly insane citizens of Germany and foreign mental patients, and there are also some threads on involuntary human subjects, who may or may not have been insane, in medical experiments. Choose your search terms carefully and try the forum's search engine for leads -- Good luck!

Orwell1984
Member
Posts: 471
Joined: 18 Jun 2011 18:42

Re: How were people with mental illness treated under Nazi Government?

Post by Orwell1984 » 14 Apr 2017 16:16

There's a large number of writings out there on the Third Reich and the mentally ill. If you google mentally ill third reich you will find numerous sources.

I've included a link to one good overview by Nicholas Vine

Psychology Under the Third Reich
https://web.wpi.edu/Pubs/E-project/Avai ... dReich.pdf

He looks at broad aspects of mental health policy in the Third Reich including psychiatry as well.

danyb
Member
Posts: 1083
Joined: 29 Sep 2005 16:23
Location: france

Re: How were people with mental illness treated under Nazi Government?

Post by danyb » 15 Apr 2017 08:43

hello !

i have 2 names of men who are sterilized for mental illness.

Karl Dittmar, born on 1919 in Worms , was sterilzed on an unknown year.
on august 1944 , he joined Waffen SS and became a guard in Schomberg KL.
he was tried in Rastatt , and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment on february 1947.

Friedrich Kraft , born on 1917 in Kassel , was sterilized for mental illness on 1934 (he was old to 17 years).
on 1944-1945 , was Member of Organisation Todt in Vaihingen KL.
put on Rastatt Trials , was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for war crimes.
he was married , without child.

danyb

JaneMary
Member
Posts: 12
Joined: 12 Apr 2017 06:12
Location: Wanganui, New Zealand

Re: How were people with mental illness treated under Nazi Government?

Post by JaneMary » 15 Apr 2017 13:15

Hi
I am doing an assignment on how people with mental illness have been managed and treated at different times. Plus how they were treated in the Nazi era is pretty interesting, since leading Nazis had mental health conditions themselves at times.

Still navigating around this site and did not see any "war crimes" heading for this section when I chose a section to post in so I guess i'll have to suss that out more carefully. Thanks all for responses, which I will check out :-)

User avatar
Marcus
Member
Posts: 33944
Joined: 08 Mar 2002 22:35
Location: Europe

Re: How were people with mental illness treated under Nazi Government?

Post by Marcus » 15 Apr 2017 13:54

Your post was moved to this section as this is where it fits best.

SloveneLiberal
Member
Posts: 227
Joined: 23 Jul 2018 12:54
Location: Slovenia

Re: How were people with mental illness treated under Nazi Government?

Post by SloveneLiberal » 23 Aug 2019 08:21

When parts of Slovenia came under Third Reich in spring 1941 immediately two commissions of Nazi doctors were sent to occupied Štajerska. They reviewed patients in mental hospital Novo Celje and in similair but smaller institutions Medlog, Vojnik, Slovenske Konjice, Ptuj and Muretinci. According to the data collected after war 583 mental patients were sent to Hartheim near Linz Austria. Patients were put on buses on 9. June 1941 and escorted by SS men dressed as hospital servers. There SS was performing secret plan of Nazi euthanasia. Between 20. June and 2. July 1941 they killed all the patients and then sent to the relatives letters and forged death certificates, claiming they died of natural causes. People got suspicious because they all died at the same time. Yet the whole horror was revealed after the war.

When Germany attacked Soviet Union the program was stopped by Hitler because during war time it was to risky for public and christian churches opposition. That was valid also for occupied Slovenian teritories. SS personal which was doing the euthanasia on mental patients was later used also in Holocaust having important role in killing Jews in co called operation ''Reinhard''.

Already at Nazi party congress in Nurnberg in 1929 Hitler said that Germany will become strong when 1 milion babies per year will be born and when 700.000-800.000 of the ''weakest'' will be removed.

Nacistična evtanazija v Sloveniji leta 1941, article written by dr. Tone Ferenc, published in Prispevki za zgodovino delavskega gibanja 1975/76, pages 97-119.

Return to “Holocaust & 20th Century War Crimes”