Leipzig-Dösen (Landes-, Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Leipzig-Dösen)

Map of Leipzig-Doesen
The Kinderfachabteilung in Leipzig-Dösen was established in October 1940 as the forth one overall and the first in what today is the state of Saxony. It continued to operate until Dec. 1943, when its operations were transferred to Grossschweidnitz. The reason for the transfer appears to have been the bombing of the city, including the university children's clinic (see Kinderfachabteilung Leipzig), which necessitated the transfer of patients from there to Leipzig-Dösen and likely did not leave enough space for the continued operation of the Kinderfachabteilung.

The clinic's deputy medical director was Dr. Emil Eichler (he retired at the age of 68 in 1943). The physician responsible for the "special children's ward" was Dr. Arthur Mittag, who subsequently became responsible for the ward at Grossschweidnitz and who committed suicide in 1946 while in detention awaiting trial. Dr. Eichler had charges brought against him in the Dresden doctors' trial in 1947, but the court found him unfit to stand trial on the first day.

It was believed that 505 children died in the special children's ward in Leipzig-Dösen, of whom about 300 were identified by the clinic's former economic director. According to Th. Seyde, the latest figure for the number of children who were admitted to the clinic is 827, of whom 551 died (see here) - one of the largest numbers of victims in the special children's wards.

Google Earth picture of clinic in Meusdorf
house 1
house 2
house 3
Source: author

The site of the clinic became the Parkkrankenhaus and is largely abandoned today (it is in the suburb of Meusdorf), with the occasional use of films that are short there for its historical ambience.

exhibit 1
doesen exhibit 2

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exhibit 4

Source: author; Psychiatriemuseum Sachsen

In 1993, an internal pamphlet published on a small museum exhibit on site still did not refer to "euthanasia crimes" (see Seyde, in Lahm et. al, p. 120 n. 6), but by 1995, as noted by Christiane Roick in her dissertation (p. 2), the exhibit contained references to "euthanasia." It was Th. Seyde who had initiated the changes. Subsequently, parts of the exhibit on Dösen were incorporated into an exhibit housed at the Saxon Museum of Psychiatry (here- see "Ab nach Dösen").

memorial stone Ruth picture of memorial stone for Ruth Kirschbaum
Source: Lahm et al., p. 113; Israelitische Religionsgemeinde zu Leipzig

After Th. Seyde produced a first list of children who had died at Leipzig in the late 1990s, based on the so-called "Römer list," in 2001 a grave memorial was created for a Jewish victim of children's euthanasia at the Alter Israelitischer Friedhof in Leipzig. A girl, Ruth Kirschbaum, was murdered at Leipzig-Dösen at age 7 in 1941. (Her name has been identified to the public on websites of the City of Leipzig; see here.) A second Jewish victim, Elfriede Thieberg, also has a grave memorial dedicated to her in the same cemetery. Their fate has been addressed by J. Nitsche (2010) as well as in paper on Jewish children with disabilities and Nazi "euthanasia" crimes (Kaelber 2013, here).

Picture of Josef Faust in 1942
Stolperstein Gravestone Josef Faust
Source: van der Locht 2010, p. 229; Sankt-Petrus Gemeinde Bonn; author

Another child who is known to have been murdered there is Josef Faust. He was transported from the Franz Sales home in Essen to Leipzig-Dösen on 11 May 1943, along with 29 other children. As described by the historian Volker van der Locht, by August of that year 13 of those children had died, Josef among them (van der Locht 2001: 226-31). A stumbling block (Stolperstein) was placed for him in Bonn at the site of his family's residence on 10 April 1943, and a gravestone was place for him in Leipzig's Ostfriedhof in 2013. His nephew Ulrich Dehe had researched his history.

MDR TV has a program entitled "Die vergessenen Kinder von Leipzig" (The forgotten children of Leipzig) on this subject shown in August 2013 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cT_rOZt7sw). It includes statements made by a former nurse at the facility who refers to the minors in her care as "material" and incapable of being educated - echoing terminology used in the Nazi period. She denies having known about the murders and having had to follow physicians' orders. In 2014, the film "Der Blinde Fleck" (Blind Spot) addressed the topic further.

For the further history of commemoration of victims in Leipzig, see Kinderfachabteilung Leipzig.

For the 2007 exhibit, which also covers this special children's ward, see exhibits.

