News / Europe

Victims of Nazi 'Euthanasia' Killings Commemorated in Berlin

A woman lays flowers at the new monument for the victims of euthanasia in Berlin, Sept. 2, 2014.
A woman lays flowers at the new monument for the victims of euthanasia in Berlin, Sept. 2, 2014.
Reuters

Some 300,000 people with physical or mental disabilities who were killed under Nazi Germany's “euthanasia” program because their lives were deemed unworthy were commemorated on Tuesday with the opening of a memorial in Berlin.

Relatives of the victims joined Mayor Klaus Wowereit and members of the public to lay wreaths and white roses in front of the 30-meter-(100-foot)-long, blue glass wall of the open-air memorial and permanent exhibition.

“The Nazi murders of disabled people are among the most inhumane acts of history,” said Wowereit. “It is high time that these victims of Nazi inhumanity finally receive their own memorial.”

The Nazis killed an estimated 300,000 people with disabilities and psychological ailments, mostly by gas and lethal injection. The scheme was coordinated from offices next to Berlin's Tiergarten, where information about the forced sterilizations and murders is now presented on plaques.

In the euthanasia program's headquarters, doctors and administrators listed physically and mentally disabled patients to be killed, decided how it should be done, and devised ways to keep the murders secret.

“We must denounce the inhumane distinction between a worthy and an unworthy life,” said Monika Gruetters, Germany's state minister for culture and media. “Every human life is valuable - that's the message of this memorial.”

Hartmut Traub read from the biography of his uncle, Benjamin Traub, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia and gassed on March 13, 1941 at the Hadamar extermination site, where Traub said 10,113 patients were asphyxiated with carbon monoxide.

Just over 60 patients were gassed daily in Hadamar, Traub said. They would be examined, told to undress, and sent to a chamber in the cellar, supposedly to shower.

“They wouldn't have had much time to react,” Hartmut Traub said. “Soon Benjamin and his 63 fellow sufferers were choking on gas.”

The memorial is located near other commemorative sites honoring groups targeted by the Nazi Holocaust - the 6 million murdered Jews, the persecuted homosexuals, and the Roma gypsy victims of Hitler's regime.

It is specifically designed to be accessible for disabled people and those with learning difficulties. 

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More