University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies
chgs@umn.edu
612-624-0256


CHGS

  • The unsettled, "asocials"

    The unsettled, "asocials"

    The unsettled, "asocials", alcoholics and prostitutes.

    IV.25
    Who is unfit for community life (asocial)?
    Excerpt from the "Informationsdienst Rassenpolitisches Amt der NSDAP Reichsleitung" dated 20th June 1942, No. 126

    In February 1942, on the occasion of a table-talk in which Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler participated, Hitler explained: „After ten years of imprisonment with hard labor an individual is lost for community life anyhow. Who is going to give him any work? Such a fellow should be put into a concentration camp for life or he should be killed. In our days the latter is more important and serves as a warning. It should be an example for all followers!" (Adolf Hitler, Monologe im Führer-haupt-quartier 1941-1944, Hamburg 1980, p. 271), Nazi reality combined both ways of action: in the years 1942/43 almost 6.000 out of 12.658 "asocial prisoners" died in concentration camps under the programme "extermination through work programme". This extermination programme was also used for forensic psychiatry patients, if they had not already become victims of the "euthanasia" operation.

    IV.26
    Die Gemeinschaftsunfähigen (Those unfit for community life) by H.W Kranz and S. Koller, Giessen 1941
    Title page

    Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Heinrich Kranz and his colleagues in the Institute for Hereditary Health and Racial Hygiene with the university of Giessen directed their focus in work on the attempt to demonstrate the hereditability of criminal and "asocial" behavior. After his habilitation paper "Lebensschicksale krimineller Zwillinge" (1936), his main work consisting of two volumes, "Die Gemeinschaftsunfähigen", was published in 1941; Kranz had edited this work together with his colleague Siegfried Koller. Kranz and Koller identified "all those'unfit for community life' or'asocial'..., who show very often significant tendencies opposing community life and who repeatedly show their incapacity or hostility concerning community life." The authors described those who were unable or who did not want to fit into the dominant Nazi condition s, crimal and non criminal individuals, "unfit for community life" as "clinkers and excretory products of human society and civilization", and recommended forced sterilization, forced labor and deprivation of national civil rights for the protection of national unity.

    In 1941, the medical statistician Siegfried Koller (born in 1908) became head of the new bio-statistical institute in Berlin. In 1956, after having spent the years 1945-1952 in confinement, Koller was appointed honorary professor and head of the Institute for medical statistics in Mainz. From 1953 to 1962 he was head of the Department for Demographic and Cultural Statistics with the Federal Office for Statistics. In his function of nestor of medical statistics, Koller obtained the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Federal Distinguished Service Medal) in 1982.

    IV.27
    Heinrich Wilhelm Kranz (1939)

    Prof. Dr. Heinrich Wilhelm Kranz (1897-1945), was head of the Institute for Hereditary Health and Racial Hygiene at the university of Giessen and in charge of the office of racial politics of the NSDAP for the Gau Hesse-Nassau. In 1936, he was offered a newly established chair for hereditary and racial research; in 1939, he became rector of the university. In 1942, he took over the Frankfurt university chair left by Prof. Dr. Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer.

    IV.28
    Breitenau, about 1930

    The Korrektions- und Landarmenanstalt (institution for, correction and poor people from rural areas) Breitenau near Guxhagen was established in 1874 by the Kassel district municipal agency. Pursuant to the 1871 Penal Code, the German labor houses were designed to serve as a "correctional post-confinement" following a sentence on the grounds of beggary, vagabondage, "work shyness", laziness, homelessness or prostitution. The Nazis considerably increased this type of penalty. Pursuant to the "measures for security and improvement", effective from 1934, the confinement in a labor house (up to that time limited to two years) was principally unlimited, i.e. eventually for life. In the annual report of 1933, the direction was happy to notify that the numbers of the inmates of institution of Breitenau had shown a substantial increase "since the Nazi revolution, as a consequence of the effects of the measures taken against beggary". The number of "those to be corrected" had increased from 24 in 1932/33 to 125 in the years 1933/34. Part of those people had been arrested in September 1933 during a so-called "beggar's week", when a raid on homeless persons was. made. Within the scope of the "operation against work-shyness" of the year 1938, 11,000 so-called "work-shy" individuals were arrested by the Third Reich authorities and transferred to concentration camps for labor purposes. Since 1939, some of the Breitenau inmates were used in the prisoners camp Rodgau near Dieburg. A short while after the promulgation of the "Law for the Prevention of Hereditary Disease in Posterity" the Breitenau direction started to systematically screen Inmates for the"hereditarily diseased". Screening for "hereditary health" became a criterion for release. Many of those in confinement had to undergo forced sterilization.

    breitenau

    In 1933, an early concentration camp for political prisoners was added to the buildings of the institution. Since 1940, the labor house also served as "concentration institution - and educational labor camp" for people, scheduled be transferred to a concentration camp, and for female prisoners who were under forced labor. The "institution for correction" was finally closed in 1949.

    IV.29
    Landesrat Bernotat welcomes the proposal to have inmates under security custody in sanatoriums and nursing homes to be transferred to labour camps, 2nd July 1938

    IV.30
    Selma K., 1932

    selma KAlready in 1932/33 and in 1936/37, Selma K. had been one of the inmates of the mental hospital. In 1937, she was once again committed to the institution for reasons of "unstable psychopathological behavior". On 21st April 1939, the director of the institution told the state criminal investigation department: "Her physical conditions allow along-term confinement in a concentration camp. She is totally fit for both camp and labor." The Nazis considered prostitutes as work-shy, mentally and morally of minor value and also asocial.

    Already in May 1933, the respective section 361 RStGB was given a stricter application; subsequently prostitutes became the target of mass-imprisonment Considered as "hereditarily diseased", they became victims, of forced sterilization and "euthanasia", or were committed to labor houses and concentration camps as "ordinary criminals". In spite of this, prostitution principally remained legal.

    In 1939, by decree of the Reich Minister of the Interior the war policy ordered the "re-establishment of whorehouses and the barrack-like concentration of prostitutes" for soldiers and "foreign" laborers. Females under forced labor and female prisoners of concentration camps were compelled to prostitute themselves in these institutions.

    IV.31
    Transfer of patients committed to the Haina mental hospital pursuant to section 42 b of the Reich Penal Code (RStGB) to the Mauthausen concentration tamp, 4th April 1944

    Pursuant to section 42 b RStGB, "mentally ill" criminals were committed to mental homes. Under the "euthanasia" operation, this group of inmates had already become target victims of the Nazi extermination policy.

    IV.32
    Prisoners' labor in the concentration camp of Mauthausen, 1941

    The concentration camp Mauthausen was already established only a short time after the annexation. of Austria. The quarry, "Wiener Graben", was a principal argument for its location. Since 1943, several war factories were located there in halls, especially constructed for this reason. More than 200,000 people worked there. About half of the inmates were killed or died from the torments of camp life. By spring 1941, the "euthanasia operation" was extended to the concentration camps. Between April and August 1941, approximately 2,500 prisoners from the concentration camps Sachsenhausen, Mauthausen, Buchenwald and Auschwitz were gassed in the killing institutions Hartheim and Sonnenstein. Many of the victims belonged to the prisoners identified as "asocials". Prof. Werner Heyde, medical head of the "T-4 Operation", described the "asocial" prisoners as the "worst minus variants", "biologically negative" and seldom more than capable to be tamed".