Stuttgart (Städtische Kinderkrankenhäuser und Kinderheime Stuttgart)

  Stuttgart on a map

Current historical scholarship (see Topp 2004, 2005; also Benzenhöfer 2000) establishes the existence of a Kinderfachabteilung in Stuttgart beginning January 1943 at the latest (in early 1943: Marquart 2014b) until at least July 1944, if not the end of WWII. The Städtische Kinderheime und Kinderkrankenhäuser in Stuttgart consisted of a complex of several associated children's hospitals and homes and had their administrative headquarters in the Birkenwaldstr. 10. The special children's ward was not physically separated from other wards but rather spread out over several facilities. Dr. Karl Lempp was the clinic's director (he was also the city's deputy director of the municipal public health department), and Dr. Magdalene Schütte was responsible for the special children's ward.

map of Birkenwaldstr.
picture of Tuerlenstr.
picture of entrance

Source: author.

Even though after WWII the American military government in Stuttgart in 1946 suspected Dr. Lempp "of having been involved in eliminating people with hereditary disorders in collaboration with Dr. Stähle [as assistant secretary responsible for medical affairs in the Ministry of the Interior  in Wurttemberg],“ his proceedings before a German denazification tribunal (Spruchkammerverfahren) resulted in his classification of a "Mitläufer" (passive follower), the second-lowest category on a five-item scale of culpability. The committee saw it as "proven that he had not been involved in the extermination of unworthy life." In 1948 both Dr. Lempp and Dr. Schütte provided testimony in the investigation of the state prosecutor leading up to the Grafeneck trial at the Landgericht Tübingen in 1949 against Dr. Stähle and Dr. Mauthe (the former's highest medical deputy in the Ministry of the Interior), in which the court held that after preliminary communications in November 1942 between the two and Dr. Hans Hefelmann and Richard von Hegener of the Reichsausschuss about establishing a special children's ward in Wurttemberg, the involved parties "ultimately refrained from doing so," although the court established that 93 children were transferred to special children's wards outside of Wurttemberg (Bauer, p. 94). Thereafter Dr. Lempp remained deputy director of the municipal public health department until 1949 and was director of the municipal children's clinic until 1950, at year when he retired. He died in 1960. Dr. Schütte worked as a pediatrician in private practice in Aalen until 1946 and was also the head physician of the children's department of the regional hospital in Aalen between 1947 and 1966, when she became the head physician at the new children's hospital before retiring in 1967. In 1963 the state attorney's office in Stuttgart conducted investigations against Dr. Schütte, which were terminated in the same year. She died in 1980.

While Ernst Klee, Udo Benzenhöfer, Sascha Topp, and Karl-Horst Marquart in their research have argued for the existence of a special children's ward, Rolf Königstein (2004) has strongly denied it. He documents the above investigations and events and finds them to be exculpatory, even in regard to the fact that at the time of the investigations against Dr. Schütte in 1963, it had become known that she had signed on 30 June 1944 a request for Luminal from Dr. Widmann at the KTI (Topp 2005, p. 55. n. 272; with reference to BAB, R58/1059, Bl. 64). He finds Dr. Schütte's assertion credible that such requests were made to deceive the Reichsausschuss, and he notes that neither Dr. Lempp nor other clinic personnel received Sonderzuwendungen (special allocations for their involvement in the killing; Königstein, p. 473). He does not mention, however, that such a deception is not known to have been asserted as a defense of the charge of collaboration with the Reichsausschuss in this matter in any other similar circumstance, nor has it been found credible by other scholars, and he does not seem to be aware of the fact that not all of the directors of clinics with special children's wards and their head physicians received such special allocations.

Moreover, Peter Sandner (p. 536) reports that Dr. Schütte requested, after consultation with Richard von Hegener [of the Reichsausschuss], in early 1943 to visit Eichberg "in order to get to learn its methods of treatment." Eichberg, like Brandenburg-Görden, not only was the location of a Kinderfachabteilung but also doubled up as training facility where new "euthanasia" physicians could learn their trade. Furthermore, a document collected by the State Attorney's office in Gera in its investigations against physician Rosemarie Albrecht in the context of "euthanasia" in Stadtroda (in Platz/Schneider, p. 81) shows a correspondence from the Reichsausschuss to the public health department of a city in Baden about a child to be admitted to the Städtisches Kinderkrankenhaus und Kinderheim in Stuttgart, Birkenwaldstr. 10. This is done on the standard letter form; no incidence is known in which a special children's ward was noted on such a form that did not actually exist. The document also alludes to the possibility that when the state attorney's office explored the involvement of public health departments in Wurttemberg in children's euthanasia in 1948-49, it may not have taken account of the possibility that children from territories adjacent to Wurttemberg were admitted to the Kinderfachabteilung Stuttgart. In this context it should be noted that for another clinic with a similar arrangement, i.e., a formally open hospital with a decentralized killing ward whose children blended in easily with the general hospital population, Dortmund-Aplerbeck, post-war investigations erroneously concluded that no children's ward had existed when in fact, as was discovered in the late 1980s, such a ward did exist and the death of 162 children remains unexplained.

letter of the Reichsausschuss Source: Platz/Schneider, p. 81.

