The Origins of Nazi Genocide
From Euthanasia to the Final Solution
The Nazi regime pursued the extermination of Jews, Gypsies, and the handicapped based on a belief in the biological, and thus absolute, inferiority of those groups. To document the connection between the assault on the handicapped and the Final Solution, Friedlander shows how the legal restrictions and exclusionary policies of the 1930s, including mass sterilization, led to mass murder during the war. He also makes clear that the killing centers where the handicapped were gassed and cremated served as the models for the extermination camps.
Based on extensive archival research, the book also analyzes the involvement of the German bureaucracy and judiciary, the participation of physicians and scientists, and the nature of popular opposition.