Sanitarium Administrator Objects to Secrecy Around Nazi Euthanasia Program

Sanitarium Administrator Objects to Secrecy Around Nazi Euthanasia Program

Franz Gürtner
Source: Deutsches Bundesarchiv

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Reich Minister of Justice Franz Gürtner receives a letter from the supervisor of the sanatorium for mental patients and epileptics at Stehn, Germany, objecting to the secrecy in which the Nazi euthanasia program is being carried out.

According to the supervisor:

"The measures which are at present being applied to mental patients of all kinds have led to the rise of a feeling of great legal insecurity among wide circles of the population. ...

Because of the absolute secrecy and impenetrability in which measures are carried out; not only the wildest rumors arise among the people (for instance, that people who cannot work because of age or wounds received in the Great War, have been done away with or are also to be done away with), but also they get the impression that the selection of the persons affected by this measure is done in an arbitrary manner.

If the State really wants to carry out the extermination of these patients or certain kinds of mental diseases, should not a clear law — openly accounted for to the people — be published, a law which would give every single person the guarantee of a careful examination of his liability to die or right to live, and would also give relatives the chance to be heard, as in the case of the law for the prevention of the transmission of hereditary diseases?

With regard to the other patients entrusted to our institutions, I urgently beg you to do all you can to get the execution of these measures suspended, at least until a clear legal position has been created."

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