Icon by Jorge MurielIntroduction

Unlebenswurdig is a term adopted by the Nazi's through the works of Karl Binding and Alfred Hoche, entitled Die Freigabe der Vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens (Authorization for the destruction of life unworthy of life). This book focuses on the lives of individuals which are "unworthy to live". It systematically justifies the right to assist those individuals in suicide, promoting euthanasia towards the terminally ill, and feebleminded. The Nazi ideology applied the discoveries of Charles Darwin, his theory of the "survival of the fittest", and the works of Binding and Hoche to the Aryan Myth.

Mussolini and Hitler in a parade during one of the latter's visits to Italy. Photo from the National Archives.


Euthanasia programs developed throughout Nazi occupation resulting in the death of 6 million people throughout Europe. Jews were not the only target of Nazi euthanasia. Nazi's extended their hatred to include Gypsies, the physically and mentally ill, and homosexuals. Sterilization, gassing and cremation were the fate of almost all individuals that were termed "unworthy to live". These were seen as unproductive individuals, a burden to the German people.