Hamburg-Langenhorn (Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Hamburg Langenhorn)
The special children's ward in Hamburg-Langenhorn, which was Hamburg's
sole state facility for the mentally ill during World War II, was one
of two special children's wards in the city of Hamburg. It became
operational on February 1, 1941, but how long it operated remained unclear for a long time (see
Benzenhöfer 2008, p. 91). The medical dissertation by Dr. Marc Burlon
(2010) has now shed new light on the special children's ward.
Based on G. Aly's essay in 1984 (see below), it was believed that 12
children died in the special children's ward, which was considered not
to have been physically separated from other stations. Dr. Friedrich
Knigge (who is misidentified in G. Aly's essay as Hermann
Knigge) was responsible for the special children's ward and died in
1947. Criminal investigations against others for participating in
"euthanasia" crimes in Hamburg facilities were stopped by the
state court in 1949, and a further judicial review came to the
Dr. Burlon's research shows that Dr. Knigge received instructions from
Hamburg's health senator Dr. Friedrich Ofterdinger, who was
instrumental in the nazification of health policy in Hamburg and the
establishment of a special children's ward, on 24 January 1941 to
open up the ward, but it did not commence operation until February
1 (Burlon 2010, p. 63). The special children's ward was in fact
physically separated (Burlon 2010,
p. 66 n. 254). The chain of authority was unusual in that the special
ward was subordinate to Dr. Ofterdinger and his office. For
example, Dr. Ofterdinger signed the first death certificate of a child
killed (Burlon 2010, p. 67). The special children's ward operated until
1943 (p. 68), and the last children were admitted in early June. It
might well have been the heavy bombing attacks that led to the closure
of the ward (see p. 68). Dr. Ofterndinger died in 1956.
According to Dr. Burlon, 69 children were admitted to the special
children's ward, of whom 22
died (pp. 146-147), and 22 were transferred to other facilities (6 to
Rothenburgsort, who died there, 1 to Leipzig; 4 to the Alsterdorfer
facilities (of whom one was further transferred to the
Spiegelgrund/Vienna and died there); one to Lüneburg; and 3 to
Meseritz-Obrawalde (which had come from Rothenburgsort and of whom one
died there). The first child died in March 1941; the last one, in June
1943 (p. 146).
In 1983, on occasion of a symposium commemorating the 40th
anniversary of the deportation of children from Alsterdorfen Anstalten,
a documentation of the "euthanasia" crimes in Hamburg was published,
which also included references to the Kinderfachabteilungen in
Rothenburgsort and Langenhorn. A group of historical researchers
conducted a meeting under the title
"Healing and Killing in the Exemplary Gau Hamburg" (Heilen und
Vernichten im Mustergau Hamburg) with an exhibit in Hamburg in the same
and a book followed a year later. In it, publicist G. Aly presented the
first systematic investigation into the special children's wards in
Hamburg, including Langenhorn, which, however, was only briefly
efforts of working group attempting to address the fate of the mentally
ill in Langenhorn (thereafter the Allgemeine Krankenhaus Ochsenzoll,
now Asklepios Klinik Nord-Ochsenzoll), which included Klaus Böhme, a
student of Gerhard Schmidt (see Eglfing-Haar) and later director of the
clinic Ochsenzoll, resulted in some publications, including a book
whose publication coincided with the clinic's 100th anniversary, but it
did not address the children much.
A further initiative by the new director Dr. Claas-Hinrich Lammers and
the Stiftung Freudeskreis Ochsenzoll, a civic support group, as well as
efforts by members of Hamburg Christian Democrats in the suburb of
Ochsenzoll on occasion of the privatization of the clinic and the sale
of clinic real estate to establish a memorial site, resulted in the
dedication of a memorial stone on May 8, 2009.
The inscription reads: "During the era of National Socialism in the
euthanasia program 4,097
patients were transported from the location of this clinic to killing
centers and facilities where they
languished. 3,755 of them, among them many Jewish fellow citizens, died
in the process. In
medical trials in the Special Children's Ward twelve children were
killed. We commemorate the
victims at this place. Their fate continues to admonish us to treat
every person with dignity
(Vom Gelände dieser Klinik aus wurden während der Zeit des
Nationalsozialismus 4097 Patientinnen und Patienten im Rahmen des
nationalsozialistischen „Euthanasie-Programms“ in Tötungs- und
Verwahranstalten abtransportiert. 3755 von Ihnen, darunter viele
jüdische Mitbürgerinnen und Mitbürger, fanden dabei den Tod. Bei
medizinischen Versuchen in der Kinderfachabteilung wurden zwölf Kinder
getötet. Wir gedenken an dieser Stelle der Opfer. Ihr Schicksal bleibt
uns Mahnung zum würdevollen und achtsamen Umgang mit jedem Menschen.)
More information about the dedication, which was attended by 150
persons, is here. A commemoration in 2010 is addressed here.
Beyond the memorial stone, the Stiftung Freundeskreis Ochsenzoll plans
to establish a museum of the history of Hamburg psychiatry that
may include a section on "euthanasia" crimes. The project is called
"Mad Worlds - House of Psychiatry" (Verrückte Welten - Haus der
Psychiatrie). More information about this ambitious project is provided
The Internet site of the Asklepios clinic offered detailed information on the
dedication of the memorial, but the page and the materials have since
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und Struktur der 'NS-Kinder- und Jugendlicheneuthanasie.'" Monatsschrift für Kinderheilkunde
———. 2008. Der Fall Leipzig Leipzig
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Burlon, Marc. 2010. "Die 'Euthanasie' an Kindern während des
Nationalsozialismus in den zwei Hamburger Kinderfachabteilungen."
Medical Dissertation, University of Hamburg. Available at http://www.sub.uni-hamburg.de/opus/volltexte/2010/4578/pdf/Kindereuthanasie_Hamburg.pdf
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Nationalsozialismus, vol. 1. 2d ed. Bonn: Bundeszentrale für
politische Bildung. Available at http://www.bpb.de/files/5JOYKJ.pdf.
Rönn, Peter von. 1991. "Auf der Suche nach einem anderen Paradigma:
Überlegungen zum Verlauf der. NS-'Euthanasie' am Beispiel der Anstalt
Langenhorn." Recht und Psychiatrie
Peter von, Regina Marien-Lundeup, Michael Wunder, Eveline Sonn, Renate
Otto, Marc Billhardt, and Georg Dahmen. 1993. Wege in den Tod: Hamburgs Anstalt
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Pp. 17-54 in Kinder in der NS-Psychiatrie,
edited by Thomas Beddies and Kristina Hübener. Berlin-Brandenburg:
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und anlagebedingter schwerer Leiden': Die Ermordung minderjähriger
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