University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


  • "Euthanasia" crime in Hadamar - Page 2

    "Euthanasia" crime in Hadamar - Page 2

    Completed registration form I of the Landesheilanstalt Haina, 4th July 1942

    landeshauptmann traupels

    On 1st July 1940, all patients had to be reported to the Reich Task Force of Sanatoriums and Nursing Homes if they suffered from schizophrenia, epilepsy, syphilitic diseases, retardation, encephalitis, Huntington's chorea and other neurological diseases in their final stage. Those who had been without interruption in institutions for at least 5 years, were criminally insane, did not possess German citizenship and were not of German or related blood were also to be reported. The so-called registration form I was used to register the individual patients. Registration form 2 was designed to include general data on the situation of the hospital. The registration forms were filled out by the physicians of the hospital who used data from the medical records of the patients. The physicians usually had some information on the purpose of such inquiries. In case of refusal by the institution, the T4-headquarters appointed their own "experts".

    Landeshauptmann Traupel 's notice for the director of the Landesheilanstalt Haina to handle the registration forms in the quickest possible way, July 5th 1940

    The deadlines for completing the registration forms were very short in order to emphasize the importance of the matter and to avoid any opposing measures. The pressure of the Reich Ministry of Interior on the directors of the institutions was exercised through the state governments, the agencies of the provinces and the districts.

    Operation T-4 expert list

    More than sixty so-called medical experts were charged by the "Reichsarbeitsgemeinschaft" (Reich Task Force) with inspection of the registration forms filled out by the institutions. Their -mark or +mark (the red "+"mark resulted in a decision for "euthanasia ") was a decision for life or death of a patient they never had met. The "experts "were remunerated for the work "according to the quantity" of the forms they examined. This, between April and December 1940, one single physician "gave his opinion "on 15.000 registration forms. Nobody concerned themselves with "a most careful diagnosis ".All registration forms showing a +mark were handed over to the "Gemeinnützige Krankentransportgesellschaft" (charitable ambulance service) which provided for the "transfer" of the patients.

    T-4-Expert Friedrich Mennecke,about 1940

    Dr. Friedrich MenneckeDr. Friedrich Mennecke (1904-1947). In 1932, he joined the NSDAP and the SS; in 1936, he became a physician and in 1939, he was appointed director of the Rheingau based "Nassauische" Landesheilanstalt Eichberg. From January 1941, this institution served as an „interim facility "for the transfer of patients to the killing institution of Hadamar. From April 1941, the institution also held a so-called special branch for the killing of disabled children. It was also active in the killing of an unknown number of patients. Mennecke who since 1940 was an "expert" of "Operation T-4", also participated in the extermination procedures of "Operation 14f 13" and began, as of 1942, with the "selection" of concentration camp prisoners. At least 2,500 people fell victim to his "expert activity ". Sentenced to death in 1947, Mennecke died a short time after the judgement in the state prison of Butzbach. The cause of his death remains obscure.

    The photo has been taken from the records of the lawsuit. These records also contain the letters of Mennecke, which he sent to his wife during his "expert journeys ".

    The letters reveal a "frightening dehumanisation of the victims "(Chroust) who were described by Mennecke as "portions".

    Killing institutions under the "euthanasia programme" in the German Reich

    Until August 1941, more than 70.000 people were killed by gas in six killing institutions. The first killing institution was established in January 1940 in Grafeneck Castle near Reutlingen (until that date run as a "Cripples' Home" of the foundation of the Samaritans). Followed Brandenburg, Hartheim, Sonnenstein near Pirna and Bernburg. Hadamar was the last killing institution to be established, replacing Grafeneck.

    Contract concerning the cession of both the building and the equipment of the psychiatric hospital to the "Foundation", 8" January/15th February 1941

    The institution of the district agency Wiesbaden of the province Hesse-Nassau, established in 1883 as "Korrigendenanstalt" (Convict labour institution), became a psychiatric and educational institution in 1920. In 1939, the institution already included a reserve military hospital.

    The choice of Hadamar as a T-4-institution was obviously based on its geographical location and on the special commitment of the district unit concerning the extermination policy of the Nazis with regard to sick and disabled persons.

    On July 31st 1942, when killing by gas was stopped, the institution was returned to the district agency.

    regional mapI.13
    Hadamar and the interim institutions

    For camouflage reasons, the sick and disabled persons scheduled to be killed were "transferred" from their home institutions to so-called interim institutions. There, the patients only stayed some days and received very little food. In order to clear the way for those to be "transferred", the home patients of the interim institutions were the first ones to be killed in Hadamar.

    In the surrounding area of the Hadamar "euthanasia" - institution the authorities established interim or transit facilities. These centres served as collecting points and waiting halls for the sick people that were scheduled to be killed. By order of T-4, the institutions of origin of the mentally sick and disabled people had to transfer anybody selected to these interim institutions. From there, the busses of the "Gekrat" took the victims to Hadamar where they were killed.

    Shipment of transfer lists concerning foster-children of the Landesheilanstalten of the district agency Hesse (Kassel) by the "Gemeinnützige Krankentransportgesellschaft" (charitable ambulance service), 10th April 1941

    The "transfer" of the victims selected to leave for the "interim institutions" was one of the tasks of the district agency. In 1941, a total of 1.200 patients were transferred from the Kassel administrative district.

    Letter of the Herborn mental hospital concerning "improprieties" that occurred upon the transfer of female patients from Merxhausen, 26th May 1941