University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


  • Soldiers, Victims, Old People

    Soldiers, Victims, Old People

    Soldiers, victims of bombing, old people

    Home for old people in Köppern im Taunus (1934/35)

    In Nazi times, old people in public institutions belonged to those groups of the population for whose care the expenses had to be kept small. Homes for old people, too, had thus to he run "economically". The administrational report of the town of Frankfurt noted in a self-satisfied manner that the municipal authorities of the hospital "zum Heiligen Geist" per 1st October 1934 had also taken over the institution of Köppern. "The purpose of this agreement is to reduce the hospital allowances and thus to reduce the budget of the welfare office. Since 1st October 1934, the hospital allowance for chronically ill persons had already been reduced from 4,10 Reich Marks  to 3,70 Reich Marks  per day." 347 persons were committed to this institution.

    Sanatorium and Nursing Homes as alternate hospitals, 5th August 1942

    The sharpening of the war in the air over Germany, offered the chance to again take up the "euthanasia operation" in a big style. In order to use the mental hospitals and nursing institutions as "alternate hospitals", the inmates of the institutions that fell under these regulations were systematically transferred" to the "euthanasia" centers. Once again Dr. Karl Brandt was in charge of this operation, now in his high-ranking function as "General commissioner for public health". The assassinations were carried out as "Operation Brandt". Once again people were "transferred" in big, centrally controlled transports to the killing institutions. This new wave now also concerned inmates of homes for old people, persons that suffered from nervous break-downs due to the bombing-raids on German cities, and those who responded to the horror of war by shivering, paralysation or deaf-and-dumbness.

    Frankfurt am Main after a bombing-raid, south of the Cathedral, 1944

    Report on the transfer of Gertrud Sch. to the alternate hospital Rheinhöhe in the year 1944, 5th December 1946

    Under the "Operation Brandt" the Eichberg mental hospital took in big numbers of so-called "incurables". In 1943 half of the 1,200 patients in Eichberg consisted of this group. Totally underfed, they hardly had a chance to survive.

    Soldier Walter F, 1941

    The rifleman Walter P, born in 1908, had been committed from the reserve military hospital Hamburg Wandsbek to the Hamburg-Langenhorn mental hospital because of progressive paralysation. From there he was transported to Hadamar on 8th August 1943, where he died on 30th September from so-called "marasmus and paralysis".