Deaf People in the Holocaust
To some people the Holocaust is recognized as the killing of the Jews. Adolf Hitler had his idea of how the world should be and he was determined to make that happen with his Nazi followers. What most people don’t realize is that more than just Jewish people were victims that lost their lives. Anyone in Europe during this time who had some sort of disability was eligible to become a victim of Hitler and maybe lose their life as well. Adolf Hitler thought these people were “polluting his country” and at the beginning of his killing spree, he wanted to rid Germany of all disabled people. Deafness was among these disabilities. Deaf people during this time were considered “useless and unworthy of kindness.” Hitler wanted them gone. (Levinson)
The Holocaust was a hard time for anyone who had to endure in it. In order for the Jews to stay alive, they had to battle against tough-to-survive conditions, such as: hunger, filth, disease, ceaseless work, and endless brutality. Can you imagine how complicated it was for a person who was unable to speak and hear to survive? They had to be aware of their surroundings at all times. If a deaf person were to make it obvious that they were disabled, it is likely that they would be killed the instant a Nazi discovered the person’s deafness. Hitler believed that deafness was a hereditary disease that comes from the genes of a parent. He believed that sterilizing deaf people would lessen the likeliness of a deaf infant being born. “Over 1500 deaf people were killed and thousands of people were forcibly sterilized.” (Berke). People of all age groups were sterilized, if they refused, they would be forced. The youngest sterilization is a deaf child of the age of nine and the oldest is a man of fifty. Deaf children were commonly allowed to skip sterilization as long as they attended a private school and stayed on campus. Abortions were even obligated if the mother was anywhere between eight to nine...
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