‘The First To Go’ – The Killings Of Disabled People During WWII13 Oct 2009
I came across a video of a play called ‘The First To Go' written by British actor, Nabil Shaban (pictured above); who like myself, suffers from Brittle Bones and is confined to a wheelchair. The stage production tells the story of the murders carried out by Adolf Hitler against disabled people in WWII.
Nabil stars in the play as Siegfried, a wheelchair bound man who was born with Brittle Bones. In one scene, he's in an institution and has been sentenced by Hitler to die because of his disability. Hitler wanted all disabled people who were institutionalised for at least 5 years to be killed.
He described people with disabilities as ‘unproductive consumers', ‘useless eaters' and said ‘destroy all the weeds which take all the goodness but give nothing in return'. He had also said, ‘if they are not employable or only employable to do simple machine work, they must die'.
There were ‘Killing Centres' which were first created to cull all disabled people, there were 6 ‘Killing Centres' and there were approximately 30 deaths an hour that took place in them.
One of Hitler's goals was to get rid of all the tainted genes that existed to create an uncontaminated gene pool for a ‘perfect' race, saying that ‘we haven't just maintained an unworthy life, we've allowed it to multiply'.
They used many disabled people as human guinea pigs for cruel medical testing and had such well known methods of killings as the gas chamber, euthanasia and lethal injection, among others. A man called Karl Brandt was the evil genius behind Hitler's Euthanasia project. There was also a Dr Josef Goebbels, who was born with a club foot, he chose to hate all disabled people and was the mastermind behind the propaganda campaign that was for euthanasia.
One noted disabled hero was Claus Van Stauffenberg, he only had one eye and was missing an arm, but made an attempt to blow up Hitler.
I have always been fascinated in the stories surrounding Hitler, perhaps because he had no regard towards the lives of those who were disabled and wanted them all to die. It makes me think, if I lived in Germany during WWII, would I have had any chance of survival and also makes me so grateful to have been born in a time where the views towards disabled people have changed so much, not as much as a lot of us would like, but a lot better than those of WWII and certainly moving in the right direction, more and more each day.
I am not discussing this blog to badmouth Germans in anyway, (I am half German myself), but to explore what it would have been like for those unfortunate disabled souls who lost their lives and had no chance at all.
To view the video that talks about the killings of the disabled people in WWII and how they were regarded, click here http
and to view a part of the play featuring Nabil Shaban, click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ezwZmf5I_0.