Part of a Whole

My name is Nicolas Steenhout.
I speak, train, and consult about inclusion, accessibility and disability.

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Mass Grave of Disabled People Found – They Were Murdered By Nazis

CNN Reports that "Historians believe they have found a World War II-era mass grave containing the bodies of 220 disabled people killed by Nazis in Austria".

I read that and became quite chocked up. People so often forget that it wasn’t just Jewish people that were killed by the Nazi. The CNN article finishes by saying:

The regime systematically murdered about 6 million Jews, as well as millions of other people including Roma (Gypsies), disabled people, homosexuals, political prisoners and others they considered less than human.

There was a programme aimed specifically at killing off people with disabilities. This was known as Aktion T4. The Holocaust Survivors and Remembrance Network describes the programme:

The T4 Euthanasia Program was a Nazi German effort –framed as a euthanasia program– to kill incurably ill, physically or mentally disabled, emotionally distraught, and elderly people. Adolf Hitler initiated this program in 1939, and, while it was officially discontinued in 1941, killings continued covertly until the military defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.

It is estimated that as many as 200,000 people with disabilities have been killed through the T4 programme (both official and covert phases).

I have known about the T4 programme for about 15 years. The find of such a mass grave has really touched me. It makes it real – The victims of the German Nazi T4 programmes are not just "concepts" anymore – they were real people, who died for nothing, and were then discarded like rubbish.