A city memorial book for citizens in Leipzig who fell victim to the Nazi rule (Gedenk- und Totenbuch der Leipziger Opfer der nationalsozialistischen Gewaltherrschaft von 1933 bis 1945) was made available online on 27 January 2010 (here). It contains the names of child victims at Leipzig-Dösen but not of the Leipziger university children's clinic, as no records of the latter are extant.

Research has shown that the facility Leipzig-Dösen collaborated with the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Brain Research in Berlin-Buch. Dr. Georg Friedrich, at the military special section of the KWI since August 1939 and head of pathology at Leipzig-Dösen since 1936, examined the brains of the children and worked together with the KWI's Julius Hallervorden.

The live of the child victim Wolfgang Firme has been chronicled by his brother (Firme and Wohlfeld 2011), who also describe the similar fate of the victim Ingeborg W.

In 2014, the project group "Initiative 551 plus" of disabled Leipzig citizens has advocated the installation of a "Stolperschwelle" (stumbling threshold) at the facility (see here, and here).

The humanities scholar Ulrich Rottleb plans on writing his dissertation on the topic "Children's Euthanasia in Saxony" at Berlin's Humboldt University.


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

———. 2003b. "Hans Heinze: Kinder und Jugendpsychiatrie und 'Euthanasie.'" Pp. 9-52 in Beiträge zur NS-"Euthanasie"-Forschung 2002, edited by the Arbeitskreis zur Erforschung der nationalsozialistischen "Euthanasie" und Zwangssterilisation. Münster: Klemm und Oehlschläger.

Buhl, Christoph. 2001. "Von der Eugenik zur Euthanasie: Eine Spurensuche in Leipzig." Master's Thesis, Fachbereich Sozialwesen der Hochschule für Technik, Wirtschaft und Kultur Leipzig. Here.

"Eene meene muh - und raus bist du: Kindereuthanasie in Leibzig: Eine Erinnerung: Schüler auf der Suche nach verblassten Spuren." Available at http://www.leipzig.de/imperia/md/content/51_jugendamt/fachstelle/kindereuthanasie_in_leipzig.pdf.

Firme, Horst, and Udo Wohlfeld. 2011. Ein Leben für vier Jahre: Euthanasiemord an einem Kind. Apolda: Eigenverlag Verein Prager Haus Apolda e.V.
Kaelber, Lutz. 2010. "Virtual Traumascapes: The Commemoration of Nazi ‘Children’s Euthanasia’ Online and On Site." Digital Icons: Studies in Russian, Eurasian, and Central European New Media 4: 13-44. Available at  http://www.digitalicons.org/issue04/files/2010/11/Kaelber-4.2.pdf.

———. 2013. "Jewish Children with Disabilities and Nazi 'Euthanasia' Crimes." Bulletin of the Carolyn and Leonard Miller Center for Holocaust Studies 17. Available at http://www.uvm.edu/~uvmchs/documents/bull-2013.pdf

Lahm, Berit, Thomas Seyde, and Eberhard Ulm, eds. 2008. 505: Kindereuthanasieverbrechen in Leipzig. Leipzig: Plöttner Verlag.

Nitsche, Jürgen. 2010. "'Unter einem doppelten Fluch': Jüdische Opfer der nationalsozialistischen Krankenmordaktion in Sachsen." Sonnenstein Hefte 8: 47-78.

Roick, Christiane. 1997. "Heilen, Verwahren, Vernichten: Die Geschichte der Sächsischen Landesanstalt Leipzig-Dösen im Dritten Reich." M.D. Diss., Medical College University of Leipzig.

Schmuhl, Hans-Werner. 2000. "Hirnforschung und Krankenmord: Das Kaiser Wilhelm Institut für Hirnforschung, 1937-1945." Available at http://www.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/KWG/Ergebnisse/Ergebnisse1.pdf

Stadt Leipzig, Dezernat für Schule, Jugend, Soziales und Gesundheit. 2007. "Euthanasieverbrechen in der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus in Leipzig." Available at http://www.leipzig.de/imperia/md/content/53_gesundheitsamt/ozialpsychiatrischerdienst/euthanasieverbrechen_schulinfo-neu.pdf.

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.

van der Locht, Volker. 2010. "Zwangssterilisation und Euthanasie in Essen." Pp. 153-253 in Beiträge zur Geschichte von Stadt und Stift Essen, vol. 123. Essen: Klartext. Available at http://euthanasiegeschaedigte-zwangssterilisierte.de/essener-beitraege-123--van-der-locht.pdf

Last updated March 13, 2015