»Registered, Persecuted, Annihilated: The Sick and the Disabled under National Socialism«

Between 1933 and 1945, more than 400,000 people were forcibly sterilised and more than 200,000 were murdered. The guiding principle for the selection of patients was the person’s alleged »value«. Doctors, nursing staff and functionaries judged the people committed to their care on the basis of their »curability«, »learning ability« or »capacity to work«. The exclusion, persecution and extermination of peculiar, disturbing and ill people thereby took place within the institutional and hospital system. The exhibition is specifically aimed at a wide audience. It uses the question of the value of life as a guiding principle and deals with the intellectual and institutional prerequisites for the murders, summarises the events of exclusion and forced sterilisations up to mass extermination, deals exemplarily with victims, perpetrators, involved persons and opponents, and finally inquires about the analysis of those events from 1945 until today. Exemplary biographies run throughout the entire exhibition. The many different actors involved in the crimes become tangible in the victims’ files and their views of patients are contrasted with the patients’ own statements. The final section comprises numerous voices that look back on that period from modern times and ask themselves from different perspectives about the personal relevance of what happened: doctors, politicians, representatives of self-help associations, relatives of victims, nursing staff, health administration representatives and others.

Under the auspices of the German Federal President, Joachim Gauck, the German Association for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics (DGPPN), in conjunction with the Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and the Topography of Terror Foundation, developed a travelling exhibition that will focus on those victims who for a long time played only a marginal role in the public interest and memory.

The exihibition was shown from 26 March to 20 July 2014 in the Topography of Terror.

Exhibition catalogue
The exhibition catalogue can be bought in bookshops for € 19.99 (Springer Medizin Verlag). With detailed background information, numerous photos and many historical documents.

An exhibition catalogue in straightforward german language is available for free at www.dgppn.de/exhibition

Project management
Prof. Dr. Dr. Frank Schneider (DGPPN) in cooperation with Uwe Neumärker and Dr. Ulrich Baumann (Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe) and Prof. Dr. Andreas Nachama and Britta Scherer (Foundation Topographie of Terror)

Petra Lutz

photo top: Benjamin Traub born in 1914 in Mülheim-Ruhr, committed to Bedburg-Haumental hostpital in 1931, murdered in 1941 in Hadamar, photo: private collection

photo rigth side: David Föll born in 1858, cabinetmaker in Schwäbisch Hall, murdered in 1940 in Grafeneck, photo: Baden-Württemberg state archives, StAL, F234 VI Nr 519018

photo below: Irmgard Heiss born in 1897 in Münster, housewife, died in 1944 of the effects of long internment in Weilmünster mental hospital, Lindenhaus near Lemgo, photo: Stellbrink