In July 1933, the "Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring," which had been initiated by Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick, was put into effect. This law required the forced sterilization of German citizens with congenital disabilities such as "feeblemindedness," schizophrenia, manic depression, epilepsy, and more. The sterilizations were performed by doctors throughout the Reich.
- Anyone who has a hereditary illness can be rendered sterile by a surgical operation, if according to the experience of medical science, there is a strong probability that his/her progeny will suffer from serious hereditary defects of a physical or mental nature.
- Anyone is hereditarily ill within the meaning of the law who suffers from one of the following illnesses:
- Congenital feeblemindedness
- Manic depression
- Hereditary epilepsy
- Huntington's chorea
- Hereditary blindness
- Hereditary deafness
- Serious physical deformities
- In addition, anyone who suffers from chronic alcoholism can be sterilized.
- Proceedings before the Hereditary Health Courts are not public.
- If the court finally decides upon sterilization, the operation must be performed even if it is against the wishes of the person to be sterilized, unless that person was solely responsible for the application.
The medical officer is responsible for requesting the necessary measures to be taken by the police authorities. Insofar as other measures prove insufficient, the use of force is permissible."
It is estimated that between 200,000 to 350,000 individuals were sterilized between 1933 and 1945.