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Societies 2012, 2(3), 157-194; doi:10.3390/soc2030157

Child Murder in Nazi Germany: The Memory of Nazi Medical Crimes and Commemoration of “Children’s Euthanasia” Victims at Two Facilities (Eichberg, Kalmenhof)

Department of Sociology, University of Vermont, 31 S. Prospect St, Burlington, VT 05405, USA
Received: 4 June 2012 / Revised: 14 August 2012 / Accepted: 20 August 2012 / Published: 12 September 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exemplars in Social Research)
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Abstract

Nazi Germany’s “children’s euthanasia” was a unique program in the history of mankind, seeking to realize a social Darwinist vision of a society by means of the systematic murder of disabled children and youths. Perpetrators extinguished “unworthy life” during childhood and adolescence by establishing killing stations, misleadingly labeled Kinderfachabteilungen (“special children’s wards”), in existing medical or other care facilities. Part of a research project on Nazi “euthanasia” crimes and their victims, this paper uses a comparative historical perspective to trace memories of the crimes and the memorialization of their victims at the sites of two of these wards (Eichberg and Kalmenhof in Hesse, Germany). It also discusses the implications of the findings for theorizing mnemonic practices and analyzing ways in which memorials and other sites of memory deal with past trauma and atrocity.
Keywords: National Socialism; medical crimes; euthanasia; children; memory; commemoration; Germany; trauma; atrocity National Socialism; medical crimes; euthanasia; children; memory; commemoration; Germany; trauma; atrocity
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Kaelber, L. Child Murder in Nazi Germany: The Memory of Nazi Medical Crimes and Commemoration of “Children’s Euthanasia” Victims at Two Facilities (Eichberg, Kalmenhof). Societies 2012, 2, 157-194.

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