Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring

(July 14, 1933)

The Reich Government has passed the following law, which is announced herewith:

Article 1

(1.) Anyone who is suffering from a hereditary disease can be sterilized by a surgical operation if, according to the experiences of medical science, it is to be expected with great probability that his offspring will suffer from serious hereditary physical or mental defects.
(2.) 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.  Circular [manic-depression] lunacy
4.  hereditary epilepsy
5.  inheritable St. Vitus dance(Huntington's Chorea)
6.  hereditary blindness
7.  hereditary deafness
8.  serious hereditary physical  malformations
(3.) Furthermore, persons suffering from chronic alcoholism may also be sterilized.

Article 2

(1.) Anyone who requests sterilization 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.In other cases of limited capacity the request must receive the approval of the legal representative. If a person be of age and has a nurse, the latter's consent is required.
(2.) The request must be accompanied by a certificate from a citizen who is accredited by the German Reich stating that the
person to be sterilized has been informed about the nature and consequence of sterilization.
(3.) The request for sterilization can be recalled.

Article 3

Sterilization may also be applied for by the following:
(1.) the civil service physician
(2.) for the inmates of a nursing home,, sanitarium, or prison, by the head thereof.

Article 4

The request for sterilization 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.

Article 5

For the decision the Hereditary Health Court is responsible, to whose sphere of jurisdiction the person to be sterilized normally belongs.

Article 6

(1) The Hereditary Health Court is to be attached to a lower Court. It consists of a Lower Court Judge as President, a civil service doctor and another doctor approved for the German Reich who is an expert on Hereditary Health. A representative is to be appointed for each member.
(2) Anyone who has judged an application to the court of guardians for permission, in accordance with art. 2, sub-par. (1), is excluded as President. If a civil service doctor has made the application, he cannot take part in the decision.

Article 7

(1) The proceeding before the Hereditary Health Court are not public.
(2) The Hereditary Health Court must institute the necessary investigations; it can hear witnesses and experts, and can order the personal appearance and medical examination of the person to be sterilized, and can cause him to be brought before them if he absents himself without excuse. For the cross-examination and swearing-in of witnesses and experts and for the exclusion and refusal of persons connected with the law, the regulations for the conduct of the civil trials are applicable mutatis mutandis. Doctors heard as witnesses or experts are bound to speak, without consideration for professional secrecy. Legal and administrative authorities, as well as institutions for the care of the sick have to give information to the Hereditary Health Court on demand.

Article 8

The Court has to decide according to its free conviction, taking into account the whole result of the case and of the hearing of witnesses. The decision is to be reached by a majority vote after verbal discussion. The decision is to be put down in writing and to be signed by the members taking part in reaching the decision. It must give the reasons for deciding on or rejecting the sterilization. The decision is to be communicated to the person who made the application, to the civil service doctor as well as to the person hose sterilization has been applied for, or, if the latter has not the right to make an application, to his or her legal representative.

Article 9

The persons designated in art.8, sentance 5, can within one month after its communication, file an objection to the decision with the office of the Hereditary Health Court; this objection can either be in writing or can be dictated to it. The objection has a postponing effect. The Hereditary Health High Court decides on the objection. Against the failure to observe the time limit for objections it is permissible to put things back to their previous state, making use of the regulations for the conduct of civil trials where applicable.

Article 10

(1) The Higher Hereditary Health Court is to be affiliated to a district court of appeal covering the same district. It consists of a member of the district court of appeal, a public health officer and another physician, approved by the German Reich, with expert  knowledge of matters pertaining to eugenics. A deputy is to be appointed for each member. Article 6, paragraph 2 applies accordingly.
(2) On the procedure before the Hereditary Health Court, arts. 7, 8 finds appropriate application.
(3) The Hereditary Health High Court  retains final jurisdiction.

Article 11

(1) The surgical operation necessary for sterilization may only be carried out in an institute for the sick, by a doctor approved by the German reich. He may undertake the operation only when the decision ordering the sterilization has been finally confirmed. The supreme authority of the province prescribes the hospitals and doctors entrusted with the process of sterilization. The operation may not be carried out by a doctor who has made the application or has taken part in the trial as a judge.
(2) The doctor carrying out the operation must send a written report to the civil service doctor.

Article 12

(1) Once the Court has finally decided on sterilization it must be carried out even against the will of the person to be sterilized. The civil service doctor has to request the necessary measures from the police authorities. Where other measures are insufficient, direct force may be used.
(2) If facts which necessitate a renewed investigation of the case come out, the Hereditary Health Court must reopen the proceedings and suspend sterilization. If the appellation was refused, it is only permissible to take it up again if new facts have arisen which justify the sterilization.

Article 13

(1) The treasury bears the cost of the judicial procedure.
(2) The cost of the medical procedure, the health insurance company bears, with other persons in the case, the welfare service federation with the health insurance belonging to the persons. In all other cases as far as the height of the minimum rates of the medical regulation of charges and the average care sets in the public hospitals the treasury bears the cost, beyond that the Unfruchtbargemachte.

Article 14

Sterilization which does not take place in accordance with this law can only be carried out if done by a doctor according yo the rules of medicine to avert a serious danger to the life or health of the person affected, and can only be done with the latter's consent.

Article 15

(1) Those concerned in the court case or in the carrying out of the surgical operation are bound to secrecy.
(2) unauthorized breeches of  the professional secrecy, shall be punished with prison up to one year or with a fine. Prosecution occurs on request. The chairman can place the request.

Article 16

(1) The execution of this law is appropriate for the federal state governments.
(2) The highest  authorities determine, subject to the regulations art. 6 , sentence 1 and art. 10, sentence 1, seat and district of the crucial courts. They appoint the members and their representative.

Article 17

The Rich Minister of the Interior will lay down the legal and administrative regulations necessary for the execution of this law in collaboration with the Rich Minister of Justice.

Article 18

This law comes into force on the 1st of January 1934.