UK honors disabled Holocaust victims

Even though Holocaust education often centers on the plight of the Jewish people, a greater number of museums have been memorializing the other victims in recent years. This past week, the Holocaust Centre in Nottinghamshire unveiled a memorial plaque, the first of its kind in the UK, to remember the disabled victims of the Holocaust.

Survivors, celebrities and disability groups were at the event, where a rose and plaque were dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust’s disabled victims.

Plans for a permanent sculpture were also revealed at the Holocaust Centre in Laxton, Nottinghamshire.

Artist Alison Lapper said it had been “an amazing day”.

Ms Lapper, who was the model for Marc Quinn’s statue that occupied Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth, added: “It is so important that these people have finally been put on the map.

“It has been an excellent day, I hope it has opened people’s hearts and minds.”

The centre’s Stephen Smith said there had been “little recognition” of the persecution the disabled suffered.

The prejudice that drove the Nazi’s hatred of the Jews was equally to blame for the policies against the handicapped.

Forced sterilization began in earnest in 1934, where an estimated three to four hundred thousand mentally ill patients were given vasectomies or tubal ligations. By 1939, Hitler had enacted “Operation T-4” which authorized a euthanasia program against the handicapped, resulting in the deaths of 200,000 – 250,000 people.