Heinrich Gross SA
© ORF/3sat
Nazi Doctor Heinrich Gross in the illegal SA at the beginning of his life-long career as chief physician and court expert on psychopathology
Filmmaker Andreas Nowak's excellent documentary, Ein ganz normaler Arzt ('A perfectly normal doctor'), dealing with crimes committed during the Second World War, won the Austrian Dr. Karl Renner Prize for Journalism in 2000. We are making this documentary available to a wider audience, complete with English subtitles, because it so clearly illustrates some of the important concepts put forward by Andrzej Lobaczewski in his ground-breaking work on psychopathy and psychopaths in power, Political Ponerology.

A Perfectly Normal Doctor

Nowak's film exposes the systematic practice of euthanasia - so-called "assisted death" - on disabled babies and children that took place during the Second World War. While there were undoubtedly many physicians and nurses involved in such crimes throughout the Third Reich, A Perfectly Normal Doctor focuses on Nazi doctor and psychologist Heinrich Gross, who was at one time in charge of an Austrian hospital where 800 children were killed. Only two cases were ever brought against Gross: one a few years after the end of World War II which resulted in a conviction for manslaughter but which was later overturned on a technicality, and another in 2005, 6 months before his death, where the case was dismissed on the grounds that Gross was suffering from dementia. After his crimes, Gross enjoyed a 50-year-long, high-profile career as a court-appointed expert in psychopathology.

What makes this documentary particularly important is that it not only exposes the pathological nature of the Nazi regime but also the 'Western liberal democracy' that came afterwards, which allowed 'ex-Nazis' like Gross to retain (or continue their rise into) positions of power over others.

Heinrich Gross Television
© ORF/3sat
Nazi Doctor Heinrich Gross in a post-war TV discussion as "expert" on psychopathology
It's hard to make sense of, and put into words, the incredible crimes against humanity during those times when one is only equipped with what Lobaczewski terms "naturalistic conceptual knowledge". Everyday language, even if informed by terms borrowed from the social sciences and psychology, tends to fall short when describing horrors perpetrated by people in positions of responsibility who are entrusted with caring for others, not harming them.

In fact, we would have been unable to understand the source of this depravity, much less write about it and share our understanding with readers, without the critical input of psychological knowledge that enables people to acquire what Lobaczewski called an "objective psychological world view".

Euthanasia was practiced in European hospitals long before the concentration camps were put in place. The pathological rationale for doing away with mentally and physically disabled "lesser people" was not only to cultivate and purify a 'strong Master Race'; it was also the result of a deadly, cold cost-benefit analysis in health economics during a time when public funding was prioritised towards the Nazi war machine. But the Nazis were not the first to decide that euthanasia and 'eugenics' were beneficial to their view of a perfect society. In the first three decades of the 20th Century, 50 American states practiced compulsory sterilization of disabled or 'retarded' individuals, and American eugenic laws and practices directly influenced the Nazis' sterilization program.

Propaganda against retarded people
© ORF/3sat
Propaganda against retarded people during WWII. It reads: "You are carrying them too. Everyone with hereditary illnesses costs 50,000 Reichsmark until they reach the age of 60."
Laura Knight-Jadczyk comments on mental retardation in her article 'A structural theory of narcissism and psychopathy' in The Dot Connector Magazine, Volume 1 2012 (15):
Retardation is in fact a very useful model to compare to NPD and psychopathy (and other related and overlapping personality disorders) since it could be said that the afflicted individual is certainly retarded in a specific respect [...]
She lists the many causes of mental retardation: genetic inheritance, thyroid deficiencies, injury at birth, lack of nutrients in the diet, illness, pathogens, poisons, etc.
So, as we can see, there are a number of etiological factors involved in mental retardation, but the bottom line is still that the brain is unable to develop normally in rather specific ways and this is the definition of retardation. The brain is retarded.
And then she mentions a crucial point that directly relates to Nowak's documentary:
Is there a cut-off point where you can say this retarded person is categorically different from that one for listed reasons? [...]

There is more than one kind of genetic retardation and there is more than one kind of mechanical retardation, but in all cases, retardation is still the defining factor and that will never change; it is incurable, though that does not mean it is not manageable or that it does not need to be managed, and that we do not need to do research to try to prevent such tragedies. But certainly, as human beings, we do not for an instant consider it acceptable to do away with those who are mentally retarded, or have been mentally damaged by some mechanical means, just as it is not acceptable to consider doing away with those who are born with physical handicaps.
This humane viewpoint obviously isn't shared by everyone. Not only were slightly retarded people killed (or, to use the doublespeak term, "assisted to death"), attempts were made to 'cure' them in the most horrible ways imaginable. Even before official orders for "assisted deaths" were being handed down from Nazi medical officers in Berlin, children were dying from malnutrition, poisoning, something called "change of mind therapy", and other forms of abuse.

