More than 200.000 people were affected by the national socialist “Euthanasia” crimes. From 1939 to 1945 disabled persons were gassed, shot, murdered by lethal injections or starved to death. After the liberation in 1945 the killings ended and diputes about how to deal with the past began. There were some trials of perpetrators, but most were let to live and work unharmed in postwar Germany. On the other side, the victims were further on stigmatised as being “hereditary ill” or “unfit to live.” It was only after long struggles, that the victims of forced sterilisations and “Euthanasia” were recognised and compensated. Since then, the current state of research is relatively satisfying, because new archival materials were found after the end of Europe’s division in 1989 and the passing away of the generation of perpetrators. But still, many questions of detail remain to be answered.
Analogous to the progressive process of Europe’s unification it becomes increasingly important to find a common understanding of Europe’s past. The history of how the historical event of the shoah was dealt with shows us that a European and worldwide public was able to define the shoa as a singular catastrophe of the past and a challenge for the present.
So the next challenge is to try to answer questions about the significance of the national-socialist “Euthanasia”-crimes for today’s Europe.
Essential for the success of the conference will be its sustainability and its network: This blog will inform the conference’s participants about the preparations and during the events a livestream will be available, transmitting the lectures, by this allowing people from all over Europe to stay in touch and make up their minds.
Thanks to those institutions the conference can be organised: