tv Nazi Persecution Murder of the Disabled CSPAN October 25, 2020 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT
the video. at 8:00 p.m. eastern and 5:00 pacific, on the presidency, the presidency as an institution, explaining how it has function and changed since the framers created the office and the constitution -- in the constitution. jason: ladies and gentlemen, welcome. i am jason from the national world war ii museum's institute for the study of war and democracy. we appreciate you joining us today for this webinar on the nazi murder of the disabled. and the 1945 trial. we are so fortunate to have as our special guest today dr. patricia haber rice from the united states holocaust memorial museum in washington, d.c. i want to give a little bit of background about dr. rice. she is director of the division of the senior historian at the jack joseph and morton mendel
center of holocaust studies. she is an expert on the victims of nazi annihilation policies and efforts to bring the nazi perpetrators to justice after world war ii. she has a lot of publications. so i will just mention a small number of those for you today. first is "atrocities on trial, historical perspectives on the politics of prosecuting war crimes," the 2008 volume she co-edited with her colleague at the holocaust museum. i would like to mention to you especially about this volume, she writes a contribution piece entitled "early war postwar justice in the american zone, the murder factory trial," which we will get to in the second half of our discussion today.
she has also contributed to the 2008 volume "nazi crimes under the law." one of the kind of pathbreaking researchers on the topic we are going to cover today. a volume titled "children during the holocaust," part of her series on the holocaust sources in context, a very important volume of source material for educators, and finally from 2019, "war and child in the era of two world wars." patricia, welcome to our webinar today. it is so great to have you here. this is a topic that obviously a lot of our viewers are just generally familiar with. they certainly know about the nazi persecution and murder of people with mental and physical disabilities, but, obviously, when you get beyond that, there is a lot that is unfamiliar to
us, a lot of the detail we just do not know as well as we should, so we feel very fortunate to have you here with us today to talk through what happened with this program, how many, what kinds of people were caught up in it and the attempts to bring perpetrators connected to the program to justice after the war. i thought we would jump right in, patricia, and to start out with a very basic question for our viewers about your own background on this topic. it is a very difficult topic, a very painful topic to research. and i think people would be curious about how you became interested in researching this program that the nazi regime implemented during world war ii. patricia: good morning, jason. it is an honor and pleasure to be here with your viewers and your audience this morning.
this afternoon in washington, d.c., for us, but this book was actually my jumping off part, my jumping off place into the history of the euthanasia program. it was the subject of my masters thesis. at the time i was interested in legal history. and in early postwar trials. at the time, the topic of that euthanasia program was not well known. the first books on euthanasia had just come out in 1985 in german, so at the time i was writing this, which was about 1986, 1987, there was almost nothing about this in english. and it drew my immediate interest and i have been working on it ever since. jason: it is really remarkable, patricia, that you were certainly one of the first researchers in the anglophone world, in the english-speaking
world, to be working on this. i think about when i was in graduate school and the books we all had to read on this program, like "the origins of nazi genocide," and those are a decade later from what you were working on. all the more reason we are so grateful you could join us. why don't we talk about this program, which is generally known as the t4 program. if you could tell us about the nazi regime's decision in 1939 to secretly murder people with mental and physical disabilities, and tell us which individuals specifically were targeted as part of this program. patricia: yes. what is interesting is this so-called euthanasia program is also known as operation t4, one of the nazis' very radical policies to help what they would
describe it to restore the racial integrity of the german nation, to cleanse the race. they did this by murdering european jews during the holocaust, but one of their sort of biological enemies that they really focused on in their own community were people they called hereditarily ill, unworthy of life. today we would call these individuals persons with mental disabilities, with intellectual disabilities, or physical disabilities. the nazis believed that these individuals placed both the genetic -- that is important, a genetic as well as a financial burden on society and the state. and at the same time, according to the nazis, they made no significant contribution to society. so they are targeting disabled patients in institutionalized settings in germany and austria. and in those particularly annexed by the germans, the czech republic.
