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Helga Deede * 1940

Marckmannstraße 135 (ehemalige Kinderklinik) (Hamburg-Mitte, Rothenburgsort)

GEB. 4.6.1940
ERMORDET 30.10.1944

further stumbling stones in Marckmannstraße 135 (ehemalige Kinderklinik):
Andreas Ahlemann, Rita Ahrens, Ursula Bade, Hermann Beekhuis, Ute Conrad, Jürgen Dobbert, Anneliese Drost, Siegfried Findelkind, Rolf Förster, Volker Grimm, Antje Hinrichs, Lisa Huesmann, Gundula Johns, Peter Löding, Angela Lucassen, Elfriede Maaker, Renate Müller, Werner Nohr, Harald Noll, Agnes Petersen, Renate Pöhls, Gebhard Pribbernow, Hannelore Scholz, Doris Schreiber, Ilse Angelika Schultz, Dagmar Schulz, Magdalene Schütte, Gretel Schwieger, Brunhild Stobbe, Hans Tammling, Peter Timm, Heinz Weidenhausen, Renate Wilken, Horst Willhöft

Rothenburgsort Children's Hospital

In the former Rothenburgsort Children's Hospital, the National Socialists implemented their "euthanasia program" from the early 1940s.
Hildegard Thevs was able to research 33 names of murdered children.

A plaque on the building has commemorated the more than 50 murdered babies and children since 1999:

In this building
between 1941 and 1945
more than 50 handicapped children were killed.
An expert committee classified them
as "unworthy life" and assigned them
to be killed in specialized children's wards.
The Hamburg health administration
was involved in this.
Hamburg medical officers supervised
the admission and killing of the children.
Doctors of the children's hospital
carried them out.
None of those involved
was prosecuted for this.

Further information (in German) on the Internet at:

35 Stolpersteine für Rothenburgsort – Hamburger Abendblatt 10.10.2009

Stolpersteine für ermordete Kinder – ND 10.10.2009

Stolpersteine gegen das Vergessen – Pressestelle des Senats 09.10.2009

Die toten Kinder von Rothenburgsort – 09.10.2009

35 Stolpersteine verlegt – Hamburg 1 mit Video 09.10.2009

Wikipedia - Institut für Hygiene und Umwelt

Gedenken an mehr als 50 ermordete Kinder - Die Welt 10.11.1999

Euthanasie-Opfer der Nazis - Beitrag NDR Fernsehen 29.05.2010

Hitler und das "lebensunwerte Leben" - Andreas Schlebach NDR 24.08.2009

Helga Deede, born on 4 June 1940 in Harburg, murdered on 30 Oct. 1944

"Through the treatment chosen, a creature has been released from never-ending, most severe distress and suffering,” was the upshot with which Bayer concluded the report about his former patient, Helga Deede, which he submitted to the investigating judge on 18 Jan. 1946. According to his convictions, it had been an act of humanistic compassion to free her of her congenital ailment caused by an "abnormality of the brain structure in conjunction with brain damage having developed in the womb or during birth.”

The parents evidently experienced their daughter in a different way, for they had to be downright forced to give away their daughter.

Helga Deede was the first child of the couple, and she was born in Hamburg-Harburg on 4 June 1940. Her birth took place normally, but one thing noticed soon was that Helga tilted her head considerably to the left. Later, it turned out that the muscles on the left side of her neck were shortened. At the age of about three months, twitches occurred for the first time, soon increasing into spasms accompanied by shrieks. Her mental development stagnated.

The mother took Helga to see the social worker at the Harburg Public Health Department, at the time headed by Senior Medical Officer (Obermedizinalrat) Fritz Janik. There, a female doctor – in the mother’s recollection, not the medical officer himself – told her that she [the doctor] had to report Helga "to Berlin” and that the child would be committed to an institution. Janik, following the official channels, did indeed report Helga Deede to the "Reich Committee” ["for the Scientific Registering of Serious Hereditary and Congenital Illnesses”] ("Reichsausschuss” ["zur wissenschaftlichen Erfassung von erb- und anlagebedingten schweren Leiden”]) in Berlin. After that, the social worker of the Harburg Public Health Department repeatedly urged that the mother bring Helga to Langenhorn [State Asylum]. She resisted for a long time.

