Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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any method or procedure.”5 That anarchic situation prevailed at hospitals that had been emptied of mental patients by the original killing. The general disorganization was such that few became hospitals for soldiers or war injured — the original stated intent; and in the case of other emptied hospitals, used for schools and offices of various kinds, there were conflicting claims of possession by different groups. The general impression was that whatever facilities were gained by eliminating mental patients contributed relatively little to the Reich and its war effort. The regime was apparently more skillful and systematic in setting up conditions for killing than it was in utilizing the buildings that were emptied. Moreover, the dismantling of the killing centers was far from complete, and many “euthanasia” personnel expected gassing to resume when the war was over. The chambers at Bernburg, Sonnenstein, and Hartheim remained ready for operation when so ordered.6
“Special Diet”

Starvation as a method of killing was a logical extension of the frequent imagery of mental patients as useless eaters. As a passive means of death it was one more element of general neglect. In many places, mentally ill patients had already been fed insufficiently and the idea of not nourishing them was “in the air.” Moreover, the establishment of a new central accounting office clearly decreased the money available to the institutions.7 (The decrease in heating in winter had similar causes and effects.) Dr. Pfannmüller was responding radically to such a mood when he instituted his method of starving children to death at Eglfing-Haar. In 1943, he would establish two Hungerhaüser (“starvation houses”) for an older population.

On 17 November 1942, the Bavarian Interior Ministry held a conference with directors from mental hospitals throughout that area. The state commissioner for health, Walter Schultze, asked the directors to provide a “special diet” (Sonderkost) for hopelessly ill patients. Because several doctors were hesitant about this idea it was suggested that a ministerial proclamation to that effect would be useful. Not at all hesitant was Dr. Pfannmüller, who “dramatically . . . told how he had once grabbed a slice of bread from a nurse who had wanted to give it to a patient.” (Pfannmüller had been involved in the decision to hold the 1942 conference.) Also involved was the director of the Kaufbeuren Asylum, Dr. Valentin Faltlhauser, who had directed the child “euthanasia” program there and had also served as a T4 expert since 1940. Faltlhauser passed around the Kaufbeuren menu: “totally fat-free,” it consisted of potatoes, yellow turnips and cabbage (usually green, occasionally red) cooked in water. 'The effect,” he claimed, “should be a slow death, which should ensue in about three months.”8

The directive followed on 30 November, supported, it was claimed, by orders from Berlin. “In view of the war-related food situation and the  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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