Forced sterilization

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Under forced sterilization refers to the induction of infertility (infertility) in people without their consent. It was done on a large scale


United States

The history of legally protected forced sterilization begins in 1907 with the world's first sterilization law in Indiana. Forced sterilization was carried out in the USA until 1981.


In 1921 the Swedish Reichstag decided to establish the world's first institute for racial biology at Uppsala University . "Between 1935 and 1976, around 62,000 people were forcibly sterilized in Sweden." Officially, the Swedish sterilization laws (as well as in other Scandinavian countries) did not speak of coercive measures, but those without consent and doctors were instructed to have concerns in "relevant" cases to disperse.

Great Britain

In Great Britain, forced sterilization was used as a legal measure of criminal law against homosexuals until at least the 1950s. One of the most prominent victims was Alan Turing .


National Socialism

According to the " Law for the Prevention of Hereditary Offspring " of July 14, 1933, which came into force on January 1, 1934 , between 1934 and 1945 around 400,000 people who were under the control of the German Reich were ordered by the hereditary health courts established for this purpose, even without their consent made sterile . Not only mentally or physically disabled people were affected, but also patients in psychiatric hospitals and nursing homes as well as alcoholics . About 5000 people died as a result of the surgery.

The German children of some black soldiers and German women, who were born during the Allied occupation of the Rhineland during the Weimar Republic , were described as black shame and a “danger to German racial purity”. They were later recorded as so-called "Rhineland bastards" by the Nazi authorities and until 1937 forcibly sterilized without a legal basis. In Nazi forced laborers partially forced sterilizations and were forced abortions on racial and labor economic reasons made. In the Auschwitz concentration camp , methods of mass sterilization were investigated on inmates. The doctor Carl Clauberg experimented with caustic liquids that he injected into the cervix of the victims, and Horst Schumann exposed his victims to X-rays on the abdomen or, in male subjects, on the testicles.

In 1998 the compulsory sterilization orders of the hereditary health courts were repealed by law and in May 2007 the law for the prevention of genetically ill offspring was declared an NS law by the Bundestag. In January 2011, the Bundestag granted the victims a claim for compensation under the General Consequences of War Act (AKG Hardship Guidelines) after they had not been considered persecuted by the Nazi regime for decades.

Federal Republic

The Federal Ministry of Justice estimates that around 1,000 mentally handicapped girls were sterilized annually in West Germany - until the Care Act was changed in 1992.

In 2004, 187 license applications were submitted in the Federal Republic of Germany in accordance with Section 1905 (2) BGB, 154 of which were approved.

Until a decision by the Federal Constitutional Court in 2011, the Transsexuals Act of 1980 provided in Section 8 (1) No. 3 and 4 TSG that transsexuals with a same-sex orientation either enter into marriage or have to undergo surgical interventions that change their sex and cause incapacity to be able to establish a registered civil partnership that corresponds to their partner relationship perceived as same-sex. As a violation of the general right of personality in its manifestation as the right to sexual self-determination from Art. 2 Para. 1 in conjunction with Art. 1 Para. 1 of the Basic Law , these regulations were declared inapplicable. Since then, sterilization was no longer necessary in order to be able to establish a registered civil partnership between same-sex persons.

Other countries

Eugenic founded forced sterilizations took place in Switzerland. The procedure was regulated there in sterilization laws. In the canton of Vaud , Switzerland, the first law on compulsory eugenic sterilization in Europe was passed in 1929.

In Alberta , Canada, a law for the sterilization of the mentally handicapped came into effect in 1928.

In Denmark in 1929 “eugenic”, ie legal measures aimed at passing on good hereditary traits, came into force. Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Latvia followed by 1938.

In the People's Republic of China , the government operated sterilizations for reasons of population policy for birth control ( one-child policy ).

In India, pressure or force sterilization took place.

There have been reports of forced sterilization of native people from Mexico .

The last forced sterilization of a Roma woman was documented in the Czech Republic in 2007 .

Legal situation

Federal Republic of Germany

Forced sterilization is not permitted in Germany under Articles Art. 1 and Art. 2 of the Basic Law and is considered to be serious bodily harm according to Section 225 of the Criminal Code .

