|Bringing Euthanasia to the
| One of the ways Mennecke continued to function in the face
of his awareness of that fraudulence was by condemning what he took to be
excess within the project ([Dr. Hans] Gorgass ... is said to have behaved
dreadfully while at Buchenwald .... he supposedly acted more like a butcher
than a doctor, thereby damaging the reputation of our whole operation. We will
now have to iron out these wrinkles [25 November 1941]). By contrast,
Mennecke implied a dignified professionalism for himself and a good medical
reputation for the project.
Like many involved in medical murder, he
condemned Berlin meaning the project leaders for
pressing him too hard: In Berlin (Jennerwein!)* the word is simply do
2,000 more whether or not so many come under the basic guidelines does
not seem to bother anyone! (20 November 1941). And he developed the
submissive bureaucrats anger toward inefficiency from above which,
in this case, required him to return to certain camps a second time. But
expressing sentiments like Today Berlin's disorganization hit a high
point may have provided precisely the outlet for feelings that enabled
him to carry on with the work. Even. more important in sustaining him was the
opportunity to hobnob with the same Berlin élite at luxury
hotels, such as Munichs Bayerisches Hof: We went to the train
station at 7:00 P.M. to pick up Professor Nitsche (and Professor Heyde) as well
as Frau Nitsche (3 September 1941). [Heyde] was very, very friendly
. . . . [Professor Nitsche] was very, very cordial and asked about you.
Mennecke was beside himself with pleasure when praised and treated collegially:
Heyde also spoke very highly of my work .... I discussed with him several
interesting points pertaining to our work (19 November 1941). That
suggestion of paternal approval, of merging with authority, and of confirmed
professional-medical standing helped Mennecke maintain his callousness: A
second batch of 1,200 Jews followed [a smaller group of non-Jews], but they did
not have to be examined (25 November 1941).
numbing becomes an important part of a medical killing self that
more or less separates from the rest of the self in the process of doubling
which I shall examine in connection with the Auschwitz doctors. Important to
the process is the affirmation of his prior self through endearments to his
wife: Next time my Mutti [Mommy] is coming along . . .
. Most affectionate kisses from your devoted Vati [Daddy] .
.. . dear little kisses from your always devoted Fritz-Pa. Pleasant
* Jennerwein was the code name
for T4 chief administrator Brack. Since Brack was not a physician,
Menneckes resentment here may be partly directed at some perceived
non-medical ignorance or unreasonableness. It is difficult to say
what he meant by the basic guidelines being violated. It is likely
that these had to do with ability to work, and that T4 officials were pressing
for more and more nonworkers (or inmates judged inadequate workers) to be
included in the net.