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</tr> </table>Template:Cite check The phrase "life unworthy of life" (in German: "Lebensunwertes Leben") was a Nazi designation for the segments of populace that, according to the racial policy of the Third Reich, had no right to live and thus, were to be "exterminated." This concept formed an important component of the ideology of Nazism and eventually led to the Holocaust.
Those considered to be "deviant" or a "source of social turmoil" in Nazi Germany and the occupied Europe fell under this designation. The "deviant" category included the mentally ill, people with disabilities, political dissidents, homosexuals, intermarriage partners, and criminals. The "social turmoil" category included the clergy, Communists, Jews, Roma, Jehovah's Witnesses, "non-white" or non-Caucasian peoples, ethnic Poles and a variety of other groups in society. More than any other of these groups, the Jews soon became the primary focus of this genocidal policy.
The concept culminated in Nazi extermination camps, instituted to systematically murder those who were unworthy to live, according to Nazi ideologists. It also justified various human experimentation, and eugenics programs, as well as Nazi racial policies. The policies included ethnic Poles, with Hitler writing to his generals in the Eastern Front to kill "without pity or mercy, all men, women, and children of Polish descent or language", and Himmler writing, "All Poles will disappear from the world. [...] It is essential that the great German people should consider it as its major task to destroy all Poles."
Development of the conceptEdit
"Of the five identifiable steps by which the Nazis carried out the principle of "life unworthy of life," coercive sterilization was the first. There followed the killing of “impaired” children in hospitals; and then the killing of “impaired” adults, mostly collected from mental hospitals, in centers especially equipped with carbon monoxide gas. This project was extended (in the same killing centers) to “impaired” inmates of concentration and extermination camps and, finally, to mass killings in the extermination camps themselves."