Wiesengrund (Dobřany) (Pflege - und Erziehungsheim für Kinder, in der [Gau-,] Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Wiesengrund/Sudetengau)

Map of Dobřany / Wiesengrund

The Kinderfachabteilung in Wiesengrund was established between April 1941 (at the earliest) and September 1942 (at the latest), in the care and educational home (Pflege- und Erziehungsheim) apparently established in 1940 and that was part of the larger hospital and care facility in town. When the facility Gau-, Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Sternberg was dissolved in May 1941, the children there were sent to the Pflege- und Erziehungsheim in Wiesengrund. The care facilty as a whole appears to have been the largest of all such establishments in the Sudentenland, with a capacity of close to 3,000 beds and its own railway station. In April 1943 it suffered a bombing attack intended for the nearby Pilsen, but it appears not to have shut down the operation of special children's ward in the the care and educational home. The physician responsible for the "special children's ward" was Dr. Dr. Karl Hever, who was also the clinic's director and who worked with nurse Anna Vratnik. When Dr. Hever suffered a breakdown in May 1944, Dr. Karl Girschek assumed the directorship of the clinic (he refused to carry out such "euthanasia" activities), and by October 1944 Dr. Hever had left for the hospital at Sternberg after suffering a nervous breakdown, and there was no special compensation for him or the nurse in 1944, so it was assumed that the special children's ward had been closed at the time. According to Michal Simůnek, the special children's ward likely continued to exist after Dr. Hever had left, and there were plans in September 1944 even to expand the ward and have a new director, Dr. Georg Herrmann, a docent at Prague university (see Grumlik/Simunek 2010b, pp. 122-23). Dr. Hever's whereabouts after WWII could not be ascertained (see Grumlik/Simunek 2010a, p. 50 n. 80).

The Czech town of Dobřany was renamed Wiesengrund in December 1939, following Germany's annexation of the Sudentenland in 1938 (the original name was restored in 1945).

The number of children who died in the special children's ward is unknown, and it is not known whether it occupied a spatially separate house or wing. Children and youths in the facility also became victims of T4.

No information is available about the commemoration of these events. The web site of the clinic today, Psychiatrická léčebna Dobřany, does not  mention it (for the history page, see http://www.pldobrany.cz/historie.html).

Researchers of the project "Die nationalsozialistische 'Euthanasie' und ihre Opfer auf dem Gebiet der heutigen Tschechischen Republik 1939-1945" are currently seeking to gain access to the archives of institutions in areas that were German or settled by Germans that are part of the Czech republic today, to obtain information about the victims of T4 from there.

The directorship of the clinic at Dobřany has not opened its archive and, according to these researchers, stated that there were no "Euthanasia" victims originating in the facility, even though File R179/Bundesarchiv Berlin records demonstrate otherwise (see here). In 1941 alone, over 1,100 patients were sent to die in Hartheim's gas chamber, and the total number of deaths among patients during the period of WWII is believed to have been over 5,000. An individual story, that of Ingrid Bruckmann, is told here. Given the lack of access, no records have yet been analyzed concerning the Kinderfachabteilung.

Google Earth picture of facility map of Dobrany
Picture of Hospital today older building
Source: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/17401870; author


"Als spiegelten sich Engel im Wasser." Sächsische Zeitung 26 January 2013. Archived here.

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

———, Thomas Oelschläger, Dietmar Schulze, and Michal Šimůnek. 2006. "Kinder- und Jugendlicheneuthanasie" im Reichsgau Sudetenland und im Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren. Wetzlar: GWAB-Verlag.

Böhm, Boris, and Dietmar Schulze. 2010. "Erfassung, Selektion und Abtransport der Patienten aus dem Regierungsbezirk Troppau, 1939-1941." Sonnenstein: Beiträge zur Geschichte des Sonnensteins und der Sächsischen Schweiz 9: 55-78.

"Die nationalsozialistische 'Euthanasie' und ihre Opfer auf dem Gebiet der heutigen Tschechischen Republik 1939-1945: Ein österreichisch-deutsch-tschechisches Forschungsprojekt als Beitrag zur Aufarbeitung der gemeinsamen Geschichte."  Available at  http://projekt-sudetenland-protektorat.nickol-design.de/index.htm (Wiesengrund); now http://lebensunwert.nickol-design.de/de/wiesengrund.htm

Grumlik, Rene, and Michal Simůnek. 2010a. "Die Entwicklung der Anstalten Troppau und Sternberg sowie 'Marianum' in Troppau bis 1941: Ein Überblick." Sonnenstein: Beiträge zur Geschichte des Sonnensteins und der Sächsischen Schweiz 9: 31-53.

———. 2010b. "Karl Girschek (1898-1992): Arzt, National(sozial)ist, Anstaltsleiter." Sonnenstein: Beiträge zur Geschichte des Sonnensteins und der Sächsischen Schweiz 9: 117-26.

Lajkep, Tomáš. 2006. “The Fate of Czech Psychiatric Patients During World War II.” International Journal of Mental Health 35: 62-71.

Schulze, Dietmar. 2003. "'Euthanasie' im Reichsgau Sudetenland und im Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren: Ein Forschungsbericht." Pp. 147-68 in Beiträge zur NS-„Euthanasie“-Forschung 2002. Fachtagung vom 24. bis 26. Mai 2002 in Linz und Hartheim/Alkoven und vom 15. bis 17. November 2002 in Potsdam, edited by Arbeitskreis zur Erforschung der nationalsozialistischen „Euthanasie“ und Zwangssterilisation. Münster: Verlag Klemm & Oelschläger.

Simůnek, Michal. 2010. "Die NS-'Euthanasie' in Böhmen und Mähren." Pp. 156-68 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.

———; Schulze, Dietmar; eds. 2008. Die Nationalsozialistische "Euthanasie" im Reichsgau Sudetenland und Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren, 1939-1945. Červený Kostelec: Pavel Mervat.

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 28 August 2013