Forgotten Nazi 'Euthanasia Holocaust' of Disabled To Get Memorial in Berlin

Nazis Killed Hundreds of Thousands of Handicapped People

Here To Stay: Roma demonstrator protests at memorial to victims of Nazi extermination of Roma and Sinti people. A new memorial will honor disabled victims of the Holocaust.
getty images
Here To Stay: Roma demonstrator protests at memorial to victims of Nazi extermination of Roma and Sinti people. A new memorial will honor disabled victims of the Holocaust.

By Reuters

Published July 10, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Berlin has laid the foundations for a memorial to a largely neglected group of Nazi victims - hundreds of thousands of mentally and physically disabled people murdered by Hitler’s regime under its “euthanasia” programme.

A 30-metre blue glass wall will stand on the site of the former headquarters of the “euthanasia” scheme in the heart of the German capital, not far from a memorial to the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust opened in 2005 and a memorial to the half a million Roma victims of the Nazis opened in 2012.

“Examining the crimes of the Nazis, commemorating the victims and informing future generations remains a permanent task and duty for Germany,” Bernd Neumann, minister of state for cultural affairs, said at a ceremony this week.

“This monument in our capital sends a signal condemning hate, ignorance and cold-heartedness and promoting tolerance, empathy and respect for life,” he said.

Adolf Hitler saw no place for the mentally and physically disabled in his vision of a “racially pure” Germany, just as he saw no place for Jews, Sinti and Roma and homosexuals.

The Nazis devised a programme of “mercy killing” for those whose lives they considered not worth living.

Between January 1940 and August 1941 about 70,000 people were killed under the programme. Many were sent to gas chambers, others were killed by lethal injection.

The programme was ostensibly shut down in 1941, partly after church protests, but it continued in secret. Historians estimate that between 200,000 and 300,000 people were killed.

Sigrid Falkenstein, one of those campaigning for a memorial since 2007 and whose aunt Anna Lehnkering was a victim of the programme, said she saw the start of construction as an important step along a “long road”.

Lehnkering was diagnosed as mentally deficient and murdered in 1940 at the age of 25.

She lamented the “comparatively small sum” of 500,000 euros assigned for the project by the federal government however.

The memorial is due to open in autumn 2014.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.