Asperger's Children: The Origins of Autism in Nazi Vienna

Edith Sheffer
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A ground-breaking exploration of the chilling history behind an increasingly common diagnosis.
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"...impeccable research...As Sheffer suggests at the end of her searing, wonderfully written book, the least that can be done to honour the memory of those children killed in his [Asperger's] name is to excise it from popular use." Dominic Lawson, The Sunday Times

In 1930s and 1940s Vienna, child psychiatrist Hans Asperger sought to define autism as a diagnostic category, treating those children he deemed capable of participating fully in society. Depicted as compassionate and devoted, Asperger was in fact deeply influenced by Nazi psychiatry. Although he offered care to children he deemed promising, he prescribed harsh institutionalisation and even transfer to one of the Reich s killing centres, for children with greater disabilities.

With sensitivity and passion, Edith Sheffer reveals the heart-breaking voices and experiences of many of these children, whilst illuminating a Nazi regime obsessed with sorting the population into categories, cataloguing people by race, heredity, politics, religion, sexuality, criminality and biological defects-labels that became the basis of either rehabilitation or persecution and extermination.

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Additional Info

ISBN 9780393609646
Publisher W W NORTON & CO
Format Hardback
Publication date 1 May 2018

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