When analyzing government documents, remember that you should…
1. Consider the author and date of the document. Who is writing the document?
2. Explain why this document may have been written? It exists for what purpose?
The English Translation of this document is as follows:
“Reich Leader Bouhler and Dr. Brandt are charged with the responsibility for expanding the authority of physicians, to be designated by name, to the end that patients considered incurable according to the best available human judgment of their state of health, can be granted a mercy death.”
1. Identify the type of resource. (Example: Cartoon, Poster, Government Document, etc.)
2. When was this resource published?
3. Who is the author of this document?
4. What does it mean to be granted a mercy death? Do you think that the Nazis may have had ulterior motives for killing incurable patients? Why or why not? (Consider the background knowledge you have of Social Darwinism and eugenics. If need be, re-read about these on the Background page.)
5. If the Nazi regime wanted to grant mercy deaths for people who were incurably ill, why might they send them to concentration camps before killing them in the ways they did?