so this euthanasia program, you see quotations around this term, because it is not "euthanasia" in terms of a mercy death, which is part of a biomedical debate today, this is a cynical program of mass murder. it is the regime's first program of mass murder carried out against its own citizens. the overwhelming number of people who died in the euthanasia program were german aryans, non-jews. this program was before the holocaust by about two years. and just to give you a little background, beginning in october of 1939, two men we will meet in a moment, they initiated a child euthanasia program, which murdered over 10,000 disabled
children during the war years through starvation and overdoses of medication. and by january 1940, you have an adult killing program that parallels that murder of german infants, toddlers, and juveniles. this was codenamed operation t4. here you see the villa, that was used as a nerve center for the euthanasia program. for those of you who know berlin, this villa was hit in the days of world war ii and stood right about where the berlin philharmonic stands now. they took the street address for this villa, and they used it to create the codename for the organization, which is operation t4. basically, what the operation does is to remove individuals
from their home facility to eventually one of six centralized killing centers throughout germany and austria. and within hours of their arrival, the patients are just gassed. you see the gas station as it -- gas chamber as it was , it was restored after the war at the memorial site. they are gassed with carbon monoxide in gas chambers that look like showers. they are removed and their bodies are burned in crematoriums. about 70,000 patients were murdered between january 1940 and august 1941, in this gassing phase of the euthanasia program. the program stops for about a year between january of 1941 and january 1942. but it begins again in august of 1942 in places like hadamar, and continues to the end of the war. and about 250,000
institutionalized patients died as a result of the euthanasia program. jason: thank you for that overview. there is a lot for our viewers to deal with. and that this is a program really that covers most of the war, other than this one year that you mention, which we will discuss as well. but i thought we would talk about hadamar and some of the key perpetrators that you alluded to. the one that you mentioned, hadamar, was one of six killing centers in the third reich. these killing centers were supervised by men with the last name of b, if that helps us remember some of them. you mentioned a couple of them already. philip bueller, the director of hitler's private chancellery, carl braun, hitler's attending
physician, and much of the day to day management of the program was done by victor brock. often when we look at these perpetrators, i think this is largely affected by the trial of adolf ikeman. several years later. he is not directly tied into this program, but his trial shaped the way we think a lot of this program. the term desk murderer gets used for many men involved with either the t4 program or the genocide of the jews. so, if you can tell us about these perpetrators, and if you think the term desk murderer is adequate for understanding them or not. patricia: that is a good definition for what these individuals did. let's take a look at who these men were. this is philip, a very interesting photograph. it is a color photograph, which you do not usually see in this
particular era. philip bouhler is the man in the dark uniform. as you said, he is the director of the chancellery, and he manages hitler's affairs. it is off the radar screen of most germans, as a small podium of organization. it is a perfect machine for this -- for clandestine murder operations. next we have dr. carl brandt. they were named in a letter for the euthanasia program. and here you see him serving his place at the nuremberg doctors trial in 1946. he was, of course, the attending physician for hitler.
and there is brock, victor brock. he is at his desk in 1940. he is basically what you might call a man with no medical training who runs the daily operations of the t4, t4 office manager. and in these men were responsible for the killing program. putting it into operation, managing from their desks. they are responsible for orchestrating the killing process. they do not do any actual killing. and the trials for these kind of men are very hard to come by, especially in early war crime trials. we tend to see these later in the 1960's. 's triald adolf eichmann as a perfect example, who never killed anybody personally as far as we know of, but operated these enormous, important killing operations from their offices. these perpetrators i just talked about, they carefully organized and implemented the euthanasia program, but the links to the organization require
investigation, tenacious prosecution. so they literally often got away with murder, some of these t4 perpetrators. jason: thank you. and they are such a frightening kind of perpetrator to deal with. they are legally, but as far as intellectually, for people to come to terms with about these individuals, literally the paper that they push involved the deaths of thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of individuals. and we will obviously hear more about these three men as we work through. you have already alluded to the phases of this program, this t4 program. if we could kind of distinguish these a little bit. the first one lasted from january 1940 until late august, 1941. at hadamar,ribe
what happened to victims during this first phase? people try to understand, how did this actually take place? how did this work? obviously we have learned a lot thanks to your research, and how this actually worked for the victims. patricia: of course. hadamar was one of the last of the six established killing centers. it is often cited as the most famous. you cannot tell from this photograph, but it actually set -- sat above the town of hadamar. it was a small farming town not far from frank fort -- frankfurt. in the 10 short months from january to august of 1941 when it was in operation, the staff gassed 10,072 mentally and physically disabled individuals.
