Crying Hands Chapter One continued...
banner against the further examples of the teachers of deaf pupils, Otto Schmähl, Hans Hild, and Schumann.

In 1930, the director of the Educational and Training Institution for the Deaf of Breslau, Dr. Otto Schmähl, had vehemently denied that "the congenitally deaf were to be categorized with the mentally ill, idiots, epileptics, dipsomaniacs." He also rejected the demand that "all the congenitally deaf, who . . . could never be determined with certainty and in whose identification some hereditarily sound would also be included, should be forcibly sterilized." He "could not justify such measures, either ethically or socially." Yet three years later, Schmähl expressed no reservations about "voluntary sterilization in the case of hereditary deafness." He now cited page 8 of Weinert's essay of 1933, which assured him to his satisfaction that "in the case of the deaf, too, such voluntary sterilizations had already been effected."

Schmähl attended the National Socialist Teachers Confederation program at Birkenwerder training camp from January 7 to January 15, 1935, as did several other teachers of deaf pupils. In 1937, Schmähl made public his change of opinion. He now accorded deaf people "the right to a modest place" in the German community, but he reminded hereditarily deaf people of their duty to agree to sterilization "with full understanding to the racial policies and measures of the state."

Fully subscribing to Abend's thesis, Schmähl represented deafness as a physical defect, "which, like all defects, was undesirable in society." Concerned with the degradation of the race by the "hereditarily unfit," Schmähl justified the sterilization law, since it sought to "eliminate this diseased strain." In his estimation, hereditarily deaf individuals constituted "about 35 percent of all German deaf."

Schmähl also proposed collaboration between deaf education and Nazi medicine:

The necessity of cooperation with the district doctors lies not just in the fact that they complete the questionnaires for the subsequent education of deaf children; collaboration is above all also necessary in the interest of implementing the Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases.
A pamphlet Schmähl wrote on continuing education courses for the vocational training of deaf adults proves that in the end he unconditionally followed the Nazi racial policy program. In the commentary to the pamphlet, he said that "not the least of the objectives of" vocational training "would be the ideological and racial-political instruction of the deaf." When he, a fellow-director from Liegnitz, and a senior teacher from Breslau were named advisors to the race policy authority, Schmähl enthusiastically shared the news of his professional advancement with the readers of a journal, for the most part teachers of deaf children.

In 1932, Camberg teacher Hans Hild appeared to oppose racial hygiene policies. He published a pamphlet at his own expense on the topic of "Special Education and Youth Welfare in the Context of National Defense." He gave it the subtitle "A defense against unilateral practical politics (Realpolitik) and unbounded eugenics proposals." In the pamphlet, released just before the Nazi assumption of power, he rejected "the tendency toward radical racial betterment as it might affect the deaf." Hild called on his colleagues to defend "the respect for the life of another person . . . at a time when political incitement and social confusion are playing with the fate of the German people."

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