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Lex Zwickau (1924) and Responses to It (January 1932)

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B) Letter from Martin Ulbrich to Friedrich von Bodelschwingh

Dr. theol. Martin Ulbrich
Magdeburg, Pionierstr. 13

Magdeburg, January 16, 1932

Dear brother von Bodelschwingh!

Dear brother von Bodelschwingh!

Although I have been retired since May 1st of last year, I continue to work in an honorary capacity in the institutions on whose boards I still sit. That is why the local consistory called me on the telephone and asked whether I knew that the state was planning to lower the care rates of the charitable institutions by 40%. I would like to find out more about this. Such a cut would be the death of our institutions, which already reduced their strength considerably once before. Can you give me any details? What will you do if this happens? On the whole, things at Cracow are still satisfactory compared to the dire straits that other institutions find themselves in. Our houses are pretty full and we have a good hinterland. But we cannot sustain 40% cuts, simply because of the interest on debts. Be so kind as to let me know more.

Something else, too. For some time, I have been dealing with the “Lex Zwickau” and have been arguing with its author, the Medizinalrat [Senior Health Official] Dr. Boeters, who has already pushed through voluntary sterilization in the Free State of Saxony and would now like to implement it throughout the Reich. The Committee for the Reform of our Penal Law is already looking at a draft, and there is a chance that the matter will make it into the new Penal Code. Ten years ago, the Euthanasia Law was spooking around, and I opposed it in my essay “Are We Permitted to Destroy Inferior Life?” Today, this malign matter even comes with the approval of the Protestant clergy and the majority of doctors. I have procured a copy of the Lex Zwickau for myself and am enclosing a copy for you. In Saxony, Dr. Boeters recently carried out the 52nd sterilization through castration.

I would like to write a second essay to supplement the one I wrote earlier, something along the lines of: “Are We Permitted to Sterilize the Inferior?” I have written twice to D. Stahl. But he does not want to publish an article from me, not even in Innere Mission. The Catholic clergy stand united against sterilization. I have long since been in agreement with Professor Dr. Mayer in Paderborn. I have also sent him the draft law.

If you could comment on these two plans, whose implementation would hit your Bethel patients hard, I would be grateful.

Yours sincerely,
signed Ulbrich

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