Eglfing-Haar (Oberbayrische Kreis-, Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Eglfing-Haar)

Eglfing-Haar on a map 
The Kinderfachabteilung in Eglfing-Haar existed between October 1940 (as the first of three in Bavaria and the third one overall) and May 1945. Its medical director was Dr. Hermann Pfannmueller, and the physicians responsible for the special children's ward were Dr. Gustav Eidam, Dr. Fritz Kuehnke, and Dr. Ernst Wentzler. Dr. Pfannmueller was sentenced in 1951 in Munich to a five-year prison term and died in 1961. Dr. Eidam committed suicide in 1945. Dr. Kuehnke also traveled to the Kinderfachabteilung Wiesloch to kill children there (see Wiesloch); after the war he was a pediatrician in Hamburg, and a state attorney's investigation against him was stopped in 1969. Dr. Wentzler operated a private children's clinic in Berlin-Frohnau after the war and died in 1973.

Picture of institution of Eglfing-Haar Source: http://www.kaiss.eu/8.html

332 children died in the special children's ward. In 1940-41, over 2,0oo patients were transferred from Eglfing-Haar to 'T4' gas murder facilities. Its role included that of a transit facility for 'T4' to which almost 1,500 patients were transferred from other care facilities. In September 1940 Eglfing-Haar became a Sammelanstalt for patients considered Jewish in Bavarian care facilities, and that month 191 such Jewish patients were transferred to Hartheim as part of a Jewish 'special action' (Sonderaktion). In the context of the establishment of two 'hunger houses' (Hungerhaeuser), in which more than 400 patients were starved to death, more than 2,000 patients died at Eglfing-Haar between 1940 and 1940. How many of those were foreign patients, of whom Eglfing-Haar housed more than 150, including forced laborers, between 1939 and 1945, is currently not known.

transport list 1940 to Grafeneck

The clinic Eglfing-Haar also has a special significance due to the fact that on Jan. 18, 1940, a group of male psychiatric patients left the clinic for Grafeneck and were murdered there, likely on the very same day. The first name on the transport list of this first group systematically murdered in a gassing facility of the program T4, was, as first reported by Henry Friedlander, Ludwig 'Israel' Alexander - a German Jew. (The Nuremberg trial records that contain the picture of a copy of the transport list are now public record.)

Source: Harvard Law School Library, “Nuremberg Trial Project,” Item No. 109. Available at http://nuremberg.law.harvard.edu/php/pflip.php?caseid=HLSL_NMT01&docnum=209&numpages=1&startpage=1&title=List+of+patients+transported+from+the+Eglfing-Haar+asylum+[in+the+euthanasia+program].&color_setting=C

Eglfing-Haar had its own Prosektur and sent brain materials from victims of 'euthanasia' to the Institute for Brain Pathology at the German Research Institute for Psychiatry, which received brains or other materials from about 1,500 persons between 1939 and 1945. The 'euthanasia' program supplied materials from its victims. Over 500 brains were from former patients at Eglfing-Haar, including children.

Soon after the end of WWII the American major Leo Alexander, a physician commissioned to produce a report for the Combined Intelligence Objectives Sub-Committee in preparation for the Nuremberg Doctors' Trial, visited Eglfing-Haar and noted his impressions as well as the facts he established in his report (see here: 1, 2, 3, 4), which he concluded in August 1945. The full report contains an extensive appendix not included in the version on the Internet (see Alexander 1945). The appendix contains copies of records concerning 'euthanasia,' including children, of which an important part, previously not known to historians, has been made available as part of an article by the author (Kaelber 2012; see here and here).

Dr. Anton Edler von Braunmuehl reported to Dr. Alexander to have saved documents about the 'special children's ward' that Dr. Pfannmueller had wanted to have destroyed. Dr. von Braunmuehl wanted to direct attention away from Eglfing-Haar and toward the notorious facility at Kaufbeuren (see Hohendorf 2007-2008a, p. 39).

