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Unworthy of Life

Several hundred thousand poeple fell victim to the National Socialist crimes of psychiatry, under the headings "race hygiene" and eradication of worthless life". What began with mass forced sterilisation in 1934 ended for many after 1939 with murder in the guise of "euthanasia".

Paul Brune was "lucky", escaping murder only slightly. Brune was born out of wedlock. The cheated husband took revenge by harshly maltreating Paul's mother, whereupon she tried to drown herself with three of her children. One son died. The mother was certified mentally ill and sterilised by force. In 1936, at the age on one Paul was put into the Lippstadt orphanage. In 1943, he was placed in the Dortmund-Aplerbeck "Children specialist department" because of his "restless" and then sent to the "lunatic asylum" in Niedermarsberg. The institution's psychiatrist Heinrich Stolze classified him, like so many others, as "hereditary schizophrenics who are a danger to the public" and "unworthy of life". He survived thanks to the fact that he achieved well at school but the cost was high - he never got rid of the stigmatisation of being "unworthy of life". As a supposed psychopath he remained against his will in the psychiatric ward after the end of the war and saw that patients were just as badly treated as before. Only in 1957, and from within the confines of the closed psychiatric ward of Münster, was Brune able to achieve the legal lifting of the certification. He studied German and philosophy in order to become a teacher in a grammar school. In 1978, the Bochum ministry of Health prevented him, by referring to the Nazi files, from obtaining his Referendariat, which would have qualified him as a grammar school-teacher. Brune appealed against this successfully. However, he was never employed as a schoolteacher.

After 1966, Paul Brune appealed five times to the petition committee in the parliament of Rhenania-Westphalia. Only in January 2004, did he receive the highest possible compensation as a surviving victim of "euthanasia" - 260 Euros per month.