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Ella-Anna Carstens * 1907

Bartholomäusstraße 18 (Hamburg-Nord, Barmbek-Süd)

JG. 1907
´VERLEGT` 28.7.1941
ERMORDET 24.1.1942

Ella Anna Henriette Carstens, born 27.8.1907 in Hamburg, admitted to the Alsterdorf Asylum (today Evangelische Stiftung Alsterdorf) on 30.7.1935, transferred to the Hamburg-Langenhorn sanatorium and nursing home on 28.7.1941, from there transferred to the former "Gau-Heilanstalt Tiegenhof" near Gnesen (today Gniezno/Poland), on 27.11.1941, murdered on 24.1.1942

Bartholomäusstraße 42, Barmbek-Süd

Ella Anna Henriette Carstens was born on 27 Aug. 1907 at Paulinenallee 8b in Hamburg-Eimsbüttel. She was the daughter of Henry Carl Matthias Carstens, a Lutheran magazine worker for the Hamburg-America Line, born in Hamburg on 11 Nov. 1868, and his wife Maria Katharina Anna Elisabeth, née Borgward, who was also Lutheran.

Her first name on the Stumbling Stone was given as Ella-Anna in accordance with the entry in the "Hamburger Gedenkbuch Euthanasie – Die Toten 1939-1945". In contrast, the birth register contains the first names Ella Anna Henriette without a hyphen. Only the first of her three first names is considered to be her call name, accordingly she is in the following referred to as Ella Carstens.

Ella Carstens had an older brother, Jonni Friedrich Karl, born on 15 July 1904 in Hamburg.

We have no further information about Ella Carstens and her family. The few pieces of vital data were taken from a file card that was created for the Hamburg Health Passport Archive, which was set up from 1934 onwards for the purpose of "hereditary biology records" of the population ("hereditary health file card" or "family record" ("Sippschaftstafel”).

We neither know when and where Ella Carstens' parents married, nor when this marriage ended. The "Sippschaftstafel" only contains the entry "melancholy, suicide" about Ella's mother, there is no date.

On 1 Febr. 1918 Ella's father entered into a second marriage with Bertha Elise Dorette, divorced Japp, née Thurm, born on 20 July 1879 in Wandsbek. This marriage is said to have produced four more children.

The Hamburg address book lists Ella's father in 1929 and 1930 as H. Carstens at Bartholomäusstraße 42. This address was also noted when Ella Carstens was admitted to the Alsterdorf Asylum (now Evangelische Stiftung Alsterdorf) on 30 July 1935.

Ella Carstens' patient file is no longer available, so that details about her childhood, youth and the reason for her admission to Alsterdorf are not known. According to the file card created for the Hamburg Health Passport Archive, she suffered from schizophrenia.

At the Alsterdorf Asylum, her personal hygiene had to be completely taken care of by carers. She was said to have been frequently agitated, talked in a confused manner, lashed out and had no relationship with her surroundings. According to the entries in the admission book of the Alsterdorf Asylum, she was transferred to the Langenhorn sanatorium and nursing home on 28 July 1941 and transported from there in a transport of 32 women and 37 men to the "Gau-Heilanstalt Tiegenhof" (Wojewódzki Szpitaldla Nerwowo i Psychicznie Chorych "Dziekanka") near Gnesen (Gniezno, today Poland) on 27 Nov. 1941.

The Tiegenhof institution was built between 1891 and 1894 almost two and a half kilometers from Gniezno and around 50 km east of Poznan. Until 1919, beds were available for around 600 patients. After the territory was transferred to the re-established state of Poland, the institution was renamed Dziekanka. It was one of the psychiatric institutions with the lowest mortality rates in the world. In October 1939, the institution was occupied by the German Wehrmacht. Renamed "Gau-Heilanstalt Tiegenhof", it was included in the National Socialists' euthanasia programme.

Almost all the men and women of the Hamburg transport died: Those responsible deliberately starved them to death and/or gave them overdoses of drugs such as Luminal, Scopolamine and Chloral Hydrate.

Ella Carstens was murdered on 24 Jan. 1942.

A stumbling stone at Bartholomäusstraße 42 commemorates her.

Translation: Elisabeth Wendland
Stand: April 2024
© Ingo Wille

Quellen: Adressbuch Hamburg, 1907-1935; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 3833 Geburtsregister Nr. 387/1879 (Bertha Elise Dorette Thurm), 14193 Geburtsregister Nr. 1572/1904 (Jonni Friedrich Karl Carstens), 14865 Geburtsregister Nr. 1780/1907 (Ella Anna Henriette Carstens), 4077 Heiratsregister Nr. 217/1898 (Friedrich Carl Heinrich Japp/Bertha Elise Dorette Thurm), 6544 Heiratsregister Nr. 46/1918 (Henry Carl Matthias Carstens/ Bertha Elise Dorette Japp geb. Thurm); Evangelische Stiftung Alsterdorf Archiv Erbgesundheitskarteikarte von Ella Anna Henriette Carstens. Schwanke, Enno, Die Landesheil- und Pflegeanstalt Tiegenhof, Die nationalsozialistische Euthanasie in Polen während des Zweiten Weltkrieges, Frankfurt/M. 2015, S. 101 ff.; Michael Wunder, Ingrid Genkel, Harald Jenner, Auf dieser schiefen Ebene gibt es kein Halten mehr – Die Alsterdorfer Anstalten im Nationalsozialismus, Stuttgart 2016, S. 269 ff.; Peter von Rönn u.a., Wege in den Tod, Hamburgs Anstalt Langenhorn und die Euthanasie in der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus, Hamburg 1993; Harald Jenner, Michael Wunder, Hamburger Gedenkbuch Euthanasie – Die Toten 1939 – 1945, Hamburg 2017.

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