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Wilhelm Lanquillon * 1911

Heimfelder Straße 15 (Harburg, Heimfeld)

1941 eingewiesen
'Heilanstalt' Weilmünster
ermordet 30.10.1941

Wilhelm Lanquillon, born 5 Jan. 1911, transferred from the Inner Mission’s Rotenburg Institution to the Weilmünster State Institution, murdered there 30 Oct. 1941

Hamburg-Heimfeld, Heimfelder Straße 15

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Wilhelm Lanquillon was 28 years old and a patient at the Rotenburg Institution in Rotenburg an der Wümme, a facility of the Lutheran Church’s Inner Mission for the poor and handicapped.

Living conditions for the patients and staff at the Institution had worsened in 1939, when the state appropriated some of its buildings to use a military hospital, and conscripted numerous employees to staff it. In the summer of 1940, the administration was ordered to take part in the measures for "the centrally planned registration of mental institutions,” a part of the Action T4, the euthanasia project for the elimination of the terminally ill (see glossary). The institutions were to fill out registration forms and send them back to the central office in Berlin, where patients would be selected to be "transferred,” i.e. sent to a euthanasia center.

Since the institution was less cooperative than desired, the T4 central office sent a commission of four doctors to Rotenburg on 24 April 1941. This commission examined all 1150 patients – including Wilhelm Lanquillon – in the course of four days, and filled out the questionnaires themselves.

On 20 June 1941, the Rotenburg Institution was informed that 100 patients had been selected to be transferred to the Weilmünster State Institution in Hesse. Wilhelm Lanquillon was among them. The transport took place on 30 July 1941. The patients’ families were informed of the transfer after the fact. Wilhelm Lanquillon’s mother was upset when she received the news, and did not understand the decision, as her letter dated 2 August 1941 shows. In the Rotenburg Institution’s reply to her letter, the administration assured her that there was nothing to be concerned about, and that her son was "in good hands” in Weilmünster.

This was by no means the case. Weilmünster is near Hadamar, where the Nazis, in the course of 1940, had converted the town’s existing mental institution into a euthanasia center for the T4 program. In the first eight months of 1941, a total of 10,072 people had been gassed to death. The hospital in Weilmünster served as a holding station, where the ill and handicapped who had been selected waited to be taken to Hadamar. The authorities hoped that this temporary "layover” would help to camouflage the true reason for the transports. Wilhelm Lanquillon and the other patients from Rotenburg were still in this hospital when Action T4 was officially cancelled on 24 August 1941.

They remained there for the next months. The living conditions were wretched. The patients died in the course of the next two years as a result of the worsening conditions in the hospital, intentional starvation, and lethal injections. The facility was completely overfilled due to the mass transports that arrived every day, and the supply situation was worse here than in similar facilities. Sleeping pills and sedatives were used excessively.

Wilhelm Lanquillon died on 30 October 1941. He was one of more than 3000 patients whose lives ended in Weilmünster between 1940 and the capitulation of Nazi Germany. The staff let them "starve, slowly but surely,” and "assisted with injections,” as a former patient put it in 1946.

Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: March 2017
© Klaus Möller

Quellen: Gedenkbuch der Rotenburger Werke der Inneren Mission; Archiv der Rotenburger Werke der Inneren Mission, Akten Nr. 153, 196; Rotenburger Werke (Hrsg.), Zuflucht; Vanja (Hrsg.), Weilmünster.

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