3/14/2016

Online media representations of the memorial for victims of the National Socialist “euthanasia”

By Robert Parzer
Translation: Ylva Söderfeldt

Workers at the T4 memorial in Berlin. Photo © Robert Parzer.
Workers at the T4 memorial in Berlin. Photo © Robert Parzer.
Public discourse and collective memory have tended to neglect the National Socialist killings of mentally ill and disabled people. Still in the 1990s the position towards victims of the so-called “euthanasia”-programs was defensive, until in the early 2000s the debate surrounding the Berlin Holocaust memorial led to other victimized groups being recognized at the highest political level. This started a process that finally in 2014 led to the inauguration of the memorial for the victims of the National Socialist “euthanasia” killings. The memorial was supported by an exhibition project funded by the German Research Foundation.

Since the practice of “writing onto the internet” has become popular and commonly accepted, different online media have also become platforms for remembering Nazi crimes. However, the murdering of mentally ill and disabled people is an exception that rarely finds its way online. For instance, the Hashtag #Krankenmord [“murder of the sick”, a German term often used for the killings of mentally ill and disabled people under the Nazis] yields less than 1000 results on Instagram, probably the most popular photo platform on the web. Of course, there are exceptions, such as the platform gedenkort-t4.eu or singular projects, among which the highly professional, interdisciplinary and transcultural documentation of a field trip by George-Washington University students is worth mentioning.

3/02/2016

Accessible disability history - sharing the past

By Rachael Stamper

In my role as heritage project manager at Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People, a disability charity based in Surrey, UK, I have been exploring how to make disability history more accessible to the general public and for disabled people themselves.

Firstly I would like to talk about a conference I attended at the London Metropolitan Archives in November 2015 titled ‘Disability and Impairment – A Technological Fix?’ The aim of the conference was to share what disability organisations and researchers were doing or with disability history. The conference married together two groups of people, academics and non-academics, and both groups were represented in twelve twenty minute presentations, followed by Q&A sessions.

Academics were present from Lancaster University, The Open University, Langdon Down Museum of Learning Disability, the Wellcome Trust, The National Archives, Yale University, and The University of Exeter. They presented a wide range of topics such as the impact of 20th century computers on people with disabilities, the blind and dead in Victorian Britain 1851 – 1901, and mobility and impairment in the eighteenth century.