before that, halt in the euthanasia program takes place. we will talk about that in just a little while. but patients were simply brought to hadamar from their home institutions. more often, they went through transit facilities, these kinds of way stations that disguised where the patients were actually going. that was to keep the relatives of victims, agencies like insurance agencies, government agencies that track these individuals, their positions and so forth, from being able to follow where their patients went. patients were usually brought from these facilities to hadamar. they come in buses of about 80 to 100 every day, except for sunday. the buses run through the town of hadamar, where they are seen by the local population. they go up to the hill in the
facility. they are given a very brief examination that lulls them into a sense of security. it is the antechamber of the gas chamber. and often the doctors are trying to give a sense that this is a medical procedure, kind of like naegele andoseph the rest. but they are also looking for a diagnosis that they might be able to use. the patients are gassed in the gas chamber made to look like showers. and then they are cremated. the physicians sign death certificates giving a cause of death. and then the relatives of these victims receive the death certificate, as well as an urn with ashes from the pile of ashes on the floor of the crematorium. so it is a grisly business. jason: it is horrifying when you look at the details of this, how systematic, how thoughtful it is.
-- how methodical it is. a kind of bureaucratic process, and yet one so full of ideological fervor, the nazis' commitment to purging people, in this case murdering, purging as in mass murder, tens of thousands of the most vulnerable citizens of germany and greater germany during these years. how did the perpetrators try to keep this secret? the follow-up that people always want to know, who have studied this a bit, is how did the public come to learn something about the fact that this program was in place and operating? patricia: yes, part of the effort to keep this kind of
operation on track and off the radar screen of the german public involved using fictitious dates and causes of death and giving the impression to relatives and to the insurance agencies, by the way -- germany is a welfare state that the bulk of these patients are actually being paid for, their care, by the german central health, the public health administration. so the relatives of the victims receive these fictitious death certificates, and they are trying to convey the impression that these patients have died of natural causes. but soon the secret operation becomes for many reasons an open secret. here you will see probably a better photograph of the facility on the edge of the town. you can see the smoking crematorium. the first access the public had
to this secret program usually happened around the places of the euthanasia sites themselves. as you can see, hadamar was perched above the agricultural town, and these are all farmers. i am a nice midwestern girl from a farm town in illinois, and i can tell you that when you burn flesh, it has a peculiar smell. and these are all farmers in this community. and at a certain point, they are murdering so many patients that they complained to the local agricultural chamber that the ashes from the crematorium are ruining their crops. the relatives of the victims very often find out when they receive very strange diagnoses that happened. for example, someone might die of appendicitis. that is the classic case. and their appendix has been removed several years ago, or
they receive something for a 17-year-old saying this person has died of old age. you see the slip-ups occur and it gives clues to relatives that things are not quite right. we know that lawyers and the legal profession, most german government agencies were not briefed until relatively late about this secret program. so it is a secret from them, too. you see people like local district attorneys trying to figure out on behalf of families where their loved one has disappeared and they are told to shut down the cases. people are finding out various parts of the grapevine that something strange is going on. i should also point out that church officials are some of the early detectors of this program. people like the bishop of munster finds out that patients are being removed from a
local catholic institution. he is also receiving a lot of dispensation requests from relatives whose relatives have been cremated. catholics at the time could not be cremated without the dispensation of their bishop. this is how a lot of catholic figures found out that something strange was happening. and we also know that the public, maybe the public does not understand exactly every detail, but it is very clear that a large segment of the population knows something is afoot. when the germans, when the nazi administration tries to mount a tv campaign to screen the country's inhabitants for tuberculosis, lots of people do not show up because they actually fear they might be pulled into this killing process. at this very crucial time during the war effort, germany has just invaded the soviet union in june 1941.
