Posts Tagged ‘T-4 program’

A year ago I took one of the most transformative journeys of my life, with 24 fellow educators, to study the Holocaust and the Jewish resistance to it, in Washington, DC, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Poland. I kept an extensive diary and took tons of photographs.  For the next several days, I have decided to go back and retrace my steps and try to process what unfolded for me. Not weighty tomes, but maybe a picture and a note from the diary.

Memorial Site, Hadamar. July 4, 2013.

Memorial Site, Hadamar. July 4, 2013.

Independence Day and I am on a bus to Hadamar, home of the start of the T-4 program in the heart of Hesse country in Germany.

I’ll let the sign speak for me for a moment. My notes tell me that I wrote that doctors and nurses did the killing. Starving, Injecting, and Gassing. No cases of doctors or nurses who refused. So much for that Hippocratic Oath.

Huge “peer pressure” for families to have their disabled children institutionalized. Spend state dollars instead on the healthy. “Useless Eater” propaganda, posters.



T-4 program is not the Holocaust but intersects. How else do you figure out how to build efficient gas chambers? Engineers who build Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, and start the mobile van gas chambers at Chelmno get ideas here.

We are here and there are still patients who are served here. We are not allowed into the bowels of the place, where you can still see the early gas chambers. A group of German school kids is there instead, as we do not have the proper appointment set up. Just as well, by all means, get the kids down there.

Instead we hike up to the mass grave at the top of the hill behind the facility.


Mass grave at Hadamar.

Mass grave at Hadamar.

"Compassionate orderly prepares to get rid of useless eater."

“Compassionate orderly prepares to get rid of useless eater.”

A year later, I suppose I should be outside preparing to shoot off fireworks or something. Instead I am thinking about how our own educational system is moving away from prioritizing study like this and focusing instead on test taking, data driving, goal orienting. Soul crushing, mindnumbing, paper pushing bullshit.

So I’ll think of these good doctors and nurses, damn good test takers, mind you,  and leave you with this:

I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no person should



witness: gas chambers built by learned engineers. Children poisoned by educated physicians. Infants killed by trained nurses. Women and babies shot by high school and college graduates.

So, I am suspicious of education.

My request is this:  Help your children become human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths or educated Eichmanns. Reading, writing, and arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more human.


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