Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party came to power in Germany in 1933. Immediately there after laws were established to restrict the rights and lives of “undesirable people.” This included disabled people, gays and lesbians, Jehovah Witnesses, communists, Romi (gypsies) and of course Jewish people.
Despite the Nazi’s goal to create an Aryan race, some Deaf German’s seeing themselves as a class of people rather than a disability, formed an SA group, participated in marches and spread Nazi propaganda. While the group quickly grew in size and rapidly began to ostracize their fellow Deaf Jews, their organization was shortlived. Once Goering learned of their existence he ordered them to be disbanded as the image of a DEAF group of Nazis (known as REGEDE) was discongruent with Hitler’s eugenics efforts.
As a result of the Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring, 350,000 to 400,000 disabled Germans are estimated to have been sterilized, 17,000 of whom were Deaf. The numbers of disabled people who were “put to sleep” in the secretive T4 program is estimated at 70,000 people.
Up until 1941 the Nazi movement employed techniques used in their Eugenics program against the handicapped and “useless eaters” (forcible sterilization, abortion, starvation, lethal injection, gas chambers, etc) but when an outcry came from German religious organizations, they shifted their focus to Jewish people and other groups, which would not create large dissension and criticism from the majority population. The final solution had begun.
Click on the picture to see the video (BSL and English subtitles) ^
Documentary. In World War II: Unheard Memories, Deaf people tell their previously hidden stories about living in wartime Britain in their own language, British Sign Language. In this episode, we find out how they felt when war was declared, and discover what it was like to live during the Blitz. This programme was directed by Angela Spielsinger, and produced by Camilla Arnold for Remark Media.
This is Episode 1 of 2.
Click on the picture to see the video (BSL and English subtitles
Documentary. In World War II: Unheard Memories, Deaf people tell their previously hidden stories about living in wartime Britain in their own language, British Sign Language. In this episode, we find out about their memories as the war progressed, and then came to an end. This programme was directed by Angela Spielsinger, and produced by Camilla Arnold for Remark Media.
This is Episode 2 of 2
“The Deaf Holocaust”
Clive Mason narrated a 43 minute special edition of See Hear on BBC called “The Deaf Holocaust” Deaf People and Nazi Germany.
This documentary covers the treatment of deaf people in Nazi Germany during World War Two. 17,000 deaf people were forcibly sterilised by the Nazis to stop them from having children and many others were killed simply