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Margot Fischbeck * 1935
August-Bebel-Straße 105 (Bergedorf, Bergedorf)
AM STEINHOF WIEN
Margot Fischbeck, born 17 Mar. 1935 in Bergedorf, admitted 16 Aug. 1943 to the Wagner von Jauregg Mental Institution in Vienna, murdered 7 Nov. 1943
Margot Fischbeck, born 17 March 1935 in Bergedorf at the former Hitlerstraße 37, now August Bebel Straße, died on 7 November 1943 in the city of Vienna’s Mental Institution, the former Steinhof. She was a victim of the Nazi euthanasia program, although her death occurred after the program was officially shut down and was unauthorized.
Margot Luise Fischbeck was the daughter of Hans Fischbeck and his wife Meta, née Gerstenkorn. Her father was a truck driver and her mother a housewife. Margot had one brother, three years younger than herself. Her parents were German and Protestant. Margot was christened on 18 August 1935. The Bible verse chosen for her christening was "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” What role this motto played in Margot’s life cannot be determined from the surviving documents.
Margot’s development was normal until the age of two. Although she could not yet walk by the age of 15 months, she had learned to speak. She then contracted meningitis, which led to epileptic seizures. They often occurred during the day, but also sometimes at night. She was no longer able to speak and could only say "mama.” Margot liked to eat, but she needed assistance. She also needed help to dress and could not control her bladder.
Apparently caring for Margot was such a burden to the family that they put her in institutional care. The institution also offered Margot support that the family could not. When Margot was five-and-a-half years old, she was admitted to the Alsterdorf Mental Institution. The costs of her residence there were paid by the Bergedorf office of the county administration.
Margot did not attend school in the Alsterdorf Institution. An education or later profession was out of the question due to the severity of her condition. Margot was self-confident and calm. She liked to play alone, especially with paper. Her hospital records do not indicate how well she dealt with the separation from her parents and brother.
After the Alsterdorf Instituion was partially destroyed during the air raids in July and August 1943, Margot and 227 other girls and women were evacuated to the mental institution in Vienna. The transport left Hamburg on 16 August 1943. Five weeks after her arrival in Vienna, Margot and thirteen other girls were transferred to the Vienna City Psychiatric Clinic for Children, Im Speigelgrund.
The Spiegelgrund was a "special children’s ward” of the Reich Committee for the Scientific Registering of Hereditary and Congenital Illnesses” – a children’s euthanasia facility. The doctors thoroughly examined Margot, drew conclusions about her future development, and sent a report to the Reich Committee in Berlin. The medical historian Michael Wunder states: "A direct ‘authorization of treatment,’ the official license to kill that was issued by the Committee in previous years or for other ‘special children’s wards,’ was never sought for the Alsterdorf children in Vienna.” Margot was nevertheless "treated” as if the doctors had received approval.
The fourteen girls, of whom Margot was one, were all murdered within three-and-a-half months of their transfer to the Spiegelgrund. Margot died on 11 November 1943 and was probably buried in the Central Cemetery in Vienna. Her brain was removed and parts of it conserved for scientific research.
An investigation into the deaths in 1983 showed that the patients were murdered either with medication or by starvation. The parents were sent "letters of warning” shortly before the girls’ deaths. It is not known if Margot’s parents were in contact with her after her transfer to Vienna.
Margot was eight years old when she died.
On 9 May 2012, at a ceremony attended by the Austrian president Heinz Fischer and the Vice-Mayor of Hamburg Dorothee Stapelfeldt, the remains of 61 victims of Nazi medical crimes whose names are known were buried at the Vienna Central Cemetery. Margot Fischbeck’s brain specimens were included.
Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Alexander Eckart, Patrick Wesierski
Quellen: Archiv der Ev. Stiftung Alsterdorf, Patientenakten V 352; Wunder, Michael, Genkel, Ingrid, Jenner, Harald, Auf dieser schiefen Ebenen gibt es kein Halten mehr, S. 213–225, Hamburg, erste Auflage 1987; Hamburger Adressbücher.