Konstantin Stjepić

Stijepic, KonstantinName: Konstantin Stjepić.
Died: March 12, 2017.
Age at death: 10.
Cause of death: Hypothermia.
Location: Lopare, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Details:
When ten-year-old Konstantin went missing, local authorities began a search, and his town turned out to comb the mountains where he had been lost. However, the search was not as thorough as it could have been because local authorities were unwilling to ask for help from federal authorities, who were their political opponents.

Konstantin’s body was found in the wilderness; he had died of hypothermia about a day after he had gone missing.

Although it can’t be said for sure whether Konstantin would have been found alive if the authorities had been willing to ask for help, the decision not to do so was made by people who could have foreseen that it would risk his life.

References:
Bosnian Serbs Trade Blame Over Missing Boy’s Death
Nestao mali Konstantin koji boluje od autizma: Otišao je od kuće i nestao bez traga, u toku je velika potraga na Majevici

George Van Day

Photo of George Van Day. He is a young man with fair skin and dark, curly, shoulder-length brown hair. He is wearing a dress shirt and smiling slightly.Name: George Van Day
Died: June 27, 2015
Age at death: 26
Cause of death: Murder
Location: Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico

Details:
George Van Day was a native of Brighton, England who had gone on vacation to Mexico. He was fascinated with America, so he took a plane to Mexico City and made for the border, seeking entry into the US as a tourist. Unfortunately he was refused and had to return to Mexico.

Later that day, George was assaulted. It is not known who attacked him, but he went back to the border and was taken to a hospital by border guards. There he was treated, discharged, and returned to Mexico–only to collapse from a massive stroke. He lived for ten days in the hospital before being taken off life support.

Back in Brighton, a coroner discovered that the doctors at the hospital had missed a damaged artery in George’s brain, which had ruptured and killed him.

Mexico does not consider George’s death to be a homicide because it was due to a stroke, ignoring the fact that the stroke was caused by the assault. A year after his death, his parents are still seeking justice.

References:
Parents’ anger at lack of investigation into death of son, 26, in Mexico (From The Argus)

Disabled North Koreans

Multiple disabled North Koreans, Names Unknown
Died: Early 1990s; reported by a defector in 1999.
Age at death: All ages, primarily children.
Cause of death: Fatal biological and chemical weapons testing.
Location: North Korea.

Details:
As reported by defectors from North Korea, disabled North Koreans are considered to be unworthy of life. Disabled children are taken from their parents, either purchased or taken by force, and “disappear” into “closed hospitals”. Whether they are mentally or physically disabled, the government has decided that these North Koreans’ best contribution to their government is to be used for human biological and chemical weapons testing, which is usually fatal. The North Korean government prefers to claim that there are no disabled people in North Korea.

When famine strikes, the disabled are given no food rations, and most die. There are also reports that people with dwarfism were sent to a remote mountain village, with the men castrated, so that they could not have children; this village is now mostly deserted.

References:
North Korea’s disappeared: regime ‘performs experiments on disabled people before leaving them to die’
Under Kim Jong Un, North Korea Tested Chemical Weapons On Disabled Children, Defector Claims
KOREA Pyongyang using disabled children to test chemical and biological weapons

Alan Turing

Alan TuringName: Alan Turing
Died: June 7, 1954
Age at death: 41
Cause of death: Suicide
Location: Wilmslow, England, UK

Details:
Alan Turing was a mathematician and computer scientist. He is well-known for his pioneering work in computer programming and for his work in cryptanalysis, breaking German ciphers during World War II. His “Turing test” for artificial intelligence is a household word.

Turing was never diagnosed with autism, but modern analysis of his life suggests that Turing had strong autistic traits and might, if he had lived today, have been diagnosed with Asperger’s. He had poor social skills, socialized rarely, and was totally absorbed in his current interests, filling his house with related clutter and writing long letters about his interests even to people with no scientific background. He was clumsy and had odd body language. He was certainly eccentric; he once wore a gas mask while cycling through the countryside to protect himself from an allergic reaction to pollen.

Turing’s autism probably contributed to his arrest and conviction for “gross indecency”. Shortly after he became romantically involved with a young man, the young man’s friend robbed his house, and Turing’s lover told Turing who had done it. Turing went to the police. Naively, he admitted to being gay. He was charged for having committed “homosexual acts” and pled guilty even though he did not feel he had done anything wrong.

Turing was released on condition that he undergo chemical castration by taking female hormones. The conviction ruined his life. Britain removed his security clearance, and he was denied entry to the United States. The hormones caused impotence and gynecomastia.

Two years after his conviction, Turing committed suicide by ingesting cyanide.

