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HOLOCAUST EDUCATION IN PEDAGOGY, HISTORY, AND PRACTICE 92 German Reich, the care facility was closed and the patients dispersed to other institutions. Within one month, a gas chamber and a crematorium were installed. In 1940, the castle was transformed from a former care facility into a killing facility for the disabled. Approximately 30,000 people were killed in Hartheim. This figure includes patients from care facilities as well as prisoners from concentration camps such as Mauthausen and Dachau who were transported to Hartheim. The killings stopped at the end of 1944, and the gas chamber and crematorium were demolished. After 1945 the castle became home to several tenants and did not function as a memorial site. Since 2003, Hartheim is a place of learning and remembrance. It is the aim of this article to provide information about this history and some ideas on how the T4 program can be successfully taught in class. 1 Background In Nazi ideology, disabled people and those with mental illnesses did not fit into the ideal of a perfect, healthy and strong society. Nazism saw these people as a societal burden who generated costs and had no right to live in the Nazisociety. In October 1939, Hitler signed the so-called “Euthanasia decree” which was backdated to September 1, 1939. It reads: Reich Leader Bouhler and Dr. med. Brandt are charged with the responsibility of enlarging the competence of certain physicians, designated by name, so that patients who, on the basis of human judgment are considered incurable, can be granted mercy death after a discerning diagnosis. — Adolf Hitler. Image courtesy of Dokumentationsarchiv des österreichischen Widerstandes 1 The information in this article is based, if not otherwise mentioned, on the following book: Kepplinger, Brigitte; Marckhgott, Gerhart; Reese, Hartmut (Hg.): Tötungsanstalt Hartheim (Linz 2008)

It was on the basis of this decree that the killing of the patients was organized. The organization had its headquarters on Tiergartenstraße 4 in Berlin. The abbreviation of Tiergartenstraße 4 (T4) gave rise to its use as a post-war name. The T4 headquarters sent out forms to all care facilities in the German state to record patients. Physicians, located in Berlin, marked the forms either with a blue minus or a red plus sign. A blue minus meant the patient should stay in the care facility; a red plus indicated the patient should be deported to one of the six killing facilities and be gassed there. Patients were deported from the care facilities by buses and sometimes trains. In Hartheim, a small wooden garage was located outside the castle. It was here that the buses stopped and the patients disembarked (figure 4). It took a group of well-organized functionaries to carry out the systematic killing of the disabled. After arrival, the patients undressed and their luggage was taken away. Next they were shown to the doctor, who chose a natural cause of death that could be told to the relatives, and the patients were told they would have to shower. In reality, the shower room was the gas chamber, where the patients were gassed by carbon monoxide on the day of their arrival. Afterwards, the staff of Hartheim burnt the corpses in the crematorium. Secretaries wrote letters of condolence to the relatives of the victims and sent them together with death certificates with false dates and causes of death. Deciding What to Teach The history of the T4 program and Nazi medicine is an extensive topic. There are a variety of important topics that should be included for students. First and perhaps most importantly is the recognition that the history of the T4 program is the history of individuals. It is the history of the victims, but also the perpetrators, the bystanders and others. 93 HOLOCAUST EDUCATION IN PEDAGOGY, HISTORY, AND PRACTICE

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