National Socialist Journal # 1

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Log in to Wiley Online Library. Purchase Instant Access. View Preview. Learn more Check out. Summary Before the National Socialist party came to power, the German pharmaceutical industry constituted an international reference as far as the development of new medicines was concerned, having been responsible for synthetic analgesics phenacetin, phenazones, acetylsalicylic acid , arsphenamine, barbiturates and sulfonamides. Citing Literature.

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Volume 34 , Issue 1 February Pages Related Information. Close Figure Viewer. Browse All Figures Return to Figure. Previous Figure Next Figure.

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Email or Customer ID. Forgot password? Old Password. New Password. The evidence, however, does not support this. Due to increasing labor shortages, it became a political and military imperative to rehabilitate as many potential workers as possible, even those considered of inferior hereditary quality. And if we help them [the abnormal children] with all our dedication, we also render the best service to our Volk ; not only by avoiding that they burden the Volksgemeinschaft with their dissocial and criminal acts, but also by trying to ensure that they fulfill their duties as productive individuals in the living organism of the Volk [ 1 ] He made sure that local authorities and hospitals cooperated and that the operation ran smoothly.

From June to the end of , Jekelius directed the child killing facility Am Spiegelgrund, where hundreds of disabled children were murdered. The two men maintained professional contacts during the Nazi period. In , when Jekelius became the first chairman of the newly established Viennese Association for Therapeutic Pedagogy, Asperger represented the Pediatric Clinic along with Hamburger [ 4 ]: —3. Erwin Jekelius represents Nazi medicine in its most inhumane extremes: a fanatical Nazi and a murderer responsible for the deaths of thousands of patients.

Had Asperger deviated from the party line, Jekelius would certainly have reined him in.

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Instead, this is what Jekelius had to say about Asperger and his therapeutic approach:. At this opportunity, I would like to remind you of the substantial lecture on therapeutic pedagogy which our Dr. Asperger gave last year in this same place. To be sure, when their writings are set side by side, there is an enormous divide between the two men in tone. I wanted to emphasize this from the beginning, when I talk today about our Aesculapian obligation specifically towards the psychologically abnormal individual, as I see this obligation.

Our time has brought revolutionary changes in the field of education: Whereas in earlier times a number of philosophical, political, and religious orientations stipulated their pedagogic goals and consequently were in competition with each other, today National Socialism has established its pedagogic goal and demands that it be the only valid one. As much as this development is to be approved, we nevertheless have to stress: This one goal, the integration into the National Socialist state, can only be achieved with these children by using different means.

This is how we know that the success of our work is worth the effort [ 67 ]. This paper was originally presented in September at a prominent pediatric conference in Vienna.

Asperger was one of only three speakers from Vienna. Footnote 73 The complex and sometimes contradictory attitude towards children with disabilities or other challenges is underlined by the fact that the Hitler Youth had special formations for the blind and the deaf [ 64 ]: — This argument is problematic for several reasons. While this position anticipated later advances in autism research, the question arises whether under the circumstances it was prudent to put such an emphasis on heredity.

Had protecting his autistic patients been his primary goal, he could have taken a more flexible position, one less likely to draw the attention of race hygienists to his patients [ 2 ]: — Fritz had for his age outstanding abilities in mathematics, but was incapable of attending regular school, having passed the first three school years by homeschooling. These latter cases, according to Asperger, were often very similar to conditions caused by organic brain damage such as birth trauma. Nevertheless, the argument that Asperger focused on the better-functioning cases in order to protect all of his patients presumably, by deflecting attention from the less well-functioning is questionable given that Asperger by no means withheld from his readers the severe impairments of some of the boys.


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Third, there is a fundamental flaw in the assumption that highlighting the potential of some of his patients would benefit all of them. Focusing on the higher functioning children did nothing to lift the boat for all of them; those on the lower end still risked being left to drown.

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Highlighting the potential of some patients should not then be mistaken for the defense of all children with disabilities. Asperger, who had begun his career under Hamburger, shared many of these views, including a staunch opposition to psychoanalysis [ 76 ]. This increased demand, together with the exclusion of Jewish doctors, Footnote 78 led to additional career opportunities for Asperger, for example, his appointment as an expert witness in May to the Vienna Juvenile Court.

Footnote 80 In this capacity, he routinely wrote expert opinions which are hard to reconcile with his claim not to have reported patients to this office [ 3 ]. In some cases, however, he demonstrably cooperated in such matters. In two of these cases, both Asperger and the Spiegelgrund staff suggested a hereditary etiology. In two other cases, Asperger included a reference to heredity in his report, but the Spiegelgrund staff did not.

This raises the question whether this non-cooperation by omission should be considered a form of resistance. It is important to note that the sterilization program in Nazi Austria was never implemented on a scale comparable to Nazi Germany between and and that children were not its primary targets. In Vienna, the Hereditary Health Court decreed a total of sterilization cases.

Footnote 88 Failure to comply with the sterilization law was widespread at the time, and there are no indications that this carried personal risks such as persecution by the Gestapo [ 78 ]: Footnote 91 Although Asperger did not explicitly refer to sterilization, the information provided meant that the addressee would have to initiate a sterilization procedure on the grounds that the condition appeared to be hereditary.

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Footnote 92 Asperger could have omitted this information without any risk, but in this case as in those he referred to Spiegelgrund, analyzed in the next section , it seems that he was willing to cooperate as long as he did not have to take direct responsibility for the consequences.

There is one case in which documents suggest that Asperger may have helped shield a patient from possible persecution. In the fall of , he examined Aurel I. His family then moved him to the countryside, where he spent the war in the care of relatives. Footnote 93 Asperger wrote his report just days before the sterilization law was introduced in Austria, an event that was widely publicized [ 79 ].

Footnote 94 Ultimately, it is impossible to say with certainty what happened in , and to what extent the dramatic elements of the story are a product of the years that passed before the quoted letters were written. His role in this context is the topic of the next section. In his wartime publications, Asperger appears as someone who declared his willingness to cooperate with the Nazi state, propagated—albeit less enthusiastically than others—elements of Nazi race hygiene, and tried to argue that his discipline had an important role to play within the new political order.

His professed pedagogical optimism reached its limits, however, in children with greater degrees of mental disability. In this regard, as we will see, his record was mixed. The youngest of nine children, Herta showed signs of disturbed mental and physical development ever since she had fallen ill with encephalitis a few months before.

Severe personality disorder post-encephalitic? At home the child must be an unbearable burden to the mother, who has to care for five healthy children. Permanent placement at Spiegelgrund seems absolutely necessary. Footnote 95 Fig.

Herta was admitted to Spiegelgrund on 1 July On 2 September, a day after her third birthday, Herta died of pneumonia, the most common cause of death at Spiegelgrund, which was routinely induced by the administration of barbiturates over a longer period of time. Mother asks to be notified if the condition of the child should get worse. The husband should not be informed, he would be too upset.

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She says in tears that she can see for herself that the child is mentally not well. If she cannot be helped, it would be better if she died. She would not have anything in this world, she would only be ridiculed by others.

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