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Loben [Lubliniec] (Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Loben)


Lubliniec on a map 

The Kinderfachabteilung in Loben/Lubliniec was established in December 1941 at the latest (according to Uzarczyk 2012, in November 1941; or perhaps as early as August 1941; see Uzarczyk 2013) and continued until toward the end of 1944, possibly the first special children's ward on what today is the state of Poland. Dr. Ernst Buchalik was the clinic director and responsible for the special children's ward, and Dr. Elisabeth Hecker was the director of the pediatric psychiatric unit from where she reported children to the Reichsausschuss with negative evaluations and subsequently had them transferred to the special children's ward.

After the end of WWII, Dr. Buchalik practiced medicine in the German Democratic Republic (beginning in September 1945) before moving to West Germany in 1957 and then working at the Westfälisches Landeskrankenhaus in Niedermarsberg (itself the location of a Kinderfachabteilung in Nazi Germany - see Niedermarsberg). Dr. Hecker left Lubliniec in early 1945 for the Sudentengau and then Bavaria. She worked as country doctor, and as psychiatrist in Siegen. She then worked briefly in Niedermarsberg before becoming the first director of the Westfälische Klinik für Jugendpsychiatrie in Gütersloh (since 1965: Hamm). She retired in 1960 and received in 1979 the Federal Cross of Merit and was an honorary member of the German Society for Child and Juvenile Psychiatry before her death in 1986. The state attorney's office in Dortmund conducted investigations against both doctors from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s. The investigation was prompted by a West German acquaintance of Dr. Buchalik listing to an East German radio broadcast in which he believed that Dr. Buchalik's name was mentioned in the context of Nazi crimes in Poland. The trial proceedings were stopped in the 1970s, after two pharmacologists claimed in expert opinions that the dosages of Luminal that were administered to the children could not have been deadly.

Plan of hospital in 1911
Postcard 1909
Picture of Station B in Loben
Hotel Zamek
Station B - 2012
Station B Building in 2012
Hospital map in 1911; postcard of 1909; picture: Krupka-Matuszczyk/Bloch 1993, p. 175; http://www.zameklubliniec.pl/; private contributor.

During WWII, the clinic had a capacity of about 1,500. In 1941 Dr. Buchalik became responsible for establishing a pediatric psychiatric facility in the Loben hospital, which had two stations: A, for which Dr. Hecker became responsible, with a capacity of about 60 beds in a wing of what today is known as the castle. It was called the pediatric psychiatric clinic; its purpose was to diagnose and evaluate pediatric patients. Those who had a favorable assessment were transferred to other facilities, whereas those who were considered beyond therapy (therapieunfähig) were transferred to station B. Station B was not located on the clinic premises but rather in an outlying estate building (Vorwerksgebäude) close by. Station B was the location where the children were poisoned. The castle has been extensively renovated and operates as a hotel today (http://www.zameklubliniec.pl/), whereas the building for station B is a private residence.

Luminal booklet LobenSource: Moska, p. 113

Page from Luminal booklet Loben Source: Moska, p. 113

Right after the war a medical booklet was discovered ("Medizin Kinder-Abt. B," or the "Luminalbuch") that contained the dosages of barbiturates given to children in station B (for the period from 15 August 1942 to 31 October 1941), of whom all or almost all were very likely children of the Reichsausschussverfahren. It must be emphasized that the booklet does not contain a complete record of all children of the Kinderfachabteilung. Polish physicians Dr. Marxen and Dr. Latynski reported at the time that 235 children from ages up to 14 were listed in the booklet, of whom 221 had died (likely from poisoning).

As part of a more extensive investigation of the Regional Commission for Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Katowice in the late 1960s, P. Lisiewicz reported the number of 194 deaths of 256 patients contained in the booklet. For 151 of the dead children, a detailed analysis of the extant records were conducted to establish their cause of death. The report contained toxicological analyses of luminal poisoning and showed that a far lower dosage was contained in the medical records than in the booklet. For example, the medical records for Marianna N. showed for 16 January 1943 (she died on that day) a dosage of .1 grams of Luminal, whereas the Luminal booklet showed the actual dosage as .4 grams, or four times the dosages recommended for her body weight. The report also notes that specimens of the dead children had been sent to the Neurological Research Institute in Breslau, to be examined by Dr. Hans-Joachim Scherer (see also Kinderfachabteilung Breslau). The German state prosecutor arrived at the following figures: 244 children, of whom 186 died (Dahl 2002, p. 106 n. 26).

