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Shofar FTP Archive File: places/germany/euthanasia/14f13.01

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: T4 Personnel & Concentration Camps
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Nizkor Project, Canada
Keywords: 14f13,Bouhler,T4

Archive/File: euthanasia 14f13.01
Last-modified: 1993/04/25

Several articles in this series have dealt with established links between
medical killing (T4 program et al.) and the Nazi government. In some of
these articles (euthanasia.01 and others), the chain of command leads
directly to Adolf Hitler. 

The following material links the T4 program with the concentration camps
and continues to build the chain of evidence which in my mind convicts Hitler
without doubt. "Euthanasia" becomes genocide...

  T4 - The camouflage organization created for the medical killing of adults
  was known as the Reich Work Group of Sanatoriums and Nursing Homes
  (Reichsarbeitsgemeinschaft Heil- und Pflegeanstalten, or RAG).  It operated
  from the Berlin Chancellery, at Tiergarten 4, hence the "T4" code name.

"Early in 1941, T4 leader Bouhler agreed to let Himmler use T4 personnel
and facilities to rid the camps of `excess' prisoners -- notably those
`most seriously ill,' physically and mentally. Sometimes called `prisoner
euthanasia' or (by prisoners) `Operation Invalid,' the resultant program
was officially `Operation [or Special Treatment] 14f13.'* The designation
came from the reference number for the operation in documents of the
Concentration Camp Inspectorate.** That spring, `experimental
psychiatrists' from T4 were sent to the camps, assured that their work in
selecting out `asocial' elements had scientific importance. Their work, as
in T4, was based on prior questionnaires. For this purpose, however, they
were shorter, asking after a prisoner's name, race, and `health' (that is,
whether incurable). *** The short form was explained by the T4 doctors'
lack of time, although camp commandants or camp doctors did the inital
screening. To camouflage procedures, those selected were told that they
were being sent to a `rest home.' (In fact, people apparently volunteered
until it was realized what was happening when personal effects, but no
`rested' prisoners, returned.)<6>

As low as T4 standards were, those in 14f13 were worse. `Examinations' by
T4 doctors were perfunctory or non-existent, and the questionnaires
frequently contained no medical information at all, but only a list of an
inmate's ostensible crimes and political deviations. Ordinary SS camp
oersonnel could contrue political beliefs or rude comments about the
Fuehrer as `mental deficiency' or `psychological aberration,' and the
visiting doctors' commission almost never objected to an SS request for
`transfer' (to a killing facility). Whatever the travesty of medicine,
inmates observed that `the doctors were dressed in white coats,' although
other prisoners apparently assumed that they were Gestapo in disguise.<7>

Toward Jews these white-coated doctors developed an approach that was to
become a Nazi trademark -- that of collective diagnosis. For Jews, neither
`examination' nor health considerations were necessary. As one
participating T4 psychiatrist recalled, `it sufficed to take the reasons
for arrest (often very extensive!) from the documents and transfer them to
the questinnaires.'<8> This meant that the only thing to be considered was
that they were Jews and could be presented _as a group_ -- a process, as we
shall observe, close to that of selections in Auschwitz. That same
psychiatrist had copied phrases from the SS files of Dachau and Ravensbruck
on the backs of their photographs. On one: `Inflammatory Jew hostile to
Germans; in camp lazy and insolent.' Another: `Anti-German disposition.
Symptoms: Well-known functionary of the KPD [German Communist Party],
militant agitator.' And still another: `Diagnosis: Fanatical German-hater
and asocial psychopath. Principal symptoms: inveterate Communist,
ineligible for military service.'<9> As a postware German psychiatrist
stated: `It would be difficult to find a clearer documentation of the
political manipulation of the psyciatric profession.'<10>

