Remembering the Artists Who Were Among the Early Victims of Nazi Death Camps

They murdered 9,839 people at Grafeneck that year, including six artists of the Prinzhorn collection, the huge and influential trove of art by inmates of psychiatric institutions.


... As winter turned to spring in 1940, Hitler’s private office in Berlin, the Kanzlei des Führers (KdF), ordered the Grafeneck killing station to ramp up its activities. The transport squadron would be given an additional bus, which meant it could carry seventy-five people at once, and the gas chamber was enlarged to fit them all. Other victims were shipped in by train. At 8 am on Thursday, March 7, a giant rail transport of 457 patients arrived at the little station at Marbach an der Lauter. Deep snow had fallen in the Swabian Jura, and it took the SS eight hours to unload them all. Egon Stähle, Leonardo Conti, and Karl Brandt came to oversee the operation, taking their turns at the gas chamber window, but there were too many to kill in a single day, so 138 women were temporarily housed in the asylum at Zwiefalten.

By the end of that year, T4 had killed 35,000 psychiatric patients and disabled children, and the decision was taken to close Grafeneck, which had far outstripped its initial target of killing 20 per cent of psychiatric inpatients in southwest Germany.

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ABOUT THE BOOK

The Gallery of Miracles and Madness is a spellbinding, emotionally resonant tale of this complex and troubling history that uncovers Hitler's wars on modern art and the mentally ill and how they paved the way for the Holocaust. Charlie English tells an eerie story of genius, madness, and dehumanization that offers readers a fresh perspective on the brutal ideology of the Nazi regime. 

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absolute power depends on absolute control over knowledge, which in turn necessitates absolute corruption

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“Politicians, Priests, and psychiatrists often face the same problem: how to find the most rapid and permanent means of changing a man’s belief…The problem of the doctor and his nervously ill patient, and that of the religious leader who sets out to gain and hold new converts, has now become the problem of whole groups of nations, who wish not only to confirm certain political beliefs within their boundaries, but to proselytize the outside world.” – William Sargant “Battle of the Mind”

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