Commemoration at "T4" Killing Centers

Idaho Grafeneck (Site 1, 2, 3, 4)
Arizona Brandenburg/Havel (Site 1, 2, 3)
Hesse (Hessen)
Idaho Hadamar (Site 1, 2, 3)
Saxony (Sachsen)
Idaho Pirna-Sonnenstein (Site 1, 2, 34)
  • absence of victims groups (14f13; Jewish victims) on site 
  • place accommodated barracks for Soviet troups, refuges from the east, soldiers released as prisoners of war, police school, police barracks (military)
  • not accessible to general public; police students were not informed
  • 1953 research site for development of aircraft propulsion
  • plant gazette "Der Antrieb" addressed the "T4" past in a series in 1957, on the basis of Dresden physicians' trial (1947), continued in 1960, but put  in context of antifascism (played in 1969 at C16 dedicated to antifascist fighter Albert Barthel)
  • Arbeitsgemeinschaft "Junge Historiker" (Student group Young Historians at local high school) concerned themselves with topic; broschure on memorials in the area of Pirna, but no commemoration
  • at the entrance to the castle Sonnenstein a stone plaque by Peter Makolies was placed in 1973, with inscription "In commmeration of the victims of fascist crimes committed in the formed hospital and infirmary in the area Pirna-Sonnenstein 1940-1941; initiated by the "Committee of antifascist resistance fighters of the GDR" and commissioned by the SED-party leaders in Pirn; newspaper only addressed antifascist resistance; perhaps also created in context of 1970 Frankfurt/M trial of Horst Schumann
  • part of site remained off limits as facility for emergency generators and boat propulsion until 1989/90, but 1977 rehabilitaton (school/workshop), in which context of the 750th anniversary in Pirna a workshop was conducted by the Reha-center on the history of the Sonnenstein
  • late 1988 committee of members of the district assembly formed to commemorate the victims on site, published a broschure by H. Jensch (Feb. 1990), and began conceptualizing an exhibit
  • parallel to this development Th. Schilter, who as a local high school student had sent a letter to the district assembly that resulted in a lukewarm response, got materials from G. Aly; with reverent B. Richter opened exhibit "'Aktion T4' 1939-1945 - Die Vernichtung 'lebensunwerten Lebens'" (Program T4 1939-1945 - Destruction of 'life unworthy of living'"; on display for one month, strong local reaction; formation of a citizens' initiative
  • 1991 Foundation in support of Memorial Sonnenstein, supported since 1995 from Stift. Saech. Gedenkstaetten
  • 1992 rest of area privatized and sold; rest least by state of Saxony to AWO, with injunction to provide space for memorial
  • 1992-96 small exhibit in church at Sonnenstein
  • 1997 M.D. diss Schilter
  • Juni 2000 memorial opened after restoration
Saxony-Anhalt (Sachsen-Anhalt)
Georgia Bernburg (Site 1, 2, 34, 5)
  • 1947: Secretariate of the Free Geman Youth: exhibit on institution 1940-43
  • 1951: Memorial committee VVN sought to establish memorial site
  • 1952: Members of the VVN commissioned memorial stone, with inscription "To honor the dead - to warn the living"; also urn placed, but room not accessible until early 180s
  • Late 1960s physician supportive of commemoration, Dr. Helmut Spaete, who became director  in 1975
  • 1976 small exhibit commissioned by staff addressing NS health policy
  • Late 1970s/early 80s: Staff attempts to discover about the past and retain remaining elements, without support; gas chamber formerly used for therapy used in 1982 for small exhibit on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of transport from cc Ravensbrueck; small memorial, with visitors able to come; KAW council of district of Halle began considering public memorial, influenced by Hadamar's exhibit in 1983
  • 1988 and 1989: restorative construction
  • 1989 Sep.: exhibit on loan from Berlin
  • 1990 Sep.: first exhibit specifically focused on Bernburg (document)
  • 1991: Establishment of Foederkreis (Association for the Support of Institution)
  • Input from USHMM, Hadamar, BEZ
  • 1993: Saxony-Anhalt took over the memorial
  • 1993: Commemorative plaque with inscription: "The silence has been broken. We commemorate the more than 14000 men, women, and children murdered in the Euthanasia institution of Bernburg between 1940 and 1943"
Kansas Hartheim (Site 1, 2, 3)

Comments or questions? Email:  Lutz dot Kaelber at uvm dot edu
Lutz Kaelber, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Vermont