German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

Phone: Tel. +44-(0)20-7309 2050



Special event


Finding Ivy

A Life Worthy of Life


August–September 2024

Organizers: Dr Helen Atherton (University of Leeds) and Simon Jarrett (The Open University)
Venue: German Historical Institute London


From 1940 to 1941 around 70,000 adults with mental and physical disabilities living in institutions across Germany and Austria were systematically killed under a Nazi state-led programme called Aktion T4. The victims were deemed to be ‘life unworthy of life’. 

This exhibition tells the previously unknown story of the 13 British-born victims of this murderous assault on disabled people. Most of them were from the families of German and Austrian immigrants who moved to Britain to work in the early twentieth century before fatefully returning to Germany before the Second World War. Others were from mixed marriages between British and German or Austrian nationals.

An international team of researchers led by Dr Helen Atherton from the University of Leeds has meticulously and painstakingly reconstructed the fascinating lives of these people, as well as telling the story of the T4 programme in which they were caught up, and its aftermath.

Panel Discussion and Exhibition Viewing: 3 September 2024 (5.30pm)

The exhibition will open in August and be open Monday–Friday, 9.30am-5pm