The racist idea of "Volksgesundheit" ("people’s health") was at the core of NS-medicine. Human life was subjected to "cost and value" criteria. The extermination of those of "lesser value" ("Minderwertige"), a central doctrine of National Social-ism, was based on racist and racist-hygienic concepts of the previous decades. The crimes of the Nazis in the medical sphere were manifold: forcing Jewish doctors and university staff to leave their jobs and country; the cruel medical experiments on concentration camp inmates; official forced sterilization; and the extermination of "worthless" lives, which has been incorrectly termed »euthanasia« since the word means "beautiful death" or "merciful death" in Greek.
Late in the 1980s DÖW began to include studies on the murder of physically and mentally handicapped in its research programme. In 2002 DÖW opened an exhibition on the history of Nazi medicine in Vienna in the Otto Wagner-Hospital. The content of this exhibition (The War against 'the Inferior') is available on the Internet as well.