Page 8, 19th December 1941

19th December 1941
Page 8
Page 8, 19th December 1941 — Continuation from page 1 of text of Bishop von Galen's sermon

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People: Conti


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Continuation from page 1 of text of Bishop von Galen's sermon


" I am assured that at the Ministry of the Interior and at the office of Dr. Conti, the head of Government doctors, it is openly known that a great number of mental cases have already been deliberately put to death and many more will follow in the future.

" In Article 139 of the Penal Code of Germany it is laid down that anyone who knows from a reliable source of any plot against the life of a man and who does not inform the authorities or the intended victim of it in time will be punished " I DEMAND PROTECTION " " When I heard the proposal to remove patients from Marienthal in order to kill them, I informed the Tribunal of Munster and also the Munster Police in a registered letter as follows:—

On account of information reaching me this week, i.e., the week. of July 31, a great number of patients from the provincial clinic of Marienthal are to be removed as citizens alleged to be unproductive to the clinic of Eischburg in order to be put to death as, according to opinion, has already been done in the case of other patients who have been similarly removed. As such an act is not only contrary to the moral law, both divine and natural, but should also be punishable by death according to Article 211 of the Penal Code, it is my duty in accordance with Article 139 of the same Code to bring it to the notice of the authorities. I demand immediate protection for my fellow-countrymen who 're thus threatened against those who intend to remove them and put them to death, and I demand to be told of your decision'

" No news has come to me of any steps taken by the Tribunal or by the police.

" On July 28 I had already sent a strongly wt protest to the provincial administration of Westphalia, who are responsible for the institutions to which these patients have been entrusted in order to be cared for and cured. It was all to no purpose. The first contingent of innocent people have left Marienthal under sentence of death and from the clinic of Waestein I am told that 800 patients have been removed.


" We must therefore expect the Oews that these poor defenceless patients will sooner or

later be killed. Why? Not because they have committed any crime deserving of death, not because they have attacked one of their wardens or nurses in such a way that the latter in legitimate self-defence might be forced to save their own lives by using violence against their assailants. These are cases in which the use of force, even at the risk of killing, is legitimate and even in many cases obligatory, just like killing an armed enemy soldier in a just war.

"No, it is not for reasons of this kind that these unhappy patients are killed ; it is simply because in the opinion of some doctor, in the view of some committee, they arc ' unworthy to live,' because in their eyes they are to be classified among unprpductive citizens. It is thought that they no longer can produce riches. and that they are like an old machine which can no longer work, like an old horse which has become incurably lame, or like a cow which can no longer give any milk. What does one do with such

an old machine? One destroys it. What does one do with an old cow or any unproductive cattle? But I do not wish to follow this comparison too far. The consequences are too terrible.

" We are not here dealing with machines or horses or cows whose sole purpose is to serve man and provide him with riches. They may be sacrificed and killed when they no longer fulfil their purpose. No, we are speaking here of men, of our neighbours, our brothers and sisters, poor people and invalids. . . unproductive beings, perhaps, but have they for that reason lost their right to live?

" IF ONLY PRODUCTIVE MAY LIVE " " Have you or have I only the right to live so long as we are productive, so long as others, therefore, regard us as productive? If one admits the principle that unproductive men may be killed then woe is all of us when we become old and weakened by age. If one may kill suct men, woe to all invalids who, in order to produce wealth, have used, sacrificed and worn out their strength and their arms. If one may by violence kill oar upproductive neighbours then woe to our

gallant so diers who come back to . their country wounded and maimed and sick.

" None of us then will be sure of our life. Any committee can put a man on the list of unproductives when it judges that he has become unworthy of life. No police can protect him, no court can avenge his murder and inflict on the murderer the punishment he deserves. Who can have any confidence in a doctor when he has only to certify his patients as unproductive and he can get authority to kill them?

" If this horrible doctrine is tolerated, admitted and practised, it is impossible to imagine to what depths of aepravation it will lead : what suspicion and distrust it will cause even in close family. circles. Woe to men and woe to the Germnn peciple if we transgress the sacred commandment, Thou

shalt not which was given to us by God on Mount Sinai in thunder and lightning and which God, our Creator, engraved on the human conscience from the beginning of time. Woe to the German people if we tolerate this crime and allow it to be committed with impunity.


" I want to give you an example of what is actually happening now

" At Marienthal there was a man of about 55 years old, a peasant, who for some years bad been suffering from some mental disease and had been in the provincial clinic of Marienthal. He was not completely mad, he could receive visitors and liked his family to conic and see him. About a fortnight ago he had a visit from his wife and his sort, a soldier at the 'front, who was home on leave. The son was very devoted to his father and was very upset when he left him, for who could know if he would see him again, for he might fall on the field of battle fighting for his countrymen.

" This son, tile soldier, will never see his father again in this world, because he has been put on the list of unproductives; one of the members of his family who went to see the father at Marienthal was refused admission and was told that by order of the Council of Ministers of National Defence the patient had been removed elsewhere, but no one knew where.

"An official notice will be sent to the family in a few days' time. What will this notice contain? Will it be like other similar notices that the man has died, that the body has been cremated, and that the ashes will be handed over on receipt of money to cover expenses? And so the son who is at the front risking his life for his German countrymen will never see his father again because his German counnymen have put him to death. I can give you the name of the patient, his wife and his soldier son as well as their addresses."


In the second part of his sermon the Bishop showed how many other commandments of God were being flouted. " Where in Germany and where here, is obedience to the commandments of God? The Eighth Commandment lays down, ' Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.' How often do we see this commandment violated publicly and with impunity?

The Seventh Commandment says, 'Thou shalt not steal '; but can we say that property is respected when our brothers and our sisters, monks and nuns, are forcibly and brutally robbed of their convents and who protects property now if it is illegally seized and not restorid?

The Sixth Commandment, ' Thou shalt not commit adultery '; think of 'the instructions and promises given on the question of free love and maternity outside marriage in the notorious open letter published in the journals of Rudolf Hess, who has since disappeared. And in ?natters of this kind what indecency and vulgarity do we not see everywhere even at Monster? To what lengths has not impropriety of dress gone amongst our younger people? That is how modesty. the guardian of purity, is being destroyed, and the way prepared for unchastity in the future.

haw is one to observe the Fourth Commandment which orders respect and

obedience to parents and superiors? The authority of parents has already been greatly diminished and is more and more shaken by the demands made upon the young against the wishes of their parents.

" Observance of the First and Third Commandments long ago lapsed in German public life. Sundays and feasts are secularised and desecrated by many, and the name of God constantly ridiculed and blasphemed. As for the First Commandment, ' Thou shalt not have strange gods . ..' in the place of the one true eternal God, men have created all for their own good pleasure false gods to adore—Nature, the State, the people or the race."

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