Dr. Gerhard Schmidt, who had been appointed acting medical director for Eglfing-Haar at the end of the war, collected various records (possibly including those that were presented to Dr. Alexander by Dr. von Braunmuehl) and sought to publish them in a ms. that established what kinds of events had happened at Eglfing-Haar. This ms. constituted the first-ever detailed German documentation of 'euthanasia' crimes in the postwar period for a specific locale, including 'children's euthanasia.' He also gave the first speech on the subject matter by a psychiatrist after WWII in a radio address to the public, on 20 Nov. 1945. Dr. Schmidt efforts of publishing his findings in the ms. as a book came to fruition only in 1965. He had been dismissed from his position as acting medical direction by the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior in 1946, in part due to the efforts of Dr. von Braunmuehl, who had wished to return to Eglfing-Haar and did not appreciate Dr. Schmidt's revelations about 'euthanasia' there. Subsequently, Dr. von Braunmuehl was one of the directors of Bavarian Asylums who preferred to have silence about the past crimes, so much so that in his contribution to a fiftieth-anniversary publication on the asylum Eglfing-Haar he made only vague references to the Nazi crimes (Bezirk Oberbayern 1956, p. 22; see Hohendorf, pp. 39-40). A commemorative volume (Festschrift) on occasion of the 75th anniversary was equally mum on the subject (Bezirkskrankenhaus Haar 1980).

Things began to change in the mid-1980s, when residents among the clinic's physicians noticed that Dr. Pfannmueller's picture was missing among those of former directors of the clinic in the administrative building - but without any explanation. Also, the newly appointed Protestant reverent K. Rueckert at the clinic noticed that civilian (including) 'euthanasia' victims of war were not mentioned during the memorial at the warriors' memorial on the annual national day of mourning (Volkstrauertag), and Rev. Rueckert organized a procession on the eve of the national day of mourning in 1985 to address the 'euthanasia' past of the clinic.

 Source: Author.

Yet local resistance to the commemoration of 'euthanasia' victims continued, including but not limited to members of the municipal council. During the discussion some even denied that 'euthanasia' crimes had been committed at Eglfing-Haar. After a vote a bare majority of council members in favor of a plaque to commemorate the events, in 1987 such a plaque, as proposed by Rev.  Rueckert, was placed next to the existing warriors' memorial. It reads: 'For the victims of persecution, Euthanasia, war, imprisonment, displacement. The community of Haar.' A reference to Dr. Pfannmueller was added to the gallery of directors.

Picture of memorial in Eglfing-Haar Source: Author.

On the initiative of physicians at the hospital a memorial created by the sculptor Josef Gollwitzer was placed next to the Protestant chapel in 1990. The occasion was the 50th anniversary of the first transport of  patients to the T4 killing facility Grafeneck. The bronze plate has the inscription 'In memory of the victims of Euthanasia during the time of National Socialism and as a warning.' Children's 'euthanasia' is not separately mentioned there, but a display close to the memorial displays the inscription and the following additional text: 'On 18 January 1940 the first patients were sent off for extermination. 50 years later the dedication of the memorial occurred. Denial, forgetting, and repression of these acts of violent do not result in liberation. Only the deliberate look into this dark mirror enables us to decide and act freely and prevents us from incurring guilt once again. On the order of the National Socialist government in 1940-41, as far as is known, 924 patients at Eglfing-Haar and 746 people who had previously lived at other institutions were transported to a facility of death. At least 332 children fell victim to a systematic killing by means of an overdose of sedatives between November 1940 and May 1945. From 1943 to 1945 429 patients died in so-called 'hunger homes' as a result of receiving a special diet without fat or protein. Detailed documentation [is available] in the museum of psychiatry.' A report details the commemorative events in 1990 (Bezirk Oberbayern 1992). In contrast to the commemorative volume (Festschrift) 15 years earlier, the Festschrift on occasion of the 90th anniversary now included, for the first time, a page expressly dedicated to thematizing the 'euthanasia' murders (Bezirkskrankenhaus Haar 1995, p. 27).