Victims of the forced sterilizations carried out during the Nazi era on the basis of the Hereditary Health Act were not regarded as "typical" victims of Nazi persecution in the newly founded Federal Republic after 1949 and received no compensation payments . Because even under the rule of law , forced sterilization was possible (until 1992). In 1990 a "hardship fund" was set up for "forgotten victims".

The Care Act of January 1, 1992 prohibits sterilization in the general interest or in the interest of family members. Sterilization against the will of the person concerned is prohibited in the Federal Republic of Germany , neither the parents nor the child themselves can consent to it (§ 1631c BGB ).

According to Section 1900 (5) of the German Civil Code, the decision to sterilize an adult person under care may not be left to an association or an authority . A separate sterilization supervisor must be appointed ( Section 1899 Paragraph 2 BGB).

According to § 1905 BGB, this person can only consent to the sterilization if

  • if it does not happen against the will of the person being cared for,
  • if the person being cared for will remain incapable of consent in the long term ,
  • if pregnancy would be likely without the procedure,
  • if the pregnancy would pose a risk to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman and
  • if pregnancy cannot be prevented using other methods of contraception .

Furthermore, requires the consent of the supervisor in the sterilization approval of the care the court , at least the heard the person concerned and a formal evidence by expert opinions, which cover the medical, psychological, social, special education and sex education aspects and where appropriate, the appointment of a method carer for must precede those affected ( Section 297 FamFG ).

European Union

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union , which became binding with the Treaty of Lisbon , in Article 3 of Chapter I guarantees every person the right to physical and mental integrity. In medicine, in particular, the free consent of the person concerned must be observed after prior information.

United Nations

Officially, the United Nations guarantees every human being “the right to life, personal security and freedom”, for example within the framework of human rights. However, the United Nations Population Fund ( UNFPA ) is / was involved in supporting forced sterilization, particularly in developing countries.

Discussion of legal policy


In countries in which trans people can apply for their civil status to be adjusted to the perceived gender, the person concerned usually has to undergo an operation that changes their gender characteristics, through which a clear approximation of the appearance of the opposite sex is to be achieved. Until 2011, this required amputation of the penis shaft and testicles as well as the surgical formation of the external primary female genital organs in a man-to-woman transsexual according to the German Transsexual Act ; in woman-to-man transsexuals, surgical removal of the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes, and often a breast reduction.

In the 21st century a worldwide discussion began as to whether the resulting involuntary sterility is compatible with the general right of personality. For example, the European Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg denied this .

Many European countries then gave up the demand for involuntary sterilization, including Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Hungary, but also Iceland, Canada, several states of the USA and Argentina.

In other European countries, however, it is still not possible to adapt the civil status to the perceived gender affiliation, for example in Ireland, Lithuania and the Balkans.

On June 28, 2013, the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe called on all member states in which involuntary sterilization is still required to abolish it, to provide an official apology and to compensate victims of such procedures financially.


The German Civil Status Act was changed on November 1, 2013 in favor of intersex children . Since then, parents no longer need to decide whether to classify their child as “female” or “male” when entering the civil status register if such an assignment is not yet clearly possible for the child. Until then, the children in question were often determined to be female or male as early as infancy through cosmetic surgery, which often led to infertility. In later life this often resulted in considerable physical and psychological problems for those affected. If this operation was carried out without the effective consent of the parents, it is an intentional damage to health that obliges the performing surgeon to pay compensation .

