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Porträt Dorothea Gutbier, 1938
Dorothea Gutbier, 1938
© Ev. Stiftung Alsterdorf, Archiv

Dorothea Gutbier * 1877

Conventstraße 12 (Wandsbek, Eilbek)

JG. 1877
ERMORDET 9.2.1945

Dorothea Gutbier, born 7 Sep. 1877 in Hamburg, murdered 9 Feb. 1945 at the Wagner von Jauregg Institution of the City of Vienna

Conventstraße 12

Little is known about the first forty years of Dorothea Gutbier’s life. Her father, the tailor Eduard Gutbier, was originally from Langensalza in Thuringia, where he was born on 14 August 1849. He and his brother moved to Hamburg on the 1870s, where he married Maria Schröder (*31 July 1848) in 1876. Dorothea was their first child. The family lived at Niedernstraße 24. Their second child, Emma Caroline Wilhelmine, was born on 29 October 1882. She died as a young woman of appendicitis. Dorothea was christened on 28 April 1878 at the St. Jacobi church. From her earliest childhood she was considered "feeble-minded,” as it was called then. Nevertheless, she attended a private school, and was confirmed at the St. Jacobi church on 24 March 1893. The Bible verse chosen as her confirmation motto, Psalms 62:1, was indicative of her later life: "Truly my soul finds rest in God; My salvation comes from Him.”

In 1895 the Gutbier family moved to an apartment at Conventstraße 12. Dorothea’s mother died on 10 May 1910, aged 62. Her father married Anna Hedwig Pirk (*23 March 1874 in Markt-Bohrau in Silesia) on 15 February 1913. She was 24 years his junior. They had one child, a daughter, on 12 May 1915. Eduard Gutbier died on 13 September 1919, but not before having provided for his elder daughter Dorothea.

Dorothea Gutbier, who was now 42 years old, remained for a short time with her step-mother, who was only three years older than herself. She was assigned a legal guardian, who urged her admission to the Alsterdorf Institution. 3700 Marks were available to pay the residence fees. When this sum was used up in October 1921, the Welfare Office took over the costs. The fees for Dorothea Gutbier were assessed at the maximum level, since she was unable to care for herself and was not able to work.

In addition, Dorothea Gutbier had cataracts in both eyes. Her spatial and temporal orientation was good, she was anxious and quiet, she spoke calmly and lucidly, and her grammar was exceptional. She could walk without aid, could wash and dress alone, and could entertain herself. When she was ill with pneumonia in 1925, her step-mother was allowed to visit her daily.

Dorothea’s dependence on help increased. In 1934, when she was 57 years old, her records stated: "Dorothea Gutbier is modest, respectful and polite to all people, and touchingly caring for her [blind] friend. She is eager to help, but needs much help herself. She often murmurs to herself. She never seeks occupation.” After 18 years of life in an institution, Dorothea Gutbier needed constant care, the cost of which was covered by the Health and Special Services Office until August 1943.

On 16 August she was transferred to the Wagner von Jauregg Institution of the City of Vienna. She was in such a state of fear when she arrived there that no admission interview was possible. Dorothea Gutbier spent much of her time in bed. In October 1943 she weighed 47 kg (130 lbs). Her condition did not change, but she continued to lose weight. On 9 March 1944, the Institute authorities filled out the T4-office form for the allegedly discontinued "Institution Euthanasia” program. In this form it was noted that she received no visitors, no relatives were known, and that she was "unusable” for work. This was her death sentence.

After July 1943 there was no more contact with her step-mother. Hedwig Gutbier had moved from Roßberg to Marienthaler Straße 153 in Hamm. The building was destroyed by bombs.

Two months after the registration form was submitted, in May 1944, Dorothea Gutbier was transferred to the Institute’s nursing ward. She died there on 9 February 1945, aged 67, of "emaciation due to age and bronchitis.” At her death she weighed only 30 kg (66 lbs).

Stand Februar 2014

Translator: Amy Lee

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

© Hildegard Thevs

Quellen: Ev. Stiftung Alsterdorf, Archiv, V 332; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 6507-51/1913, 5459-113/1954; 332-8 Meldewesen, Alt-hamburgisches Gebiet 1892–1925, K 6175; Jenner, Meldebögen, in: Wunder/Genkel/Jenner, Auf dieser schiefen Ebene; Wunder, Abtransporte, in: Wunder/Genkel/Jenner, Auf dieser schiefen Ebene; ders., Exodus, ebd.

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