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Deaf People in Hitler's Europe (2002) is a non-fiction book written by Donna F. Ryan and John S. Schuchman inspired by the conference Deaf People in Hitler’s Europe, 1933-1945 hosted jointly by Gallaudet University and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1998.[1] It tells the story of deaf people during the Holocaust.


The Nazi campaign against the handicapped began on July 14, 1933 with the Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring. The Nazis sterilized people with disabilities such as mental illness, retardation, blindness, and deaf people. It was justified by scientists and the doctors who certified patients conditions as hereditary in order to prevent such handicapped people from bearing children. Teachers and others were involved in the certification process. 375,000 people were sterilized by force and an estimated 17,000 of the people sterilized were deaf. Later Action T4 killed thousands of people who were "judged incurably sick, by critical medical examination" from 1939-41 officially and up to 1945 unofficially.


  • It was reviewed by Bulletin of the History of Medicine.[2]
  • The international journal Review of Disability Studies review says:[3]
Despite some overlaps in information from chapter to chapter, this book is a good source of information about disability and the Holocaust. Anyone who is interested in Deaf Studies, eugenics, Holocaust Studies, the treatment of minority groups, in general, or in disability as a category of Otherness will find this a worthwhile addition to their library


See also[]

  • Child euthanasia in Nazi Germany

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