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Herta Schlaugat * 1906
Bennigsenstraße 34 (Harburg, Harburg)
Herta Schlaugat, born 27 June 1906 in Harburg, transferred from the Rotenburg Asylum to the "Weilmünster State Mental Hospital" where she was killed 9 Jan. 1943
Bennigsenstraße 34a (Stadtteil Harburg-Altstadt)
Herta Schlaugat suffered from epilepsy and hoped to be healed by medical treatment at the Rotenburg Asylum. Many patients were cared for at that facility, which belonged to the Innere Mission, who were plagued by epileptic seizures at irregular intervals. The work of the Innere Mission at Rotenburg began in 1880 when the superintendent Adolf Kottmeier opened a small asylum in the neighboring district town on the Wümme for epileptics and also offered other people with physical and mental disabilities a new home. In that Christian facility, the sick male and female residents were to receive appropriate medical care and education, all the while learning that God gave all people the same dignity and right to live. The new facility quickly found acceptance and encouragement. By 1930, the Rotenburg Asylum had nearly 1000 patients and was among the largest facilities of its kind in Germany.
1933 brought decisive changes to that institution as well. Due to the "Law for the Prevention of Progeny with Hereditary Diseases” of 14 July 1933, at least 335 male and female residents of the Roteburg Asylum were sterilized in the ensuing years until the end of World War II.
When preparations began for the mass killing of incurably ill people in autumn 1939 and six German "mental and nursing facilities” were turned into killing facilities, several collection points sprang up in the vicinity of this extermination site where the victims were temporarily housed until they were ultimately killed. One of those temporary places was the Weilmünster State Hospital in the vicinity of the Hadamar killing facility in Hessen. Herta Schlaugat was among the 70 Rotenburg patients who were transported there on 5 Aug. 1941.
When killing by gas was officially stopped on 24 Aug. 1941, that did not mean the end of the "euthanasia” killing program. The dying continued during subsequent years at the German "mental and nursing homes”, including Weilmünster. The most frequent causes of death during that second "phase of euthanasia” was food deprivation, not treating illnesses, deteriorating care conditions and overdose of medication. None of the Rotenburg patients who had been moved to Weilmünster were still alive in May 1945.
Herta Schlaugat died on 9 Jan. 1943. She was buried in the cemetery of the "Weilmünster State Mental Hospital".
As of 1991 a memorial stone at that cemetery bears witness to the killing of the ill who previously had largely been forgotten, and the neighboring memorial site, opened in 2003, documents the names of all the NS victims buried there.
Translator: Suzanne von Engelhardt
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: January 2019
© Klaus Möller
Quellen: Gedenkbuch für die in der NS-Zeit getöteten Patientinnen und Patienten der Rotenburger Anstalten; Archiv der Rotenburger Werke der Inneren Mission, Akten Nr. 135, 196; Rotenburger Werke (Hrsg.), Zuflucht.