(Jewish News Service) Ahead of this year’s marking of International Holocaust Remembrance Day Jan. 27, new details have been revealed concerning how much the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration knew about the Nazis’ euthanasia policy, and why the U.S. failed to respond.

German historian Thorsten Noack, writing in the latest issue of the scholarly journal Holocaust and Genocide Studies, describes how famed journalist William Shirer first publicly exposed the Nazis’ systematic execution of individuals with physical or mental disabilities. In the pages of Life magazine and Reader’s Digest in early 1941, Shirer revealed horrifying details of the program that would serve as a prototype for the mass-murder techniques of the Holocaust.

At the time of Shirer’s articles, tens of thousands of Germans with physical disabilities had been executed by the Hitler regime. Altogether, an estimated 200,000 “unfit” individuals were gassed as part of the Aktion T-4 program, as it was called.

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