Staunton's Dejarnette Sanatorium

Dr. Joseph DeJarnette

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UNDER CONSTRUCTION


The DeJarnette Sanitorium was founded in 1932 by Dr. Joseph DeJarnette, who
was also the director of the nearby Western State Hospital (the sanitorium
was a private unit for middle-income patients that operated separately
from the government-supported state hospital). DeJarnette was a
respected doctor among the white Virginia elite at the time, but his
career would ultimately be defined by his strong support for
eugenics, specifically the forced sterilization of the mentally
ill and others he deemed “defective.”

DeJarnette drew fresh inspiration from Nazi Germany’s 1933 Law for
the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring, Hitler’s opening
bid to purge the Reich of its genetically and racially “inferior”
stock. In 1934 DeJarnette calculated that 56,244 defectives had
already been sterilized under the new regime.


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