Patricia Heberer, a United States Holocaust Memorial Museum historian, will be giving a lesson at The University of Arizona on an often unspoken topic.
The public is invited to Heberer’s free lecture on Friday titled “'Deadly 'Medicine': The Nazi Persecution of Persons with Disabilities.” The lecture will be held from 10 a.m. to noon.
Michael A. Rembis, the Disability Studies Initiative director who invited Heberer to speak at the UA, said the talk is “extremely important, and there is a lot of interest in the community and academic world in the study of the Holocaust and in the persecution of those perceived to have disabilities.”
Members of the initiative are attempting to create an interdisciplinary disabilities studies program at the University.
Coordinating Heberer’s visit is just one extension of the initiative’s efforts, Rembis said.
“Our mission is to bring more attention to disability students in the academic field,” he said. “Dr. Heberer’s work incorporates disability studies into history.”
Heberer has served as historian for the museum in Washington D.C. since 1994. There, she serves as the museum’s specialist on medical crimes the Nazis committed, and also on eugenics during Nazi Germany.
Rembis said Nazis would abuse and kill those perceived to have disabilities, and in some cases, individuals who were disabled.
“That piece of the story is often left out,” he said. “There was a significant number of people with disabilities who were viewed as unworthy of citizenship and the right to live. That is another angle to explore.”