The First Into the Dark: The Nazi Persecution of the Disabled

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This is a UTS ePRESS peer reviewed, open access audiobook publication:

During the 12 years of the Nazi regime, a secret program of
'euthanasia' was employed against the sick and disabled. More than
300,000 Europeans with disabilities were covertly murdered and their
families issued with falsified death certificates. A further 400,000
were deemed by special courts to have 'hereditary diseases' and were
sterilised against their will.

This aggregate of crimes, now known as Krankenmorde (the
murder of the sick), was organised and performed by doctors, nurses,
bureaucrats and designated military groups. Many would go on to commit
larger scale crimes against humanity in the Holocaust.

From the extraordinary eyewitness account of eight-year-old Elvira Hempel, The First into the Dark reveals a history of the victims, witnesses, opponents to and perpetrators of the Krankenmorde.
It presents an accessible analysis of that era within the rise of
'scientific' eugenic discourse and traces the implications for
contemporary society--moral values and ethical challenges in end of life
decisions, reproduction and contemporary genetics, disability
and human rights, and in remembrance of and atonement for the past.

Dr Michael Robertson is
a consultant psychiatrist, Clinical Associate Professor of Mental
Health Ethics at the Sydney Health Ethics centre at the University of
Sydney, and a visiting professorial fellow at the
Sydney Jewish Museum.

Dr Astrid Ley is a
historian and historian of medicine. She is deputy director at
Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Memorial near Berlin.

Dr Edwina Light is a
postdoctoral research fellow at the Sydney Health Ethics centre at the
University of Sydney, and a visiting fellow at the Sydney Jewish Museum.
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