Deaf students attend Holocaust education program

Students from the Georgia School for the Deaf‚ Woodland High School and KSU recently attended a lecture on the fate of disabled persons in Nazi Germany funded by the Marcus Foundation.

Georgia (Dec 6, 2005) — Students from the Georgia School for the Deaf‚ Woodland High School and KSU recently attended a lecture on the fate of disabled persons in Nazi Germany funded by the Marcus Foundation.

Dr. Patricia Heberer‚ a historian with the Office of the Senior Historian at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies‚ United States Holocaust Memorial in Washington‚ D.C.‚ spoke Nov. 30 as part of the university’s Holocaust education programming. Her lecture‚ “The Fate of the Deaf in Nazi Germany‚” focused on how deaf individuals were persecuted under Adolf Hitler’s eugenics policies. Heberer was accompanied by a sign language interpreter.

“Eugenics is a Greek word that means‚ ‘good birth‚’” Heberer said. “At the core of eugenics policies was the belief that human heredity was fixed. There were valuable and invaluable members of society‚ in terms of race and social value.”

Those who were deemed “invaluable‚” including the deaf‚ were institutionalized and faced compulsory sterilization and worse‚ Heberer said‚ noting that Indiana was the first government in the western world to establish a compulsory sterilization program for institutionalized individuals. Germany’s 1934 sterilization law‚ however‚ radicalized into an elimination program that eventually served as the model for Hitler’s “Final Solution.”

“The gassing technology adopted by the Final Solution was developed in these killing facilities‚” Heberer said.

Last December‚ the Marcus Foundation gave KSU a $590‚000 grant which funds Holocaust education programming‚ like Heberer’s lecture. The events are free and open to the public.

“Dr. Heberer addressed a topic that has only recently been given attention by Holocaust historians‚” history professor and coordinator of Holocaust education Dr. Catherine Lewis said. “The KSU audience was given an opportunity to hear about a relatively new field of research. We’re thrilled that the Marcus Foundation grant makes such programs possible.”




 

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