On occasion of the 60th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland and the beginning of the murder of mental patients in Poland, the Polish Psychiatric Association held a special session at the 36th Congress of Polish Psychiatrists and published a two-volume book, the second of which contained the names of patients who had died during the war. A list of 293 dead pediatric patients, with their names and the dates of their births, is, given in Zdzisław Jaroszewski, ed., 1989. Pacjenci i pracownicy szpitali psychiatrycznych w Polsce zamordowani przez okupanta Hitlerowskiego i los tych szpitali w latach 1939-1945. Vol. 2: Imienne wykazy zamordowanych. The earliest admissions to the hospital are recorded for 1940, and the first death is recorded for mid November 1941. A few deaths occured as late as into March 1945.
victims at Loben Source: Jaroszewski, p. 379.

In the first volume of this book, a summary of the events by Dr.  Bloch is provided based on the accounts by Marxen/Latynski and Lisiewicz. The number of dead children given as 275 may be a reading error of the figure (235) provided by Marxen/Latynski. The same account, authored by Drs. Krupka-Matuszczyk and Bloch, is provided in a 1993 Polish-German publication based on vol. 1.

The list of 293 dead pediatric patients, with their names and the dates of their births, is, given in Zdzisław Jaroszewski, ed., 1989. Pacjenci i pracownicy szpitali psychiatrycznych w Polsce zamordowani przez okupanta Hitlerowskiego i los tych szpitali w latach 1939-1945. Vol. 2: Imienne wykazy zamordowanych. The earliest admissions to the hospital are recorded for 1940, and the first death is recorded for mid November 1941. A few deaths occurred as late as into March 1945. Additional possible 14 dead children are identified by name in Szwajca, although one died in 1940, and is unlikely to have been part of the Reichsausschussverfahren.

In 1994, C. Penselin, the daughter of V. v. Weizsäcker, whose name as the head of the Neurological Research Institute (Otfrid Foerster Institut) of the University of Breslau (today: Wroclaw) had been linked to medical examinations of child victims from Lubliniec in Liesiwicz's report in 1970, reported that 294 medical records remain extant and that 209 pathology reports (based on brain and spinal cord samples of these children) signed by Dr. Hans-Joachim Scherer had been found in them. Similar information was provided in Peiffer (2007, p 70).

C. Szwajca corrected the list of 293 dead children in 2000. According to his review of victims' medical records at the hospital, four names had been included among them by mistake, but he also found 13 additional victims (p. 28), which would bring the number of dead children to 302.

According to U. Benzenhöfer (2007a; see also 2007b), based on his inquiries and those of historian D. Schulze, the Luminal booklet contains 239 patients, and  292 medical records are extant (but not including those found by Szwajca), and copies of more of 220 notes (by Hecker et al.) to Dr. Scherer on shipments of specimens to his institute. Overall, the number of victims is estimated to be "certainly over 200."
 
The clinic's name today is Wojewódzki Szpital Neuropsychiatryczny im dr. Emila Cyrana. Its website has a history section, where it is only mentioned that between 1939 and 1945 the clinic was under German authority.
Loben clinic Google Earth
map lubliniec
Source: author.

In the cemetery of the clinic there is a monument to the victims, which includes a sign at the entrance ot the cemetery, a plaque and a cross. The cross was erected in 2002. The plaque underneath the cross reads: "Grave for the 194 child victims of experiments carried out by the Nazis in 1942-1944 in the Hospital for the Mentally Ill in Lubliniec. They will remain in our memory" (MOGIlA 194 DZIECI OFIAR EKSPERYMENTU PRZEPROWADZONEGO PRZEZ HITLEROWCÓW W LATACH 1942-1944 W SZPITALU DLA NERWOWO I PSYCHICZNIE CHORYCH W LUBLIŃCU. POZOSTANĄ W NASZEJ PAMIĘCI). Pictures taken after All Saints/All Souls day in Nov. 2009 shows the commemoration that took place on the site. A more recent picture (May 2010) is also included.

cemetery sign
cross lubliniec 1
cross lubliniec
plaque at cross
Picture of Loben memorial 1a Picture of Loben memorial 2a
Sources: author; https://www.katowice.uw.gov.pl/pics/miejsca_pamieci/lubliniec/lubliniec-14.jpg; private contributor.

Dr. Hecker's activities became the topic of an exhibit conceived by Wilfried Huck in 2001 (see exhibits).

In 2009/2010 a local school class took on the task of memorializing the children as a project.

