Ich klage an

Ich klage an (Eng: I Accuse) is a 1941 German pro-euthanasia propaganda film directed by Wolfgang Liebeneiner.[1]

It was banned by Allied powers after the war.[2]


A beautiful young wife suffering from multiple sclerosis pleads with doctors to kill her.[3] Her husband, a successful doctor himself, gives her a fatal overdose and is put on trial, where arguments are put forth that prolonging life is sometimes contrary to nature, and that death is a right as well as a duty.[4] It culminates in the husband's declaration that he is accusing them of cruelty for trying to prevent such deaths.[5]

Propaganda elements

This film was commissioned by Goebbels at the suggestion of Karl Brandt to make the public more supportive of the Reich's T4 euthanasia program, and presented simultaneously with the practice of euthanasia in Nazi Germany.[6] The actual victims of the Nazi euthanasia program Action T4 were in fact killed without their consent, or that of their families.[7] Indeed, one cinema goer is alleged to have compared the film to the program and naively asked how abuses could be prevented from creeping into it.[8]

The SS reported that the churches were uniformly negative about the movie, with Catholics expressing it more strongly but Protestants being equally negative.[9] Opinions in medical circles were positive, though there were doubts, especially though not exclusively in cases where patients thought to be incurable had recovered.[10] Legal professions were anxious that it be placed on a legal footing, and in the few polls that were commissioned, the general population were said to be supportive.[11]

External links


  1. "New York Times: Ich Klage An (1941)". NY Times. Retrieved 2010-10-30.
  2. Cinzia Romani, Tainted Goddesses: Female Film Stars of the Third Reich p108 ISBN 0-9627613-1-1
  3. Erwin Leiser, Nazi Cinema p70 ISBN 0-02-570230-0
  4. Erwin Leiser, Nazi Cinema p70-1 ISBN 0-02-570230-0
  5. Robert Edwin Hertzstein, The War That Hitler Won p308 ISBN 0-399-11845-4
  6. Pierre Aycoberry The Nazi Question, p11 Pantheon Books New York 1981
  7. Erwin Leiser, Nazi Cinema p69 ISBN 0-02-570230-0
  8. Richard Grunberger, The 12-Year Reich, p 385, ISBN 0-03-076435-1
  9. Erwin Leiser, Nazi Cinema p146-7 ISBN 0-02-570230-0
  10. Erwin Leiser, Nazi Cinema p147 ISBN 0-02-570230-0
  11. Erwin Leiser, Nazi Cinema p148 ISBN 0-02-570230-0

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