The book, Crying Hands, by Biesold, should be required reading for all professionals and by anyone interested in our field. We all are aware of the horror of the twisted ideas of “racial” superiority promulgated by Nazi Germany and the subsequent devastation of innocent Jews and Gypsies. Most of us are unaware, or dimly aware that the evil concept of human beings “unworthy of life” extended to several categories such as genetic deafness, blindness and alcoholism.
Biesold documents the execution of deaf Germans through injection, sentencing to primitive conditions, and work in forced labor as well as sterilization of deaf men and women, boys and girls. The testimony of some of these surviving victims more than 50 years after the crimes inflicted upon them is stark. He demonstrated that the popular myth that educators and others protected their deaf charges simply was not true in too many cases. Teachers and school administrators frequently turned in their students and Protestant ministers to the deaf formally called upon their parishioners to submit to sterilization for the good of the race. Even some deaf leaders, whose deafness was not heredity and who often were members of the Nazi party, participated in the persecution of deaf Germans.
Biesold, a German educator of the deaf, is to be applauded for his courage, determination and scholarship in obtaining the information necessary to complete his work, often in the face of official non-cooperation more than half a century after the holocaust. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for his perseverance.
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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