University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


  • Assassination of Children - Page 2

    Assassination of Children - Page 2

    The hospital of Kalmenhof (about 1930)

    The hospital of Kalmenhof on the western part of the Tauberberg was not opened before 1927. It was meant to essentially improve the children's care. It included, among others, an observation ward for preschool children who underwent a special treatment with vitamins, black light etc. In August 1941,a department was established on the upper floor (the first floor served as a military hospital for German soldiers) that was exclusively reserved for children sent by order of the Reich committee. Here, the children died within a few days from malnutrition and overdoses of morphinescopolamine and Luminal, dispensed by both doctors and nurses. For each child killed, they were given a "blood money". In the "Kalmenhof trial "the ward was described as follows: "The room in which the child was kept consisted of three beds, nothing more, in the other beds were children too. The children were lying in their beds, apathetically, and looked very pale. There were absolutely no handles on the windows and the doors ...The windowpanes were painted white. Several ground-floor rooms had signs showing the words 'Entrance strictly prohibited'.

    Many of the children knew that people were being killed in the hospital of the institution and feared to go there. Some of them played "Klappsarg" (swinging coffin). When relatives attended a funeral, they used a coffin whose lower part swung open so that the body remained in the grave and the coffin could be taken back the evening following the burial. Up to six children were buried in the same grave.

    Boys of the Kalmenhof with female welfare officers, before 1933

    Girls of the Kalmenhof with female welfare officers, before 1933

    Receipt concerning the shipment of medicaments by the T-4 headquarters in Berlin, 9th August 1944

    The fatal medicine (mostly Luminal, partly combined with morphine-scopolamine) was sent to the hospital directly from Berlin. When dispensed, the medicine did not have an immediate fatal effect but caused a slow decline and ultimately led to the death of the completely debilitated children.

    Mathilde Weber, 1987
    Photo taken from a newspaper article

    Der Stern No.4511987 (Michael Schick)
    Dr. Mathilde Weber (born in 1909), was a medical assistant since 1936; from 1940 until 1944, she was head physician of the Kalmenhof institution and consequently responsible for the assassinations in the hospital. In the post-war trial she declared: „I made them die a natural death". In 1942, in her function as physician of the Reich committee, she attended a four week course with the Heidelberg psychiatrist Prof. Carl Schneider who had a leading position in the T-4 operation. He scientifically evaluated the brains of those killed in the Hessian „Children 's Speciality Departments". In 1944, Dr. Weber was affected by pulmonary phthisis and replaced by Dr. Wesse who, from 1942 until 1943, was in charge of the Waldniel ,Children's Speciality Department ".The sentence of death against Dr. Weber in 1947 was annulled in 1948. In 1949, she was condemned to three years and six months imprisonment, but was in confinement for a only short time.

    Notice concerning the death of the child Inge B., 31 st March 1944

    The relatives of the children were always provided with false data. In order to prevent the parents from visiting the institution, the burial in a common grave often took place before the notice was sent to them.

    Report concerning the body of the child Klaus C., 10th January 1944

    Many parents worried about their children. By referring to the war situation, the authorities kept visitors away. If, however, they succeeded in attending the funeral, many of them at least sensed the crimes.

    Last letter from Emil, 11th February 1944

    last letter from emillast letter from emil

    News of Emil W.'s death, 1944

    emil death telegram