Current Time 11:01:17am
Byesville Rotary hears about the WWII “Deaf Holocaust”Written by Shana Fair, Byesville Rotary
Guest speaker at the morning meeting was Jamie Hopps, former Interact member, current Rotary member, and history major attending Ohio State Eastern, Jamie’s topic was the “Deaf Holocaust. “ She explained that while most people know that Hitler tried to eliminate Jews, few realize that people with hearing disabilities were also a target of Hitler’s effort to “purify the German race.” She became interested in the topic while she was taking a sign language class.
Hopps pointed out that one reason few people are aware of the Deaf Holocaust is because deaf people who were sterilized were told that if they spoke about their sterilization, they would be sent to the death camps. As a result, it became part of the culture of a whole generation of people not to speak of their experience.
Hopps explained that like many Germans, the German deaf population originally believed Nazi propaganda and supported the Nazi regime. Some even voluntarily surrendered their infants and young children to a program called “Operation T4” because they thought their children would be cured of their deafness. Unfortunately, the real purpose of “Operation T4” was to kill any child considered “defective.”
During the worst years of the Holocaust, the German government increased their campaign to sterilize anyone who was considered defective. The Nazi definition of defective included people with learning disabilities, schizophrenics, maniac-depressives, epileptics, alcoholics, and anyone with a physical deformity as well as people who were deaf or blind.
Hopps recommended the book, Crying Hand: Eugenics and Deaf People in Nazi Germany, by Horst Biesold to anyone interested in finding out more about this forgotten piece of history.
Chuck Fair, chair of the chicken BBQ committee, reminded club members that the club will be holding its monthly chicken BBQ Saturday, August 17. Volunteers are still needed to help with the BBQ. There will only be one more BBQ held this year.
The club meets 7:30 am every Tuesday at the Stop Nine Senior Center at 60313 (GPS use 60299) Southgate Road, Byesville. Anyone interested in learning more about the Byesville Rotary can call Membership Chair Jim Vaughan, 740-260-2969. More information about the Byesville Rotary can be found at: www.Byesvillerotary.blogspot.com or https://www.facebook.com/pages/Byesville-Rotary/256548047818283