hitler calls bouhler personally and tells him to halt the program. jason: this is such an important point for people who studied the nazi dictatorship and ask questions about the popular pressure, popular resistance to the regime. did the regime ever fear public pressure, public opposition? and so this case that you are talking about here, where everyday people begin to figure something out, and then the role that the church plays, you mentioned the bishop in munster. this is always something that people have to factor in when they are thinking about should there be resistance or not? did people actually defy the regime or challenge the regime? this is a very interesting case. you noted already that hitler orders a halt to the killing of adults in august of 1941, and then about a year later, the
regime resumes the murder of adults with disabilities. could you say something about the second phase of the t4 program, which goes into late in the war and how it differed from the first phase? patricia: this is a very interesting part of the euthanasia program. it is not one you see until recently in a lot of books on this subject. there is less research done on this part of the euthanasia program. lasts fromlasts -- about 1941-1942. it is a time when the planners of these programs are trying to knock out the kinks and make the program more covert. by the way, this is a time at which the final solution of european jews is going on. not only the shootings in the soviet union, but the first
killing centers begin gassing jews. this is a really interesting time where there is a connection between the first killing operation and the final solution. while these facilities remain dormant, many euthanasia operatives were sent to other places. these were killing centers, tripling the -- centers murdered 925,000 jews, almost as many as at auschwitz. and in the key personnel there are actually t4 staff. they are euthanasia operatives, who have been so used to killing on german soil, that they are key players in the execution of the final solution, the genocide of european jews. but, hadamar opens as one of the first euthanasia facilities in
the summer of 1942. it is the only of the original t4 killing centers during the second phase. and it goes on murdering patients until 1945, when germany, here in hadamar, is overrun by american forces. it shows the key changes that take place in euthanasia facilities all over germany and austria. and one is the way that they kill. they changed from gassing, which was used from january 1940 until august 1945. they switch to the more successful method using child euthanasia. that is overdoses of medication and sometimes starvation. the second thing that changes is
who does the killing. during the gassing phase, they had a gas valve that was in the hands of the physician. during the second killing phase, that changes. now the nurses, male and female nurses are dispelling overdoses -- dispensing overdoses of .edications it looks like a normal process, you might give outpatients to give them something to sleep. but what is interesting now, female nurses add to killing process. that is really the first time that you see women connected with a killing program, not so much with concentration camps, but with the killing program. finally, it decentralizes entirely. now, instead of six killing centers, it becomes one of about 100 facilities across germany and austria and other territories.
about 250,000 ultimately died. hadamar, which originally killed 10,000 patients, kills 5000 more during that second killing phase. jason: that number, 250,000, is a staggering number. it really is. and i think because we know the numbers obviously connected to the final solution, which are higher, i think is the only reason there is not more recognition of the facts about a quarter of a million people, mostly non-jews, were murdered as part of this program and the connections that you alluded to between the genocide of european jews and this program. you also noted in your research that there were other victims beside those with disabilities who were caught up in the vortex of destruction during the second phase.
