Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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comparison to the end .... We are not talking here about a machine, a horse, nor a cow .... No, we are talking about men and women, our compatriots, our brothers and sisters. Poor unproductive people if you wish, but does this mean that they have lost their right to live?
He pointed out that, should such a principle be maintained, “then think of the horrible state we shall all be in when we are weak and sick!” The danger extended not only to “invalids” who, when healthy, had been hard and productive and productive workers and “brave soldiers, when they come back seriously wounded,” but "none of us here will be certain of his life.”46

And after a couple of poignant examples of specific people killed, the bishop concluded, as he had begun, with Biblical imagery, this time not of Jesus weeping but of “divine justice” — ultimate punishment — for those “making a blasphemy of our faith” by persecuting clergy and “sending innocent people to their death.” He asked that such people (who could only be the Nazi authorities) be ostracized and left to their divine retribution: 
We wish to withdraw ourselves and our faithful from their influence, so that we may not be contaminated by their thinking and their ungodly behavior, so that we may not participate and share with them in the punishment which a just God should and will pronounce upon all those who — like ungrateful Jerusalem* — do not wish what God wishes!47  
With the authority of his office, a Catholic bishop invoked the wrath of God on those who were killing the innocent. This powerful, populist sermon was immediately reproduced and distributed throughout Germany - indeed, it was dropped among German troops by British Royal Air Force flyers. Galen’s sermon probably had a greater impact than any other one statement in consolidating anti-“euthanasia” sentiment; hence, Bormann’s judgment that the bishop deserved the death penalty.48

Perhaps still more threatening to Nazi leaders was the protest of Werner Mölders, a Catholic Luftwaffe pilot and famous war hero who had
* Galen’s image of “ungrateful Jerusalem” contains a troubling irony in its apparent reference to the Jews (as having violated God's wishes in rejecting Jesus). The image could well refer more broadly to any tendency to stray from God’s wishes throughout Judeo-Christian experience; it nonetheless suggests the kind of sentiment within German-Christian doctrine and expression that enabled that clergy to virtually ignore Nazi persecution of Jews.

† Bormann was responding to a Nazi propaganda leader who suggested Galen be hanged. However, Bormann added that “under the circumstances of war the Führer will hardly order this measure.” The propagandist responded the same day with a report of a conversation with Josef Goebbels, who had no answer on how to combat Galen; the propaganda chief feared that, if something were done to the bishop, the population of Münster could be “written off” for the duration, and that “one could easily add to that all of Westphalia.” A memorandum within the Propaganda Ministry on 12 August warned that taking measures against Galen would create a martyr, and other bishops and priests would take up the charges. Father Bernard Lichtenberg, however, unique in his condemnation of Nazi persecution of Jews, was taken into custody and badly beaten; he died in transit to Dachau
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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