After a 2009 online petition gathered thousands of signatures, the British government granted Turing a full pardon on December 24, 2013, nearly sixty years after his initial conviction. Turing continues to be admired as an example of a mathematical genius and mourned as a victim of homophobic prejudice.

References:
Did Alan Turing have Asperger syndrome?
An Autistic Genius Saves the World: The Alan Turing Story
Wikipedia: Alan Turing
Alan Turing, British code-breaker castrated for homosexuality, receives pardon

70,273 Aktion T4 Victims

T4Mass murder of a total of 70273 disabled victims, including about 3,500 autistic people, mostly children, mostly from Germany and Poland.
Died: January 20, 1940 to December 1944
Cause of death: Lethal injection, gassing, starvation, shooting, and others.

Details:
Aktion T4 was the Nazi involuntary euthanasia program that targeted Germans with disabilities–at first children, and eventually adults. It was part of the eugenics movement; Nazi ideology held that those who could not work were useless eaters and life unworthy of life. It was stressed that these people were a burden on their communities and would make Germany weak because they were so expensive to care for.

Parents were encouraged to send their disabled children to institutions, where they “could be better cared for”. These children, and later on adult patients of mental institutions, were sent to euthanasia clinics where they were killed, usually by lethal injection. Parents were sent a notice that their child had died of natural causes like measles or pneumonia.

A total of 70,273 people were killed in Aktion T4. Most were disabled or mentally ill; a few were political dissidents. Some of these people would have been autistic.

Germany had a population of approximately 70 million at the time, so the death rate from Aktion T4 was about 1:1000. In modern times, autism is known to affect about 1:100 people, and 16% of these have an IQ below 50. About 80% do not work. Since only 1:1000 Germans died in Aktion T4, it is possible to conclude that many autistic people either escaped death or were incarcerated in normal concentration camps as being “work-shy”.

Many of the less disabled autistics would have survived because they were never diagnosed with anything and were able to work. Others would have survived because they were female and their families helped them compensate for their deficits, since women were not necessarily expected to work outside the home. Hans Asperger first defined Asperger syndrome in the shadow of the Nazi regime, and part of his argument was that his autistic boys were talented and could be useful members of society; Asperger’s original patients survived the Holocaust. Unfortunately, the doctor also believed that those he saw as more disabled were not useful to the government and therefore were a burden. Accordingly, he sent these patients to institutions, where they were usually killed.

Both “feeble-mindedness” and inability to work would have made German autistic people more vulnerable to extermination by the Nazis, though some of the unemployed would have been labeled “work-shy” and incarcerated in the normal concentration camps.

The autistic people most likely to die in Aktion T4 would have been children with obvious autism, or whose autism was associated with epilepsy. Any institutionalized Jewish Germans, whether child or adult, would have been automatically selected for euthanasia. About one-third of autistics have epilepsy; about one-sixth have a moderate to profound intellectual disability. Both of those conditions raised the risk that a person would be selected. However, we don’t know what the true autism rate was in 1940s Germany, since at that point autism was not well-known. Most such autistics would have been simply labeled “feeble-minded”, “epileptic”, or in some cases “schizophrenic”.

It is possible to estimate roughly how many of the T4 victims were autistic. About 20% of people have a disability; about 1% of people have autism. Autism tends to be more severe, on average, than other disabilities; but a conservative estimate would be that about 5% of disabled people have autism. If 5% of the Aktion T4 victims were autistic, then the total number of autistic T4 victims would have been around 3,500.

Disabled German children were among the very first victims of the Holocaust. I have been trying to find profiles, to find out what these children were like, but it is a difficult search. Most of the Aktion T4 victims who are remembered today were not disabled, but were political dissidents. The stories of the disabled children who died seem to have, for the most part, faded into history. But they still deserve to be remembered.

Aktion T4, more than any other Nazi extermination program, drew widespread outrage from Germans. Though Nazi officials tried to hide the reality of the extermination program, parents began to find out and clergy began to speak against it. In response, the program was officially terminated in August of 1941, though the killing continued unofficially, in hospitals, institutions, and concentration camps, until the end of the war.

References:
Montana ASA, Autism Facts
IQ in children with autism
Chartbook on Disability in the US
Holocaust Encyclopedia, Euthanasia Program
Berlin unveils memorial for disabled Holocaust victims
Hans M. Wuerth: Hitler used chemicals to murder Germans
Scientists to identify Nazi disabled victim remains
Scientists to identify Nazi disabled victim remains (Update)
German scientists to identify Nazi disabled victim remains
German scientists to identify disabled victims of Hitler’s euthanasia program
The Nazi Plan to Kill the Disabled: What the U.S. Government Knew and When It Knew It
Hans Asperger assisted Nazi regime of euthanasia, report claims