The Third Reich

In Germany, during Hitler’s Third Reich, there was a series of propaganda films to show how disabled people were ‘useless eaters’, a burden on the state, and should be sterilised or got rid of.

Feature films, such as Ich klage an (I Accuse) (1941, Wolfgang Liebeneiner), which won a prize at the Venice Biennale, played a crucial role in justifying to the German population the concept of ‘mercy killing’. This film was seen by 13.5 million Germans by 1945 and was very influential, though it is recorded that a minority did not agree with its message.

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Ich klage an (I Accuse)

140,000 physically and mentally disabled adults were murdered in 1939-40 at the hands of the doctors of the Third Reich. The killing of adults was reduced by riots in Germany, led by Archbishop Galen of Munich in 1940, but continued more clandestinely. The killing of disabled children went on until 1945, with over 100,000 dying. These programmes were led from Tiergarten, 4, Berlin and so were known as T4.

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Published in: on February 3, 2007 at 2:49 am  Comments Off on The Third Reich  
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