Memorialisation and commemoration

The recognition of victims of the Krankenmorde is a recent phenomenon. The delay can be understood in terms of disparities in approached to the Nazi period between East and West Germany, denialism and resistance from the medical and nursing professions and the lingering stigma of illness and disability common to all cultures. In this presentation, the speakers will outline the post-war social and cultural processes of engagement with the Nazi period and how it serves as a template for parallel comparative and memorialisation processes in Australia.

Using the memorial sites located at former T4 killing centre at Pirna-Sonnenstein and the decentralised euthanasia centre at Großschweidnitz as exemplars, we will discuss how German historians and museologists commemorate not only this history, but also the present day importance of the Krankenmorde.

Associate Professor Michael Robertson is a Clinical Associate Professor of Mental Health Ethics at Sydney Health Ethics and a visiting Professorial Fellow at the Sydney Jewish Museum. He is an Approved Medical Specialist for the NSW Worker's Compensation Commission. His clinical work is in Occupational Psychiatry and Civil Forensic Psychiatry. He had worked previously in acute adult and community psychiatry for 20 years and had been a previous Head of Department of Psychiatry at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. He has previously coordinated a clinical service for survivors of psychological trauma.

Dr Darren O’Brien is Honorary Senior Research Fellow, School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry, University of Queensland; Adjunct Lecturer, The University of Sydney Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery; Chair of the Australian Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies; Director of the Australian Stumbling Stones project and Director, Respiratory and Sleep Sciences, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. He has been teaching, researching and writing in the field of Holocaust and comparative genocide studies for thirty years.

Christoph Hanzig is an historian at the Hannah Arendt Institute for Totalitarianism Studies (HAIT) in Dresden, Germany. He completed a Bachelor's Degree in History, Philosophy and Humanities at the TU Dresden in 2012, a Master's Degree in Newer/Newest History and Saxon Regional History at the TU Dresden in 2014, and since 2020 has been a PhD student at the HAIT, with a project about the Saxon Nazi press and its editors financed by a scholarship from the Federal State of Saxony. From 2014-2017 he was a freelance historian and from 2017-2020 a research assistant at the HAIT.