A forgotten people HMD 2011
Archived from my previous blog.
I have picked this Untold story to share. T4 is well documented – yet this programme designed specifically for the killing of thousands of disabled babies, infants and adults during the WWII is often untold or forgotten.
It is about those disabled people that were taken by bus into a beautiful historical building in Hadamar, Germany. It was a hospital. A place built to ‘care for the welfare of people’. Disabled people were thought to be incapable of productive work (i.e. hard work) and this was the message given to the public in the papers and on film. Work incapable disabled people were one of the first to go. The treatment was the same for others with impairments, for this place was a euthanasia centre.
” … make a clear promise to speak out against discrimination which judges some lives to be of less value than others today.”
Last year I went to Liberty Park in Overloon, Holland.
How far will we go to keep or win back our freedom?
It is here where visitors can look around the National War and Resistance Museum and Marshall Museum. The park, the site of one of the heaviest tank battles, has a message – one that is relevant to each one of us today – freedom cannot be taken for granted. It invites us to think about war and oppression. How far will we go to keep or win back our freedom? It was hard to make it into the door without choking up.
I wondered about my own freedom and how much my life is valued?
As I write this I ponder over the current budget cuts that take away the liberating welfare support or health care disabled people rely on to survive. In the UK it seems society values us less than ever before. Oppression and injustice is never far away. Whatever format it takes – it still damages lives and takes lives.
I read the exhibits, I looked at the photos of death, destruction, fear, hope and survival. I sat in the quiet, reflective memorial room. Where are the disabled people of Holland and elsewhere who were tortured and gassed, who is telling their story? How many people have sat in this place and remembered our forgotten people?
On the way round we saw the graphic images and videos of genocide to present day. In Overloon they are not afraid to show it as it is. It’s not for the faint hearted but worse not to look.
Life size photographs of children in their mother’s arms – both slumped on the street, dead from gas attacks in recent wars. The video of survivors with skin blown of their bodies getting help in the years after the Atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki. These are the images that stick in our minds, that make us tearful.
However, much injustice is out of sight. Travelling around Holland, looking at pretty houses and out onto fields of flowers and parkland it is hard to imagine the stories that unfolded in those very buildings and fields. It is a reminder that injustice and denial of freedoms and liberty is often disguised, going on unnoticed for far to long, in front of our eyes.
Sometimes we open our eyes and see it happening – yet people do nothing. People knew what happened in that hospital – few spoke out and fewer still did anything about it.
Do you speak out against inequality and discrimination against others?
Injustice is part of my history as a disabled person – and relevant to my life today.
It is relevant to all of us today.