Graz (Gau Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Graz Am Feldhof)
The Kinderfachabteilung in Graz existed between late 1941 or early 1942
the second one of two in Austria) and 1945. The special children's ward
was not physically separated on the site of the clinic.
The director of
the women's department, Dr. Hans Machan, had many of the children in
his department (C2), and Dr. Peter Korp, who was responsible for the
"training department," located in the satellite facility Kainbach until
summer 1942 and afterwards in castle Pertlstein, also treated children
in C2. These two physicians were assisted by Dr. Josefine Herrmann and
from 1943 on Dr. Gabriele Eder. Dr. Ernst Sorger was likely involved in
the treatment of older male children and youths belonging to the
special children's ward in the men's department (stations B). After the death of clinic director Dr.
Oskar Begusch, who had been involved in establishment of a special
children's ward at the clinic in mid 1944 and may have also been
involved in individual killings until then, Dr. Sorger
served as the clinic's director. The director of the nursing
department D, Dr. Hans Mayr, may also have been involved in the killing of children.
At the beginning of 1942 the number of deaths among children
and youths increased significantly. By the end of April 1945 225 children
(Freidl et al. 2006, p. 37) had died.
After the state attorney's office in Graz conducted
investigations concerning the deportation of Graz patients in the
context of T4 and the killing of disabled children toward the end of
the war, the blame fell solely on Dr. Sorger, who had committed
suicide, and the investation was dropped. Murders that were part of the
euthanasia" were not investigated. Drs. Korp and Hermann assumed
leading positions at the clinic after WWII.
Commemoration began with the activities of the historians and
film maker Peter Nausner, who in the 1980s began reporting on Nazi
"euthanasia" murders, without receiving support or assistance from the
clinic's leadership. Only when Dr. Danzinger became the new medical
director in 1996 did this picture begin to change significantly, and Dr. Danzinger
became involved in research on these past events. A working group
euthanasia memorial formed, which, as reported by Brigitte Kepplinger,
conceived of a dual place of commemoration: one that focused on the
victims, to be established in the park of the Landesnervenklinik Sigmund Freud Graz (the clinic's
name today), and one that focused on providing information at the
university of Graz in a display (along with a further scientific
analysis and documentation of the euthanasia crimes, by Thomas
Oehlschläger). At the time Graz was the last (major) state psychiatric facility without a memorial.
far only the first aspect of this plan for commemoration has been
realized. A "living memorial" in the form of a garden by the landscape
architect Janos Koppandy and a dual stelae that includes a plaque with
the inscription "In memory of the far more than 1,000
patients who were murdered in 1939-1945, during National Socialism,"
was established in March 2006. The gaze of the visitor, as intended by
the architect, from one of the two benches is directed to an ensemble
of aspens, bushes with red branches, and a copper beach, or
literally "bloody beach" (Blut-Buche), located at the place whence
patients were transferred out to their death. As Brigitte Keplinger
notes, neither place nor perpetrators are mentioned on the display, and
the living memorial's landscape is neither self-explanatory nor
explicated somewhere to the visitor. Nor it is mentioned anywhere, one
might add, that the murders took place on site, and that in the case of
child euthanasia, victims were transferred to the facility specifically for that purpose.
The clinic's website addresses this memorial but does not refer to "child euthanasia" in particular. The clinic map does not show the memorial. On site, there are no regular commemorations.
There is an exhibit on NS-Euthanasia in the Steiermark, which included a temporary memorial (see exhibits).
Benzenhöfer, Udo. 2003. "Genese und Struktur der
'NS-Kinder- und Jugendlicheneuthanasie.'" Monatsschrift für Kinderheilkunde
151: 1012-19.Freidl, Wolfgang, Birgit Poier, Thomas Oelschläger, and Rainer
Danzinger. 2006. "The Fate of Psychiatric Patients During the Nazi
in Styria/Austria: Part I: German-Speaking Styria." International Journal of Mental Health 35(3): 30-40.
Hainzl, Joachim. 2000/2001. "Vergessene Opfer, gefeierte Täter: NS-Euthanasie in der Steiermark" I/II. korso (here and here).
Kepplinger, Brigitte. 2008. "Gedenkstätten für die Opfer der NS-Euthanasie in Österreich." Pp. 549-99 in Tötungsanstalt
Hartheim, 2nd ed., edited by Brigitte
Kepplinger, Gerhart Marckhgott, and Hartmut Reese. Linz: Oberösterreichisches Landesarchiv.
Oehlschläger, Thomas. 2001. "Zur Geschichte der 'Kinderfachabteilung' des 'Reichsgau Steiermark.'" Pp. 119-35 in Medizin und Nationalsozialismus in der Steiermark, edited by Wolfgang Freidl, Alois Kernbauer, Richard Horst Noack, and Werner Sauer. Innsbruck: StudienVerlag.Poier, Birgit. 2003. "NS-Euthanasie in der Steiermark." Österreichische Pflegezeitschrift 11: 29-32. Available here.
———. 2003. "Zur Praxis der NS-Kinder-'Euthanasie' am Beispiel Österreichs." Monatsschrift Kinderheilkunde 10: 1033-42.
2009. "NS-Euthanasie in der Steiermark." Public lecture at the
conference "NS-Herrschaft in der Steiermark" (28-30 January 2009).
Topp, Sascha. 2004. “Der
wissenschaftlichen Erfassung erb- und anlagebedingter schwerer Leiden’:
Organisation der Ermordung minderjähriger Kranker im
Pp. 17-54 in Kinder in der NS-Psychiatrie,
edited by Thomas Beddies and Kristina Hübener. Berlin-Brandenburg:
———. 2005. "Der
'Reichsausschuß zur wissenschaftlichen Erfassung erb- und
anlagebedingter schwerer Leiden': Die Ermordung minderjähriger Kranker
im Nationalsozialismus 1939-1945." Master's Thesis in History,
University of Berlin..