Euthanasia retarded baby child
© ORF/3sat
During World War II, uncountable retarded babies and children got euthanasia treatment by Nazi Doctors due to a deadly cost-benefit analysis in favor of the Master Race and the expensive war
In fact, given what is now known about psychopaths, it seems that those who were most fervently supportive of this 'selective euthanasia' were themselves mentally retarded, though in a very particular way. Laura Knight-Jadczyk expands on Lobaczewski's concept of humans' 'instinctive substratum', which was partially inherited from our animal ancestors:
As a consequence of having such a primitive core structure coupled with a complex -- and in some cases, brilliant -- brain, psychopaths become masters of projective identification. That is, they project onto and into others everything that is bad [...] and seek in manipulative ways to induce in that other person what is being projected, and seek to control the other person who is perceived as manifesting those 'bad' characteristics.
This characteristic enabled many Nazi doctors to do unspeakable things without even blinking. The documentary contains an interview with Gross around the time of his trial in 2005, where he relates some of his deeds, sometimes even with a smile on his face. When asked by the interviewer whether there is anything that he regretted in his life, Gross answered that he only regretted being caught. So, psychopathic individuals really can feel sorry! ... but only for themselves.

In light of the fact that psychopaths are masters of projection, the story told in this documentary is especially ironic because Heinrich Gross worked as a psychologist who got his own government-funded research institute after the Second Word War to research mental retardation. He not only helped kill retarded children during the war; he later used over 300 preserved brains - an "internationally unique collection" - to study brain defects, research that made him a high authority on psychopathology in Austria for over four decades following the collapse of the Third Reich.

During the postwar era, Gross was also engaged as a highly decorated and prolific court psychologist, where his 'expertise' was used by the Austrian legal system to provide psychological profiles of criminal defendants. Not only was this monster giving legal opinions on defendants' ability to stand trial, he was also entrusted with responsibility for diagnosing psychopaths, as a result of which they were generally condemned to life behind bars. Gross was by far the busiest court expert in Austria during this time, writing about 12,000 legal reports.

Heinrich Gross laughing
© ORF/3sat
The late Heinrich Gross laughing at the question about what he regretted in his life most
The documentary shows conclusively that even after the end of the war, and even after his crimes had become known, Gross still had a lot of support from within the government, political parties and the scientific community. That naturally leads an inquiring mind to wonder about the nature of the system itself and those who control it. It also offers a plausible explanation for why Gross was never convicted and imprisoned for his crimes.

With this in mind, one cannot help but think of Lobaczewski's descriptions of the macrosocial disease he termed 'pathocracy', a network of psychological deviants that gradually takes over a society's economic, political, administrative and cultural systems to the point where all key functions of government are subverted towards a goal that is antithetical to human progress, liberty and happiness: the complete enslavement, humiliation and domination of normal people. Rather than a consciously directed conspiracy against the people, 'pathocracy' as a 'collective of pathologicals' instinctively suppresses anything that sheds light on its true condition. Lobaczewski wrote:
The question must be asked: why was this work [the research into psychopaths in power], produced by eminent researchers and the author for just this purpose -- to prevent the spread of the disease of macrosocial evil -- not able to perform its function?

This is a long story.

I had been recognized as the bearer of this "dangerous" science in Austria by a "friendly" physician who then was revealed to be an agent of Communist Secret Services. All the Red nodes and networks in New York were mobilized to organize a counteraction against the information contained in [Political Ponerology] being made publicly and widely available. It was terrible to learn that the overt system of suppression I had so recently escaped was just as prevalent, though more covert, in the United States. It was demoralizing to see how the system of conscious and unconscious pawns worked; to watch people who trusted their conscious "friends" -- unknown to them as Communist agents -- and performed the insinuated activities against me with such patriotic zeal. As a result of these activities, I was refused any assistance, and to survive, I had to take work as laborer when already of an age to retire. [emphasis added]
Brain retardation
© ORF/3sat
Brains of killed and tortured children that were the basis of Heinrich Gross' research in brain defects
In a strange twist of fate, Gross later crossed paths with Friedrich Zawrel, one of the (now adult) children who survived his 'treatments' during the war. Upon discovering that there were survivors, Gross became paranoid of being found out and used his authority to declare Zawrel psychologically ill and have him put behind bars once again.

