Non-complicit: Revisiting Hans Asperger’s Career inNazi-era Vienna
© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019
Recent allegations that pediatrician Hans Asperger legitimized Nazi policies, including forced sterilization and child eutha–
nasia, are refuted with newly translated and chronologically-ordered information that takes into account Hitler’s deceptive
‘halt’ to the T4 euthanasia program in 1941.
It is highly unlikely that Asperger was aware of the T4 program when he referred
Herta Schreiber to Am Spiegelgrund or when he mentioned that institution 4 months later on the medical chart of another
(unrelated) girl, Elisabeth Schreiber. Asperger campaigned vigorously from 1938 to 1943 to have his specialization, Cura–
tive Education, take priority in the diagnosis and treatment of disabled children over other fields that promoted Nazi racial
hygiene policies. He neither disparaged his patients nor was he sexist. By 1938, he had identified the essentials of Asperger
syndrome and described an unnamed boy whom he later profiled (as Ernst K.) in 1944.
Rather than doing ‘thin’ research,
Asperger made discoveries that were prescient, and some of his activities conformed to definitions of “individual resistance.”
Keywords Asperger syndrome· Euthanasia· Forced sterilization· Hans Asperger· Nazi-era Vienna· T4 …
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