14f13 is the follow up of the aktion T4. During aktion 14f13 concentration camp prisoners were killed if they were either mentally or physically impaired. These prisoners were pre-selected by the camp staff and “examined” by the T4 personnel. The aim was to get rid of the non-productive prisoners. At a later stage in the war the amount of laborer’s needed in the reich increased. Subsequently, the rules for forced euthanasia of concentration camp prisoners became stricter. It is estimated that roughly 20.000 people were killed within the scope of action 14f13. In reality, the numbers are probably higher.
A clear distinction between aktion 14f13 and the extermination camps in eastern Poland can be made. In the concentration camps the prisoners were overworked till their death. This process took on average a few months, after which they could be selected for action 14f13. In contrast, the extermination camps were purely aimed at killing people. This usually took place within hours of arrival.
The selection process
At the end of 1940 the SS ordered the camp to make an inventory of the productiveness of each prisoner. Any non-productive prisoners were to be put on a list for action 14f13. After this preselection the T4 doctors visited the camps and checked the details of the prisoners. Most of the time this was purely an administrative job, without thorough physical examination. Other prisoners were tricked into the 14f13 program. This was done by making them believe they could volunteer to be placed into a “rest” camp to gain some health and energy. In reality, the volunteers were selected into the 14f13 aktion.
“Euthanasia” by gassing
After selection the prisoners were brought to one of the aktion t4 centers. Before their death the prisoners were checked for gold teeth and marked if they had any. After this they were moved to the gas chambers. By then most of the killing center had the gassing by carbon monoxide as preferred killing method. This gas was provided in pressurized containers. Later in the extermination camps the same gas was provided by large engines of tanks or aircraft. After their death the gold teeth were removed from the bodies and any personal belongings were send back to their concentration camp of origin. Fake death certificates were produced and send to the victims’ relatives.
14f13 as link between the action T4 and final solution
Aktion T4 started September 1939 synchronized with the invasion of Poland. But after public pressure this was officially stopped in 1940, although it was secretly continued. Aktion 14f13 started in 1940 after the stop of action t4, and ran until the end of the war. 2 years later the genocide reached maximum momentum during action Reinhard beginning in begin 1942.