Picture of psychiatry museum building Source: http://www.bezirk-oberbayern.de/showobject.phtml?La=1&object=tx|379.2695.1&sub=0

After earlier attempts to establish a museum in 1980 and 1984 did not materialize, in 2005, on occasion of the centenary of the foundation of the clinic, a museum of psychiatry opened on clinic property, based on the efforts of clinic personnel in the nursing department. The museum documents the 100-year history of the clinic and contains such things as a reconstructed living room, parts of an isolation cell, and medical equipment. In one room it addresses the NS-period, which includes references to children's 'euthanasia.' By 2008, the museum had welcomed its 5,000th visitor, and it expects to have an annual number of 2,000 visitors over the next few years, drawing from students, patients, political groups, and members of civic and charitable organizations. There is also an art installation in the stairway of the building housing the museum, entitled 'Let me fell your life.' There has also been a reading from a novel, 'Der Blechsoldat,' by writer Marianne Ach.

picture of poster for 18 January 2010 commemoration
On January 18, 2010, on occasion of the first transport of 18 men from Eglfing-Haar to the gas murder facility Grafeneck (the first 'official' T4 transport), commemorative events were held at both Eglfing-Haar and Stuttgart.

Picture of art installation Source: Author.

Picture of Dr. Pfannmueller Source: Author.
In the stairway of the clinic was an art installation and is now several pictures, including one of the former director, Dr. Pfannmueller.

The clinic museum also has a web site, where in the clinic history section 'euthanasia' crimes are addressed, and the exhibit section addresses children's euthanasia expressly.
Picture of exhibit 1 Picture of exhibit 2
 Source: Psychiatriemuseum Klinikum Muenchen Ost

Picture of part on "children's euthanasia"  Source: Psychiatriemuseum Klinikum Muenchen Ost

A working group 'Psychiatry and Care during National Sozialism' (Arbeitsgruppe 'Psychiatrie und Fuersorge im Nationalsozialismus' has engaged in a series of events, including a public event focusing on the child victims that occurred in March 2013 in Munich: http://www.kjp.med.uni-muenchen.de/download/symp_opfern_eine_stimme_flyer.pdf. One of the presenters addressed a project that elicits, documents, and analyzes witness testimony, such as that of the sisters of a child victim, Wolfgang Sandlein (see here), whose short biography has also been published (Eberle and Hohendorf 2014). A public reading of the names of victims, including those of Eglfing-Haar occurred on 18 January 2013 (see flyer), and the new Munich Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism includes an informative section online on Dr. Pfannmueller.

In 2014, the exhibit 'In memory of the children' was display in the town hall. It included a panel on Eglfing-Haar. Information here and here. One of the presenters was the physician Julia Koch, who is writing her medical dissertation on the 'special children's ward' at the Institute for History and Ethics of Medicine at the Technical University Munich (Institut fuer Geschichte und Ethik der Medizin der TU Muenchen).

picture of commemoration at Eglfing Haar
The above shows a picture of a recent commemoration (Source: http://polpix.sueddeutsche.com/bild/1.2304799.1421252239/640x360/gedenken-euthanasieopfer.jpg).

A relative of one of the child victims, whose name was Hans Dieter Riess, published a web page about the fate of the child. The child had a disability (trisomy 21) and was murdered at Eglfing-Haar.

A niece of Helma (Wilhelmine) Haussner, another victim, published a brief biography in 2014 (Busch 2014). The central T4 memorial site in Berlin also provided information about this victim.

In 2018, a memorial book with the full names and vital dates of Munich victims of 'euthanasia' was published. It includes the child victims of the Kinderfachabteilung who resided in Munich. Julia Katzur's medical dissertation of 2017 provides a detailed examination of the Special Children's Ward.

