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Prof Asperger ‘helped Nazis in mass murder of disabled children’

Autism pioneer: Prof Hans Asperger

AUTISM research pioneer Hans Asperger ‘actively assisted’ in the murder of disabled children by the Nazis, a new report claims.

The Austrian paediatrician — who gave his name to Asperger syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism — is said to have been ‘complicit’ in the regime’s euthanasia programme.

According to documents uncovered by an Austrian medical historian, Prof Asperger referred profoundly disabled children to the notorious Am Spiegelgrund clinic in Vienna, where an estimated 789 children were systematically killed.It was part of an extermination project in which up to 300,000 severely disabled victims died.

Herwig Czech, from the Medical University of Vienna, set out the claims after trawling through unexamined files and records. He said: ‘Asperger successfully sought to accommodate himself to the Nazi regime and was rewarded with career opportunities in return.’

Prof Asperger identified the condition in 1944 and it was given his name in 1981.

The claims are reported in the journal Molecular Autism. Carol Povey, from the National Autistic Society, said: ‘We expect these findings to spark a big conversation among the 700,000 autistic people in the UK and their family members, particularly those who identify with the term Asperger.’