They told his mother it was a hospital. A young boy, Kurt was his name, will be the first victim you read about, and he wasn't even Jewish. He was German, with green eyes and sandy hair, and a permanent squint. One of his shoulders was higher than the other, and he walked with a limp. He was retarded, or as we say now, he had learning difficulties.
His mother loved him greatly but poor Anne-Marie, she was alone since her husband died and dependant on her meagre savings for survival (even more meagre since the economy collapsed, and the goodwill of neighbours was entirely necessary to buy food): she couldn't look after him, not with the attention he required. Desperately, she sought for somewhere he could go, and that was when they appraoched her.
He would get an education, that's what they told her. They would look after him and cater for all his medical needs, perhaps even cure him of his disability to learn. He would learn to work and would be able to get a job and support her. It wouldn't, of course, cost her a penny, because they understand her situation and knew that she couldn't afford such a thing.
Anne-Marie, crying but hopeful, agreed. She didn't want to lose her boy, but if it was what was best for him she would do it. Besides, soon she would see him again, when he was all grown up and handsome, and he would thank her for letting him go. So Kurt had his clothes -- the few spare socks that he owned and a vest or two -- packed into a little paper bag and tied with string, and he said goodbye to his tearful mother. He didn't understand much, our little boy, but he took in enough that he knew this was aparting. And then the men took him away.
For about a week they lived up to his promises: Kurt struggled to learn the alphabet, which he had never before been taught, and excelled (surprising everybody) at art. He recieved treatment to calm him from his nerves and the other medical problems from which he suffered. On the ninth day they asked him to come to the doctor's room.
"Does it hurt?" they asked him kindly, referring to his sticky eye and his limp. He nodded. These voices were soft -- they were kind and he wanted to listen to them, so why did it seem so dangerous? "We can stop the pain, Kurt, and make you feel better forever. Would you like that?" An attractive promise. Again, he nodded.
The doctor stood up and shut the door. And locked it. "I'm afraid we'll have to put you to sleep while we do the operation. It might hurt you otherwise, and you wouldn't like that, would you?"
The anasthetic was applied through a mask, which frightened Kurt a little, but he was trusting and naive and innocent in the way that only children can be. He lay down on the bed and let them put the mask over his face, fully believing that the next time he woke it would be without pain. It never crossed his mind that anything they said might be a lie ... and yet imagine that, the last words he heard, and they were blatent lies, no grain of truth in them whatsoever.
He never even woke up.
They told his mother that he had died in a tragic fatal accident, and that she could not see the body because it was too horrible a sight, not that he had been suffocated by sleeping gas until his lungs gave up and his heart stopped, and his body had been burned immediately. Even without knowing the details, she was distraught. She wept for days, her weak eyes red with the salt of the tears and her throat hoarse from sobbing. Later, after the war, she discovered the truth, but by then she was too weak to take her revenge and the shock killed her.
Kurt was eleven years old. He was a victim of their so-called 'euthanasia': they decided that he was unworthy of life and so that life was taken from him. And this, in turn, killed his mother -- a dual murder, a double guilt.