Digital reproductions of records of the Grafeneck trial relate to a number of children from Wurttemberg who died in the Eglfing-Haar facility between 1941 and 1945 (http://www.landesarchiv-bw.de/plink/?f=6-902779).


Alexander, Leo. 1945. 'Public Mental Health Practices in Germany: Sterilization and Execution of Patients Suffering from Nervous or Mental Disease.' Cios Item 24 Medical. Armed Forces Supreme Headquarters: Combined Intelligence Objectives Sub-Committee.

Benzenhoefer, Udo. 2003. 'Genese und Struktur der 'NS-Kinder- und Jugendlicheneuthanasie.'' Monatsschrift fuer Kinderheilkunde 151: 1012-19.

-------. 2020. Kindereuthanasie in der NS-Zeit unter besonderer Beruecksichtigung von Reichsausschussverfahren und Kinderfachabteilungen (Ulm: Klemm & Oelschlaeger, 2020)

Bezirk Oberbayern, ed. 1956. Das Nervenkrankenhaus Haar bei Muenchen des Bezirks Oberbayern, 1905-1955. Traunstein: Chiemgau-Druck.

-------. 1992. Die Zukunft ist die Verbannung der Gegenwart. Munich: n.p.
Bezirkskrankenhaus Haar, ed. 1980. Festschrift zum 75-jaehrigen Bestehen des Bezirkskrankenhauses Haar bei Muenchen. Haar: n.p.

-------. 1995. Festschrift zum 90-jaehrigen Bestehen des Bezirkskrankenhauses Haar bei Muenchen. Haar: n.p.

Busch, Claudia. 2014. 'Meine Tante Helma (Wilhelmine) Haussner.' Pp. 170-72 in Die 'Euthanasie'-Opfer zwischen Stigmatisierung und Anerkennung: Forschungs- und Ausstellungsprojekte zu den Verbrechen an psychisch Kranken und die Frage der Namensnennung der Muenchner 'Euthanasie'-Opfer, edited by Gerrit Hohendorf, Stefan Raueiser, Michael von Cranach, and Sibylle von Tiedemann. Munster: Kontur.

Eberle, Annette, and Gerrit Hohendorf. 2014. 'Wolfgang Sandlein: Opfer der 'Kinderfachabteilung.'' Pp. 201-202 in in Die 'Euthanasie'-Opfer zwischen Stigmatisierung und Anerkennung: Forschungs- und Ausstellungsprojekte zu den Verbrechen an psychisch Kranken und die Frage der Namensnennung der Muenchner 'Euthanasie'-Opfer, edited by Gerrit Hohendorf, Stefan Raueiser, Michael von Cranach, and Sibylle von Tiedemann. Munster: Kontur.

Gedenkbuch fuer die Muenchner Opfer der nationalsozialistischen 'Euthanasie'-Morde, edited by the NS-Documentation Center Munich and the District Upper Bavaria by Michael von Cranach, Annette Eberle, Gerrit Hohendorf, and Sibylle von Tiedemann (Frankfurt: Wallstein, 2018).

Hohendorf, Gerrit. 2007-2008a. 'The Representation of Nazi 'Euthanasia' in German Psychiatry 1945 to 1998: A Preliminary Survey.' Korot 19: 29-48.

-------. 2007-2008b. 'The Sewering Affair.' Korot 19: 83-104.

Kaelber, Lutz. 2012. 'Child Murder in Nazi Germany: The Memory of Nazi Medical Crimes and Commemoration of 'Children's Euthanasia' Victims at Two Facilities (Eichberg, Kalmenhof).' Societies 2 (2012): 157-194. Available at https://www.uvm.edu/~lkaelber/societies-02-00157.pdf

Katzur, Julia. 2017. 'Die 'Kinderfachabteilung' in der Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Eglfing-Haar und die nationalsozialistische 'Kindereuthanasie' zwischen 1940-1945,' M.D. Dissertation, Medical College, Technical University Munich.

