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Stadtroda (Thüringische Landesheilanstalten Stadtroda, after Feb. 1943 Thüringisches Landeskrankenhaus Stadtroda)

Map of Stadtroda
The Kinderfachabteilung in Stadroda was established in October 1942 at the latest (as the only such ward in what today is the state of Thuringia) and continued to operate until the end of World War II. The clinic's medical director was Dr. Gerhard Kloos, and the physician responsible for the "special children's ward" was Dr. Margarete Hielscher. Dr. Kloos continued his medical career after the war in West Germany until his retirement in 1968. He died in 1968. Even though the Stasi discovered her involvement in the killing as perpetrator, Dr. Hielscher received political protection in the East German Republic, where she served as director of the pediatric section of neuro-psychiatry at Stadtroda until her retirement in 1965. She died in 1985.

It has been estimated that 133 children died in the special children's ward in Stadtroda. However, even before the establishment of the ward, at least 70 children died either because life-saving treatment was withheld or were killed through medication.

These figures established in the research of S. Zimmermann and R. Renner have been indirectly called into question by the physicians J. Kasper and M. Lembke, who in the context of a book commissioned by the state medical association, whose apparent purpose is to exculpate the physician Jussuf Ibrahim in regard to his involvement in Euthanasia, interpret medical evidence in a way that arrives at very conservative figures.

The Kinderfachabteilung was housed in the historic Martinshaus, which has been torn down since.

Historic picture of the Martinshaus Picture of Martinshaus today
Picture of memorial 1 Picture of memorial 2 2008 commemoration
Source: author; http://maik-nothnagel.de/images/PDF/stadtroda.pdf

In the post-WW II period, the author on occasion of the 100th anniversary of the institution in 1948 merely notes a "high mortality" for the war years but makes no mention of the role of Stadtroda in "euthanasia" crimes (Buchda 1948: 49). When in the 1960s the clinic director informed the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (Stasi) that medical records point to "euthanasia" crimes at the site during the Nazi years, and further investigations by the Stasi substantiated these charges, the records were sealed in an archive and no persecution took place.

In 1985 K. Masuhr and G. Aly published a detailed expose on the crimes of Dr. Kloos in Stadtroda; it also included details on the involvement on Dr. Hielscher as well as the University Children's clinic's role in sending children to Stadtroda. State authorities in East Germany began anew to look into the matter but still did not pursue a persecution (see Aly 2000); however, in 1986, the then-director of the pediatric section of neuro-psychiatry at the facility, S. Köhler, in a public lecture on occasion of the 100-year anniversary of the existence of this section not only described the "children's euthanasia" action at Stadtroda but also mentioned Dr. Hielscher's murderous involvement and post-war career at the facility (as one of her predecessors) - an unusual acknowledgement in East Germany at the time. S. Zimmermann and G. Wieland presented a further short overview on medical crimes against children in 1989. Subsequent interrogations have shed more light on the subject matter, including the role of the once-esteemed pediatrician Dr. Jussuf Ibrahim (here) and the cover-up by the Stasi (Wanitschke 2005).

The Arbeitskreis zur Erforschung der Geschichte der NS-"Euthanasie" und der Zwangssterilisation (Working Group for Research on the History of NS-"Euthanasia" and Compulsory Sterilization) met in Stadtroda in 1997. Several contributions to the conference addressed the history of the medical crimes during the Nazi period there.
 
In 1998 a memorial created by Karola Nitz was dedicated in the park of the Landesfachkrankenhaus für Psychiatrie und Neurologie, with support from the directors of the clinic and the association of mental patients "Die Brücke" (The Bridge). The archway symbolizes the gate of the clinic through which people were sent to die, and the book addresses the history of the institution and serves as a warning. The inscription reads: "In memory of the patients of this hospital who between 1941 and 1945 fell victim to the murderous actions under Nazi rule." The historical chronicle on the website of the clinic (no longer available) referred vaguely to "inhumane violence" that was perpetrated between 1933 and 1945.

It does not appear that commemorative events take place on site on a regular basis, but in 2008 a commission of the state diet visited the clinic and laid a wreath (see here).

An extensive exhibition "Transport in den Tod" (transfer to death) also commemorates the past events (see exhibitions).

In 2012, the teacher-in-training M. Salomon carried out activities with students in a local school to study "euthanasia" crimes in Stadtroda (see Salomon 2012).


