Confronting the "Good Death": Nazi Euthanasia on Trial, 1945-1953

by Michael S. Bryant
University Press of Colorado, 2022
Cloth: 978-0-87081-809-7, eISBN: 978-1-60732-708-0, Paper: 978-1-64642-342-2

Years before Hitler unleashed the “Final Solution” to annihilate European Jews, he began a lesser-known campaign to eradicate the mentally ill, which facilitated the gassing and lethal injection of as many as 270,000 people and set a precedent for the mass murder of civilians. In Confronting the “Good Death” Michael Bryant analyzes the U.S. government and West German judiciary’s attempt to punish the euthanasia killers after the war.

The first author to address the impact of geopolitics on the courts’ representation of Nazi euthanasia, Bryant argues that international power relationships wreaked havoc on the prosecutions.

Drawing on primary sources, this provocative investigation of the Nazi campaign against the mentally ill and the postwar quest for justice will interest general readers and provide critical information for scholars of Holocaust studies, legal history, and human rights. Support for this publication was generously provided by the Eugene M. Kayden Fund at the University of Colorado.

Michael Bryant is an assistant professor of history and criminal justice at the University of Toledo and has served as a military attorney with the U.S. Air Force.

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