May 19, 2024

Everything you want to know about Dignitas

Interview in Guardian

Where Dignitas clients end their livesThe UK Guardian ran a lengthy interview with the founder of the Swiss suicide group Dignitas, Ludwig Minelli, this week. Accompanying the article were 10 photographs of the Dignitas thanatorium, a small house in a Zurich industrial park. For the record, here are a few quotes from Minelli:

Then he sets out his vision like this: everyone should have the right to end their life, not just the terminally ill, but anyone who wants to, and he passes no moral judgment on their wishes. “We don’t discuss moral questions. What moral? Which moral? Catholic? Muslim? Buddhist? We are just working of the atheist basis of self-determination,” he says.

“If we want to reduce the number of suicides and suicide attempts, we should break the taboo of suicide. We should not say suicide should not happen, we should say suicide is a marvellous opportunity given to man to withdraw them from a situation that is unbearable for them.”.

“In the second world war [Switzerland] closed the borders to Jews and those Jews who wanted to come here were repelled, and were murdered in concentration camps. And now we have people looking to end their lives in Switzerland and they are sent back and forced to live on. What is the difference? What is more cruel?”

“If someone wants to talk about their life for six hours, we will never hurry them,” Minelli says. “The music, all the details, are their choice. We are servants of their desire for self-determination.”

Michael Cook