University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


  • Foreword


    a foreword...

    The exhibition of the "Hospital" in Hadamar, Germany uncovers the cruelty that was the reality behind the Nazis desire to create a society where there was no room for "inferior" humans - or humans with a genetic disability.

    "Euthanasia" translates directly to "the beautiful death".
    With the same rhetoric usually present with rulers with absolute power, the Nazis tried to disguise that their health services were active in the mass murders of those of us who were most vulnerable; psychiatric patients, people with mental disabilities, people with genetic disabilities.

    The most frightening aspect of this is that very often it was highly educated health personnel who were on the front line when these killings were committed. Occupational groups, whose vocational training traditionally includes caring of people when they are weak, were active participants when the same people were being killed.

    The "euthanasia program" is historic evidence that ideologies can corrupt people who, because of their professional ethics, should be able to withstand such corruption. This historic event should call for reflection by all people in contact with a public health service.

    The photographs in the "Verlagt nach Hadamar" exhibition were shown to the public for the first time in the Hessen district of Germany (where they occurred) in the spring of 1991. More than fifty years passed before someone shed a light on these killings. Because the atrocities that occurred to people with disabilities during the Holocaust were kept hidden for so long, it calls into question the need of all of us to be ever/more vigilant and open in exposing present day actions and attitudes toward people with disabilities in order to prevent such action in the future against people who are "different".

    We welcome you to this exhibition. Welcome to a step back in time. Welcome to the reality behind the Nazis ideology of a society without disabilities. Welcome to the reality behind the so-called "Euthanasia" - the beautiful death!

    - Tor Oskar Jorgensen