See also


  • Wolfgang Ayaß : "Anti-social offspring is completely undesirable for the national community". The forced sterilization of social outsiders , in: Margret Hamm (Hrsg.): Unworthy of life - destroyed lives. Forced sterilization and "euthanasia" , Frankfurt / M. 2005, pp. 111-119.
  • Udo Benzenhöfer : On the genesis of the law to prevent hereditary offspring. Klemm & Oelschläger, Münster 2006, ISBN 3-932577-95-7 .
  • Gisela Bock : Forced Sterilization under National Socialism. Studies on racial politics and the like Women's policy (= publications of the Central Institute for Social Science Research at the Free University of Berlin. Vol. 48). Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen 1986, ISBN 3-531-11759-9 .
  • Harry Bruinius: Better for All the World. The Secret History of Forced Sterilization and America's Quest for Racial Purity. Alfred A. Knopf, New York NY 2006, ISBN 0-375-41371-5 .
  • Johannes Busch (Ed.): On the subject of sterilization for people with intellectual disabilities. Documentation (= Bethel contributions. H. 40). Bethel-Verlag, Bielefeld 1988, ISBN 3-922463-58-4 .
  • Susanne Doetz: Everyday life and practice of forced sterilization. The Berlin University Women's Clinic under Walter Stoeckel 1942–1944. Medical dissertation, Berlin 2010.
  • Sonja Endres: Forced sterilization in Cologne 1934–1945 (= writings of the NS Documentation Center. Volume 16). Emons, Cologne 2009, ISBN 978-3-89705-697-8 . (Also: Cologne, Univ., Diss., 2008)
  • Valentin Hennig: To make amends for forced sterilization under National Socialism. A documentation . Frieling & Partner, Berlin, ISBN 3-8280-0816-X .
  • Peter Finger: The sterilization of the mentally handicapped according to § 1925 BGB in the version of a draft of the Care Act (BtG) . In: Practice of child psychology and child psychiatry. 39, 4, 1990, ISSN  0032-7034 , pp. 132-138.
  • Betsy Hartmann: Reproductive Rights and Wrongs. The Global Politics of Population Control. Revised edition. South End Press, Boston MA 1995, ISBN 0-89608-492-2 .
  • Elisabeth Herrmann (as Elisabeth Claasen): Ich, die Steri 1969; again: Soack, Hannover 1987 ISBN 3-88414-074-4 . (Eyewitness report of a victim)
  • Corinna Horban: Gynecology and National Socialism. The forcibly sterilized former patients of the I. University Women's Clinic today - a belated excuse. Herbert Utz, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-89675-507-2 (also: Munich, Univ., Diss., 1999).
  • Thomas Huonker : Diagnosis “morally defective”. Castration, sterilization and racial hygiene in the service of Swiss social policy and psychiatry 1890–1970. Orell Füssli, Zurich 2003, ISBN 3-280-06003-6 .
  • Molly Ladd-Taylor: Eugenics, Sterilization and Modern Marriage in the USA: The Strange Career of Paul Popenoe. In: Gender & History. 13, 2, 2001, ISSN  0953-5233 , pp. 298-327.
  • Astrid Ley: Forced sterilization and the medical profession. Background and goals of medical practice 1934–1945 (= culture of medicine. Vol. 11). Campus, Frankfurt am Main u. a. 2004, ISBN 3-593-37465-X (also: Erlangen-Nürnberg, Univ., Diss., 2003).
  • Gunther Link: Forced eugenic sterilizations and abortions under National Socialism. Shown using the example of the Freiburg University Women's Clinic. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main a. a. 1999, ISBN 3-631-33871-6 (also: Freiburg (Breisgau), Univ., Diss., 1999).
  • Gunther Link: Forced eugenic sterilizations and forced abortions at the Freiburg University Women's Clinic during National Socialism. In: Bernd Grün, Hans G. Hofer, Karl H. Leven (Hrsg.): Medicine and National Socialism. The Freiburg Medical Faculty and the Clinic in the Weimar Republic and in the “Third Reich” (= medical history in context. Vol. 10). Peter Lang, Frankfurt 2002, ISBN 3-631-38819-5 , pp. 301-330.
  • Thomas Oelschläger: "... that my daughter will be freed from this Jewish brat as quickly as possible." The pregnancy interruptions of the "Reich Committee for the Scientific Assessment of Hereditary and Constitutional Serious Ailments". In: Christoph Kopke (Ed.): Medicine and crime. Festschrift for the 60th birthday of Walter Wuttke. Klemm & Oelschläger, Ulm 2001, ISBN 3-932577-32-9 , pp. 97-130.
  • Hanna J. Schmid, Cornelia Noack: Sexual violence against people with intellectual disabilities. A denied reality. Association of Protestant institutions for people with intellectual and emotional disabilities e. V. u. a., Stuttgart a. a. 1994, ISBN 3-9803769-0-7 .
  • Harry Seipolt: "... death by grace can be granted." Forced sterilization and Nazi "euthanasia" in the Aachen region. Alano-Herodot-Verlag, Aachen 1995, ISBN 3-89399-217-0 .
  • Stefanie Westermann, Richard Kühl, Dominik Groß (eds.): Medicine in the service of "hereditary health". Contributions to the history of eugenics and racial hygiene (= medicine and national socialism , vol. 1), Münster 2009 ISBN 978-3-643-10478-6 .
  • Stefanie Westermann: Silent suffering. Dealing with the Nazi forced sterilization in the Federal Republic of Germany (= people and cultures , vol. 7), Cologne a. a. 2010 ISBN 978-3-412-20562-1 .


