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VIENNA (AP) — Thousands of children were murdered by the Nazis because they fell short of the Aryan ideal.
On Friday, a hushed audience gathered in Austria's Parliament to watch the world premiere of an opera depicting how the Nazis methodically killed mentally or physically deficient children at a Vienna hospital during World War II.
The killings were part of a greater campaign that led to the deaths of about 75,000 people — homosexuals, the handicapped, or others the Nazis called "unworthy lives" — and served as a prelude to the Holocaust.
Austrians played a huge role in these and other atrocities of the era — nearly 800 children were killed at Vienna's Spiegelgrund psychiatric ward — and Friday's premiere of the opera "Spiegelgrund" was the latest installment of a national effort to atone for such acts in word and deed.
The timing was picked to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, which will be observed worldwide Sunday, and the performance was streamed live on the Internet for international audiences.
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