In their book The Release of Destruction of Life Devoid of Value, Alfred Hoche and Karl Binding premised that there was such a thing as a life not worth living, and that suffering patients—or other decision makers—should have the option of ending their lives. Germany bought the idea in the 1920s.
In 1933 the National Socialist (Nazi) Party gained control of Germany, and these theories could finally be put into practice.
Of course, patients were to be protected. As
reported in the New York Times (see next page),
rigorous safeguards against accidental or purposeful
misuse of physician assisted suicide were to be
instituted. Its use was to be limited to cases of intractable pain in an incurable illness.
But the mindset of a life not worth living had caught on and Nazi euthanasia was soon extended to disabled WWI German veterans and other unfortunates called “useless eaters” who were deemed a drain on the economy. It then became full-blown genocide at Auschwitz and other final destinations.
The proposed safeguards noted in the Times article of 1933 are similar to those found in California’s SB128, the End of Life Option Act. SB 128 passed the Democrat-dominated state senate on a straight party line vote on June 4, 2015, but was pulled from the Assembly Health Committee a month later when the sponsors conceded that they did not have sufficient votes to advance the bill.
In the wake of the well-publicized and glamorized suicide of 29-year-old Brittany Maynard last October, similar proposals have sprung up in over twenty other state legislatures. Fortunately, many of them are meeting the same fate as California’s. As of this printing, none has been enacted into law, but many are still pending.
Meanwhile, advocates of assisted suicide are also trying to reach their goal by petitioning activist judges in some states to strike down the assisted suicide laws. Their argument is that “aid in dying” is an accepted medical practice because there is no rational distinction between letting someone die by withdrawing medical treatments and “helping” someone to die by administering lethal drugs.
Will the pursuit of these death-promoting strategies end in a genocide on the Nazi scale? Anyone who worries about such a conclusion will be branded an alarmist crackpot. But then, anyone who predicted the Nazi genocide would have been branded an alarmist crackpot by the adherents of Herr Hoche and Herr Binder. The reality is that the essential injustice of the Nazi genocide was already present in the ethical theories of the two Herr Doktors – and is present again in the strategies of those promoting assisted suicide. In order to prevent the expansion of this injustice into a massive national or international genocide, opponents of this twisted mentality must maintain an untiring level of vigilance and communicate their opposition to everyone they know. It’s clear enough that the death advocates are pressing forward with everything they have.
 Nazis Plan to Kill Incurables to End Pain; German Religious Groups Oppose Move
By The Associated Press
BERLIN, Oct. 7 —The Ministry of Justice in a detailed memorandum explaining the Nazi aims regarding the German penal code today announced its intention to authorize physicians to end the sufferings of incurable patients.
The memorandum, still lacking the force of law, proposed that “It shall be made possible for physicians to end the tortures of incurable patients, upon request, in the interests of true humanity.”
This proposed legal recognition of euthanasia—the act of providing a painless and peaceful death-raised a number of fundamental problems of a religious, scientific and legal nature.
The Catholic newspaper Germania hastened to observe:
The Catholic faith binds the conscience of its followers not to accept this method of shortening the sufferings of incurables who are tormented by pain.”
In Lutheran circles, too, life is regarded as something that God alone can take.
A large section of the German people,
it was expected in some interested
circles, might ignore the provisions for euthanasia, which overnight has become a widely-discussed word in the Reich.
In medical circles the question was raised as to just when a man is incurable and when his life should be ended.
According to the present plans of the Ministry of Justice, incurability would
be determined not only by the attending physician, but also by two official doctors who would carefully trace the history
of the case and personally examine the patient.
In insisting that euthanasia shall be permissible only if the accredited attending physician is backed by two experts who so advise, the Ministry believes a guarantee is given that no life still valuable to the State will be wantonly destroyed.
The legal question of who may request the application of euthanasia has not been definitely solved. The Ministry merely
has proposed that either the patient
himself shall “expressly and earnestly” ask it, or “in case the patient no longer
is able to express his desire, his nearer relatives, acting from motives that do not contravene morals, so request.”
[Reprinted from New York Times, Oct. 8, 1933, p. 1]