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Siegfried Findelkind * 1943

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

JG. 1943
ERMORDET 9.10.1944

further stumbling stones in Marckmannstraße 135 (ehemalige Kinderklinik):
Andreas Ahlemann, Rita Ahrens, Ursula Bade, Hermann Beekhuis, Ute Conrad, Helga Deede, Jürgen Dobbert, Anneliese Drost, 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

Siegfried, born 1943, probably in Hamburg, murdered 9 Oct. 1944

Siegfried was a foundling. The circumstances under which he was found as a newborn or infant are unknown. It is likely that he was lost during air raids over Hamburg in July-August 1943 when large parts of the city were destroyed.

Siegfried was fostered with a couple in Langenhorn, who eventually wanted to adopt him. He was named after his foster father, and was a ward of the court. Siegfried was admitted to the Hamburg Infants’ Home, a private childrens’ home at Hochallee 1, with which the foster parents were in close contact. The home’s director, Ludwig Gmelin, had him transferred to the Alsterdorf Institution.

Siegfried was admitted to the Alsterdorf Institution on 16 March 1944. He was determined to be about 18 months old, based on his physical development. His forehead was enlarged and the fontanelle had not yet closed, a development that usually takes place about one year after birth. He did not react to sounds, his pupils dilated only minimally when the light changed, and it could not be determined if he was able to see at all. He generally held his arms and legs bent, he could not lift his head nor sit up. Siegfried appeared to be "fully moronic,” reacted to nothing and whimpered almost constantly during examinations. The physician judged his "subjective and physical condition” to be "adequate” and diagnosed "idiocy (hydrocephalus/water on the brain).”

Feeding Siegfried was difficult, since he could keep down only very little of the porridge that he was given. He developed chicken pox in April 1944 and was transferred to a hospital ward, where he remained after he had recovered. The person holding Siegfried in the photograph is a patient who helped with light nursing duties. After the war she lived in Alsterdorf for many years.

The correspondence in Siegfried’s records begins seven weeks after he was admitted and ends when he was transferred to the Rothenburgsort Children’s Hospital on 5 September 1944. It gives an indication of who decided Siegfried’s fate. On 4 May 1944, Herr Fischer, Siegfried’s legal guardian from the Youth Welfare Office, which carried the costs of his care and treatment, requested information about Siegfried’s civil status and his probable place and date of birth. The chief physician, Gerhard Schäfer, replied one week later that the child appeared to be about 18 months old. He added: "The child has water on the brain and is fully idiotic.”

Eight weeks later, on 1 July 1944, the Hamburg Health Department requested the child’s hospital records. The reference number in the letter indicated the Reichsausschuss (Reich Committee for the Scientific Registering of Serious Hereditary and Congenital Illnesses). Someone had evidently informed them about Siegfried in May 1944. In early June the Reichsausschuss informed Wilhelm Bayer that Siegfried would be transferred to Rothenburgsort. Hans Grieve, Chief Consulting Physician at the Hamburg Health Department at Graumannsweg 17 and director of the advisory commission for "hereditary and racial issues,” established in 1942, was consulted. Two months later he ordered Sigfried’s transfer from Alsterdorf to Rothenburgsort. In 1948 he claimed that his reason for this decision was that the legal guardian had requested it. It was pure coincidence that he sent Siegfried to Rothenburgsort, he could just as well have been sent to the Hochallee Children’s Home or the Altona Children’s Hospital. He denied that the Reichsausschuss had been involved.

Siegfried was admitted to the Rothenburgsort Children’s Hospital on 5 September 1944 and placed in the surgical ward. The physician, Dr. Lotte Albers, who examined him described him as an approximately two-year-old boy with a large head and small body, whose height and weight were less than normal. Her further observations were identical to those of the Alsterdorf Institute. She added that he sucked his thumb. Her diagnosis went beyond that of the earlier one, adding blindness and deafness. There is no indication of a consultation with the foster parents or the legal guardian about possible treatment. In the four-and-a-half weeks that Siegfried was in the Rothenburgsort Children’s Hospital, he was subjected to numerous very invasive and painful examinations, including two encephalographies (see explanations). The first was two days after admission, the second eleven days later. The results showed an underdeveloped brain. The foster parents were only informed of the transfer one week after the fact.

Siegfried’s case was transferred from Lotte Albers to Ingeborg Wetzel, who performed further stressful examinations, the last one on 2 October. There was no diagnostic or therapeutic value in these examinations. Siegfried died in the early morning hours of 9 October. Ingeborg Wetzel, with the assistance of the ward nurse Martha Müller, injected him with Luminal (phenobarbital).

It was eight days later before the Children’s Hospital informed the registry office of Siegfried’s death. In this time Siegfried’s body was autopsied by Josef Heine at the St. Georg General Hospital, and his brain cells were examined. The specimens, with the specimen number 778, were sent to the Rothenburgsort Children’s Hospital on 26 October 1944.

Translator: Amy Lee

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

© Hildegard Thevs

Quellen: Archiv der Ev. Stiftung Alsterdorf, V 261, Kopie der Originalakte im StaH 352-8/7 Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn, Abl. 2000/1, 26; StaH 213-12 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht – NSG, 0017/002; 332-5 Standesämter, 1237+338/1944.

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