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!
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • 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.