Literature

Aly, Götz. "Menschenfreund und Mordgehilfe." Berliner Zeitung 4 May 2000.

Arbeitskreis zur Erforschung der Geschichte der NS-"Euthanasie" und der Zwangssterilisation, ed. 1997. Herbsttagung 1997 in Stadtroda. N.p.: Arbeitskreis zur Erforschung der Geschichte der NS-"Euthanasie" und der Zwangssterilisation. Available at http://gedenkort-t4.eu/de/gegenwart/arbeitskreis (see link there).

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

Breidbach, Olaf et al. 2000. "Bericht der Kommission 'Kinderklinik Jussuf Ibrahim.'" Available at http://www.uni-jena.de/unijenamedia/ibrahim.pdf

Buchda, Gerhard. 1948. Das Landeskrankenhaus in Stadtroda 1848-1948: Festschrift zur Erinnerung an das hunderj
ährige Bestehn der Anstalt. Stadtroda: n.p.

Kasper, Johannes M. 2008. "Die nationalsozialistische Kindereuthanasie in Stadtroda: Ein Beitrag anhand von Krankenakten aus neurop
ädiatrischer Sicht." Pp. 171-96 in Menschliche Verantwortung gestern und heute: Beiträge und Reflexionen zum nationalsozialistischen Euthanasie-Geschehen in Thüringen und zur aktuellen Sterbedebatte, edited by Eggert Beleites. Jena: Landesärztekammer Thüringen.

Köhler, Susanne. 1986. "Von der Blödenanstalt zur klinischen Abteilung für Kinderneuropsychiatrie (100 Jahre Kinderneupsychiatrie Stadtroda)." Public lecture in Stadtroda on 7 April 1986.

Lemke, Sebastian. 2008. "22 Stadtrodaer Kinderschicksale: Fakten aus der Sicht eines Klinikers." Pp. 197-222 in Menschliche Verantwortung gestern und heute: Beitr
äge und Reflexionen zum nationalsozialistischen Euthanasie-Geschehen in Thüringen und zur aktuellen Sterbedebatte, edited by Eggert Beleites. Jena: Landesärztekammer Thüringen.

Masuhr, Karl F, and Götz Aly. 1985. "Der diagnostische Blick des Gerhard Kloos." Pp. 81-105 in Reform und Gewissen: "Euthanasie" im Dienst des Fortschritts, by Götz Aly et al. Berlin: Rotbuch Verlag.

Platz, Wolfram E., and Volkmar Schneider, eds. 2008. Dokumente einer Tötungsanstalt: "In den Anstalten gestorben." Part 2. Berlin. Hentrich & Hentrich.

Renner, Renate. 2004. "Zur Geschichte der Thüringer Landesheilanstalten/des Thüringer Landeskrankenhauses Stadtroda 1933 bis 1945 unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der nationalsozialistischen 'Euthanasie.'" M.D. Diss., Medical College, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena.

Salomon, Michael. 2012."'Euthanasie in Thüringen – die systematische Vernichtung von Minderheiten' – eine aktive Auseinandersetzung mit Erinnerungskultur am Beispiel der Fachklinik und Gemeinde Stadtroda im Nationalsozialismus zur weiteren Entwicklung der historischen Selbst- und Sachkompetenz einer 9. Klasse der Regelschule." Zweite Staatsexamensarbeit, Staatliches Studienseminar für Lehrerausbildung Gera, Lehramt an Regelschulen (Thesis in preparation for becoming a history teacher).

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.

Wanitschke, Matthias, ed. 2005. Archivierter Mord: Der SED-Staat und die NS-"Euthanasie"-Verbrechen in Stadtroda. Erfurt: Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Thüringen.

Zimmermann, Susanne, ed. 2007. Überweisung in den Tod: Nationalsozialistische "Kindereuthanasie" in Thüringen. Erfurt: Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Thüringen.

Zimmermann, Susanne and G. Wieland. 1989. "Die Kinderfachabteilung Stadroda/Thüringen unter der Leitung des Psychiaters Gerhard Kloos: Ein Beispiel der faschistischen Vernichtungspolitik  'lebensunwerten Lebens.'" Pp. 213-16 in Das Schicksal der Medizin im Faschismus, edited by A. Thom and S. M. Rapoport. Berlin: VEB Verlag Volk und Gesundheit.

Last updated: 7 August 2013