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They say that history repeats itself. It’s up to us to remember terrible atrocities so they never happen again.
Memoirist and poet Kenny Fries talked about the history of how disabled people were the first to be murdered under the Nazi regime on Wednesday’s “The Glenn Beck Radio Program.” Born missing bones in both of his legs, Fries knows what it’s like to face life with a disability.
The disabled were sterilized, used for experiments and killed even before the Nazis were in power; the Germans began abusing people with disabilities as far back as the 1920s. “Permitting the Destruction of Unworthy Life” by psychiatrist Alfred Hoche and the jurist Karl Binding was later used as a template by the Third Reich to exterminate disabled people.
“These feelings about disability are prevalent in a lot of cultures; I would say probably all cultures,” Fries said. “They just manifest themselves differently.”
People in the U.S. often don’t realize their own country’s history of abusing disabled people. In 1927, the Supreme Court ruled that compulsory sterilization of “unfit” people was constitutional, and the decision still technically stands. “Ugly laws” beginning in the late 1860s made it illegal for “unsightly or unseemly” people to be out in public; the last one was repealed in 1974.
Glenn Beck talked about his own experience of being a dad with a child who has disabilities.
“I wouldn’t wish this for my child. It’s difficult; however, her life has real meaning and real purpose,” Glenn said. When it comes to our society deciding which people are valuable, “we’re crossing some spooky lines,” he said.
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