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Martha Bedey (née Metschies) * 1901
Reeseberg 109 (Harburg, Wilstorf)
Martha Bedey, née Metschies, born on 5 Mar. 1901 in Harburg, on 7 Oct. 1941 admitted to the Langenhorn "sanatorium and nursing home” (Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Langenhorn), ‘transferred’ on 7 Aug. 1943 to the Hadamar "state sanatorium” (Landesheilanstalt Hadamar), murdered on 20 Jan. 1945.
Harburg District, Rönneburg, Reeseberg 109
Martha Bedey was born in Harburg on 5 Mar. 1901. She was the oldest daughter of the laborer Karl Metschies and his wife Helene; her siblings were named Karl and Hedwig.
Martha attended school in Harburg, and after graduating from business school, she worked as a clerk.
On 5 Aug. 1927, she married Christian Bedey. The couple lived at Lönsstrasse 93.
Due to psychological problems, Martha Bedey was admitted to Harburg General Hospital on 16 Sept. 1938. There the doctors determined – after questioning the relatives – that a change in the patient’s psyche had been occurring for about a year and a half. In the medical record, a not indicated, "The patient is transferred to the Psychiatric and Mental Hospital of the Eilbecktal Hansische University [Psychiatrische und Nervenklinik der Hansischen Universität Eilbecktal] for further treatment, since the husband expects improvement from a course of treatment (insulin course of treatment).”
On 20 Sept. 1938, she was admitted there, accompanied by her sister and sister-in-law. On 30 Jan. 1939, the clinic asked colleagues at the Hamburg-Eppendorf University Hospital for a specialist examination, "...particularly, we are interested in the question of whether sterilization is necessary.” Whether the physicians there gave an answer to this question is not known. However, on 1 Mar. 1939, the patient was discharged from the clinic after the Harburg Health Office also confirmed in a letter dated 18 Feb. 1939 "that there are no objections to the discharge.”
After her discharge from the clinic, Martha Bedey moved in with her father in the apartment at Reeseberg 109.
On 17 Sept. 1941, she was again admitted to the Eilbecktal Psychiatric Hospital and shortly thereafter, due to ‘lack of space,’ was ‘transferred’ to the Langenhorn "sanatorium and nursing home” on a collective transport on 7 Oct. 1941. In response to an inquiry from the Hamburg-Harburg social administration, the Langenhorn nursing home provided the information that a longer stay of the patient in the institution was to be expected.
Martha Bedey’s patient file contains the following note dated 7 Aug. 1943: "Evacuated to Hadamar due to air raids.” The family was not informed of this. Only after a written inquiry from the sister with Langenhorn did the family learn of the whereabouts of the daughter and, respectively, sister.
Sister Hedwig immediately contacted the Hadamar "state sanatorium,” described her sister’s life and pointed out circumstances that might have led to the illness. She also requested permission for a visit, which was approved by letter dated 14 Dec. 1943, and probably took place on the patient’s birthday on 4 Mar. 1944. On 30 Aug. 1944, the family again applied to obtain permission for the patient’s sister and father to visit.
However, despite such visitation permits, the Hadamar "state sanatorium” was a killing facility serving as part of the Nazi patient killing operations. People were murdered there using gas, the overdose of medication, and through malnutrition.
Martha Bedey’s condition also deteriorated. In a letter dated 5 Dec. 1944, the Harburg District Court (Amtsgericht) inquired at the Hadamar "state sanatorium” whether the patient "agreed to her father being appointed as a guardian to take care of her property matters.” In the reply letter dated 16 Jan. 1945, the hospital confirmed to the district court that the patient "requires a guardian.” Three days later, the Hadamar "state sanatorium” informed Martha’s sister Hedwig, "Your sister has been showing a conspicuous deterioration for some time.... This morning she collapsed. Danger to her life cannot be ruled. Visitation is permitted.”
One day later, on 20 Jan. 1945, Martha Bedey died.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: May 2021
© Margrit und Helmut Rüth
Quellen: StaH 352-8/7 Sign. Abl. 1/1995 Nr. 29075; Hamburger Gedenkbuch Euthanasie. Die Toten 1938-1945, Berlin/Hamburg 2017, S. 88; Hamburger Adressbuch 1940.