Sunday, May 5, 2024

The Hadamar T-4 euthanasia centre killed approximately 15,000 people.

Hadamar May 5, 2024
Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

I spoke at a conference in Germany on May 4, 2024. Since I was going to Germany I decided to go for few days to visit some of the T-4 euthanasia killing centres.

On May 1, I first visited the Grafeneck euthanasia memorial since it was the first of the T-4 euthanasia euthanasia centres. Approximately 10,000 people were killed at Grafeneck. On May 2, I visited the Hartheim castle euthanasia memorial where 18,269 people were killed under the T-4 euthanasia program and at least 30,000 people in total were gassed to death.

On Sunday May 5 I visited the Hadamar euthanasia memorial where at least 10,000 people were killed under the T-4 euthanasia program and approximately 15,000 were killed in total. Canada had approximately 16,000 euthanasia deaths in 2023. I have been reading more about the T-4 euthanasia program because history seems to be repeating itself.

Hadamar May 5, 2024
I will republish from the Hadamar killing centre website which states:

At the end of 1940, the building of the Hadamar State Sanatorium (Landesheilanstalt Hadamar) was converted into a killing centre. The contracting authority behind this was the organisation responsible for the centrally controlled “adult euthanasia” programme, which was later referred to as the “T4” programme (Aktion T4). The headquarters of this organization was located on the Berlin street address of Tiergartenstraße 4 – hence “T4”.

Adolf Hitler, Führer and Chancellor of the German Reich, had instructed Karl Brandt, his accompanying doctor, and Philipp Bouhler, head of the Führer’s Chancellery, to carry out the murders. Both men were at the forefront of the “T4” programme.

The psychiatric hospitals in the German Reich, often referred to as state sanatoriums or convalescent and care homes, first received registration forms, so-called “Meldebögen”, from the health administration of the Reich Ministry of the Interior, in which they had to report on patients.

On the basis of these registration forms, so-called “Gutachter”, often professors of psychiatry and heads of institutions, were called on as experts to assess the patients and then decided between life and death. Those who were no longer able to work or had been long-term institutional patients or had not heard from relatives in a long time had little chance of survival.

Bus at Hadamar
It was in these killing centres, which had been set up for this specific purpose, that these persons were murdered at the beginning of 1940. The Hadamar killing centre was the sixth and last murder site that was set up during the “T4” programme. The 13th of January 1941 marks the beginning of these murders. These individuals were first moved to “intermediate institutions” where they awaited transport to the Hadamar killing centre.

The “intermediate institutions” leading to Hadamar were located in Herborn, Weilmünster, Idstein (Kalmenhof), Eltville (Eichberg) in what is today the state of Hesse, Galkhausen (now North Rhine-Westphalia), Andernach, Schauen (now Rhineland-Palatinate) as well as Wiesloch and Weinsberg (now Baden-Württemberg). It was from Düsseldorf-Grafenberg (now North Rhine-Westphalia) and Heppenheim (now Hesse) in particular that patients who were considered Jews according to Nazi racial policy were forcibly taken to Hadamar.

Hadamar gas chamber.
As was done in the other killing centres, a gas chamber and cremation furnaces were set up in the former Hadamar State Sanatorium. The institution was managed by two doctors. During the year of 1941, the killing centre employed a total of about 100 people, including nurses, kitchen staff and administrative personnel.

Since January 1941, patients had regularly arrived at the Hadamar killing centre on buses operated by the transport company that was in itself a subdivision of the “T4” organisation. These persons then disembarked the bus inside the wooden bus garage that had been built specifically for this purpose. They were then led inside the main building and made to undress in a large hall. Afterwards, administrative staff members checked personal information and one of the killing doctors determined the cause of death that would later appear in the falsified documents.

Hadamar smoke.
It was in the gas chamber in the basement that the persons were then murdered using carbon monoxide. Afterwards, special staff members of the institution incinerated the bodies in the crematorium. Rising above the killing centre, the smoke that ensued from the incineration process could be seen from afar; and, as people of that time reported, one could also smell it.

The relatives of those murdered received so called “comfort letters” typed by secretaries which included false information about the circumstances of death, the time of death and, sometimes, the place of death. If relatives so requested, they were sent urns. However, these urns did not contain the ashes of their murdered family member.

By the time the “T4” programme was halted on 24 August 1941, over 10,000 patients had been murdered in Hadamar.

Wikipedia reports what happened at Hadamar in this manner:

The clinic in Hadamar, which housed a psychiatric facility, was the last of six facilities set up to implement the programme, with murders commencing in January 1941.  During the first phase of operations (January to August 1941), 10,072 men, women and children were murdered with carbon monoxide in a gas chamber as part of the Nazi "euthanasia" programme.  The gas was obtained in standard cylinders supplied by the chemicals company IG Farben.

Thick smoke from the hospital crematorium billowed over Hadamar in the summer of 1941, during which the staff celebrated the cremation of their 10,000th patient with beer and wine. Up to 100 victims arrived in post-buses every day. They were told to disrobe for a "medical examination". Sent before a physician, each was recorded as having one of 60 fatal diseases, as "incurables" were to be given a "mercy death". The doctor identified each person with different-coloured sticking plasters for one of three categories: murder; murder & remove brain for research; murder & extract gold teeth.

Families of the victims were sent "comfort letters" with falsified causes of death. Families could also request a funerary urn, but the ashes were not from their family member.

Wikipedia explains how the killing continued after the "completion" of the T-4 phase:

After nearly a year of suspension, the murder of 'undesirables' resumed in August 1942, in what has been termed the "decentralized euthanasia" phase of Aktion T4, where "euthanasia" killings were committed without centralized coordination from Berlin. Resident physicians and staff, headed by nurse Irmgard Huber, directly murdered the majority of these victims, among whom were German patients with disabilities, mentally-disoriented elderly persons from bombed-out areas, "half Jewish" children from welfare institutions, psychologically- and physically-disabled forced labourers and their children, German soldiers, and Waffen SS soldiers deemed psychologically incurable. Because the gas chamber had been deconstructed, the medical personnel and staff at Hadamar murdered almost all of these people by lethal drug overdoses or deliberate neglect and malnutrition.

Though the war ended in Germany on 8 May 1945, the Nazi extermination institutions continued to murder disabled patients by drugs or depriving them of food. The last known patient murdered at Hadamar was a four-year-old mentally handicapped boy, killed on 29 May 1945.

During the second "decentralized" phase of Aktion T4, an estimated 4,500 victims were murdered at Hadamar.

Links to more articles on this topic:

1 comment:

madge Weber said...

I will forward this to my friend who grew up in Germany and again she will say, " This is not good. Yes, history has a way of repeating itself". We will see you on May 9th.