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Asperger’s Children by Edith Sheffer review – the origins of autism in Nazi Vienna

By Ian Thomson In popular legend, Asperger was an Oskar Schindler figure who shielded his charges from euthanasia. The truth is more uncomfortable. In nursing homes across the Third Reich, children diagnosed with “autistic spectrum disorder” (as it might be termed today) were systematically murdered. Caring for these “useless mouths” drained the Aryan state. It was […]

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The Horrifying History of Hans Asperger

By Jill Escher A new book by Bay Area scholar of German history Edith Sheffer tells a detailed, grisly story of the Nazi disability death machine and the role within it played by Hans Asperger, the Vienna clinician for whom the now defunct diagnosis of “Asperger’s Syndrome” was named. “Asperger’s Children: The Origins of Autism […]

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Hans Asperger’s complex Nazi history

What we now call autism has surely been a part of the human condition for as long as human beings have existed. But the way different cultures understand, talk about and treat people who exhibit the symptoms of autism — difficulty or disinterest in social interactions, repetitive behaviors and language impairments — can vary widely. […]

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New research reveals that the physician behind Asperger’s syndrome was an active participant in Nazi eugenics

On 1 July 1941, a young Austrian physician named Hans Asperger signed a document transferring a toddler named Herta Schreiber to Spiegelgrund, an asylum for mentally ill children on the outskirts of Vienna. Two-year-old Herta had suffered diphtheria and meningitis, leaving her severely disabled. She “must present an unbearable burden to her mother,” Asperger, then […]

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