April 20, 2018

Science Magazine: Pioneering autism researcher cooperated with Nazis, new evidence suggests

The Austrian doctor Hans Asperger cooperated extensively with the Nazi regime and may have sent dozens of children to their deaths.

Horrific details of his involvement were revealed yesterday in the journal Molecular Autism and will be detailed in a forthcoming book called Asperger’s Children: The Origins of Autism in Nazi Vienna.

Asperger was among the first researchers to describe autism, and his decades of work with children later informed the concept of an autism “spectrum.”

Scholars have raised questions about his associations with the Nazi Party and his involvement in Nazi efforts to euthanize children with certain health conditions or disabilities.

The new book and paper suggest that Asperger referred dozens of children to a clinic called Am Spiegelgrund in Vienna, where doctors experimented on children or killed them. Nearly 800 children, many of whom were disabled or sick, were killed there. The clinic’s staff gave the children barbiturates, which often led to their death by pneumonia.

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