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'Asberger's Children; The origins Of Autism In Nazi Vienna'

Discussion in 'WWII Books & Publications' started by GRW, Jun 4, 2020.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
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    Stirling, Scotland
    "Early in 1939, German farm workers Richard and Lina Kretschmar wrote to Adolf Hitler asking for permission to kill their son. Severely disabled, Gerhard was, they said, a ‘monster’.
    Hitler sent his personal physician to examine the child. Five-month-old Gerhard died a few days later, most likely from barbiturate poisoning.
    He was, as Edith Sheffer highlights in her powerful, disturbing book, the first recorded victim of the Nazi ‘child euthanasia’ programme.
    Over the next few years, hospitals and asylums all across the Third Reich requested and received licence to kill children. Death had become a treatment option. Those deemed unfit for the master race could be eliminated: they were ‘unworthy of life’.
    One of the death institutions was Spiegelgrund, a children’s clinic in Vienna, where nearly 800 children are known to have been murdered during the war years.
    Hans Asperger was a young paediatrician working in Vienna at the time. Today, as Sheffer points out, his name is ‘part of our daily lives’. Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism, is a familiar diagnosis, yet Asperger was little known throughout his life.
    In 1944, he published a doctoral thesis in which he wrote about what he called ‘autistic psychopathy’. It was only in 1981, a year after he died, that a British psychiatrist named Lorna Wing rediscovered the thesis and publicised his diagnosis as Asperger’s Syndrome.
    Over the past 40 years, Asperger’s work has become mainstream. Just as his name has become well-known, so the rates at which children have been diagnosed with some kind of disorder on the autism spectrum have shot up. In the U.S. in 1985, one in 2,500 children was so classified. In 2016, it was one in 68.
    So, should we be lionising Asperger as a heroic visionary? A man ahead of his time? Edith Sheffer does not think so. Quite the reverse. His legacy is irredeemably tainted by his association with ideas and actions from the Nazi era but, unlike some of his Viennese colleagues, Asperger did not face criminal charges after the end of the war. His career flourished.'
  2. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

    May 9, 2010
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    Like Waldheim, a lot of Austrians seem to have flourished after the war with a dubious history.
  3. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

    Dec 1, 2010
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    We euthanaise foetuses today if there is significant deformity or high chance of mental retardation...I fail to see the moral difference between 5 years old and five months old...it's an interesting distinction we as a society place on the before or after birth child. To me the morality is the same, if it's good for one, its good for the other...or both are wrong. It's a subject most people want to stay away from, and I can understand why...but it is a double standard.
  4. Christopher67

    Christopher67 Member

    May 25, 2020
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    Whats the joke I heard many years ago?

    What is Austria's chief accomplishment after ww2 ended?

    Convincing the world that Hitler was German..
    belasar likes this.
  5. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

    May 5, 2013
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    ...I think the difference is you can't see the fetus - ''what I don't know won't hurt me'' deal
    ...for the fetus, people say it's ''part of the woman's body'' ....
    ..true, if humans do not interfere, the ''part'' becomes a person
    ..is it a person before it is born? then ,there is the huge religious controversy and all the aspects that come with that
  6. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

    Mar 27, 2016
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    It's a litany of horrors and click baits from a tabloid website trying to hide the fact we actually don't know that much about Hans Asperger.
    He wasn't a Nazi although he was a eugenicist - he believed the human race could and should be improved, and it included forced sterilizations - but that was actually mainstream idea in the West at the time.
    See for example How States Sterilized 60,000 Americans – And Got Away with It.
  7. harolds

    harolds Member

    Aug 9, 2011
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    Read this a couple of years ago. He did a lot of good work in the area of childhood autism. Unfortunately, he got a little too cozy with the final solution. Certainly some of the diagnosis' he made resulted in the death of a child. Asperger's syndrome was named for him but since the publication of this book in the USA the condition has been renamed. He reminds me of Von Braun in a way.

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