and this is really, i think, crucial insight you have provided for us about how the net really spreads during the second phase. can you say something about who else is targeted when the killing starts in 1942 again? patricia: from january 1940 until august 1941, the key, and relatively only victims of the from january,ce: 1940 until august, 1941, the key at a relatively only victims of euthanasia program's, as at hadamar meant that they were
, intellectually or physically disabled patients, may be by 1943, the killing operation begins to expand beyond merely severely disabled adults, which the programs focus on a circle, a new circle of victims. , you seeere at hadamar disabled children and juveniles being killed at the facility, and they did not have a special pediatric facility for murdering young children and juveniles, but instead these are being drawn into the killing process -- the adult killing process, and that is actually very unusual for a euthanasia killing center. they murder some jewish men. one jewish parent and one area and parent are murdered there. it is the only place i know these children were murdered at these facilities, nothing was actually wrong with them. they had no dishabille your mental disorder of any kind. they are murdered simply because they are the children of jews
and a mixed marriage between jewish and christian parents, aryan parents, and that seems to have been some effort to start in that direction. it fizzles out, so about 40 of these children are murdered in hadamar. and that is the only place i know that has happened. we have ss and vermach soldiers murdered at these facilities. and we originally, these guidelines that were set out for the euthanasia program strenuously forbade veterans or current soldiers being murdered. but we see them ending up this program. we see about 100 and of allied bombing raids, it usually elderly women who are traumatized, they are bombed out
of their houses and have no one to come and collect them and they actually wind up at hadamar. what is really sad is you see people even from the bombings of dresden coming to these facilities. this very famous cause célèbre, the bombing of dresden, you see the bombing victims being murdered. and many people were bombed out in hamburg, a port city which was very heavily bombed. finally and most importantly, for our story here today we have , the murder of forced labor at the facility. these are not jewish forced and, specifically polish and soviet laborers. or they were called eastern workers by the nazi. they form the basis for the hadamar trial. if they were ill or exhausted while they were performing forced labor, they were sent home and sent back east. but this was not possible at a certain point in the war effort
when the red army was coming towards the german border. sick camps were set up to confined these individuals. but in the frankfurt area near where hadamar was, these foreign forced laborers, almost all of them had tuberculosis, they were close enough to the population to cause a public health crisis. they did not want tuberculosis to spread to the population. so they sent these individuals to be murdered at hadamar. so we know that 476 laborers super bowl or polish and -- sovietlar polish and forced laborers were killed in hadamar. jason: everything you told us there points to the fact that the nazi regime as you noted the second phase in 1942, the summer
of 1942. and as the war turns against hitler, the dictatorship over the next year, stalingrad curves north africa and sicily, the invasion and the italian peninsula, and the regime expands the killing. they don't hold back from it, they broadened the array of victims. that goes right into the end of the war. that takes us here to the wars end, and the discovery of these killing centers and the attempt to bring justice to the perpetrators. when the americans show up in late march of 1945, what did they find there? dr. heberer-rice: the americans overrun the town in late march
of 1945 am at the second infantry division, and in most cases in terms of other euthanasia killing sites. they come into the towns and say they are killing people up there, and everybody is talking about it. go up there and check on the patients. and that is how american forces learn. a captain of the unit that comes into town and they decide to investigate, and they send a group of american officials. you see surviving patients at the hadamar facility. they go to visit the facility on the 29th of march, a few days after they come into hadamar in 1945. we do not know exactly what the conditions were like. the official record of their findable notot , it is within the preliminary
court documentation. so we do not know what the original luminary report said. we know there were about 550 people who survived the killing. you see them there at hadamar. in the final months, many of the orderlies had been drafted and these were older people, so they were not of service age, but they had been drafted to the home army. so young men and old men defending the front lines, the home front. others had fled because they knew they were in a lot of trouble with allied authorities who could arrest them. so the chief physician and the head female nurse, they decided that they would stay with the patients and they were immediately arrested. investigating officers, we know that they uncovered and
