Bishop Hilfrich Complains to Justice Minister Gürtner About Nazi Euthanasia Program

Bishop Hilfrich Complains to Justice Minister Gürtner About Nazi Euthanasia Program

Bishop from the diocese of Limburg, Antonius Hilfrich, 1943
Source: Nachlass Prälat Georg Rompel

Bishop Antonius Hilfrich of Limburg writes a letter to Reich Minister of Justice Franz Gürtner complaining about the T4 euthanasia program. The program was started in secret, but it's been impossible to keep hidden.

More and more people have become aware of the widespread murders of physically and mentally disabled Germans. Now, Catholic leaders are starting to speak out strongly, and this will soon lead to the program being cancelled entirely.

Bishop Hilfrich writes:

"About 8 kilometers from Limburg, in the little town of Hadamar (under Frick's jurisdiction), on a hill overlooking the town, there is an institution which had formerly served various purposes and of late had been used as a nursing home; this institution was renovated and furnished as a place in which, by consensus of opinion, the above-mentioned euthanasia has been systematically practiced for months, approximately since February 1941.

The fact has become known beyond the administrative district of Wiesbaden, because death certificates from a Registry Hadamar Moenchberg are sent to the home communities. ...

Several times a week buses arrive in Hadamar with a considerable number of such victims. School children of the vicinity know this vehicle and say, 'There comes the murder box again.' After the arrival of the vehicle, the citizens of Hadamar watch the smoke rise out of the chimney and are tortured with the ever-present thought of the miserable victims, especially when repulsive odors annoy them, depending on the direction of the wind.

The effect of the principles at work here are: Children can each other names and say, 'You're crazy; you'll be sent to the baking oven in Hadamar.' Those who do not want to marry or find no opportunity say, 'Marry, never! Bring children into the world so they can be put into the bottling machine!'

You hear old folks say, 'Don't send me to a state hospital! After the feeble-minded have been finished off, the next useless eaters whose turn will come are the old people.' ...

The population cannot grasp that systematic actions are carried out which, in accordance with Paragraph 211 of the German criminal code, are punishable with death! ...

Officials of the Secret State Police, it is said, are trying to suppress discussion of the Hadamar occurrences by means of severe threats. In the interest of public peace this may be well intended, but the knowledge and the conviction and the indignation of the population cannot be changed by it; the conviction will be increased with the bitter realization that discussion is prohibited with threats but that the actions themselves are not prosecuted under penal law."


Nazi Aktion T-4 — Euthanasia Program

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