German organisations claim 350 cases of assisted suicide without extra legislation


Central Europe


Photo RD, Henk Visscher

While euthanasia organisations helped nearly 350 people commit suicide, the German parliament wants to regulate assisted suicide. The euthanasia organisations find this unnecessary.

In the past year, organisations like the “German Society for Human Dying” (DGHS), “Dignitas Germany”, and “Sterbehilfe Deutschland” helped 346 persons to kill themselves – according to their own rules. This writes the Christian magazine PRO.

In an appeal presented on Monday, the euthanasia organisations oppose legal regulation. DGHS President Roßbruch referred to the rules that his association had given itself. According to him, a doctor and a lawyer each clarify whether they wish to die was made independently.

Roßbruch also opposed a duty to advise, as provided in the recently presented draft by MPs from almost all parliamentary groups. “It is not up to the state and society to judge the motives for a suicide”, he said.

The chairwoman of “Dignitas Germany”, Sandra Martino, referred to the high number of suicides in Germany, which made the assisted suicides appear small.

According to the Federal Statistical Office, 9,206 people killed themselves in Germany in 2020. No figures are available for 2021. It’s also about avoiding lonely and dangerous suicides, said Martino. In all three organisations, people who want suicide assistance have to become members and pay fees, which often amount to several thousand euros.

Eugen Brysch, the board member of the German Foundation for Patient Protection (Deutschen Stiftung Patientenschutz), thinks that organised suicide offers should not be available for a fee. “Where money flows, autonomy is in danger.” Brysch also called upon the legislature to “take a criminal look at those who assisted in the killing”. They must be made legally responsible for guaranteeing the free self-determination of those who want to commit suicide at any time.


The euthanasia organisations are controversial. In 2015, the Bundestag passed a law criminalising suicide assistance. This law was overturned by a judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court in February 2020. Since then, organisations have been allowed to help with suicide again.

According to Tageschau, the number of assisted suicides rose sharply after the judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court in 2020. In addition, the association “Euthanasia Germany” has significantly more members than before the Karlsruhe judge’s decision. From 613 members in 2014, the number initially declined. In 2020 it grew to 664, and last year it nearly doubled to 1201 members.

With assisted suicide, a deadly drug is usually given to a person – either via euthanasia assistants or indirectly via relatives. Since the person willing to die takes these drugs himself or at least starts an infusion himself, it is legally a suicide. Aid to this is not punishable as such in Germany. Killing someone who wants to die, however, is a punishable offence.



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