here you see a photograph of 581 mass graves in the institution cemetery. they found the death register showing 15,000 patients dying, which is not what you would expect at an ordinary institution where mortality may be 2% to 5% of the population. just given that some people are older elderly in my pathway in such an institution. so they contact the united states war crimes branch. the war is still going on, and it is in paris to investigate this scenario. jason: seeing those images is so startling. it is often overlooked. we think about the americans liberatingachau,
buchenwald, but obviously they liberated these killing centers and facilities where they had operated at the same time. patricia as you point out, , americans put on one of the first trials preceding the nuremberg trial, the hadamar trial of 1945, at which you describe, and i am quoting here, as the first mass atrocity trial to be conducted in the americans own. and among the first proceedings to be tried their by an american military tribunal. can you take us through the trial a bit? dr. heberer-rice: right. is one of the earliest trials in the u.s. zone. there were four occupation zones in germany, and each of these allies, the u.s., great britain, france, and the soviet union, were carrying out trials in their zone of occupation. but this had amar -- this hadamar trial comes. people think of the nuremberg
trials. takes place inal october as the indictment for norberg is handed down. so we are pretty early. before this particular trial, u.s. forces have been trying what you might view as classical violations of war, war crimes like the murder of downed service personnel. that was pretty common. there had been order at the end an of the war to murder any pilots that were found in the local population, because germany was very heavily bombed, and they were told to follow these instructions. so in a lot of cases you have downed allied flyers, at the local population shot them or beat them to death before they could be taken to a prisoner of war camp. these were typical trials, they were classical war crimes
trials, because they were involving u.s. servicemen. or servicemen of our allies. but this goes outside of that scope and addresses crimes carried out because of nazi racial policy. so this is not your classical war crimes trial. and i think you also wanted to hear about one of the heroes of the trial. and that is the trial judge advocate, the prosecutor in this case. he was a rather obscure corporate lawyer from houston, texas, and his name was leon jaworski. those of you who grew up in the 1960's and remember the endless 1970's, who watergate proceedings, and he goes on to gain fame during the nixon administration as chief prosecutor, and you see him on the cover of time magazine at that particular time.
he was no stranger to war crimes prosecution. and he had been trying many of these earlier trials, which was trying german civilians for murdering u.s. servicemen. dr. dawsey: watching our time here, if you could fit in briefly, can you go into some detail about the role these forced laborers play and could you say something to our audience about the final verdict? what actually happens at the outcome of this early trial? dr. heberer-rice: yes. very interestingly, these eastern workers that i talked about earlier are going to form the basis for the proceedings that occur. originally, jowarski was ready to try the individuals that he had in custody and who had murdered the 15,000 mental
patients and physically disabled patients at the facility. but because there was no precedent at the time in international law, that allowed nationals, foreign nationalities like the united states, the u.s. army try german nationals for killing their own kind. german on german crime. this was a nationals who killed their own citizens. and there is no precedent in international law before the crimes against humanity that -- statute that comes out in the nuremberg trial in the international tribunal that would kind of ease the wheels of justice. the judge advocate general's office, hehe abruptly tells jowarski, you
cannot try this because you have no jurisdiction in this matter. so leon jaworski comes up with the idea that these individuals or at least some of them that they had in custody had murdered civilian forced laborers. soviets and poles who are our allies. so that becomes the basis for this trial. to kind of see who finally gets in the trial, so leon jaworski tries the hadamar seven. i think we see a photograph there, but at least there are some photographs. the woman in the center, she is the head nurse. and that the director is there of the facilities. as you alluded in the beginning the trial is described in the , paper as the hadamar murder factory trial. and that is because leon
jaworski has a strategy that he uses in almost every trial -- where you see him performing as chief prosecutor. he stresses the assembly line nature of the killings. he says there is the head , physician who ordered the deaths of these patients and checks to see if they are dead. there is klein, who you see in the picture who orders his staff to kill these patients as they arrive. there are the nurses who are actually carrying out the murders. they admit to the murders. there is the woman in the picture, the only woman in the doc, and she is responsible for giving the medicine. she is handing out the morphine solution from her pharmacy that is under her control. so she is putting in the pharmaceuticals that kill these patients.
