First there was coerced sterilizations and then they started killing children that were considered Ballastexistenzen (human ballast), “useless eaters”.
- down syndrome, retarded, physically disabled, Jews.
A bureaucracy was set up: Reichsausschuss zur wissenschaftlichen Erfassung von erb- und anlagebedingten schweren Leiden (Reich Committee for the Scientific Registration of Serious Hereditary and Congenital Diseases).
Perfectly legal, I suppose.
…all children, “under the age of three in whom any of the following serious hereditary diseases were suspected: idiocy and mongolism, microcephaly, hydrocephaly, malformations and paralysis, were to be registered.” The cases would then be studied by a series of experts. Eventually, the study came down to a form in which the expert placed a (+) if the child was to live, a (-) if the child was to die, or a note explaining why further examination was needed. Later, these forms would be filled out arbitrarily, without even opening cas files. By the time it reached capacity, over thirty mental institutions had been turned into killing centers all over Germany, Poland, and Austria.
It has been estimated that over 5,000 children were killed in this program. The program then began to include minor experimentation before children were killed. Dr. Hermann Pfannmuller starved a number of children to see the results. There are also accounts of electric shocks for bed wetting, and other punishments. T4/Euthanasia
Finally, there were the extremes in the killing of children. The following is a description by a nonmedical visitor, in the fall of 1939, to an important Reich Committee institution at Eglfing-Haar, where the director, Dr. Hermann Pfannmüller, developed a policy of starving the designated children to death rather than wasting medication on them.
I remember the gist of the following general remarks by Pfannmüller: These creatures (he meant the children) naturally represent for me as a National Socialist only a burden for the healthy body of our. Volk. We do not kill (he could have here used a euphemistic expression for this word kill) with poison, injections, etc.; then the foreign press and certain gentlemen in Switzerland would only have new inflammatory material.. No, our method is much simpler and more natural, as you see. With these words, he pulled, with the help of a … nurse, a child from its little bed. While he then exhibited the child like a dead rabbit, he asserted with a knowing expression and a cynical grin: For this one it will take two to three more days. The picture of this fat, grinning man, in his fleshy hand the whimpering skeleton, surrounded by other starving children, is still vivid in my mind. Medical Killing, Robert Jay Lifton
Dr. Hermann Pfannmüller was born in 1886 and died in 1961. He was sentenced to 6 years’ imprisonment by a de-Nazification court in 1949. Axis History Forum
Dr. Pfannmüller joined the Nazi party in May, 1933. He believed strongly in the concept of “life devoid of value,” which demanded the eliminated of what he called “the pitiful patient” who showed “the semblance of being of a human existence.”
Pfannmüller was the director of the institution, Eglfing-Haar, for children. He developed a special starvation diet as a method of killing “useless eaters,” especially children. In 1939, Pfannmüller explained to visiting psychology students the euthanasia or mercy killing that was being conducted–some 25 children, aged between one and five were being starved to death. Pfannmuller lifted up one emaciated child who was near death and told the students that food was withdrawn gradually, not all at once. The motto was: “We give them no fat, then they go on their own.”
In 1943, he established two more “starvation houses,” this time for an adult population. Some 444 patients died directly or indirectly (contracting pneumonia while malnutritioned) from his diet.
In a report on an interview with him for the Nuremberg Trials, Pfannmüller was described as “a brutal fellow who actually enjoyed to dispatch patients to their death…[was] mostly directly responsible” for the killings at the Eglfing-Haar asylum.
Pfannmuller testified at the Nuremberg trials, “…euthanasia and the work of the National Board had, in my view, nothing to do with National Socialism. They were just as legal as the regulations for prevention of transmission of hereditary diseases and infection in marriage. These laws were passed during the National Socialist Regime. But the ideas from which they arose are centuries old.”
“The idea is unbearable to me that the best, the flower of our youth must lose its life at the front in order that feebleminded and irresponsible asocial elements can have a secure existence in the asylum”.
Found Mentally Unfit to Stand Trial: In 1948, he was declared unfit to stand trial. The next year he was sentenced to six years jail.
Psychiatrists: The Men behind Hitler