Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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the patient.” More than that, Jewish obsession with sexology and defense of homosexuality, along with the creation of Freudian psychoanalysis — all these were aspects of “sexual degeneration, a breakdown of the family and loss of all that is decent,” and ultimately the destruction of the German Volk.64

Beyond the ordinary Jewish menace, the Jewish doctor became a more formidable threat to the German Volk, the embodiment of the anti-healer who must be dealt with if medicine was to join in the great national healing mission, and the advance image of what Nazi doctors were actually to become: the healer turned killer.
Positive and Negative Eugenics

Sterilization policies were always associated with the therapeutic and regenerative principles of the biomedical vision: with the “purification of the national body” and the "eradication of morbid hereditary dispositions.” Sterilization was considered part of “negative eugenics”: subsequent ordinances also prohibited the issuance of marriage licenses in situations where either party suffered from contagious disease, had been placed under a legal guardian, was afflicted with significant mental disturbance, or fell into any of the categories of hereditary disease listed in sterilization ordinances. These restrictions were “balanced” by programs of “positive eugenics” — encouraging large families and constructive health practices among Aryan couples, etc. — because “generations may come and go, but the German people shall live on forever.”65

Always at issue for the medical profession was its role in protecting and revitalizing the genetic health of the Volk. Doctors were given special status on commissions created to approve marriages on the basis of Nuremberg racial statutes, even as the profession expanded its role in social programs and preventive work; at the same time, doctors continued to engage in private practice and to maintain their high earning power, aided by the elimination of Jewish medical competition. The Physicians’ Law formalized the authority structure and its special status in the regime, reaffirming its “vocation” of preserving and improving the “good heredity,” “racial stock,” and general health of the German Volk. Subsequent laws, far from not diminishing this status, increased the requirements of physicians as “public servants” and “biological state officers,” restricting such things as their traditional professional confidentiality with patients should the regime require information.66

This commitment to “positive eugenics” — or “the battle for births,” as it was sometimes called — was inseparable from “negative eugenics” — sterilization and, eventually, “euthanasia.” Abortions were prohibited, but sterilization courts could rule that pregnancy could be interrupted for eugenic reasons in a “racial emergency” situation: that is, if the future child was likely to inherit certain defects or (in all probability) had mixed (Jewish and non-Jewish) parentage.  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

Robert J. Lifton
ISBN 0-465-09094
© 1986
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