World War 2 was a terrible time for several sects of people, including Jews, Gays and Lesbians. But it was perhaps especially horrendous for the developmentally disabled. Even as some semblance of humanity and empathy towards the disabled began to emerge during the 1800's, no one could have foreseen the utterly inhumane and torturous practices that were characteristic of the Third Reich. In Hitler's quest for a perfect world, Nazi's believed it was their duty to eradicate anything that was considered a "genetic defect," "feeble-mindedness" or an "imperfection." Statistics suggests that more than 400,000 developmentally disabled individuals were a victim of the Nazi sterilization campaign between 1933 and 1939, in the early years of Hitler's Germany. Catholic priests registered most candidates for this program unknowing their future fate.

Not considered enough, the Sterilization Program ended in Germany in 1939. This gave way to a worse solution, an Euthanasia Program. Over 700,000 disabled adults and children were killed under this program; the disabilities include, depression, mental retardation, schizophrenia, and even deafness and blindness. The developmentally and intellectually disabled were Nazi's first guinea pigs, and methods of mass killings were first experimented and perfected on them before Nazi's could move onto Jews, Gays and Lesbians. Methods of killing such as starvation; exposure to cold; blood-letting; injecting with morphine; gassing with cyanide and poisoning were first tested on the disabled adults and even children as young as 3 years old. In a shocking display of inhumanity, doctors and nurses registered disabled individuals for mass killings and medical experiments in return for a small payment for each registration. A committee with little to no medical education was then selected to look through the registrations and choose disabled individuals who were to be killed. The ones who weren't killed were sent to concentration camps where they were tortured and ridiculed, and almost none of the disabled individuals entering concentration camps survived it.

While the developmentally disabled in Germany suffered under the inhumane laws of the Nazi, a glimpse of hope and optimism towards the situation of such individuals was seen in America. As thousands of Americans signed up for the war, jobs in the US were left vacant and gave disabled individuals a chance to fill these positions. This is perhaps the first time in history that the developmentally disabled were allowed to earn a living respectably for themselves.

There was never any greater display of inhumanity than that during the time of Hitler's Germany. World War 2 had a lot of victims as seen in history; people of different faith, beliefs and abilities suffered unimaginable fates simply because someone viewed them as different.

Author's Bio: 

Bobby Harris is a driven, experienced and knowledgeable professional within areas such as healthcare, childhood education, abuse intervention and crisis prevention; organizational leadership and developmental Disabilities /developmental Disabilities.
Bobby managed to earn his bachelors degree in social work,as well as his masters of science in health care administration; while boasting a professional curriculum within the health and human services branches dating back to the mid 90s!
On the premises of such an extensive background, Bobby is keen on sharing his wealth of insights, skills, tools, tips and consideration through his inspired and reader-friendly articles appearing in various publication, as well as on his own imprint, “Direct Support Solutions”