PHIL-522-01 Euthanasia in Nazi Germany
Spring for 2009-2010
No faculty information available
Instructor: LeRoy Walters
EUTHANASIA IN NAZI GERMANY
This course will explore how approximately 300,000 people with disabilities were murdered in a program that deceptively claimed to provide its victims with a “good death.”
This course will focus primarily on the years 1939 to 1945 in Germany, Austria, and other parts of Europe annexed or occupied by Germany when Adolf Hitler was in power. We will examine how the program to kill off “unproductive” institutionalized adults – and children with physical or mental disabilities – was planned and implemented. We will also seek to discover opponents of the “euthanasia” program and will consider how and how effectively they expressed their opposition.
In an attempt to understand the precedents for National-Socialist “euthanasia,” we will briefly review eugenic sterilization programs in the United States (beginning in 1907) and Germany (beginning in 1934), as well as the plight of German asylum patients after World War I.
Visitors to the class will include a psychiatrist, a parent of a child with disabilities, and a historian who has studied National Socialist “euthanasia.”
Primary- and secondary-source readings; periodic journals; a field trip or interview; a biographical presentation based on the life of a perpetrator, opponent, or victim of “euthanasia”; and a final term paper. There is no final examination.
Michael Burleigh, Death and Deliverance: ‘Euthanasia’ in Germany 1900-1945 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994). ISBN 0-521-47769-7.
Henry Friedlander, The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995). ISBN 0-8078-4675-9.
Hugh G. Gallagher, By Trust Betrayed: Patients, Physicians, and the License to Kill in the Third Reich (revised edition: Arlington, VA: Vandamere Press, 1995). ISBN 0-918339-36-7
J. Noakes and G. Pridham, eds., Nazism 1919-1945, Volume 3: Foreign Policy, War and Racial Extermination: A Documentary Reader (revised edition; Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2001). ISBN 0-85989-602-1.
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