Newsgroups: alt.revisionism,soc.history Subject: Holocaust Almanac: Grafeneck: The gassings begin, in Germany Summary: Gassings within the "Old Reich" documented, contrary to persistant assertions by deniers, who often flog that discredited old horse, the "Lachout Dokument." From: Ken McVay
Followup-To: alt.revisionism Organization: The Nizkor Project, Canada Keywords: Grafeneck,Hadamar,Hallervorden,Tiessler,Wirth,Wurm Archive/File: places/euthanasia/grafeneck.01 Last-modified: 1993/11/09 "Around Grafeneck signs were posted: `Danger -- Epidemic,' and all access was barred. The exterminations rose to an average of more than thirty a day. Since it was awkward, time-consuming, and too expensive to kill so many with drugs, Criminal Police Commissioner Wirth devised a method for mass extinction. The people, upon arrival, were undressed, given a one-minute physical examination, then herded into a shed whose walls had been mortered and sealed. Since many of these patients, removed from their accustomed surroundings, were in a state of great agitation, Wirth tried to calm them by leading them to believe that they would be given showers. The shed, in fact, was equipped with dummy shower heads. Once all were inside the doors were locked, and coal gas or carbon monoxide was pumped in. To dispose of the bodies, a crematorium was erected. Dr. Hallervorden, however, thought it a shame that so much `scientific' material should go up in smoke. In a despostion for the trial [Nuremberg] he related: `I went up to them and told them, `Look here now, boys, if you are going to kill all these people, at lease take the brains out so that the material could be utilized.' They asked me, `How many can you examine?' And so I told them an unlimited number -- the more the better!' Since Grafeneck was situated on a ridge adjacent to a Wehrmacht training area and the town of Munsinger was but three miles away, it had not taken long for people to make the connection between the transports on which thousands arrived and no one ever departed and the nauseous smoke that continually wafted over the countryside from the high chimney. By July 1940, Grafeneck created such a tempest in Wu"rttembery that Bishop Wurm, the head of the Lutherin Church in the province, addressed a letter to Frick: `For some months past, insane, feeble-minded, and epileptic patients have been transferred on the orders of the Reich Defense Council. Their relatives are informed a few weeks later that the patient concerned has died of an illness, and that, owing to the danger of infection, the body has had to be cremated. Several hundred patrients from institutions in Wu"rttemberg alone must have met their death in this way, among them war-wounded of the Great War. `The manner of action, particularly of deceptions that occur, is already sharply criticized. Everybody is convinced that the causes of deaths which are officially published are selected at random. When, to crown everything, regret is expressed in the obituary notice that all endeavors to preserve the patient's life were in vain, this is felt to be a mockery. The air of mystery gives rise to the thought that something is happening that is contrary to justice and cannot therefore be fefended by the government. It also appears very little care was taken in the selection of the patients destined for annihilation. The selections were not limited to insane persons, but included also persons capable of work, especially epileptics. `What conclusions will the younger generation draw when it realizes that human life is no longer sacred to the state? Cannot every outrage be excused on the grounds that the elimination of another was of advantage to the person concerned? There can be no stopping once one starts down this decline. God does not permit people to mock Him. Either the National Socialist state must recognize the limits which God has laid down, or it will favor a moral decline and carry the state down with it.' No response to the letter was forthcoming. Frequently, if a critic did not take on the system publicly and the issue was likely to be embarrassing, the Nazis preferred to let the matter disappear in the caverns of the bureaucracy. There, with exquisite, polite casuistry, officials communicated with each other in such terms as: `I have the honor to inform you that the female patients referred from your institution on November 8, 1940, to the institutions of Grafeneck, Bernburg, Sonnenstein, and Hartheim all died in November of last year.' In truth, the euthanasia exterminations were just getting in full gear. On September 5, 1940, Bishop Wurm wrote Frick again, deploring that, since his last letter, `this practice has reached tremendous proportions. Recently, the inmates of old-age homes have also been included. The basis for this practice seems to be the opinion that in an efficient nation there is no room for weak and frail people. If the leadership of the state is convinced that it is an inevitable war measure, why does it not issue a decree with legal force, which would at least have the good point that official quarters would not have to seek refuge in lies? Is it necessary that the German nation should be the first civilized nation to return to the habits of primitive races?' Soon all pretense of eliminating only `incurables' ceased. Small institutions were shut down, and larger ones left operating as fronts with a minute fraction of their former patients. A young, hardworking farmer by the name of Koch was ordered to report for sterilization because he was an epileptic. He wrote his mother he was feeling fine and asked her to send him some tobacco. The next his mother heard was that he had died of an incurable disease. His neighbors had no doubt that he had met a violent death and expressed great indignation. As 1941 progressed, attention shifted to the small town of Hadamar in a famous cheese-making region near the Dutch bornder. There, with the Nazi knack for conspicuousness, an extermination installation was set up in a former monastery situated on a hill overlooking the community. Children, with their instinct for cruel truth, taunted each other: `You're crazy! You'll be sent to bake in Hadamar.' The bishop of Limburg adressed Justice Minister Gu"rtner: `The population cannot grasp that systematic actions are carried out which, in accordance with Paragraph 211 of the German criminal code, are punishable by death.' But it was not until late July of 1941 when Count von Galen, the bishop of Mu"nster, spoke up, that anyone dared to bring the matter of the killings into the open. Von Galen's family had been renowned in Germany for hundreds of years, and his name was so famous it provided him with a certain immunity. `Citizens of Mu"nster,' the bishop addressed his parishoners, `wounded soldiers are being killed recklessly since they are of no more productive use to the state. Mother, your boy will be killed too if he comes back home from the front crippled.' The recent British air attacks on Mu"nster, the bishop warned, should be interpreted as God's vengeance on the German nation. Walter Tiessler, Goebble's deputy for propaganda and public enlightenment, responded by suggesting `that we adopt the only measure that can be taken as good propaganda as well as legal punishment -- namely: to hang the bishop of Mu"nster. A general public notice of the execution of the death penalty as well as a detailed justification of the measure should be made.' By this time, the preponderance of `useless eaters' and `lives unworthy of living' had been exterminated. Brandt and Bouhler were ordered to deemphasize but not discontinue the euthanasia program. `Directors of asylums,' one official reported, `were instructed that `useless eaters' who could not work very much should be killed by slow starvation. This method was considered very good, because the victims would appear to have died a `natural death.'" (Conot, 207-210) Works Cited: Conot, Robert E. JUSTICE AT NUREMBERG. New York: Harper & Row, 1983.
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