Hans Asperger's case studies: Whatever happened to them?

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flamingshorts
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16 Jun 2010, 8:15 pm

pezar wrote:
I've heard that Asperger was tasked with his studies by the Third Reich's eugenics experts. The Nazis had an elaborate system to sift "undesirables" from "Aryans" and destroy the former, as we all know. Supposedly, the Nazis had come across the "little professors" in the course of their grand scheme to create the Aryan Ubermensch, and were divided on how to proceed with them.
...


Is there a source for this?



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16 Jun 2010, 8:21 pm

TPE2 wrote:
Sincerely, I have much doubts about this stories of "Nazis wanted to kill Aspies", or the opposite version, "Nazis are very interested in Aspies".

My first bet is that, at the time, nazi authorities (like everybody else, btw) probably ignored the studies of an obscure Viennese pediatrician.

About the role ot Hans Asperger in saving the kids from euthanasia project - it is a possibility, but:

- The "Project T4" (extermination of diabled people) was officially canceled in 1941 (althoug non-systematic executions continued until the end of the war)

- I suspect that these theory is an attempt to devalue the positive opinion of Hans Asperger about the "autistic psychopats" (some thing like "much of the Asperger writings about the gifts of autistics was basically a trick to save the lifes of their patients")

I have the idea that Uta Frith is one of the bigger proponents of the "Asperger trying to save the kids from the nazis" theory; and I think Frith is also one of the researchers who most see "Asperger's Syndrome" as a "disease" (unlike others, who see it more as a "difference"); then it is natural that Frith wants to devaluate the "gifts" of "Aspies".

[I hope that you could understand my confuse English and my confuse theory]


Understood you just fine (I think)!

I haven't finished Frith's book yet, but so far I don't get the impression she felt he was trying to save the kids from the Nazis at all. So far, I haven't seen much at all in the book pertaining to the studies themselves in light of a Nazy backdrop. Paradoxically, that's one of the reasons I'm wondering it it was state sponsored. Who would want to advertise that these days? Also, other studies I've seen from the same period, in and around Germany, that were not Nazi sponsored, tend to make a point of describing the political atmosphere surrounding the study.

Pretty much everything I've said so far about Nazi interest in Asperger's work is nothing but pure speculation. It was just a "scary and sickening thought" for me.

Personally, I would feel much better knowing they were never much interested in his work, if it were true. Truthfully, I haven't seen any solid evidence yet as to whether the study held any interest for the Nazis or not.

As for your point:

"My first bet is that, at the time, nazi authorities (like everybody else, btw) probably ignored the studies of an obscure Viennese pediatrician."

You could be right, but could it not also be just as likely his studies were largely ignored because they were Nazi sponsored (if they were)? As horrendous as some of the concentration camp studies were in their methodology, basically subjecting patients to awful tortures, statistics were gathered. Yet because of how they were gathered, most scientists refuse to study them because of the inhumane methods used, regardless of what value the actual recorded results might hold. I know I wouldn't use them for the same reasons (not that I'm a scientist, I'm not. I just enjoy researching many different things). As an extension of decisions not to use Nazi sponsored research, could it be that, if Asperger's studies were state sponsored, that could have been as likely a reason to ignore them as any other?

By the way, I would prefer to think you are right, and that his work was largely ignored by the Nazis, but the truth, no matter how uncomfortable it may be, is the truth. And the truth is what I seek. :wink:


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17 Jun 2010, 1:52 pm

flamingshorts wrote:
pezar wrote:
I've heard that Asperger was tasked with his studies by the Third Reich's eugenics experts. The Nazis had an elaborate system to sift "undesirables" from "Aryans" and destroy the former, as we all know. Supposedly, the Nazis had come across the "little professors" in the course of their grand scheme to create the Aryan Ubermensch, and were divided on how to proceed with them.
...


Is there a source for this?


I've never seen a reputable source for this, but have seen a lot of somewhat understandable speculation. That said, the only information I have ever found making this connection, as understandable as it may be to question, has been nothing more than pure speculation, with some sites including pure speculation of what I would call a pretty wild nature, based on blatant presumptions. A lot can be gleaned directly from a writer's own work. I see nothing whatever in Hans Asperger's work to indicate he had any interest whatsoever in Nazi ideals.

Others seem to see it differently, but can't seem to provide any direct evidence of what they supposedly see.

I remain neutral. I haven't seen any truly good reason not to simply accept his work, for good or evil, based on my own judgment, and my judgment at this point is that he only was interested in the children because they fascinated him more than for any other reason.


_________________
I'm not likely to be around much longer. As before when I first signed up here years ago, I'm finding that after a long hiatus, and after only a few days back on here, I'm spending way too much time here again already. So I'm requesting my account be locked, banned or whatever. It's just time. Until then, well, I dunno...