Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
 
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“LIFE UNWORTHY OF LIFE”: THE GENETIC CURE 
 
He speaks also of the systematic creation of confusion: of patients "so completely mixed up in huge institutions [that] no one knows the other's fate." He tells how people "pine away in loneliness and die in total desolation" and offers as evidence the death of a jurist and son of a high government official. 38 In this way, Braune goes back and forth between carefully observed details and ringing ethical assertions. He concludes, “We are dealing here with a conscious, systematic process of eliminating all those who are mentally ill or otherwise incapable of functioning in a community” — a process that “severely undermines the faith placed in ... physicians and [health] authorities.” He notes Germany's superior history in regard to providing well-run institutions and well-trained personnel with “unselfish readiness to serve,” and asks whether these constructive inclinations will be forced "to die out slowly in our people?" He asks also how far the extermination of “life unworthy of life” can go, having already been extended to people who were “lucid and responsible”; and who the next target will be. 'Then he touches a particularly raw nerve: “What will happen to the soldiers who contract incurable afflictions while fighting for their fatherland?” He adds, “Such questions have already arisen among them.”39

He then returns to moral questions concerning the sanctity of human life and how violation of that sanctity without legal basis endangers “the ethics of the people as a whole. Whom if not the helpless should the law protect?” He points out that, after careful calculation, even if one hundred thousand people were to be killed (the actual estimate of the number who were eventually killed in the project),40 it would be of no significant help to the economic well-being of the rest of the population. Braune concludes with a ringing declaration of the dimension of the danger and an intense plea for relief: 
 
We are confronted here with an emergency that deeply shocks everyone who knows about it, that destroys the inner peace of many families, and that above all threatens to grow into a danger whose consequences cannot even be predicted at this point. May the responsible authorities make sure that these disastrous measures are abolished and that the entire problem is first examined from a legal and medical, from the ethical and political point of view, before the fate of thousands and tens of thousands is decided. Videant consules, ne quid detrimenti res publica capiat! (“Let the consuls see to it that the state suffers no harm!”)41
 
Of all recorded expressions of resistance to Nazi medical killing, the Braune memorandum is unique in combining insistent documentation, compassionate identification with victims, concern for healing and healers, focus on the moral integrity of an entire people as well as on the broad ethical principle of the sanctity of life, exposure of the regime’s  
 
THE NAZI DOCTORS:
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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