My very good friend told me what happened over a cup of coffee last week.
“You know,” she said, “The Holocaust started with the killing of the disabled.”
I looked at her in disbelief.
“Are you sure?” I asked.
She had gone to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC and they had an entire display on this very subject. She went on to tell me a personal story of her encounter with a group from Austria in the 1980′s, who were in America to see how we provided services to adults with disabilities. Eventually, after the converation was under way, my friend finally looked at the Austrian and said, “Don’t you have any older people with disabilities in your country?”
“No”, she replied. “We have none. They were all killed.”
My mouth hung open as she told me the story. My heart began racing, as I wondered what I would do if the government decided to round up my sweet little one with Down syndrome so they could kill her.
Long before the Jewish population was singled out, the Nazi government implemented a program in 1933 called, “Law for the Prevention of Progeny with Hereditary Diseases.” They started with sterilization and moved on to gas chambers.
A desired “master race.” They felt people with disabilities were “life unworthy of life” and so they publicly promoted their economic burden to society.
Wow, those goals and accusations sound a little familiar as of late. Denmark, Australia….. the US? No?
Well, the train has left the station here in the States with the MaterniT21 and fetal sex determination test by Sequenom. But instead of stating the tests’ true purpose to the public, they have a nice website with very careful wording. Visitors see attractive, smiling parents in the corners and nice soothing colors. The federal government does its part by lumping the test under preventive medicine in the Affordable Health Care Act and graciously giving money for Down syndrome research, you know, for a better test.
Now you may say the test doesn’t kill the fetus, it just informs the parents so they can make a well-rounded decision; the manufacturer is only giving their customers what they want. Yes, and Germans suddenly felt compelled to turn their Jewish neighbors over just for the heck of it.
It all starts somewhere, folks.
Will you speak up?
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.
Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor who opposed the Nazi regime. He spent the last 7 years of Nazi rule in concentration camps. Germany, 1937.