Background: Neues Volk was a monthly magazine published by the Nazi Party’s Racial Policy Office. It included a wide range of material aimed at a general audience. The Nazis were firm proponents of eugenics, of sterilizing (and later killing) those whom they viewed as “unworthy of life.” Such propaganda helped to lay the foundations for the euthanasia campaign that began about this time.
The circulation of the issue in which this article appeared was around 300,000. The article includes eight pictures of mentally ill women, chosen to look as unpleasant as possible. I include two of those photographs.
The source: H. Rodenfels, “Frauen, die nicht Mutter werden dürfen,” Neues Volk, 7 (May 1939), pp. 16-21.
Anyone who has had the opportunity to visit an insane asylum leaves deeply shaken by what he has seen. In splendid buildings that were the pride of the past generations, people who are the image of misery wander through beautiful gardens. With dull faces they walk about, giving no interest to their surroundings. One woman falls into a fit of rage, and is only overpowered by the staff with difficulty. Another gives a speech to a nonexistent audience. Others crawl around on all fours, displaying movements that have nothing human about them. Inside the buildings, people born lame or blind are bed-ridden. Some must be fed for their entire lives, since they are incapable of feeding themselves. After seeing all this, one is left with but one thought: If only these creatures had never been born!
Our institutions are still filled with such pitiable creatures.
There are people who say that it is the divine will that such mentally ill people, or others with genetic diseases, are born, and that others have the duty, from humanitarian grounds, of caring for these creatures. This view is easily refuted by a look at nature. One immediately sees that it is not the divine will that such illness grows to maturity. a plant that grows to slowly will perish. Stronger plants take from it the light that it needs, and it dies. Winter kills a weak or sick animal. Nature ensures that the weak and sick, that unsuitable to survive, perishes and is unable to reproduce.
These natural laws of selection also apply to humans. The harsh conditions of life in past centuries offered the genetically ill few opportunities to survive, and therefore to have offspring. Since the advent of liberalism, however, they have received favorable treatment. They were provided with splendid living conditions unavailable to those who were healthy. While the healthy children of workers had to play in dark courtyards and lived in miserable apartments, the mentally ill lived in sunny rooms and strolled through splendid gardens and parks.
The past, due to its false understanding of humanity, saw no reason to eliminate this situation. The past also never realized that over a long period of time, the less capable could, through their greater fertility and the absence of natural selection, come to outnumber the healthy. They did not recognize the great danger that would ultimately have ruined our people. If one had looked to the past, if one had thought about the reasons why peoples perished whose buildings we admire yet today as examples of the highest culture, they would have realized that this happened primarily because of racial collapse caused by race mixing, by the growth of the unhealthy and the decline of the healthy. Those who were healthy lost the will to have children or died as the result of war, while the weak stayed home.
|What a hopeless existence is revealed in the face of this mentally ill woman.|
In response, National Socialism restored the principle of natural selection that had been lost to civilized people though the Law for the Prevention of Genetically Ill Offspring. It prevents people with genetic defects from passing them on. It is not only a defense against genetic illnesses to sterilize them as a way of keeping the people as a whole healthy. It is also a moral duty to healthy citizens. The cost healthy workers pay to support the genetically ill is huge. the annual cost to support the genetically ill is 1.2 billion marks a year, whereas the whole cost of government administration for the Reich, provinces, and communities is only 713 million marks. The establishments for the severely ill alone cost 112 million marks a year. Take, for example, the case of four mentally ill siblings who have together been institutionalized for a total of eighty years. They have six further siblings, three of which are still alive, who will also eventually become a burden to the state. This mentally ill family so far has cost the state 153,000 marks. If the mother of these people had been sterilized, this money could have been used for the healthy people’s community.
Another example. An illegitimate idiot has been institutionalized for 23 years. This has cost the state, and therefore the people, 24,200 marks. This sum, paid to support a single crazy person unable to survive by himself would have helped 40 poor families with children to have their own homes.
From this perspective, it is a command of brotherly love to keep such women from becoming mothers. Their children will only be a burden to the people's community, and could become the cause of its decline.
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