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1939 – 1945, 7 Wurmstraße

Using the guidelines on Nazi “heredity and race welfare”, the public health authorities of Linz decide to carry out around 1000 compulsory sterilisations, as well as prohibiting marriages and combatting “asocial” elements.

Nazi health policies were dominated by National Socialist “heredity and race welfare”. Medical authority offices had a decisive role to play: they could decide on the allocation of housing, forbid marriages, and submit application for the compulsory sterilisation of “racially inferior” persons.

During these processes the health authority doctors were not only the applicants but also the judges in the heredity health courts and “executors” of the sentences. Thus it is not surprising that courts dealing with heredity health decided in favour of the applicants in 90% of the cases. Estimates suggest that between 1938 and 1945 about 1000 compulsory sterilisations were carried out in Upper Austria. The victims, who were categorised as “racially inferior”, were people with mental or physical disabilities, members of minority groups (e.g. Roma and Sinti), or so-called “asocials”.

The head of the Department of Health, Dr. Karl D., considered that the task of the department lay in “taking care of and encouraging the welfare of the healthy and valuable genetic heritage of the German people, but also of countering weakness and, in certain circumstance, eradicating it”.

In 1945 D. was temporarily suspended from his post but managed to return to the City of Linz staff in 1949. In 1956 he was decorated for his services to the Republic of Austria.