Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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ever met during my career.” Albert Speer,* also a good friend of Brandt’s, described him to me as a person who was widely appreciated and “very conscientious about his life — whatever he was doing.” Speer was puzzled when he learned after the war of his friend's involvement in “euthanasia,” and said that Brandt’s integrity was such that “he must have believed in it.” Perhaps Brandt’s most glowing testimony was that given a visiting writer in 1973 by the father of the child whose case Hitler used to initiate the entire killing project (see pages 50-51): 
It was right here. Karl Brandt was standing there near the window. He was tall and impressive. He seemed to fill up the whole room . ... He explained to me that the Führer had personally sent him, and that my son’s case interested the Führer very, very much. The Führer wanted to explore the problem of people who had no future — whose life was worthless. . . From then on, we wouldn’t have to suffer from this terrible misfortune, because the Führer had granted us the mercy killing of our son. Later, we could have other children, handsome and healthy, of whom the Reich could be proud .... Germany had to be built and every bit of energy would be required. That’s what Herr Brandt explained to me. He was a proud man — intelligent, very convincing. He was like a savior to us — the man who could deliver us from a heavy burden. We thanked him and told him how very grateful we were.9 
Brandt’s near-mythic aura of elegance and purity made him the perfect advocate of “euthanasia” and the ideal delegate of the Führer. This aura even somewhat captivated the man most associated with protecting his patients against the medical killing project, the Reverend Fritz von Bodelschwingh (see pages 90-91). On a BBC radio broadcast during the summer of 1945, Bodelschwingh was said to have commented, “You must not picture Professor Brandt as a criminal, but rather as an idealist.” Brandt had apparently been instrumental in sparing Bodelschwingh’s patients.10 After Bodelschwingh’s death, his successor represented his views in an affidavit on behalf of Brandt to save him from the death penalty in Nuremberg. Bodelschwingh had been impressed by Brandt’s willingness to listen to opposing views, and felt that he had greater restraint than others in the project in limiting its scope to “completely
* I use Speer’s name because, during our interviews, he gave me explicit permission to do so. He and Brandt were not only close friends but acted to save each other’s lives. In 1944, Brandt called in his own doctor allies to save an already ill Speer from an attempt at medical murder initiated by Himmler, who was disturbed by Speer’s influence with Hitler. At the war’s end, Speer tried to mobilize support to keep Brandt alive when Hitler sentenced him to death for “betrayal”: for having arranged to send his wife and child to the American zone rather than having them perish in the mass suicide of loyal Nazis that Hitler intended.8   
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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