then, they also charge adolf for forging the death records and a man named philip bloom who buried these individuals. he is stressing the assembly-line nature of these killing processes and saying it is a production line of death. his strategy, as usual, some results in a completely set doc, where everyone in the doc is convicted of their crimes. alfonse klein and the two male nurses are hanged. there sentenced to death and hank. physician is in poor physical health and he gets a life sentence. and out of mecca and philip bloom, people who have tangential connections to the murder, because they forge the
death certificates and buried the bodies, they get 35 and 30 years. and the one who hands over the pharmaceuticals gets 50 years. that is what happens in the trial. jason: thank you, patricia, deck -- that gave us a lot of insight about, from the beginning of the program in 1939 to the end of the war. and the attempt to try these individuals. in the q&a you will be able to say more about the trial. i thought we would open it up to some questions. we have gotten a few in, not a surprise given how crucial the subject matter is. the first question is from john here in new orleans. did the germans keep the records of where their victims were prior to entering the system that eventually led to their demise? and then he has a follow-up. was there any form or method of selection as to when one was
finally sent to hadamar? he was curious about was forced labor was imposed on people with disabilities? you have obviously talked about people who are brought in as forced laborers, but people with disabilities, were they ever required to do anything in terms of labor expectations, some kind of labor for the facility? patricia: right. so i will answer the first question first. we will take it in chronological order. the t4ple apparatus -- apparatus, the euthanasia apparatus kept a very complicated statistics on this. that is how we know exactly how
many people died. we know 70,273 people were gassed. we know every single individual. patients came with their patient records. their names were entered in the death register. so we do have records of each of those individuals and each of those families get a condolence letter along with the death certificates and the ashes, but also their personal effects. there is this very complicated bureaucratic machine operating behind this able to send every , one of these victims their personal effects, their death certificates and so forth as if it were a natural thing. how were these patients were selected? they were selected on the basis of questionnaires sent to the medical directors throughout the facilities in germany and austria. the directors of these facility in general, they have
to fill out the questionnaires, and they have to flag people with serious disabilities. they have to flag individuals. they have to show people that are in the institution that have committed a crime. non-german victims. 5000 jews were murdered as a part of the euthanasia facility before the general deportation of jews against in 1941. it is like people who have been in a long-term setting for one of these facilities were more than five years. they are looking for incurable cases. on the forced labor thing, they are there to offset the missing labor of individuals who had been sent to the front, ordinary germans who were fighting at the front. but there is a kind of, i would not exactly say it is forced labor. but from the 1920's onward, it
was very common in german facilities, a lot of european facilities, because it was seen as therapy, what is called work therapy. that meant patients worked at these facilities, which were kind of self functioning. factories, they had basket weaving. they had a farm. so they were basically self-sustaining, many of these institutions. and the patients worked at these facilities and the idea was to fight the symptoms of institutionalization. keep them busy, give them skills. but the dirty little secret is of course when there was a financial crisis in the 1920's and 1930's, at institutions are -- these institutions are instrumental to help facilities run. because they are cooking and cleaning. that is not really forced labor
but the patients are working. on that questionnaire there is , indeed on the questionnaire, it asked specifically if the patient is able to work, which you see later at auschwitz. who is able to be forced labor. they are not the kind of forced labor we associate with a camp in auschwitz, but they are working and expected to work. that is an interesting question. jason: thank you. i thought we would work in two more, so i will just give these to you and i think we can squeeze these in. the first is from arthur, in melbourne, australia. he was curious about hitler's role in this. how much is he directly involved or not? the other one is from my friend gretchen, who has joined us from the twin cities. she was curious about whether medical experiments are conducted on these victims before they are murdered. dr. heberer-rice: first to
arthur, hello in melbourne. thank you for joining us. hitler's role, this is not a big consideration of his. we do know that he signed on his own private stationary. this is the only time hitler's we have hitler's signature on what could be seen as an order for a killing operation. that is a topic for another time. this is not his thing. he is interested in jews. the real impetus for the euthanasia program, and i could talk on hours on this. it comes from the medical community, and a lot of individuals around hitler were interested in things like eugenics and the idea of getting rid of populations like these that might cause genetic stain.
