by Justice Lover
The psychiatric extermination program was not a hidden, secret shame of psychiatry - at least, not at the start. It was organised by leading professors of psychiatry and directors of mental hospitals through a series of national meetings and workshops. So-called euthanasia forms were circulated to individual hospitals, and final approval of each death was then given in Berlin by a committee of the nation's outstanding psychiatrists. By January 1940 patients were being shipped to six special extermination centres staffed by psychiatrists. In late 1941, public outrage and lack of enthusiasm from Hitler pushed the program underground, but between 100,000 and 200,000 German mental patients had been killed. From then on, individual institutions, such as that at Kaufbeuren, continued to act on their own, even admitting new patients for the purpose of murdering them. At the end of the war, many large institutions were entirely empty, and estimates from various war-crime tribunals, including Nuremberg, estimate the number of dead to be between 250,000 and 300,000, mostly inmates of psychiatric hospitals and homes for the retarded...
Psychiatrist Frederic Wertham, by no means a radical critic of his profession, deserves the credit for being the first to describe the role of psychiatry in Nazi Germany: ... "The tragedy is that the psychiatrists did not have to have an order. They acted on their own. They were not carrying out a death sentence pronounced by somebody else. They were the legislators who laid down the rules for deciding who was to die; they were the administrators who worked out the procedures, provided the patients and the places, and decided the methods of killing; they pronounced a sentence of life or death in each individual case; they were the executioners who carried the sentences out or -- without being coerced to do so -- surrendered their patients to be killed in other institutions; they supervised and often watched the slow deaths..."
THE IDEOLOGICAL ROLE OF PSYCHIATRY
While Alexander, Ivy, Wertham, and others have recognised the practical role played by psychiatry in aiding and abetting the exterminations, few physicians have been willing to face the ideological role played by psychiatry in justifying the sterilisation and murder programs. A thorough historical analysis would require a review of eugenics - the use of genetic theory to support political practices aimed at controlling the hereditary traits of the population. Here I can point to only a few key figures in psychiatry whose promotion of eugenic sterilization and euthanasia paved the way for Hitler's ideological development.
The first book that advocated the systematic, scientific extermination of a class of people for racial, "hygienic" purposes was published before Hitler put pen to paper and wrote Mein Kampf. It was The Destruction of Life Devoid of Value, co-authored by psychiatrist Alfred Hoche and lawyer Karl Binding in 1920. Hoche was one of Germany's most prestigious professors of psychiatry, and his book supported the view that many psychiatric patients were "mentally dead" and only "partial" Germans in their existence. He called for medical murder to relieve their suffering, to purify the race, and to save the state money. Not only did Hitler read Hoche, but also, after he took power, he lent his name to advertisements for Hoche's books.
Another psychiatrist, Ernst Rudin, was also a leading figure in German psychiatry before Hitler's regime. As professor of psychiatry at Munich and director of the Department of Heredity at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, he was the world's most renowned eugenic psychiatrist. As a visiting dignitary to the United States in 1930, Rudin was praised by leaders at the eugenically oriented Carnegie Foundation. When the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute nearly collapsed for lack of funds shortly before Hitler's takeover, a large grant from the Rockefeller Foundation saved Rudin's work.
Without modifying his already racist, eugenic ideas, Rudin went on to become the chief architect of Hitler's racial-hygiene legislation and was lauded on his sixty-fifth birthday by Hitler's minister of the interior, Wilhelm Frick, who called him "the indefatigable champion of racial hygiene and meritorious pioneer of the racial-hygiene measures of the Third Reich." At the end of the war, this hero of psychiatry had to flee from the outraged families of murdered mental patients.
WORLD-WIDE PSYCHIATRIC SUPPORT FOR HITLER
The tie between Hitler and the eugenic psychiatrists was so close that much of Mein Kampf is literally indistinguishable in language and in tone from the major international journals and psychiatric textbooks of the time. To quote from a few of many such passages in Mein Kampf:
"To demand that defective people be prevented from propagating equally defective offspring is a demand for the clearest reason and, if systematically executed, represents the most humane act of mankind ..."
"Those who are physically and mentally unhealthy and unworthy must not perpetuate their ;suffering in the bodies of their children ..."
"A prevention of the faculty and opportunity to procreate on the part of the physically degenerate and the mentally sick ... would not only free humanity from an immeasurable misfortune but would lead to a recovery which today seems scarcely conceivable."
Hitler received support from psychiatrists and social scientists around the world after he took power. Many articles in the world's leading medical journals monitored and heaped praise on Hitler's eugenic legislation and policies.
These are the same policies that Mitscherlich, the German medical representative at Nuremberg, described as "the starting point for the line of development that inexorably led to enforced 'mercy death' for the incurably insane, on the one hand, and, during the war, on the other, to plans for exterminating races declared to be inferior - Poles, Russians, Jews, and Gypsies."
Leo Alexander, the psychiatrist who accepted responsibility for investigating psychiatric atrocities at the War Crimes Tribunal, was himself among those who had lent his support to Hitler's sterilization laws. He was one of several well-known authors of Eugenical Sterilization, an official report to the American Neurological Association, funded by the Carnegie Foundation.
Speaking of Hitler's two-year-old legislation for involuntary sterilization, Alexander and his co-authors confirm my observation that "it is fair to state that the Sterilization Act is not a product of Hitler's regime, in that its main tenets were proposed and considered several years earlier, before the Nazi regime took possession of Germany." They go on to praise the legislation as conforming "closely with the present knowledge of medical eugenics."
American encouragement of Hitler's psychiatric-eugenic programs went far beyond moral support. In the years prior to Germany's Sterilization Act, the state of California systematically sterilized 15,000 psychiatric inmates and became the world's chief experimental area for eugenics.
