Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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Resistance to Direct Medical Killing  
vulnerability to general fear of “euthanasia” among the military, and passionate personal protest grounded in a spiritual tradition.

The Nazi leaders must have recognized the power of his statement, since Lammers, Chief of the Reich Chancellery, was said to have informed Hitler of it, then told Braune that the program could not be stopped. And about one month later, Braune was arrested under a warrant signed by Heydrich charging him with having “sabotaged measures of the regime and the Party in an irresponsible manner.” Braune was held at the Gestapo jail on Prinz Albrecht Strasse for about ten weeks and then released (probably through Bodelschwingh’s intervention) on the promise that he would undertake no further actions against policies of the government or the Party.42

While Bodelschwingh and Braune expressed their resistance essentially through official channels, certain local ministers spoke out directly from their churches, and could be sent to a concentration camp as a result. Ernst Wilm did so from a Westphalian village, and was denounced and sent to Dachau where he spent three years.43

The most ringing Catholic protest against “euthanasia” was the famous sermon of Clemens Count von Galen, then bishop of Münster.* It was given on 3 August 1941, just four Sundays after the highly significant pastoral letter of German bishops had been read from every Catholic pulpit in the country; the letter reaffirmed “obligations of conscience” at opposing. the taking of “innocent” life, “even if it were to cost us our [own] lives.” 44 The first part of Galen’s sermon explored the Biblical theme of how “Jesus, the Son of God, wept,” how even God wept “because of stupidity, injustice ... and because of the disaster which came about as a result.” Then, after declaring, “It is a terrible, unjust and catastrophic thing when man opposes his will to the will of God,” Galen quoted the pastoral letter of 6 July and made clear that the “catastrophic thing” he had in mind was the killing of innocent mental patients and “a doctrine which authorizes the violent death of invalids and elderly people.”45

He further declared that he himself had “filed formal charges” with police and legal authorities in Münster over deportations from a nearby institution. He went on in words that every farmer and laborer could understand: 
It is said of these patients: They are like an old machine which no longer runs, like an old horse which is hopelessly paralyzed, like a cow which no longer gives milk.

What do we do with a machine of this kind? We put it in the junkyard. What do we do with a paralyzed horse? No, I do not wish to push the
* The Catholic Church as a whole was traditionally less identified with the German state than were the Protestant churches. Although Catholics were a majority in some areas of Germany, German Catholics still bore traces of “outsider” status.   
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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