18.08.2017 | original article
Discussing euthanasia in two German states: scientific terminology and public discourse in the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany
Erschienen in: Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift | Ausgabe 15-16/2018Einloggen, um Zugang zu erhalten
Discussions on euthanasia (“Sterbehilfe”) that took place in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) have remained widely unnoticed by the historical sciences. By referring to various publications dating from the 1950s until today, this paper presents the basic ideas of the debate on euthanasia in the GDR and compares them—partly synchronically, partly diachronically—with the situation in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). A special focus is placed on positions and terminology related to medical ethics at the end of life in the former two German states. The methodical approach of the paper allows a transparent analysis of the question of whether the GDR debates on euthanasia are significant and independent, and whether they are relevant to current ethical debates on end-of-life practices in Germany.