On July 14, 1933, the Nazi dictatorship enacted the Law for the Prevention of Progeny with Hereditary Diseases. Individuals who were subject to the law were those men and women who “suffered” from any of nine conditions listed in the law: hereditary feeblemindedness, schizophrenia, manic-depressive disorder, hereditary epilepsy, Huntington’s chorea (a rare and fatal degenerative disease), hereditary blindness, hereditary deafness, severe physical deformity, and chronic alcoholism.
Gerda D., a shopworker, was one of an estimated 400,000 Germans who were forcibly sterilized. She was sterilized after a disputed diagnosis of schizophrenia. Later, Nazi authorities forbade Gerda to marry because of the sterilization.