Still, changes had begun to occur since
the late 1980s. when Dr. Bernhardt as well as others at the
clinic, as part of a working group to inquire into the events at the
clinic during the Nazi period, commissioned a commemorative
wooden statue, which was made by the artist Sven Domann and
erected in 1991. While the Gedenkstätten
für die Opfer des Nationalsozialismus volume
terms it "the first monument to the victims of NS-'euthanasia' on the
territory of former East Germany" (p. 480), it wasn't quite that in
terms of the date of its dedication (see Grossschweidnitz, where a
memorial was dedicated in 1990), but
it was one of the first such memorials nevertheless (it does not address
the children’s ward
specifically). The working group's charge to the artist was
to depict a sense of being alone, unprotected, and afraid for their
lives ostensibly felt by those who were victims of "euthanasia" in the
Nazi period, which the artist realized in the depiction of a disabled
person on a piece of wood cut off, placed on top of a pedestal for
which the same brick was used as in the facility where the victims were
On a pedestal in the front the word
"Ausgegrenzt" (Marginalized) is shown, and on the back, the word
"Vernichtet" (Exterminated). To the left and right are the years 1933
and 1945. After the
occurrence of vandalism and heavy construction at the
site, it was removed and only shown to the public on special occasions,
such as during the clinic's open house day in various years and the
anniversary events in 1999 and 2000.The memorial's
removal from a public space was believed to be temporary at first, but
it turned out
to be anything but. Most of the time, it was put up in the clinic
administration's conference center.
The situation remained like this until 2008, when
this researcher fielded inquiries about the status of the statue first
to the clinic and then to the Behindertenverband Ueckermuende and the
Allgemeiner Behindertenverband in
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The two agencies consulted with the clinic and
asked that the statue be re-erected.
Prior to that, in 1999, a commemorative event was held on occasion of
60th anniversary of the first deportation of patients in November 1939;
during which a presentation alluded to the fate of the children; in 2000,
on open house day in 2000, on occasion of the 125th
anniversary of the facility, one of the lectures at a symposium
and a part of a small exhibit addressed the murder of patients in
Pomerania during the Nazi period;
in the same year a chronicle of the clinic (Albrecht 2000) mention
euthanasia, if only very briefly (in reference to H. Bernhardt's
studies, see p. 25); and in 2005, on occasion of the European day of
protest for equity for persons with a disability on May 5, a wreath was
laid on facility grounds to commorate victims of fascism persecuted on
the basis of disability or race and the 60th anniversary of the end of
the war on May 8.
A wreath was
laid on 8 May 2008 at the AMEOS Diakonie Klinikum (the clinic's current
name) and an event took place to commemorate those who were murdered
during the Nazi period. A
group “Denkmal” (“memorial”) of members of the above groups and clinic
personnel met and new foundation for the statue at a
designated memorial space on clinic property was being considered,
which led to the re-dedication of the memorial on 15 May 2009. It is
now an iron-cast pedestal and a three-piece stela into which the wooden
piece is integrated.
A sign states: "'Verloren sein.' Eisenguss, Esche,
2x1 m, 2009. Den Euthanasieopfern des nationalsozialistischen Regimes
von 1933 bis 1945 gewidmet. 'Gedenken macht Leben menschlich.
Vergessen macht es unmenschlich' - Eberhard Bethge (1909-2000). Die
Holzplastik wurde 1991 von dem Bildhauer Sven Domann geschaffen und
nach der Restaurierung 2009 wieder aufgestellt" ('To be lost.'Cast iron
and ash wood, 2 x 1 m, 2009. Dedicated to the euthanasia victims of the
National Socialist regime 1939-1945. 'Memorialization makes life
humane. Forgetting makes it inhumane.' [German theologian] Eberhard
Bethge (1909-2000). The wood sculpture was created by the sculptor Sven
Domann and reinstalled after its restoration in 2009).
The choice of the new context for the statue is guided by the wish to allude to the next-to-last place that houses persons before those in power decide to murder them. Children helped prepare the iron cast. .
The web page of the clinic does not refer to the memorial or Nazi "euthanasia" on its premises, but two recent issues of the Mitarbeiterzeitung (staff newsletter) have done so.
The most recent commemorative activity is reported here.
Albrecht, Hans-Eberhard. 2000. Das Krankenhaus am Rande der Stadt: Das Krankenhaus Ueckermünde an der Ravensteinstrasse im Wandel der Zeit von 1875 bis 2000. Ueckermünde: n.p.
Allgemeiner Behindertenverband in
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern e.V. 2008. "Mahnmal gegen das Vergessen in
Ueckermünde: Wiedereinweihung des restaurierten Mahnmals zum Gedenken
an die Opfer des Nationalsozialismus." Available at http://www.abimv.de/cms/wm-cms,58.html.
Benzenhöfer, Udo. 2003. "Genese und Struktur der 'NS-Kinder- und Jugendlicheneuthanasie.'" Monatsschrift für Kinderheilkunde 151: 1012-1019.
Bernhardt, Heike. 1993. "'Niemals auch nur zu den primitivsten Arbeitsleistungen zu gebrauchen': Die Tötung behinderter und kranker Kinder 1939 bis 1945 in der Landesheilanstalt Ueckermünde." Praxis der Kinderpsychologie und Kinderpsychiatrie 42: 240-48.
———. 1994. Anstaltspsychiatrie und "Euthanasie" in Pommern 1939 bis 1945: Die Krankenmorde an Kindern und Erwachsenen am Beispiel der Landesheilanstalt Ueckermünde. Frankfurt: Mabuse Verlag.
Endlich, Stefanie, Nora Goldenbogen, Beatrix Herlemann, Monika Kahl, and Regina Scheer. 2002. Gedenkstätten für die Opfer des Nationalsozialismus, vol. 2. Bonn: Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung. Available at http://www.bpb.de/files/AFQX24.pdf.
Klee, Ernst. 1993. Irrsinn
Ost, Irrsinn West. Frankfurt: Fischer.
Schmitz, Willi, and Harri Joschk. 1974. Provinzial-,
Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Ueckermünde: Das Neuropsychiatrische Krankenhaus
Ueckermünde. Neubrandenburg: Druckerei Erich Weinert.
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 22 August 2013