Tiergartenstrasse 4 – Aktion T4

No discussion of the Holocaust is complete without a discussion of Aktion T4. Many consider Aktion T4 to be the dress rehearsal for the Holocaust.

The [T4] Euthanasia Program represented in many ways a rehearsal for Nazi Germany’s subsequent genocidal policies. The Nazi leadership extended the ideological justification conceived by medical perpetrators for the destruction of the “unfit” to other categories of perceived biological enemies, most notably to Jews and Roma (Gypsies).

Planners of the “Final Solution” later borrowed the gas chamber and accompanying crematoria, specifically designed for the T4 campaign, to murder Jews in German-occupied Europe. T4 personnel who had shown themselves reliable in this first mass murder program figured prominently among the German staff stationed at the Operation Reinhard killing centers of Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka.

The description of the operation of Aktion T4 bears an uncomfortable resemblance to an Orwellian novel.

Beginning in October 1939, public health authorities began to encourage parents of children with disabilities to admit their young children to one of a number of specially designated pediatric clinics throughout Germany and Austria. In reality, the clinics were children’s killing wards. There, specially recruited medical staff, murdered their young charges by lethal overdoses of medication or by starvation.

There is not much more to say about this. It was methodical, cold blooded and efficient, and, under guidance of medical professions It grew into the Holocaust.