Law for the Protection of Hereditary Health (1933)


The Law for the Protection of Hereditary Health was passed by the Reichstag in July 1933:


“An attempt to Improve the German Aryan Breed:

Article I

Anyone who suffers from an inheritable disease may be surgically sterilised if, in the judgement of medical science, it could be expected that his descendants will suffer from serious inherited mental or physical defects.

Anyone who suffers from one of the following is to be regarded as inheritably diseased within the meaning of this law:

1. Congenital feeble-mindedness

2. Schizophrenia

3. Manic-depression

4. Congenital epilepsy

5. Inheritable St. Vitus dance (Huntington’s Chorea)

6. Hereditary blindness

7. Hereditary deafness

8. Serious inheritable malformations

In addition, anyone suffering from chronic alcoholism may also be sterilised.

Article II

Anyone who requests sterilisation is entitled to it. If he be incapacitated or under a guardian because of low state of mental health or not yet 18 years of age, his legal guardian is empowered to make the request. The request must be accompanied by a certificate from a citizen who is accredited by the German Reich stating that the person to be sterilised has been informed about the nature and consequence of sterilisation.

Article III

Sterilisation may also be recommended by:

1. An official physician

2. The official in charge of a hospital, sanitarium, or prison.

Article IV

The request for sterilisation must be presented in writing to, or placed in writing by the office of the Health Inheritance Court. The statement concerning the request must be certified by a medical document or authenticated in some other way. The business office of the court must notify the official physician.

Article VII

The proceedings of the Health Inheritance Court are secret.