Hashude - An Experiment in Nazi 'Asocial' Policy
Half-way to the concentration camps? Lisa Pine uncovers a little-known project from 1930s Germany used as a last-chance option for 'asocials' who fell foul of the Nazi regime.
The Nazis' desire to create a perfect and 'pure' 'national community' meant the exclusion not only of the 'racially alien', but also of a heterogeneous group of people – largely of German ethnicity – who were described as 'asocial' or 'socially unfit". The term 'asocial' was used to categorise marginal groups of the German population that deviated from the norms of society (and is referred to throughout this article as implying a specific concept of Nazi ideology, as are terms like 'national community'. For ease of reading, however, inverted commas have been dispensed with beyond the initial mention). Asocials were portrayed as the dregs of society, whose inferiority was marked by traits such as 'weak- ness of character', 'lack of restraint', 'loose morals', 'disinterest in contemporary events' ,'idleness' and 'poverty of' mind'. The term was applied in an elastic manner also, to include gypsies, vagabonds, persons of no fixed abode, prostitutes, alcoholics, unmarried mothers, homosexuals, large, 'inferior' families, criminals, 'idlers', 'good for nothings', 'wastrels', 'grumblers' and 'grousers', as well as any one else who did not, could not o would not perform their duties to the national community. Persecution o such groups was relatively easy, since they were in any case the objects o popular disapproval.