Female Killers: Nurses and the Implementation of the Nazi Euthanasia Program at Hadamar, 1941-1945 Paperback – 11 Sep 2008
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About the Author
Sharon M. Harrison BA(Hons) MA(Hist) is a graduate of the School of Historical Studies, the University of Melbourne and is undertaking a PhD on Belgian labour in Germany during the Second World War at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, the University of Edinburgh.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
REVISED REVIEW OF FEBRUARY 2014 EDITION
For those purchasing this title *on or after* 2/11/14, Female Killers is a well-researched overview of T-4 at Hadamar for those who do not have ready access the original resources. This book will give you an excellent idea of exactly *how* involved the nurses at Hadamar were in the "medical" murder of the disabled and mentally ill -- and *when.* The chilling mechanics of Aktion T-4 are explained in detail. When you finish reading, you'll know what happened at Hadamar -- and its importance today. (Belgium "euthanizes" adults with disabilities and now wants to perform so-called "euthanasia" on children with mental illnesses and physical disabilities...) Female Killers will give you the short history of T-4 and teach you how to recognize its language.
Please keep in mind that Female Killers is a *thesis* and not a textbook. However, Female Killers really *is* a good "starter" book for those interested in so-called "euthanasia" in Nazi Germany or disability history in general. Frankly, I think that an intelligent older teen would be be able to read Female Killers and discuss the events documented therein. Also, Female Killers is an excellent example of how *just two words* can change a thesis -- or book -- from FAIL to PASS. The correction of Zyklon B to carbon monoxide on page 20 raised Female Killers from 1 Star to 3 Stars.
I revised my review, because Ms. Harrison not only took the time to reply to my email discussing the below error but also sent the correction to her publisher immediately *after checking her resources.* As my Daddy used to say, The Lady Has Class.
ORIGINAL REVIEW OF THE 2011 EDITION OF FEMALE KILLERS:
As a woman with multiple disabilities and fellow Aktion T-4 scholar, I wanted to support this title. It pains me to have to give this seemingly well-researched book a negative review. However, the subject matter is too important to allow historical errors to be tolerated -- especially *CRITICAL* ones. On page 40, Ms. Harrison writes that the machinery of Aktion T-4 used Zyklon B to murder the disabled and mentally ill in its killing centers, like Hadamar. This is NOT correct. Carbon Monoxide was used in Aktion T-4 killing centers. The carbon monoxide gas was delivered from large cylinders through pipes into the gas chambers. Thus, the T-4 motto "Let the physician turn the valve!" meant *exactly* that. (Carbon monoxide from engine exhaust was used in Aktion Reinhard death camps Treblinka, Sobibor, and Chelmno-- all staffed by former Aktion T-4 personnel. Zyklon B was used in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Sachsenhausen and Majdanek.) Every word printed after this critical error on page 40, therefore, must be viewed as *possibly* suspect.
Female Killers: Nurses and the Implementation of the Nazi Euthanasia Program at Hadamar, 1941-1945, could and *should* have been an excellent overview for those who cannot easily access original sources. However, getting the kind of poison gas used at Hadamar and the other Aktion T-4 killing centers wrong is so *extreme* that the rest of the book -- no matter how well researched -- becomes untrustworthy. Please note: I've accessed almost all of the same resources that Ms. Harrison used in writing Female Killers. In fact, I own most of the books she referenced -- both German and English titles. In this case, it's a good idea to go to the *original* sources referenced by Ms. Harrison. To read about Aktion T-4 and Hadamar in English, I suggest Friedlander's Origins of Nazi Genocide, available here on amazon.com in both print and Kindle editions. The other source is Burleigh's truly excellent Death and Deliverance, unfortunately, currently out of print but also usually available on amazon.com.
I wanted to give Female Killers a positive review. I really did. Part of me wishes that there was an error in translation on page 40, that the generic "giftgas" was used in the German and incorrectly translated into English as the *specific* poison gas Zyklon B; but Ms. Harrison knows better. And so do I.
I paid for a textbook and got a thesis in need of a reference check.