  • Yawar Mallku / Sangre de condor / The blood of the condor, directed by Jorge Sanjinés , Bolivia 1969 (language: Quechua , with Spanish subtitles). Feature film about the secret forced sterilization of Quechua women by the US Peace Corps in Bolivia
  • "Come with me, be very calm, let's go there ..." - The forced sterilization of Hans Lieser, (Director / Camera: Harry Günzel, Book / Editing: Bettina Leuchtenberg, Research Associate: Dr. Thomas Schnitzler) (Language: German, with sign language interpreter fade in) Germany 2006. The twenty-minute documentary uses the deaf Hans Lieser to illuminate the forced sterilization carried out on thousands in the Third Reich .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Ruth Clifford Eng: The Progressive Era's Health Reform Movement. A Historical Dictionary. Westport 2003, p. 111.
  2. Julie Sullivan. (2002). " State will admit sterilization past ," Portland Oregonian , November 15, 2002. (Mirrored in Eugene Register-Guard , November 16, 2002, at Google News .)
  3. ^ Deutsches Ärzteblatt, Ernstwalter Clees (1997): Forced sterilizations in Scandinavia. Widespread ideology of eugenics
  4. Corinna Horban: Gynecology and Nazism. The forcibly sterilized former patients of the 1st University Women's Clinic today - a belated excuse. Munich 1999, p. 105.
  5. ^ Jean-Philippe Ernst: Forced Sterilization. A current medical ethical topic? In: Medicine in the service of "hereditary health" contributions to the history of eugenics and "racial hygiene" (Ed. Westermann, Kühl, Groß). Berlin 2009, p. 254.
  6. Volker Zimmermann: Medicine in Göttingen during the National Socialist dictatorship. In: Würzburg medical history reports. Volume 9, 1991, pp. 393-416; here: p. 408 f.
  7. ^ Reichsgesetzblatt, 1933 I, pp. 529-531
  8. Reichsärztekammer (Hrsg.): Guidelines for the termination of pregnancy and sterility for health reasons. Edited by Hans Stadler. JF Lehmanns Verlag, Munich 1936 (with a quote from Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler on the cover sheet: "The national state has to declare the child to be the most precious good of a people. It must feel as the supreme patron of this most precious blessing.")
  9. Eckhard Heesch: National Socialist Forced Sterilization of Psychiatric Patients in Schleswig-Holstein. Published as an essay in: Democratic History. Yearbook on the Labor Movement and Democracy in Schleswig Holstein 9, 1995, pp. 55–102.
  10. Alfred Möhrle: The doctor in National Socialism: The way to the Nuremberg doctor process and the conclusions from it. In: Deutsches Ärzteblatt . October 25, 1996, accessed February 27, 2015.
  11. Racism: Totally Painless , Spiegel October 1, 1979, queried September 18, 2014.
  12. Ute Vergin: The National Socialist Labor Administration and its functions in the deployment of foreign workers during the Second World War. Osnabrück 2008, full text, PDF.
  13. Robert Jay Lifton: The Murderers Are Still Among Us , Spiegel, July 11, 1988, accessed March 1, 2015.
  14. ^ Alfred Möhrle: "Euthanasia" - Damaged and Forced Sterilized , Against Forgetting for Democracy, accessed February 27, 2015.
  15. Anke Engelmann: When two love each other. In: Publik-Forum , No. 12, 2009 ( online ; PDF; 2.1 MB)
  16. Federal Ministry of Justice: Special survey on the procedure under the Care Act.
  17. BVerfG decision of January 11, 2011 Ref .: 1 BvR 3295/07 - press release
