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Lieselotte Brandt * 1936
Holsteiner Chaussee 34 (Eimsbüttel, Eidelstedt)
Lieselotte Edith Brandt, born on 12 July 1936 in Hamburg, "transferred” from what was then the Alsterdorf Asylum (Alsterdorfer Anstalten) to the "Vienna Municipal Wagner von Jauregg-Heil- und Pflegeanstalt” on 16 Aug. 1943, died on 17 Jan. 1944 in Vienna
Holsteiner Chaussee 34 (formerly Kieler Strasse 768), Eidelstedt
Lieselotte Brandt was the daughter of Walter Brandt, a welder employed by the Reich Railroad Corporation (Reichsbahn), and his wife Edith, née Möller. The family lived at Kieler Strasse 768 in Eidelstedt (today Holsteiner Chaussee 34). Lieselotte was born in the seventh month of pregnancy, weighing only one kilogram (approx. 2 lbs 3 oz). Her twin brother died at birth.
In early childhood, Lieselotte had overcome chicken pox, whooping cough, and pneumonia. She was a patient at the Alten Eichen Hospital and the Eppendorf Hospital before being admitted to the Alsterdorf Asylum (Alsterdorfer Anstalten; today Evangelische Stiftung Alsterdorf). "Because of the bombing and her parents moving away,” Lieselotte became an institutionalized child at the age of seven, according to her patient file. On admission, she was reportedly in a "cheerful mood,” laughing in a friendly manner, and answering questions in a way that was easy to understand. Her legs were paralyzed. She had to be fed because of another partial paralysis.
The Alsterdorf Asylum was also affected by the heavy air raids on Hamburg in the summer of 1943 ("Operation Gomorrah”). The director of the asylum, Pastor Friedrich Lensch, asked the public health authorities for permission to transfer 750 patients, allegedly to make room for wounded and bomb-damaged persons. On 16 Aug. 1943, a transport with 228 women and girls left Alsterdorf for the "Vienna Municipal Wagner von Jauregg – Heil- und Pflegeanstalt.” Their number also included Lieselotte Brandt.
In Vienna, the physician Marianne Türk performed the admission examination, noting "Face quite pretty and polite in expression, slender, pale [...] the child’s physical defect is more considerable than her mental one. [...] the child is accessible and observes with interest her surroundings [...] she speaks in short sentences [...] she names, without being asked, the things in the room [...] to the Führer’s portrait she says ‘Heil Hitler’ [...] she inquires where the nurse who had taken her here has gone, and when she sees the stethoscope and the reflex hammer she asks, ‘What is that’ [...]. Summary: Probably birth trauma-acquired organic brain condition [...] with mental retardation of medium degree.”
Lieselotte’s mother inquired in Vienna about her daughter’s condition and received the following message on 20 Oct. 1943, "Your little daughter Lieselotte was transferred from the Wagner von Jauregg sanatorium and nursing home to the clinic here on 24 Sept. in the course of the transfer of a larger number of children. The little girl has settled in quite well here and does not express any homesickness. In the last few days, she has had a slight increase in temperature, which is related to middle ear infection. There is no cause for concern now.”
The letter was signed by Dr. med. habil. Ernst Illing, from 1 July 1942 to Apr. 1945 director of the "Viennese Municipal Psychiatric Clinic for Children ‘Am Spiegelgrund’.” Illing headed one of the approximately 30 so-called "children’s special wards” in the German Reich.
The term "children’s special ward” ("Kinderfachabteilung”) was used in the Nazi German Reich as a euphemism for special psychiatric facilities in hospitals and in "sanatoriums and nursing homes” that served the purpose of "child euthanasia,” i.e., the research on and killing of children and adolescents who had physical or mental disabilities. During World War II, at least 789 handicapped and/or maladjusted children were killed in Vienna’s "children’s special ward” by administering sleep-inducing medications, by malnutrition, or by hypothermia.
Lieselotte had been ‘transferred’ to Pavilion 15 of the asylum "Am Spiegelgrund” on 24 September, where the "euthanasia” murders took place. In an undated "expert report,” Ernst Illing concluded that the child Lieselotte "must be fed and is completely unclean, she is completely helpless, and in need of care. With the severity of the condition, an improvement is not to be expected. The child will probably remain permanently incapacitated in terms of education and work.” This sealed Lieselotte Brandt’s fate.
From 10 Dec. 1943 until her demise on 17 Jan. 1944, Lieselotte’s patient file contains the following entries: "Poor appearance, further weight loss despite adequate nutrition, suspected tuberculosis.” "Further weight loss, now has only 11.2 kg [...] never complains of pain [...] incipient decubitus [tissue loss due to bedsores] in the sacral region [...] notification of mother no longer necessary, as she showed up spontaneously, child very pleased about this [...].” "Looks worse day by day, severe decubitus all over the back. Still takes food well.” "High fever 39.9 [degrees Celsius], very little food intake.” "In the morning [on 17 Jan.] already moribund [dying]. Mother came to visit in the evening. 6 p.m. Exitus letalis.”
Lieselotte’s cause of death was noted as "high-grade general atrophy [tissue atrophy] with suspected Tb.”
The Stolperstein commemorating her was laid at Holsteiner Chaussee 34 (formerly Kieler Strasse 768), where she had still resided with her family.
Ernst Illing, together with the physicians Marianne Türk and Margarethe Hübsch (deputy director of the asylum "Am Spiegelgrund” and involved in child "euthanasia”), was tried in the first Steinhof Trial at the People’s Court in Vienna from 15 July to 18 July 1946. While Türk received a ten-year prison sentence and Hübsch was acquitted for lack of evidence, Illing received the death penalty. He was convicted of administering lethal drugs and medically unjustified spinal taps [removal of cerebrospinal fluid at the level of the lumbar vertebrae] in about 200 cases. The sentence was executed by hanging in Nov. 1946.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: May 2021
© Ingo Wille
Quellen: Hamburger Adressbücher; Evangelische Stiftung Alsterdorf, Archiv, Sonderakte V 375 (Lieselotte Brandt); Herwig Czech, Erfassung, Selektion und "Ausmerze" Das Wiener Gesundheitsamt und die Umsetzung der nationalsozialistischen "Erbgesundheitspolitik" 1938 bis 1945, Wien 2003, S. 91 bis S. 94; Waltraud Häupl, Die ermordeten Kinder vom Spiegelgrund Gedenkdokumentation für die Opfer der NS-Kindereuthanasie in Wien, Wien 2006, S. 74, 75; https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Illing, Zugriff am 4.1.2020; https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margarethe_Hübsch, Zugriff am 8.1.2020.