by Dr. Mark Barber
he last time bombs rained on Belgrade, it was Hitlers planes that dropped them. But in one of historys more ironic twists, unlike the 1999 NATO attempt to prevent genocide, the Nazi attack was launched to advance it.
Following the Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia in 1941, the territory was divided among Germany and its allies, including the Ustashi a group of Croatian fascists put into power by the Nazis. The Ustashi created the Independent State of Croatia, an ally of the Axis Powers.
Racial purity programs were carried out against Serbs, Jews, Gypsies and other ethnic groups. More than 600,000 were murdered.
But to blame Hitler singularly with the destruction of the Balkan peoples not to mention the millions of Germans, Poles and others who were deemed unworthy of life would be a severe understatement, as history has proved.
Hitler was himself following a macabre vision laid down by others before him. Chief among them was Ernst Rudin, a psychiatrist who played a major role in setting the stage for the Holocaust. Rudin was president of the International Federation of Eugenic Organizations and world leader of the eugenics movement which sought to remove inferior individuals from society by segregation, sterilization, or death in order to create a better race.
In 1916 he established the field of psychiatric hereditary biology which became psychiatric genetics in the 1930s, and which has subsequently been used to justify several efforts toward the mass destruction of unwanted ethnic groups.
In 1933 Rudin was chosen by Hitlers Reich Ministry to lead Germanys racial purity program. Rudin wasted no time in drafting the Nazi Sterilization Law which originally called for the sterilization of schizophrenics, alcoholics, and manic-depressives the subjects of Rudins research. As these legal sterilizations began, programs were already underway to sterilize black Germans. The sterilization program expanded to include Jews, Gypsies and, in the words of Rudin, other inferior race types.
Rudins program led to the establishment of a pilot killing program at several of Germanys psychiatric hospitals. The first to die were 375,000 mental patients. Rudin publicly praised Hitler for making his more than thirty-year-old dream a reality by imposing racial hygiene upon the German people. Rudin admitted that when the killing program was started, he had not been informed, because it was not thought right that I should have such a matter on my conscience. Eventually, the genocide program involved practically the entire German psychiatric community, according to The World Must Know, a history of the Holocaust by author Dr. Michael Berenbaum.
But the psychiatric theories that spawned the racial hygiene movement in the 1930s did not end with World War II and the tribunals that followed. And while most of the worlds attention regarding eugenics remained focused on Germany during the past half century, the same fundamental theories of racial hygiene sown by Nazi psychiatrists continued to germinate among leaders in their Balkan neighbor, bringing unspeakable horror upon the innocent. With a growing global community, the theories and those who author them can no longer be overlooked today.