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Euthanasia Programme under National Socialism

Prepared by scientific theories and declared by National Socialism as its principle objective, racial hygiene and eugenics were to be radically implemented by means of the first systematically planned and state-run mass murder by the Nazi regime under the name of 'euthanasia'.

The 'eradication' of those with mental and physical disabilities and those considered inferior was a main objective of National Socialism. In 1939, Nazi eugenicists and physicians moved from forced sterilisation to physical eradication of those people considered 'unworthy of life'. By eliminating them, the "negative selection" posed by the war was to be countered. Another significant motive was the savings of social costs (hospital beds and personnel, food, medicine etc.).

 

Historical photo: Smoke coming out of the chimney of the crematorium in Hartheim, around 1940/41