Acting on their unscientific notions of eugenics, the leaders of the Third Reich not only set about to eliminate Jews from European society, but also to eliminate other “undesirables,” such as the disabled, the mentally challenged, Sinti and Roma (Gypsies), homosexuals, and others capriciously lumped together under that designation. The deaf were included in this categorization. Until this English translation of Biesold’s German dissertation, their story has gone untold. With an introduction by Henry Friedlander, the study not only traces Nazi policies toward the deaf but also describes deaf teachers’ collaboration with the regime in implementing sterilization procedures. Translations of primary documents, such as oral testimonies, sterilization and euthanasia orders, and other original materials, make this monography valuable to those wishing to understand the Germans’ twisted “scientific” values. The author describes an avowedly Nazi organization of the deaf, the Reich Union of the Deaf in Germany, which promoted Nazi racial ideologies. Biesold’s narrative is written with both compassion for the victims and passionate anger toward the perpetrators. It is an important story that expands one’s understanding of a tragic period in German history. Upper division undergraduates and above.
—M. Deshmukh, George Mason University
Horst Biesold was a professor and teacher of deaf students in Bremen, Germany.
Print Edition: ISBN 978-1-56368-255-1, 6 x 9 paperback, 252 pages, 10 tables, 25 figures, 20 photographs
E-Book: ISBN 978-1-56368-196-7
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