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The Deadly Philosophy: Racial Purity

Der Untermensch (The Subhuman), a German-produced racial propaganda pamphlet (1942). CL:SWC

The Nazis believed that the "useless mouths" (the chronically ill and the physically and mentally defective) had no right to live. On September 1, 1939, Hitler signed an order "granting" such individuals the right to die. The so-called euthanasia (mercy-killing) program of the Nazis killed hundreds of thousands of individuals by gas or lethal injection.

In 1940-41 special liquidation centers were established throughout Germany to eliminate the mentally or chronically ill. In these centers the first hermetically sealed gas chambers were developed. These deadly chambers, disguised as showers, were the prototypes for the mass extermination chambers later used in the Nazi extermination camps.

On the selection platform at Birkenau, 1944. CL:Archives of the State Museum in Oswiecim
Gypsy mother and child at the Lackenbach transit camp in Burgenland, Austria 1940. CL:DOW

"Be honest, decent, faithful and congenial towards members of our own blood but to no one else."
Heinrich Himmler, October 4, 1943


At the core of the Nazi ideology was a deadly vision of a racially pure society: a vicious form of social, genetic, and population planning that eliminated every individual not fitting its narrow definition of perfection. While Jews were the primary target, Gypsies, Slavs, homosexuals, the handicapped and political dissidents were also trapped in the deadly grip of Nazi ideology.

A demonstration of Aryan features in Nazi-run schools. CL:SW

Over 500,000 Gypsies were systematically murdered by the Nazis between 1939 and 1945. Like the Jews, Gypsies were stereotyped in Nazi propaganda as vagabonds, criminals, and parasites.

"The Blood Protection Law deals with the segregation of Jewish and German blood from the biological point of view." Stuckart and Globke, Commentaries to the German Race Laws, 1936

Gypsies being deported from Simmering in Vienna to the transit camp of Bruck on the Leitha River, late 1938. CL:DOW

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