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18-03-2019 | OriginalPaper | Uitgave 7/2020

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 7/2020

Non-complicit: Revisiting Hans Asperger’s Career in Nazi-era Vienna

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders > Uitgave 7/2020
Auteur:
Dean Falk
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10803-019-03981-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Abstract

Recent allegations that pediatrician Hans Asperger legitimized Nazi policies, including forced sterilization and child euthanasia, are refuted with newly translated and chronologically-ordered information that takes into account Hitler’s deceptive ‘halt’ to the T4 euthanasia program in 1941. It is highly unlikely that Asperger was aware of the T4 program when he referred Herta Schreiber to Am Spiegelgrund or when he mentioned that institution 4 months later on the medical chart of another (unrelated) girl, Elisabeth Schreiber. Asperger campaigned vigorously from 1938 to 1943 to have his specialization, Curative Education, take priority in the diagnosis and treatment of disabled children over other fields that promoted Nazi racial hygiene policies. He neither disparaged his patients nor was he sexist. By 1938, he had identified the essentials of Asperger syndrome and described an unnamed boy whom he later profiled (as Ernst K.) in 1944. Rather than doing ‘thin’ research, Asperger made discoveries that were prescient, and some of his activities conformed to definitions of “individual resistance.”

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