American psychiatrists did not stop at supporting sterilization. In July 1942, when Germany's medical-murder program was known to leaders in American psychiatry, the official journal of the American Psychiatric Association published two articles debating a final solution for America's retarded. In the journal's lead article, originally delivered at the annual meeting of the association, Foster Kennedy advocated legislation that would permit the killing of incurably retarded five-year-old children, "the utterly unfit," to relieve them of "the agony of living" and to save their parents from expense and mental anguish. "So the place for euthanasia, I believe, is for the completely hopeless defective: nature's mistake, something we hustle out of sight, which should never be seen at all."
In rebuttal, Leo Kanner, a well-known child psychiatrist, came out against euthanasia but in favour of sterilization. Then, in an unsigned commentary entitled "Euthanasia," the two articles are compared. The editors of the Journal of the American Psychiatric Association do not raise the ethical issue of murder. The word 'kill' is not used. Instead we hear about "disposal by euthanasia", "merciful passage from life", "a method of disposal", and even facetiously, "a lethal finis to the painful chapter". But the editors were aware that, with or without euphemisms, the American public might respond with outrage and many parents with "guilt". So the editors of this august psychiatric journal suggested both a public educational campaign to overcome resistance to medical murder and psychiatric interventions to relieve parental guilt."
Under the zionist apartheid regime of Israel psychiatry thrives, of course, as the regime openly carries out extra judicial murders of Palestinians, tortures all its Palestinian political prisoners, and ethnic cleanse many hundreds of Palestinian civilians under its illegal military occupation.
The professional status of psychiatrists did not place any obstacle to their participation in Nazi crimes, and many demonstrated a profound commitment to the atrocities. Psychiatrists were instrumental in instituting a system of identifying, notifying, transporting, and killing hundreds of thousands of mentally ill and "racially and cognitively compromised" individuals in settings ranging from centralized psychiatric hospitals to prisons and death camps. Their role was central and critical to the success of Nazi policy, plans, and principles. Psychiatrists, along with many other physicians, facilitated the resolution of many of the regime's ideological and practical challenges, rather than taking a passive or even active stance of resistance . Psychiatrists played a prominent and central role in two categories of the crimes against humanity, namely sterilization and euthanasia . It was psychiatrists (many of whom were senior professors in academia) who sat on planning committees for both processes and who provided the theoretical backing for what transpired. It was psychiatrists who reported their patients to the authorities and coordinated their transfer from all over Germany to gas chambers situated on the premises of the six psychiatric institutions: Brandenburg, Grafeneck, Hartheim, Sonnenstein, Bernburg, and Hadamar [2,3]. It was psychiatrists who coordinated the "channeling" of patients on arrival into specially modified rooms where gassing took place. It was psychiatrists who saw to the killing of the patients (initially using carbon monoxide and later, starvation and injection). Finally, it was psychiatrists who faked causes of death on certificates sent to these patients' next of kin. It has been estimated that over 200,000 individuals with mental disorders of all subtypes were put to death in this manner [4-7]. Much of this process took place before the plan to annihilate the Jews, Gypsies and homosexuals of Europe. Hitler never gave the order to kill patients with mental illness. He only permitted it in a letter written in October 1939 and backdated to September 1, 1939 [2,6]. Psychiatrists were therefore never ordered to facilitate the process or carry out the murder of mentally ill...they were empowered to do so. Activity by psychiatrists and psychiatric institutions thus constituted the connection between euthanasia and the larger scale annihilation of Jews and other "undesirables" such as homosexuals in what came to be known as the Holocaust. Parenthetically, only one physician ever came to command an extermination camp. His name was Dr Imfried Eberl, a psychiatrist, who established Treblinka based on his experience as the Brandenburg Psychiatry Facility medical superintendent. He managed the camp for six months until he was fired for inefficiency in disposing of the thousands of bodies he succeeded in accumulating .
Attitude of mainstream psychiatry to Nazi psychiatry practice following the war
While it would be expected that the involvement of psychiatrists in such a profound manner would be well-known in the field, this is not the case. Little has been published on the subject in mainstream psychiatry journals and even less is part of the formal education process for medical students and psychiatry residents. Several reasons may be proposed for this. First, it remains an embarrassment for the field that so many senior members – professors, department heads and internationally known figures – were so intimately involved. Second, many of those involved continued to practice and conduct research long after the war and were protected by colleagues. Third, and arguably most important, what psychiatrists did was based upon a paradigm shift in how patients and mental illness were viewed. Activities of psychiatrists became much of a value judgment in how they "read" the community and principles of neo-Darwinism with subsequent consideration of racial hygiene. In the absence of firm and unbending timeless ethical underpinnings to the practice of psychiatry, many felt that what they were doing was correct from a moral and scientific standpoint; therefore, they were not the demons and "paradigms of evil" that we perceive them to be. Their actions were a colossal misjudgment based on what today we may term "pseudoscience", but which at the time was deemed correct by many. Although actions based on "scientific theories" of mental illness in the past have led to patient deaths – one example being Henry Cotton and his belief that mental illness results from focal infection or chronic sepsis  – the extent and scale of the German psychiatrists' actions during the Nazi era remains unprecedented. These rationalizations based on faulty scientific theory and unethical medical practice were difficult to accept and therefore the nature and extent of these activities remained on the backbenches of the academic literature until more recently, when these issues have begun to be faced in an era of openness and transparency."However, the zionist author ignores the deliberate zionist policy of eugenics which dates back to the early days of the zionist colony in Palestine ( see : http://18thoutlawpsychiatry.blogspot.com/2009/06/more-on-zionist-eugenics-by-justice_3258.html ) . This zionist policy is not different from the ideology of the German psychiatrists under the Hitler regime.