The most convincing evidence for the existence of a Kinderfachabteilung in Stuttgart has been marshaled by the physician Dr. Marquart (2008, 2009, 2011a-d). Based on his analysis of 506 extant death certificates of children who died in the children's hospital between January 1943 and the end of April 1945, he finds 52 suspicious deaths of children diagnosed with severe innate disorders (he arrives at a more conservative figure, 46 children, in a more recent publication [Marquart 2014b] - but for which no causal relation to their death can be established. One third of the children died of pneumonia, a typical result of poisoning with Luminal. The death certificate was sometimes signed with a fake name.

For a long time, apart from a recent stumbling block in Stuttgart-Vaihingen for Gerhard Durner, a child victim of "children's euthanasia" who died at the Eichberg facility, there was no commemoration of children's euthanasia in Stuttgart - a city that harbored so many Nazi luminaries and profiteers. A grandson of Dr. Lempp even threatened legal action against Dr. Marquart and the publisher of the book Stuttgarter NS-Täter.

Picture of Gerda
Stumbling block for Gerda Metzger
Source: http://www.kontextwochenzeitung.de/pulsschlag/110/vertuschter-kindsmord-432.html; author

In 2013 a stumbling block was placed for the child victim Gerda Metzger, who had spastic diplegia (known as Little's disease), in front of the building that housed the special children's ward. A youtube video is available: http://youtu.be/HoioDFctXbM?. More information about the victim - who, as a highly usual case, is reported to have been abducted by a physician and taken to the Kinderfachabteilung, where she died on the next day - can be found here and here.

A series of commemorative events took place in November 2013 (see here), which included the DGKJ exhibit "In memory of the children."


Bauer, Fritz et al., eds. 1968-1981. Justiz und NS-Verbrechen: Sammlung deutscher Strafurteile wegen nationalsozialistischer Tötungsverbrechen, 1945-1966. Amsterdam: University Press Amsterdam. Vol. 5, p. 87ff.

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

Ellerbrock, Dagmar. 2004. "Healing Democracy" - Demokratie als Heilmittel: Gesundheit, Krankheit und Politik in der amerikanischen Besatzungszone 1945-1949. Bonn: Dietz. Available here: https://pub.uni-bielefeld.de/luur/download?func=downloadFile&recordOId=2435135&fileOId=2479204

"Karl Lempp." In Wikipedia.de. At http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Lempp.

Königstein, Rolf. 2004. "Nationalsozialistischer „Euthanasie“-Mord in Baden und Württemberg." Zeitschrift für Württembergische Landesgeschichte 63:381-489.

Marquart, Karl-Horst. 2008. "Gab es in Stuttgart eine 'Kinderfachabteilung'?" Paper presented at the Frühjahrstagung des Arbeitskreises zur Erforschung der nationalsozialistischen 'Euthanasie' und Zwangssterilisation, Grafeneck, June 2008.

———. 2009. "Karl Lemp: Verantwortlich für Zwangssterilisierungen und 'Kindereuthanasie.'" Pp. 100-7 in Stuttgarter NS-Täter: Vom Mitläufer bis zum Massenmörder, edited by Hermann G. Abmayr. Stuttgart: Schmetterling Verlag. Available here.

———. 2011a. "Die Stuttgarter Opfer der NS-'Kindereuthanasie.'"Pp. 110-18 in Verlegt: Krankenmorde 1940-1941 am Beispiel der Region Stuttgart, edited by Elke Martin. Stuttgart: Verlag Peter Grohmann.

———. 2011b. "Obermedizinalrat Karl Lempp, verantwortlich für Zwangssterilisierungen und die 'Euthanasie' von Kindern." Pp. 124-32 in Verlegt: Krankenmorde 1940-1941 am Beispiel der Region Stuttgart, edited by Elke Martin. Stuttgart: Verlag Peter Grohmann

———. 2011c. "Untersuchung über Stuttgarter Opfer der NS-'Kindereuthanasie.'" Pp. 165-174 in Den Opfern einen Namen geben: NS-"Euthanasie"-Verbrechen, historisch-politische Verantwortung und Erinnerungskultur. Munster: Klemm und Oelschläger.

———. 2011d. "'Kindereuthanasie' in Stuttgart: Verdrängen statt Gedenken?" Pp. 145-168 in Kindermord und "Kinderfachabteilungen" im Nationalsozialismus: Gedenken und Forschung, edited by Lutz Kaelber and Raimond Reiter. Hamburg: Lang. 

———. 2014a. "Kinder von Zwangsarbeiterinnen unter den 'Kindereuthanasie'-Opfern in Stuttgart." Pp. 74-80 in Die "Euthanasie"-Opfer zwischen Stigmatisierung und Anerkennung. Forschungs- und Ausstellungsprojekte zu den Verbrechen an psychisch Kranken und die Frage der Namensnennung der Münchner "Euthanasie"-Opfer, edited by Gerrit Hohendorf, Stefan Raueiser, Michael von Cranach, and Sibylle von Tiedemann. Munster: Kontur.

———. 2014b. "Bereit zur 'Vernichtung erbkranker Kinder': Dr. Magdalene Schütte." Pp. 200-8 in Täter, Helfer, Trittbrettfahrer: NS-Belastete aus dem östlichen Württemberg. Reutlingen: Der Freiheitsbaum.

Platz, Werner E., and Volkmar Schneider, eds. 2008. Dokumente einer Tötungsanstalt: "In den Anstalten gestorben." Vol. 2. Hentrich und Hentrich.

Sandner, Peter. 2003. Verwaltung des Krankenmordes. Der Bezirksverband Nassau im Nationalsozialismus. Giessen: Psychosozial-Verlag.

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 on 7 Feb. 2015