A publication in 2013 (Haack et al. 2013) addresses "children's euthanasia" at Loben on the basis of surviving patients' records housed in the Bundesarchiv Lichterfelde (BArch R96/1, six appendices). There are about 30 children mentioned in these records. Additional information about two children is contained is a complementary essay (Haack and Kumbier 2013). A lecture by Kamila Uzarczyk (2013) provides further information, especially on the testing of children and the network of institutions of which Loben was a part.


Literature


Publications by Polish authors in chronological order

Marxen, Kazimiera, and Hipolit Latynski. [1945] 1949. "Dane ze sposobów leczenia dzieci, uposledzonych umy-slowo, na Oddziale B przy Klinice Dzieciecej w Zakladzie Psychiatrycznym w Lublincu, które to leczenie mozna traktowac jako eutanazje." Rocznik Psychiatryczny 37(1):113-16. (Note: this is a lecture first read in 1945)

Biuletyn Glownej Komisji Badania zbrodni niemieckich w polsce, vol. 3 (1947), p. 105.

Barteczko, Pawel. 1969. "Sanatorium Smierci." Trybuna Robotnicza no. 229 (7976), 26 September.

Rutkowski, Jan. 1969. "Bylem w 'sanatorium smierci.'" Trybuna Robotnicza no. 232 (7979), 30 September.

Lisiewicz, Pawel. 1970. "'Casus Buchalik': Jako zagadnienie unicestwiania dzieci w zakladzie psychiatryczym na terenie Lublinca." Zeszyty Naukowe (ed. Slaski Instytut Naukowy) 30: 187-91.

Moska, Dionizy. 1975. "Eksterminacja w zakladzie 'Loben.'" Przeglad Lekarski 32(1): 112-4.

Lisiewicz, Pawel. 1980. "Zbrodnie na dzieciach i młodzieży popełnione w szpitalu psychiatrycznym w Lublińcu." Pp. 589-95 in Zbrodnie i sprawcy: Ludobójstwo hitlerowskie przed sądem ludzkości i historii, edited by Czeslaw Pilichowski. Warsaw: Panstwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe.

Hrabar, Roman, Zofia Tokarz, and Jacek E. Wilczur. 1981. "In der 'Jugend-Psychiatrischen Klinik' in Lubliniec begangene Verbrechen an Kindern und Jugendlichen." Pp. 176-79 in Kinder im Krieg: Krieg gegen die Kinder: Die Geschichte der polnischen Kinder, 1939-1945. Hamburg: Rowohlt.

Bloch, Włodzimierz. 1989. "Lubliniec." Pp. 70-3 in Pacjenci i pracownicy szpitali psychiatrycznych w Polsce zamordowani przez okupanta Hitlerowskiego i los tych szpitali w latach 1939-1945. Vol. 1: Szpitale, edited by Zdzislaw Jaroszewski. Warsaw: n. p.

Jaroszewski, Zdzisław, ed. 1989. Pacjenci i pracownicy szpitali psychiatrycznych w Polsce zamordowani przez okupanta Hitlerowskiego i los tych szpitali w latach 1939-1945. Vol. 1: Szpitale. Vol. 2: Imienne wykazy zamordowanych. Warsaw: n. p.

Krupka-Matuszczyk, Irena; and Wlodzimierz Bloch. 1993. "Lubliniec: Schlesisches Psychiatrisches Krankenhaus." Pp. 170-75 in Die Ermordung der Geisteskranken in Polen, 1939-1945, edited by Zdzislaw Jaroszewski. Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN.

Szwajca, Krzysztof. 2000. "Eksterminacja dzieci w szpitalu psychiatrycznym w Lublincu w latach 1942-1945." Szkice Lublinieckie 5: 24-30.

Nasierowski, Tadeusz. 2006. "In the Abyss of Death: The Extermination of the Mentally Ill in Poland During World War II." International Journal of Mental Health 35(3):50-61.

———. 2008. Zagłada osób z zaburzeniami psychicznymi w okupowanej Polsce: Początek ludobójstwa. Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Neriton, pp. 160-5.

Janusz, Michał. 2007. "Sanatorium pod swastyką." Ziemia Lubliniecka 48/49: 22. Available at http://www.lubliniec.starostwo.gov.pl/zalaczniki/ziemia_kw_2.pdf

Kulesza, Witold. 2010. "'Euthanasie'-Morde an polnischen Psychiatriepatient/innen während des Zweiten Weltkriegs." Pp. 175-78 in Die nationalsozialistische "Euthanasie"-Aktion "T4" und ihre Opfer: Geschichte und ethische Konsequenzen für die Gegenwart, edited by Maike Rotzoll, Gerrit Hohendorf, Petra Fuchs, Paul Richter, Christoph Mundt, Wolfgang U. Eckart. Paderborn: Schöningh.

