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FTR #32 Part I: Fascism, Eugenics and Euthanasia

Listen now: Side 1 [1] | Side 2 [2]

As the debate over physician assisted suicide intensifies in the United States and elsewhere, it is increasingly important to understand some of the far-reaching political implications of this issue. This program focuses on the relationship between the international eugenics movement and the international euthanasia movement, as well as their seminal influence on the Nazi racial laws and extermination programs. The Third Reich’s racial laws were profoundly influenced by American eugenics philosophy and legislation. In turn, the eugenics movement in Germany gave rise to the “T-4” euthanasia program, which was the beginning of and the operational foundation of Nazi genocide. Among other issues, the broadcast discusses the seminal American influence on the “Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Ill Progeny” (the first of the Nazi racial laws) and discusses the Knauer case. The latter was the euthanizing of a deformed child (at the request of the parents). This killing opened the judicial door to official, state authorized killing in Nazi Germany. (There is a similar case working its way through the U.S. court system, as of early 1995.) (Recorded on 1/26/97.)