Mass Murder of People with Disabilities and the Holocaust

In Germany and occupied Austria, people with disabilities were the first to fall victim to National Socialist mass murder, propagated under the euphemistic term of “euthanasia”. For racist and economic reasons they were deemed unfit to live. The means and methods used in these crimes were applied later during the Holocaust — perpetrators of these first murders became experts in the death camps of the so-called “Aktion Reinhardt”.

Over the course of World War II the National Socialists aimed to exterminate people with disabilities in the occupied territories of Western Europe, and also in Eastern Europe.

The latest IHRA publication presents the results of the latest research on these murders in the German occupied territories, as discussed at an IHRA conference held in Bern in November 2017.

The IHRA contributes to the body of scholarship in the field of Holocaust Studies by carrying out research projects and hosting academic conferences. Recent publications in the IHRA Publication Series include Refugee Policies from 1933 until Today: Challenges and Responsibilities (2018), Research in Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust: A Dialogue Beyond Borders (2017); Bystanders, Rescuers or Perpetrators? The Neutral Countries and the Shoah (2016); and Killing Sites: Research and Remembrance (2015).


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