  18. a b Heribert Prantl : The felt gender. Court overturns transsexual law . Süddeutsche Zeitung , January 28, 2011. Accessed October 23, 2014.
  19. Dominique Strebel: Forced sterilization: Switzerland refuses to make amends. In: Observer . February 1, 2011, accessed August 30, 2019 .
  20. ^ Forced sterilization in Switzerland in Neue Zürcher Zeitung from October 1, 2006
  21. a b c Ralf Forsbach: "Euthanasia" and forced sterilization in the Rhineland (1933–1945)
  22. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 09/21/2005, No. 220 / page 6: China admits forced abortions. In: . September 21, 2005, accessed October 13, 2018 .
  23. ^ Johnny Erling: Sterilization Campaign: China's offices hunt parents with more than one child. In: . April 19, 2010, accessed October 7, 2018 .
  24. "Indira makes poor men impotent" . In: Der Spiegel . No. 52 , 1976 ( online ).
  25. India: Deadly Sterilization Mania. In: November 15, 2014, accessed January 6, 2018 .
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  29. sterilization . Onmeda health portal. May 11, 2015.
  30. ^ Reparation in Germany 1945–1990. An overview . From politics and contemporary history . June 7, 2013.
  31. Steven W. Mosher (2003): UNFPA Supports Forced Sterilization in Mexico .
  32. Steven W. Mosher (2002): Peru: UNFPA Supported Fujimori's Forced Sterilization Campaigns .
  33. Betsy Hartmann: Reproductive Rights and Wrongs. The Global Politics of Population Control. Boston 1995, p. 168.
  34. ^ World Health Organization : Eliminating forced, coercive and otherwise involuntary sterilization. An interagency statement . WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research. Geneva / Geneva, 2014. PDF . ISBN 978-92-415-0732-5 .
  35. ^ Thomas Hammarberg : Human Rights and Gender Identity . Publication of the Council of Europe / Council of Europe . Strasbourg, 2009 Commissioner's Issue Papers September retrieved 2, 2014 ( english )
  36. BVerfG decision of January 11, 2011 Ref .: 1 BvR 3295/07 - press release
  37. Maria Makar: Tvångssterilisering ska prövas strength. In: QX . July 6, 2012, Retrieved July 6, 2012 (Swedish).
  38. Rainbow Europe Country Index May 2011. (PDF) ILGA Europe, May 2011, accessed on January 20, 2013 (English).
  39. Boris O. Dittrich: Sweden: Letter to the Prime Minister Regarding Transgender Law. Human Rights Watch, January 14, 2012, accessed January 20, 2013 .
  40. Argentina Adopts Landmark Legislation in Recognition of Gender Identity. International Gay & Lesbian Humans Rights Commission, May 14, 2012, archived from the original April 8, 2013 ; accessed on January 20, 2013 .
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  42. Europarådet uppmanar medlemsstater att ge ekonomisk ersättning till tvångssteriliserade. RFSL, June 28, 2013, archived from the original January 7, 2014 ; Retrieved June 29, 2013 (Swedish).
  43. Heribert Prantl: Male, female, indefinite. Gender in German Law. Süddeutsche Zeitung, August 16, 2013 . Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  44. ^ German Ethics Council: Intersexuality . Comment of February 23, 2012 ( memo of March 18, 2016 in the Internet Archive ). Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  45. ^ LG Cologne, basic judgment of February 6, 2008, Az .: 25 O 179/07 . Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  46. 100,000 euros in compensation for pain and suffering in the 'hybrid process' . Focus, August 12, 2009 . Retrieved October 23, 2014.