One key to the nature of 14f13 lies in the term `special treatment'
(Sonderbehandlung) as part of the program's name. `Special treatment,'
though it was to become a euphemism for killing in general, was used
originally (from 1939) as a specific Gestapo concept and code term
legitimating extralegal execution. Thus, Reinhard Heydrich issued decrees,
on 3 and 20 September 1939, distinguishing cases that could be taken care
of `in the accustomed manner and those which required special treatment':
in the latter, because of their seriousness, danger, and `propaganda
consequences deserve to be considered for elimination, ruthlessly and
without respect of persons.' The concept was consistent with Hitler's
formally articulated claim (made in October 1939, soon after the outbreak
of war) to `the right of deciding over life and death of all Germans,
without regard for existing laws.' T4 itself had been initiated under this
claim, but 14f13 structured it specifically in connection with the
principle of `special treatment.' The term then was extended to a variety
of cases in the work of the secret police, and to decrees by leaders of the
Race and Resettlement Office concerning the handling of racially
undesirable people. By the middle of 1941, the term was being used
`matter-of-factly' in connection with extermination of Jews in the East,
even to the creation of different verb forms such as a past tense,
`specially treated' (sonderbehandelt). In June 1942, Himmler approved a
`euthanasia' death for tubercular Polish workers by stating, `I have no
objection to giving special treatment to the Polish nationals ... who have
been certified by authorized physicians to be incurable.'<11>

The use of the term `special treatment' followed a sequence, then, of being
applied first to allegedly dangerous criminals, then to medically
determined `unworthy life' in the greater society (in the T4 program,
where, however, the term was not widely used), and finally to
still-medicalized `euthanasia' in the camps (via 14f13, where it was always
used) of all groups considered by the regime to be undesirable (Jews,
homosexuals, political opponents, ordinary criminals, `shiftless elements,'
Catholic critics, etc.) and now inclusively viewed as `unworthy life.' The
extension of the aura of `euthanasia' into the camps in this way widened
indefinitely the potential radius of medicalized killing. And that form of
extralegal but legitimized killing took on a special priority and
absolutleness: the minutes of the 1 January 1940 SS conference on
race-related immigration questions state that an individual judgement on
`special treatment' was to be `incontestable, like that of a physician'
... <12>"
<1> Mennecke testimony, 17 January 1947, Nuremberg Medical Case, vol. I, 
    p. 832. Mennecke claimed that these early visits were not part of
    14f13, but rather were general examinations of the insane.
<2> Amnon Amir, "Euthanasia in Nazi Germany" (unpublished dissertation, 
    State University of New York, Albany, 1977), pp. 297-301
<3> Ibid., p.300; Hans-Guenther Seraphim, expert testimony on "Special
    Treatment" and 14f13 (10 May 1960), Generalstaatsanwaltschaft, 
    Frankfurt/M., JS 20/61, vol. I/3(44).
<6> Ernst Klee, "Euthanasie" im NS-Staat: Die "Vernichtung lebensunwerten
    Lebens" (Frankfurt/M., S. Fisher, 1983), pp. 345-47; Kogon,
    Massentoetungen [4], pp.60-71; Heyde Trial, pp. 606-12.
<7> Klee, "Euthanasie" [6], pp.349-50
<8> Friedrich Mennecke to his wife, 24 November 1941, Heyde Trial, p. 639;
    see also Amir, pp. 305-6.
<9> Heyde Trial, pp. 646-48; Klee, "Euthanasie" [6], p. 348 reproduces
    one of these photos with handwritten diagnosis.
<10> Klaus Doerner "Nationalsozialismus und Lebensvernichtung." in
     Vierteljahrshefte fuer Zeitgeschte 15 (1967): 145
<11> Seraphim, "Special Treatment" [3]; Heyde Trial, pp. 604-9
<12> Seraphim, "Special Treatment" [3]

* There is some evidence -- Friedrich Mennecke's recollection in his
testimony at Nuremberg <1> -- that, as early as the summer of 1940,
psychiatrists from T4 were sent to concentration camps to evaluate inmates,
whose original questionnaires were filled out by camp doctors.  One
commentator sees in this early sequence an `experimental' phase in the
expansion of medical killing.<2> But others question whether any such phase
actually occurred.<3>

** Similarly, for example, natural deaths were 14f1; 14f2 was a suicide or
accidental death; 14f3, shot while attempting to escape; 14fI, execution.

*** This contradicts Nitsche's later testimony that `the combing out of the
concentration camps was done according to precisely the same viewpoint, by
means of the same questionnaires, as those in the insane asylums.'

Extracted from--------------------------------------------------- 
THE NAZI DOCTORS: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide.
Lifton, Robert Jay,       London: Papermac, 1986 (Reprinted 1990)

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