Extermination of the mentally ill. Memory and history
eds. Tadeusz Nasierowski, Grażyna Herczyńska, Dariusz Maciej Myszka
(Zagłada chorych psychicznie)


This publication investigates the tragic fate of people with mental disorders during World War II. Even today, the subject has not been adequately dealt with in the Polish collective memory. The mentally ill were the first group targeted by the Nazis on whom numerous methods of extermination were used, including the use of gas. They were exterminated not for reasons of ethnicity but purely because they suffered from mental illness.

The authors have collected currently available information relating to the Nazi extermination of the mentally ill, including the role played by the medical profession and the fate of Polish and German doctors during the war years. The memory of those events is described from both, Polish and German, perspectives.The subject of extermination has appeared in literature, film, theatre and in other areas of the arts. Works on the theme, by renowned authors and artists, are presented in this book. The concept of erecting a monument in Warsaw commemorating the extermination of the mentally ill is also discussed.

Hardcover: 582 pages
Publisher: ENETEIA
Published: 2012
Language: Polish
ISBN-13: 978-83-61538-43-1
Product Dimensions: 6,3 × 9,25 × 1,5 inches (160 × 235 × 38 mm)

Table of contents

The Restoration of hope. Psychiatrists on the extermination of the mentally ill – Tadeusz Nasierowski

Part one
The unerased image

On human dignity – Władysław Bartoszewski
The vanguard of Genocide – Friedrich Leidinger
Man’s bitter self‑knowledge – Andrzej Cechnicki

Part two
The extermination of the mentally ill and its place on the map of Nazi Genocides

Medical care of the Polish population in the occupied Wielkopolska region in light of documents and publications from the Information and Press Department of the Government Delegation, 1942–1944 – Aleksandra Pietrowicz
Intelligenzaktion and the extermination of psychiatric hospital patients in Polish territories incorporated into the Third Reich – Maria Wardzyńska
Research into starvation related illnesses in the Warsaw Ghetto – Marta Janczewska
Nazi euthanasia programme extermination methods in Reichsgau Wartheland (1939–1940) – Artur Hojan, Cameron Munro
Patients of German nationality in the medical care facility in Warta – Dietmar Schulze, Maria Fiebrandt
The extermination of the mentally ill in the East: the case of the Belorussian Mogilev – Gerrit Hohendorf

Part three
The fate of Polish and German medical staff

Losses of Polish doctors during WWII – Jan Bohdan Gliński
Losses of Polish psychiatrists during WWII – Stanisław Ilnicki
Wilhelm Rosenau – the last medical director of the Jewish psychiatric institution in Sayn – Renate Rosenau
Motives for criminal complicity. Viktor Ratka and Stefan Galon – volksdeutsche psychiatrists – Roman Serafinowski

Part four
Memory and history. German and Polish perspectives

The Second World War in the German collective memory – Anna Wolff‑Powęska
The Second World War in the Polish historical memory – Rafał Wnuk
Concentration camp experiences in oral history – Piotr Filipkowski
Memory – politics – evil. Notes on German post‑war philosophy: the case of Hannah Arendt – Kinga Marulewska
Modernity unrestrained. Nazism in Eric Voegelin’s political theology – Michał J. Czarnecki

Part five
The unfinished chapter

The rhetoric of hatred and Genocide – Jacek Leociak
Holocaust and memory – a theological context – Stanisław Obirek
Why we must continue studying the National Socialist „Euthanasia” programme – Gerhard Baader

Part six
Wartime memory recorded in the language of culture

Replica by Józef Szajna: life after the Genocide – Zbigniew Taranienko
Aesthetics and the Genocide in Tadeusz Kantor’s vision of the theatre – Krzysztof Miklaszewski
Quality of life. Sanctity of life – Krzysztof Zanussi
Reflections on the film Szpital Przemienienia (Hospital of the Transfiguration) – Michał Komar
Szpital Przemienienia (Hospital of the Transfiguration) – fighting a diseased culture – Jerzy Jarzębski
From trauma to suicide. Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (Witkacy), victim of two world wars – Lech Sokół
Madness: the declaration of war on the Nazis after many years – Krzysztof Kąkolewski
Norms – superstition – Ghetto – „Euthanasia”. A final farewell to the madhouse – Ewa Kuryluk
Frascati (2009). Two excerpts from an autobiographical novel – Ewa Kuryluk
Ship (2006–2007). Three fragments of an installation – Ewa Kuryluk
Ship (2006–2007). A commentary on Ewa Kuryluk’s installation from the book Yellow Installations (2011) – Ola Wojtkiewicz

Part seven
Monuments of memory

Monuments of memory – monuments of transformation – Anna Król
„Where are you taking us?” Public art projects commemorating the mentally ill exterminated during WWII – Halina Taborska
Private and public versions of commemoration – The limits of sculptural imagination – Jacek Waltoś
Phantoms of memory – Maciej Aleksandrowicz

Part eight
Commemorating memory

What is the purpose of the historical site at Berlin’s Tiergartenstraße 4: A place of documentation and/or memory? – Uwe Neumärker, Ulrich Baumann
One must bear this night… Why and how to commemorate victims of thanasia, perversely called euthanasia? – Tadeusz Nasierowski
Not all is fleeting, not all is in vain… A discussion for a central monument commemorating the German extermination of the mentally ill in Poland

List of photographs
Notes on editors, authors, and discussants
Index of persons

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