Lobaczewski actually dedicates a full chapter in his book to 'Psychology and Psychiatry under Pathocratic Rule', allowing us to understand the paradox of a "killing Doctor", specifically a chief of psychiatry killing helpless retarded children. Here is an important excerpt:
In a pathocracy, all leadership positions, (down to village headman and community cooperative managers, not to mention the directors of police units, and special services police personnel, and activists in the pathocratic party) must be filled by individuals with corresponding psychological deviations, which are inherited as a rule. [...]

[In a system of normal people], seriously ill patients would have the advantage of correspondingly skillful care. However, quite the opposite is the case within a pathocratic structure.
Lobaczewski then explains how the psychological sciences are one of the early and primary targets for the pathocratic elite:
Heinrich Gross court
© ORF/3sat
Nazi Doctor Heinrich Gross declaring convicts as psychopaths in front of court
[T]he problem of preventing a psychiatric threat becomes a matter of "to be or not to be" for pathocracy. Any possibility of such a situation emerging must thus be staved off prophylactically and skillfully, both within and without the empire. At the same time, the empire is able to find effective preventive measures thanks to its consciousness of being different as well as that specific psychological knowledge of psychopaths with which we are already familiar, partially reinforced by academic knowledge.

Both inside and outside, the boundaries of countries affected by the above-mentioned phenomenon, a purposeful and conscious system of control, terror, and diversion is thus set to work.

[In such a system], a psychiatrist's required curriculum contains neither the minimal knowledge from the areas of general, developmental, and clinical psychology, nor the basic skills in psychotherapy. Due to such a state of affairs, the most mediocre or privileged of physicians become a psychiatrist after a course of study lasting only weeks. This opens the door of psychiatric careers to individuals who are by nature inclined to serving the pathocratic authority, and it has fateful repercussions upon the level of the treatment. It later permits psychiatry to be abused for purposes for which it should never be used.

Such behavior carries in its wake a good deal of damage and human injustice in areas of life which have nothing whatsoever to do with politics. Unfortunately however, such behavior is necessary from the pathocrat's point of view in order to prevent these dangerous sciences from jeopardizing the existence of a system they consider the best of all possible worlds.
And here, Lobaczewski gives the explanation as to why was Gross valued so much by the legal system for his 'reliable' psychological court expertise:
Any person rebelling internally against a governmental system, which shall always strike him as foreign and difficult to understand, and who is unable to hide this well enough, shall thus be easily designated by the representatives of said government as "mentally abnormal", someone who should submit to psychiatric treatment. A scientifically and morally degenerate psychiatrist becomes a tool easily used for this purpose. Thus is born the sole method of terror and human torture unfamiliar even to the secret police of Czar Alexander II.
Friedrich Zawrel
© ORF/3sat
Friedrich Zawrel, a victim of Gross' treatments, struggling with his unspeakable experiences
The troubling 'camaraderie' described in Nowak's documentary between physicians, politicians and other high-profile members of Austrian society was identified by Lobaczewski as "ramified networks of mutual pathological conspiracies poorly connected to the main social structure", and through which psychopaths like Heinrich Gross "easily interpenetrate". Part of the reason why Dr. Gross continued to receive promotions, despite the horrific abuses he had committed against children, and even after his involvement in gruesome crimes was exposed, undoubtedly lies in the fact that the interests of other psychological deviants like him in these ramified networks were threatened with exposure.

The predecessor to the CIA, the OSS, 'invited' hundreds of ex-Nazi scientists to the States as part of 'Operation Paperclip'. Many of them had crimes to their name that were as bad as, or even worse than, Dr. Gross' crimes against humanity. Relocated to a 'safe haven', those scientists were seldom prosecuted once exposed and were instead promoted to high ranks within "ramified networks" in the U.S., from where their combined and concentrated psychopathological influence was exported worldwide under the guise of 'globalization'.

Dr. Lobaczewski wrote that psychopaths in power are "ideologically alert" in such matters all the time, obfuscating their true nature and the psychopathic system itself. Whether or not they do this consciously, we suspect that, at the very least, this pattern of 'permanent conspiracy' (by psychopaths against normal people) - Lobaczewski's 'pathocracy' - repeats across space and time and is a natural function arising from their abnormal condition.