Hans Asperger at the Children’s Clinic of the University of Vienna Hospital c.1940

Did Hans Asperger save children from the Nazis — or sell them out?

Steve Silberman’s stunning new book looks across history, back to Henry Cavendish, the 18th-century natural scientist who discovered hydrogen, Hugo Gernsbach, the early-20th-century inventor and pioneer of amateur ‘wireless’ radio, and countless other technically brilliant but socially awkward, eccentric non-conformists, members of the ‘neurotribe’ we now call the autism spectrum.

  • UCSPanther

    The nightmare of the “T4” program was the end result of what was once considered “progressive” back in the late 1800s and the first part of the 20th century.

    In Nazi Germany, it first started with forced sterilizations, then it progressed to murder, where experiments with mass killing committed via gas chambers (Which were supposedly proposed by a prominent “intellectual” whose name escapes me at the moment, as a “humane” way of murdering the disabled en masse.”) were carried out. As one can quickly guess, it became the model for the Holocaust.

    The only good thing that came from this horror show was the death of the 1920s era mindset, but those lessons are being forgotten.

  • andycanuck

    I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure social Darwinism and the like leading to eugenicist perfectionist views were widespread in the West from the late 19th Century into the 20th and didn’t start or spread from the U.S.

    And bravo to the commenter who points out that abortion accomplishes these exact same goals today (“Margaret Sanger to the white courtesy phone”) as the Nazis wanted yesterday.