Jewish leaders have slammed a Belgian physician who practices euthanasia and is nicknamed ‘Doctor Death’ after he organised a tour of Auschwitz, calling the Nazi death camp “inspiring”.
Wim Distelmans, who co-ordinates legalised killings from Brussels, said the £470 visit would “clarify confusion” about dying and address the issue of euthanasia.
Echoing the thoughts of many, Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman said: “To make the notorious Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz (pictured) the centre for a congenial study-trip is preposterous, if not obscene.”
He added: “Whatever one’s views on euthanasia, it is abominable to describe Auschwitz as an inspiring venue. What went on there was the mass murder of innocents.”
In a leaflet, Distelmans said Auschwitz was “the pre-eminent symbol of a degrading end of life” and “an inspiring venue for organising a seminar and reflecting on these issues so that we can consider and clarify confusions”.
Liberal Democrat peer Lord Carlile, the son of Polish Jewish immigrants, said: “This is shocking. It will cause offence to a lot of people throughout Europe, whichever side of the argument they are on.”
He added: “To describe it as an inspiring setting suggests he is either mad, stupid or incompetent.”
However Distelmans defended his decision, saying: “This is not a symposium about euthanasia. It’s a study trip focusing on human rights, suffering and palliative care.”