Dr Wims Distelmans, who practices euthanasia in a Brussels clinic, wishing to ‘clarify confusion’ (whatever that means) led a group, consisting of doctors, psychologists and nurses from Belgium, (most of whom also work in the area of euthanasia) to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.
Naturally, Jewish and anti-euthanasia campaigners have reacted with horror, saying the trip, billed as a study tour, is ‘offensive and shocking’.
At one point during the trip, while in Krakow, the members of the group received name-tags. From Der Spiegel:
"Distelmans pins his name-tag to his T-shirt, places his scarf on top of it, and pulls his jacket over his scarf. 'I don't know if I have any opponents here,' he says. Before the trip, a picture of him appeared on Google. Someone had doctored the image and put an SS uniform over his sweater."
I was more than happy to locate the photo and post it here.
In a story overflowing with irony, one portion stands out. At one point, the group discusses "the case of a colleague in the group who asked if he is allowed to kill a Nazi. The patient in question is paralyzed on one side and is a former member of the Waffen-SS. In fact, a portrait of Hitler hangs over his sofa. The colleague refused to perform euthanasia because he doesn't feel the Nazi deserves a painless, gentle death".
All through the article, we were told that those advocating euthanasia wanted to give the patient control over his or her own death. Doctors shouldn't prolong life out of a sense of control and a desire for power over the patient, we're told. Yet, here we have the very same doctors maintaining that certain individuals don't deserve "a painless, gentle death".
Distelmans, however feels differently that his colleagues. "He says that he would do it out of respect for the man's pain and humanity -- as an act of unconditional love."
Some might say he simply would never pass an opportunity to kill someone.