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A lesson for our times


Erik Thys

The central theme of this book is the massive sterilization and extermination of psychiatric patients during the nazi regime. Furthermore, it explores the links between nazi medical and cultural policies, between art and psychiatry and between the eugenic roots of the nazi Psychogenocide and modern medicine.

A terribly beautiful book. It is well written, shows art and is scientifically well founded
Paul Verhaeghe

On October 1st 1939, the day World War II started, Hitler permitted doctors to kill patients suffering from neurologic and psychiatric disorders. This was the start of Aktion T4, the systematic and industrial killing of handicapped and mentally ill people. All the techniques that we now know from the Holocaust were actually invented for this project: the systematic bureaucratic search for the victims, the gassing with carbon monoxide, the gas chambers disguised as showers, the stealing of the victims’ belongings, the cremation of the bodies on-site and the secrecy.  

This anonymous, underexposed and underestimated tragedy has all the characteristics of a genocide. Therefore Erik Thys proposes to name it Psychogenocide. It doesn’t only deserve more historical attention, but it needs to be viewed — just like the Holocaust — as a warning sign for dangers that still exist today.