May 21

This Day in History

World War II

May 21, 1940:

Nazis kill "unfit" people in East Prussia

On this day in 1940, a "special unit" carries out its mission-and murders more than 1,500 hospital patients in East Prussia.

Mentally ill patients from throughout East Prussia had been transferred to the district of Soldau, also in East Prussia. A special military unit, basically a hit squad, carried out its agenda and killed the patients over an 18-day period, one small part of the larger Nazi program to exterminate everyone deemed "unfit" by its ideology. After the murders, the unit reported back to headquarters in Berlin that the patients had been "successfully evacuated."

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