The Nazi Euthanasia Project

By Isabel Bollin 2

Introduction to Euthanasia

The term euthanasia , means to painlessly kill someone of incurable disease. Sometimes the people choose to die, but othertimes, someone else can choose it for them. In some communist countries, they use euthanasia to kill those who are no longer useful to society. That includes older people, the mentally retarded, and people dying of diseases. There is much controversy over the concept of euthanasia. Those that think euthanasia should be allowed have an argument stating only the person requesting death can know what persistent pain feels like. They often ask questions like, "Why should someone have to experience a painful death?" Those against euthanasia argue that it is against several religions. Many religions view euthanasia as morally incorrect. They also argue that there is a chance the patient could survive against all odds. They ask questions like, "Who has the ability to choose who gets to die?" When you study how Hitler practiced euthanasia, you can see why so many against the practice of it.

The t4 Project

Hitler decided to use euthanasia to kill off all the 'undesirables' to strengthen the nation. He considered the dominant race the Aryans, or the pale skinned, blue eyed people. He did not think that there should be any other races other than the Aryans. Also, he considered anyone mentally disable a drain on resources, therefore, they should be disposed of. He started a secret project called the Tiergartenstrasse 4 named after the office where the program originated from. It was known as t4 for short. Hitler ordered his personal physician, Karl Brandt, to visit a child who had been born blind,with only partial limbs, and mentally handicapped. If this was true about the child, then Brandt was to perform euthanasia. On July 25, 1939, the child was euthanized. After Brandt returned to Berlin, he was authorized by Hitler to do same thing with similar cases. Hitler did not wish to be publicly associated with the project, so Brandt secretly organized the program with Philip Bouhler. They started with the disabled children, but then they went on to kill mental patients in asylums, homosexuals, older people who were draining the resources, and Jews. He would have gone on to kill every other race other than the Aryans, and everyone who was a 'burden' to society, had he not been stopped. Additional information about this can be found at

How it was Significant to World War II

Euthanasia was significant to the second world war because it proved how government should not be able to decide who should die. The government should not be able to decide when anyone should cease living. Hitler did, and he killed people based off his views. He killed over six million people, that included physically and mentally disabled people, homosexuals, older people who were no longer helping society, and Jews. He killed anyone he thought was a drain to society. The governments actions proved that no one should be able to decide who dies.

More Facts

  1. Euthanasia was first used with gas chambers, but when the public protested, it was done in secret by starvation and lethal injections.
  2. Over six million people were killed by the t4 program.
  3. The first victim of Hitler's program was an infant named Gerhad Herbert Kretschmar. He was deemed a burden to society by Karl Brandt and killed on July 25, 1939.
  4. When they first started killing off mental patients with gassing, the families were not aware of it, so in order to keep the project a secret, they cremated the bodies, and had an excuse prepared for how the patient had died naturally, and for health reasons, it had been necessary to cremate the body. The family was able to get their relatives ashes if they requested for them.
  5. While there was propaganda for euthanasia, there was also propaganda for those with healthy genes to have a big family. Hitler wanted to encourage family growth that way the Aryans could become the dominant race
The Nazi Euthanasia (T4) Programme

Additional Websites

  • This website is reliable because it is a team dedicated to finding any information of the holocaust they believe that not remembering is as bad as killing the victims a second time. They hope that by remembering history, we can create a better future. In their articles, they cite all of the sources that they found for that particular subject, to prove that their information is correct.
  • This website is reliable because it is a museum all about the holocaust. They make sure to check their articles for accuracy before showing it to the public. They want to inspire citizens and leaders to "confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity." Under their articles they provide several other websites for any additional research the reader may want to do.


What Hitler did was a terrible thing. Because of his actions, humanity saw that euthanasia is not an okay practice. It shows that people should not be able to decide who gets to die. Hitler did, and he killed those that were not worthy of life in his eyes. He wanted to wipe out every race, except for the Aryans. The practice of euthanasia can lead us right back to the holocaust. No one should have the power to authorize another to die.

Work Cited

I Bollin 2

Holocaust Education and Archive Research Team. Euthanasia pictures. Digital image. Introduction to Nazi Euthanasia. Holocaust Education and Archive Research Team, 2007. Web. 2 Feb. 2016. <>.

Merriam-Webster Incorporated. "Euthanasia." Def. 1. The Merriam-Webster. 2004. Print.

Holocaust Education and Archive Research Team. "Euthanasia" Euthanasia Holocaust Education and Archive Research Team, 2010. Web. 29 Jan. 2016. <>.

The Jewish Library. "The Nazi Euthanasia (T-4) Program: Background & Overview." The Jewish Library, 2016. Web. 29 Jan. 2016. <>

The Nazi Euthanasia (T4) Program. Dir. Russel Tarr. Perf. Russel Tarr. Russel Tarr, 2009. Youtube.

Nordqvist, Christian. "Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide." Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. Palatine Care/ Hospice Care, 30 Oct. 2015. Web. 30 Jan. 2016. <>

Tonge, Neil, Simon Adams, and Sean Sheehan. Documenting World War II. New York: Rosen Central, 2009. Print.

U.S.H.M.M. "Euthanasia Program." U.S.H.M.M. 18 Aug. 2015. Web. 29 Jan. 2016. <>.