Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Famed Asperger’s Doctor Helped Nazis Kill Disabled Kids: Study

Hans Asperger, the Austrian pediatrician who pioneered research into autism and after whom Asperger syndrome is named, “actively cooperated” with a Nazi program under which disabled children were killed, an academic paper published on Thursday says.

The article by medical historian Herwig Czech published in the journal Molecular Autism says that Asperger referred severely disabled children to Vienna’s notorious Am Spiegelgrund clinic where almost 800 children died under the Nazi program — many of them by lethal injection or being gassed.

After reviewing archive documents including Asperger’s personnel files and patient records, Czech found that although Asperger did not join the Nazi party itself he did join affiliated groups and “publicly legitimized race hygiene policies” including forced sterilization.

“Asperger managed to accommodate himself to the Nazi regime and was rewarded for his affirmations of loyalty with career opportunities,” the paper said.

It added, however, that nothing suggested Asperger’s work on autism was tainted. He first described a group of children with the condition as “autistic psychopaths” in 1938. Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism where those affected are relatively high-functioning, was later named after him.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    50th meeting of the Yiddish Open Mic Cafe

    Hybrid event in London and online.

    Aug 14, 2022

    1:30 pm ET · 

    Join audiences and participants from across the globe for this live celebration of Yiddish songs, poems, jokes, stories, games, serious and funny - all performed in Yiddish with English translation.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit the Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, images, and credit to the Foward. Have questions? Please email us at editorial@forward.com.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.