as well as a financial one. making the master race by getting rid of hereditary conditions. that is the impetus for that it is not really hitler's thing. the other question from gretchen as to do with medical experimentation. of course nazi doctors, this is a program carried out by the german medical community. the ss does not have a role in this. they have devised this and implemented this program, the medical professionals. so, in the concentration camp system, that is where you see the bulk of experimentation on concentration camp victims. that being said, there is experimentation on some of these patients. but what is kind of terrifying is that was very common even before the nazis. here at hadamar, we talked about adolf ballman, the chief physician, he was interested in
an anticonvulsant drug. at the time, it was thought shock therapy was done on the basis of convulsive medicine that it made you convulse. the idea was epileptics who had convulsions did not have schizophrenia. so shock therapy was supposed to shock the system by making the patient convulse with convulsive medicine. so the chief physician at hadamar the last year it was a killing center, he is experimenting on patients using these convulsive drugs, and they are devastating results. the patients can break their because jaws, their backs, their spines in these uncontrolled convulsions. and he is working on this drug and he thinks it is great because he is trying to make therapeutic advances in medicine. what's terrible is that these
kind of things were not tried, in the postwar. and they went on in the postwar. day went on before that nazis came to power. and if you talk to people in psychiatric communities here in the united states and elsewhere, they were clearly patients, mental patients, people with disabilities who were experimented on for years without the kind of attention that the concentration camp put them through. so very sad story there. , paul: extremely sad. patricia, i want to thank you today. for joining us today. you've given us lots to think about, especially how to integrate all this material that you provided into the way that we understand the third reich's war. they were reaching a very different kind of war, against
its own citizens, against jews, against slavs, and the conventional kind of war that is more familiar to the audience. so, you've given us a lot to consider and we really appreciate that. thanks to all our viewers for joining us this morning from wherever you are and we hope that you will join us again for our webinars very soon. thank you very much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2020] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] ♪ historyweek american tv's reel america brings you context for today's public affairs issues. >> before the civil war most states would not let soldiers vote. they were afraid of military control of communities near a army installations. the few who could vote had to do in person or not at all. there was no after two. -- there was no absentee balloting. someg the civil war,
arrange for voting in the field and others allowed men to melt votes home for a friend or relative to take to the polls for them. all of this was strictly temporary. ♪ by the time world war i came, many states set up absentee voting systems. in 1917, most troops in the states, the military vote was substantial if not truly impressive. in 1918 with chilean men overseas and no provision for voting outside the united states, the military vote was virtually nonexistent. clearly, these men had the right to vote. but there was just no provision for it. came, the war ii problem had to be tackled all over again. congress passed the federal voting law to allow service people away from home in time of war to vote. overseas could vote for senate, house, and presidential candidates. 1944, 2.5 million voted
overseas. it was complicated to get the ballots through the mail and send them back to the states again. still, if you really wanted to, there was a way. ♪ war, it wasorean made easier for a service man overseas to cast his vote and he was encouraged to do so. but this was still a special, known provision. and like all the others before it, a temporary one. so, and 1955, it was a major step forward when the federal voting assistance act became law. providing the mechanism for absentee voting anytime, anywhere, war or peace, on a permanent basis. provided for getting election information to the service man and helping him to obtain an absentee ballots. it also recommended to every state that it adopt a simple and uniform voting procedure to make the whole process less
complicated. federal postal card application, it became the key to the program. asay, every state accepts it a valid application for an absentee ballots from service personnel. f bca and drope it in the mail need for a stamp it goes by free airmail right to your voting district back home. ♪ they will send you an absentee ballots back, again by airmail. you have it with a minimum of delay. the rest is up to you. and rightly so. ♪ ago, william years corbett said, the great light of all, without which there is no
right, is the right of taking part in the making of the laws by which we are governed. important aspects of your life in uniform are directly regulated by the congress. pay rates, allowances, benefits, term of service, and so on. but the congress is also directly regulated by you, as citizens. this is the means by which you can have your say. presidency,n the stanford university history professor emeritus david kennedy talks about the history of the presidency as an institution. he explains how the presidency has functioned and changed since the framers created the office in the constitution. the stanford alumni association hosted event and provided the video. >> let me begin with numbers. have been 45 presidencies but only 44 persons who have served