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Timeline of Events

Law for the “Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases”

Propaganda slide featuring two doctors working at an unidentified asylum for the mentally ill. The caption reads, “Life only as a burden.” Germany, 1934.

Propaganda slide featuring two doctors working at an unidentified asylum for the mentally ill. The caption reads, “Life only as a burden.” Germany, 1934. —US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Marion Davy

July 14, 1933

The German government passes the “Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases” (Gesetz zur Verhütung erbkranken Nachwuchses), mandating the forced sterilization of certain individuals with physical and mental disabilities. This new law provides a basis for the involuntary sterilization of people with physical and mental disabilities or mental illness, Roma (Gypsies), “asocial elements,” and Afro-Germans.