The Nazi Eugenics programme and the decision to exterminate people based on mental health issues, for example, is an area that is often overlooked in lessons about the Nazi’s atrocities during the Second World War. On the very day that Poland was invaded orders were given to cleanse the fatherland: and as a result tens of thousands were put to death.
There is a very good overview of the Nazi Eugenics programme in this article. The article outlines the origins of the extermination programme; the methods deployed and the consequences that these developments would have following the decision to carry out the Final Solution.
Whilst also covering the way in which the Nazi’s implemented their Eugenics programme, this article traces the History of Eugenics a little further back. This is well worth reading or noting to pupils as it makes it clear that whilst the Nazi’s certainly escalated things, there was already a Eugenics policy in place that was quite extreme.
This short article notes some interesting facts about Eugenics in Germany.
The BBC have a more detailed and quite authoritative article about Eugenics in Nazi Germany. Well written and academically sound, this is an excellent article to read for teachers wanting to top up their knowledge or to provide to more able pupils.
The slideshow below includes a selection of images relating to the Nazi Eugenics programme.