HANS ASPERGER

OK. So in addition to having Autism, I also have Asperger’s Syndrome. For those of you who do not know, Dr. Hans Asperger was, well, a doctor from Germany. He has come under fire recently (he died in 1980) for allegedly assisting in being involved in the killing of 789 children between 1940 and 1945.  Asperger claims he “kept kids safe from Nazis”. According to the article, Asperger said that he had “Become a target of the Nazis for those actions.”

The article focuses on what a medical historian by the name of Herwig Czech wrote. Czech writes, “Asperger not only publicly legitimized race hygiene policies, signed his diagnostic reports with the words ‘Heil Hitler’ and also sent children to the Am Speigelrund euthanasia clinic.” HOWEVER Czech also wrote, “There is no evidence to show his [Asperger’s] contributions to Autism research were tainted” or that he sent kids for euthanasia willingly.

Hans Asperger wrote in 1939 that, “It is necessary to carry out restrictive measures to stop the diseased from transmitting their diseased hereditary material.” There is evidence that Asperger actually sent a 2 year old kid with an inflammation of the brain to be sent to a euthanasia camp (Am Speigelrund) on the grounds that she “must be an unbearable burden to her mother.” The girl died 3 months later.

Herwig Czech argues that “Asperger was rewarded for his affirmations of loyalty to the Nazi party with career opportunities” and “the narrative of Asperger as a principled opponent of National Socialism and a courageous defender of his patients” essentially is not historically accurate.

Look, I don’t know if Asperger was a “monster” or a “hero” but I do know that he must have done something to get his own Syndrome having to do with Autism. I see both sides here. I do not know whether to take Asperger’s side or Mr. Czech’s side. Part of me is leaning toward believing Asperger.

Now, before you get all in an uproar, let me explain something. I AM IN NO WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM DEFENDING NAZISM! NO WAY, NO HOW! My girlfriend is Jewish, for one thing. But hear me out on this. I took a public speaking course (credited) in college before I dropped out. Our first day in class, our instructor asked the class who they think a great orator/public speaker was. I know I am gonna catch Hell for this one…I said Hitler. AGAIN…NOT DEFENDING NAZISM! Bear with me. All I said was that Hitler was good at working a crowd. I was not patronizing him; I wasn’t saying he had great ideas; I didn’t say he was a good person…he was just good at working a crowd. THAT’S IT! I know people are gonna hate me for that opinion, but there it is…

But going back to Asperger before someone following my blog tracks me down and kills me…Maybe Asperger was “pretending” to side with the Nazis. I mean, it was either go, “Heil Hitler!” and salute him…or be killed. Kill or be killed. That’s the way it was in Nazi Germany. (By the way, you know what the difference between Hitler and a gay guy is right? 45 degrees.)

HOWEVER…I also think Asperger is responsible for the deaths of children with disabilities on the Spectrum, or “different”. Sadly, it is still commonplace to shun or “turn in” people who are “different” or go against the mainstream. I do not mean to get too offensive or specific, but Jews, Muslims, and gays are prime examples of this. Granted, it has gotten better in recent years, but messed up as it is, the afore mentioned 3 groups of people are still seen by some as inferior.

Sadly, I feel this will always be the case. Nazis are gone, but their ideal remain. I am not siding with one person or the other. More research might persuade me to side with one or the other. But for now, I have no idea what to make of this. People can say whatever they want about each other. It doesn’t make it true, though. BUT…in this case, it is documented that Asperger did and said these things. So this is tricky for me. My intent on this blog is NOT to offend or piss you off. I merely want to inform through my “voice” and opinions. If you disagree with me, it is your right to do so. You can tear me apart in the comments section. I am amazed I have not gotten any negativity yet. If you agree with me…AWESOME! But I have my opinion and you have yours. That is what makes us all great and unique.

Comment if you so choose. I am open to hearing your opinion(s) on this topic.

-Tom

Author: AuTom Spectrum Blog

I have Autism and am a self-advocate and public speaker. On the side I do stand-up comedy. I live in Baltimore County and have an AMAZING girlfriend

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