Krischer, Markus. 2006. Kinderhaus: Leben und Ermordung des Maedchens Edith Hecht. Munich: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt.

Michler, Rainer and Gabi Forcht. 1984. 'Morde an geisteskranken Kindern und Jugendlichen in Haar.' Tuerspalt 10: 29-36. Available at http://www.kulturkritik.net/psychiatrie/haar/index.html.

Richarz, Bernhard. 1987. Heilen, Pflegen, Toeten: Zur Alltagsgeschichte einer Heil- und Pflegeanstalt bis zum Ende des Nationalsozialismus. Goettingen: Verlag fuer Medizinische Psychologie.

Rueckert, Klaus. 2009 (September). Personal communication.

Schmidt, Gerhard. 1965. Selektion in der Heilanstalt, 1939-1945. Stuttgart: Evangelisches Verlagswerk.

-------. 2005. 'Das unerwuenschte Buch.' Pp. 3-10 in Aktuelle Kernfragen in der Psychiatrie, edited by Felix Boecker and Wolfgang Weig. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

Steger, Florian. 2006. 'Neuropathological research at the 'Deutsche Forschungsanstalt fuer Psychiatrie' (German Institute for Psychiatric Research) in Munich (Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institute): Scientific utilization of children's organs from the 'Kinderfachabteilungen' (Children's Special Departments) at Bavarian State Hospitals.' Journal of the History of the Neurosciences 15: 173-85.

Stockdreher, Petra. 1999. 'Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Eglfing-Haar.' Pp. 327-62 in Psychiatrie im Nationalsozialismus: Die Bayerischen Heil- und Pflegeanstalten zwischen 1933 und 1945, edited by M. von Cranach and H.-L. Siemen. Munich: R. Oldenbourg Verlag.

Tiedemann, Sibylle von. 2014. 'Dezentrale 'Euthanasie' in der Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Eglfing-Haar: Eine Untersuchung der Muenchner Todesfaelle, 1939-1945.' Pp. 34-51 in Die 'Euthanasie'-Opfer zwischen Stigmatisierung und Anerkennung: Forschungs- und Ausstellungsprojekte zu den Verbrechen an psychisch Kranken und die Frage der Namensnennung der Muenchner 'Euthanasie'-Opfer, edited by Gerrit Hohendorf, Stefan Raueiser, Michael von Cranach, and Sibylle von Tiedemann. Munster: Kontur.

Topp, Sascha. 2004. 'Der 'Reichsausschuss zur wissenschaftlichen Erfassung erb- und anlagebedingter schwerer Leiden': Zur Organisation der Ermordung minderjaehriger Kranker im Nationalsozialismus 1939-1945.' Pp. 17-54 in Kinder in der NS-Psychiatrie, edited by Thomas Beddies and Kristina Huebener. Berlin-Brandenburg: Be.bra Wissenschaft.

-------. 2005. 'Der 'Reichsausschuss zur wissenschaftlichen Erfassung erb- und anlagebedingter schwerer Leiden': Die Ermordung minderjaehriger Kranker im Nationalsozialismus 1939-1945.' Master's Thesis in History, University of Berlin.

Concerning 'euthanasia' trial(s) for this location
Bauer, Fritz et al., eds. 1968-1981. Justiz und NS-Verbrechen: Sammlung deutscher Strafurteile wegen nationalsozialistischer Toetungsverbrechen, 1945-1966. Amsterdam: University Press Amsterdam. Vol. 3, pp. 17ff; vol. 8, pp. 283ff.

Bryant, Michael S. 2005. Confronting the 'Good Death': Nazi Euthanasia on Trial, 1945-1953. Boulder: University of Colorado Press. Pp. 192-98.

Freudiger, Kerstin. 2002. Die juristische Aufarbeitung von NS-Verbrechen. Tuebingen: Mohr Siebeck. Pp. 272-78.

Last updated in August 2023