Uzarczyk, Kamila. 2012. "Niechciane dzieci nazizmu: eugeniczna eutanazja w Dziecięcej Klinice Psychiatrycznej w Lublińcu (1942-1944)". Problemy współczesnej tanatologii.

Uzarczyk, Kamila. 2013. ""'Der Kinderfachabteilung vorzuschlagen': Psychological examination of children at the Jugendpsychiatrische Klinik Loben." Lecture at the symposium "Reassessing Nazi Human Experiments and Coerced Research, 1933-1945: New Findings, Interpretations and Problems," 4 - 7 July 2013, Wadham College, Oxford. Available here: http://www.pulse-project.org/node/576

Other authors


Benzenhöfer, Udo. 2003. "Genese und Struktur der 'NS-Kinder- und Jugendlicheneuthanasie.'" Monatsschrift für Kinderheilkunde 151: 1012-1019.

———. 2007a. Der Arztphilosoph Viktor von Weizsäcker: Leben und Werk im Überblick. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

———, and Wilhelm Rimpau. 2007b. "Introduction to Viktor von Weizsäcker, ''Euthanasia' and Experiments on Human Beings [Part I: 'Euthansia'].'" Pp. 277-84 in Human Sacrifice in Jewish and Christian Tradition, edited by Karin Finsterbusch, Armin Lange, and K.F. Diethard Römheld. Leiden: Brill.

Dahl, Matthias. 2003. "Dr. Elisabeth Hecker (1895-1986): Verdienste als Kinder- und Jugendpsychiaterin einerseits – Beteiligung an der Ausmerzung Behinderter anderseits." Praxis der Kinderpsychologie und Kinderpsychiatrie 52: 98-108.

Haack, Kathleen, Frank Haessler, and Ekkehardt Kumbier. 2013. "'Irgend eine angenehme Seite ist bei dem Jungen nicht zu entdecken: Aspekte der 'Kindereuthanasie' in Schlesien." Praxis der Kinderpsychologie und Kinderpsychiatrie 62: 391-404.

Haack, Kathleen, and Ekkehardt Kumbier. 2013. "Verbrechen an Kindern und Jugendlichen in der NS-Zeit." Zeitschrift für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie und Psychotherapie 41: 12-19.

Huck, Wilfried. 2001. "'Wunden der Erinnerung': Eine künstlerische Annäherung an das Phänomen 'Kindereuthanasie' am Beispiel von Elisabeth Hecker, Erste Direktorin der Westfälischen Klinik für Jugendpsychiatrie, Gütersloh, ab 1965 Hamm." Mitteilungen des Landesjugendamts Westfalen 146:67-76.

Peiffer, Jürgen. 1997. Hirnforschung im Zwielicht: Beispiele verführbarer Wissenschaft aus der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus: Julius Hallervorden - H.-J. Scherer - Berthold Ostertag. Husum: Matthiesen Verlag.

Penselin, Cora. 1994. "Bemerkungen zu den Vorwürfen, Viktor von Weizsäcker sei in die nationalsozialistische Vernichtungspolitik verstrikt gewesen." Pp. 123-37 in Anthropologische Medizin und Sozialmedizin im Werk von Viktor von Weizsäckers, edited by Udo Benzenhöfer. Frankfurt: Lang.

Schulze, Dietmar. 2010. "'Euthanasie'-Verbrechen in Oberschlesien." Pp. 179-83 in Die nationalsozialistische "Euthanasie"-Aktion "T4" und ihre Opfer: Geschichte und ethische Konsequenzen für die Gegenwart, edited by Maike Rotzoll, Gerrit Hohendorf, Petra Fuchs, Paul Richter, Christoph Mundt, Wolfgang U. Eckart. Paderborn: Schöningh.

Topp, Sascha. 2004. “Der ‘Reichsausschuss zur wissenschaftlichen Erfassung erb- und anlagebedingter schwerer Leiden’: Zur Organisation der Ermordung minderjähriger Kranker im Nationalsozialismus 1939-1945.” Pp. 17-54 in Kinder in der NS-Psychiatrie, edited by Thomas Beddies and Kristina Hübener. Berlin-Brandenburg: Be.bra Wissenschaft.

———. 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.


Last updated: 14 July 2014