(cnsnews) – In 2006, I was invited to speak in Alkoven, Austria at a conference on human rights located adjacent to Hartheim Castle. Hartheim Castle was built in the ninth century and, in the 19th century, it came to serve as a home for children with physical and mental disabilities.
However, in the early 1940s, Hartheim’s humanitarian purpose was poisoned by the Nazi government as it began to use the castle for its T4 euthanasia program, a nationwide eugenics program managed by mostly German physicians with the intent to eradicate those seen as being unworthy of life—in this case, the institutionalized.
This included the incurably ill, mentally or physically disabled, the elderly, and the emotionally distraught. In the hierarchy of Nazi values, “inferiors” like these were exterminated. Indeed, it is estimated that the T4 program was responsible for the death of upwards of 200,000 individuals either by starvation, lethal injection, or poison gas.
The T4 program started before the Holocaust, in which 6 million people, predominately of Jewish heritage, were murdered. During my visit, I toured Hartheim Castle where 30,000 of these so-called “inferiors” fell victim to the T4 program. It was a harrowing experience. CONTINUE