On 26 Jan. 1942, Helga Deede got a healthy sister. What persuaded the parents to give in to the social worker’s urging after all is not known. On 12 Oct. 1942, they brought Helga to the "children’s special ward” ("Kinderfachabteilung”) of the "Langenhorn sanatorium and nursing home” ("Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Langenhorn”).

Friedrich Knigge made the diagnosis: "Idiocy (microcephaly), organic brain process with epileptiform seizures and hemiplegic symptoms, chronic cystitis.” Helga’s head circumference was below the norm, and together with pathological changes of the brain, her microcephaly [smallness of head] was considered as a possible cause for the seizures that affected only the right side of the body. She suffered from chronic bladder infection. Helga was able to suppress seizures by kicking about as well as tossing and turning, but she was neither able to speak nor sit, let alone stand up. She established little contact with her environment and also expressed herself rarely. Overall, however, she made a calm and content impression on the physician. After an observation period of about three weeks, he implied to her mother that perhaps Helga ought to undergo an operation. Afraid of that course, she took her daughter home again on 5 Nov. 1942. Knigge closed the file and noted, "Concerning treatment, the parents intend to call again.”

Following her third birthday on 4 June 1943, Helga actually no longer fell within the competence of the "Reich Committee,” but following the stop to the "mass euthanasia” in Aug. 1941, the committee had raised the age limit. The social worker continued to visit the family and suggested to the mother to hand over the child to an institution again, arguing that Helga was a great burden for her. After Helga had lived at home again for two years by that time, one day the social worker showed up with news that official notification had arrived "from Berlin” to bring Helga to the Rothenburgsort Children’s Hospital. The parents went there with her on 19 Oct. 1944. The ward physician of the surgery ward, Gisela Schwabe, assured them that this stay only involved observation, no operation or any other dangerous treatment. For this reason, they had also not been asked to give any type of consent, they testified later during their questioning by the investigating judge.

From the third day of admission until two days before her death, Helga spent eleven hours a day and more in the bunker. On the fourth day of her stay, an encephalography was carried out, prior to which she received 1cc Phenobarbital (Luminal) for better tolerance. The effects were slight fever and vomiting but a decrease of the spasms.

Eleven days later, Helga’s parents received a message by phone in the late morning that their daughter had "fallen asleep” at 10 a.m. The astonishment at her rapid death was great. Her mother, by then in an advanced stage of pregnancy again, sent relatives to the hospital on her behalf. They were given the information that Helga had died of spasms.

Apparently, Helga had suffered from Little’s Disease, a spastic paralysis, accompanied by a severe malformation of the brain, as Gisela Schwabe noted. She had administered the fatal dose of Phenobarbital to Helga. Two days later, Hans Deede gave notice of his daughter’s death at the records office in Billbrook, the replacement of the one destroyed in Rothenburgsort. Helga reached the age of four years and four months.

Her corpse was transferred for a post-mortem examination to Josef Heine of the AK (Asklepios Klinik) St. Georg, and his autopsy report is numbered 860. In addition to extensive changes of the cerebral matter, Heine found cerebral swelling and a brain hemorrhage above the right cerebrum, which dated back several days, and he attributed them to a possible Phenobarbital injection of 7–10 cc, which according to Heine she had received two to three days before. He did not find any clues to an active pneumonia, as could have been expected in connection with a high dose of Phenobarbital. Possibly, this atypical reaction was related to the fact that Helga had frequently received Phenobarbital injections in small doses before to alleviate the spasms.

Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

© Hildegard Thevs

Quellen: StaH 0017/001; 332-5 Standesämter, 1237+399/1944; 352-8/7 Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn, Abl. 2000/01, 30580.

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