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Already layed Stumbling Stones

Renate Pöhls * 1944

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

GEB. 27.3.1944
ERMORDET 31.10.1944

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

Renate Pöhls, b. 3.27.1944 in Hamburg, murdered on 10.31.1944

Renate Pöhls spent the first five months of her life in the hospital as a prematurely born twin. She and her brother were born in the Olga-Heim in Wohldorf, where the Rotheburgsort children’s hospital had built a birthing and nursing ward in a former merchant’s villa very near the Pestalozzi Foundation, just two months after the devastation of the "fire-storm bombing” of Hamburg in July 1943. Renate’s mother, Ida Lena Magda Pöhls, née Lindemann, died in the birth. The father, an artist and lithographer by profession, had been a soldier in the army since the beginning of the Second World War. They lived in the house of Lena Pöhls’ parents at Alten Dorfstrasse 2 in the Ohlstedt quarter.

Renate came into the world in a forceps-assisted birth, weighing just barely 5 lbs.; she gave her first cry only after resuscitation procedures of long duration. Her brother, born first, apparently had no problems. Gradually, she recovered under the care of the physicians Ingeborg Wetzel and Ursula Petersen and of experienced nursing sisters like Hanna Westermann. Because she still could not drink during her first week of life, she received breast milk through a tube and glucose injections also.

She survived neonatal jaundice and grew after she began to drink on her own. Nevertheless, anemia set in and she worsened. On three successive days Renate received transfusions of her father’s blood. She bore these well but soon afterward developed pneumonia. Meticulous treatment with chest compresses and nourishment, again through a tube and with glucose injections, soon overcame the illness. Whenever possible, Renate was brought to the veranda of the Olga-Heim for several hours. Then a hernia became noticeable, which the doctors attempted to repair by various means, in order to avoid an operation. When this was no longer possible, Renate was moved on 20 June 1944 to the headquarters of the Rothenburgsort children’s hospital, which was able to resume operations, although only to a limited extent.

The operation went without complications, although a new bout of anemia required a further series of three transfusions. This time Renate received her grandfather’s blood.

In the meantime, Renate, now four years old, lay in the Rothenburgsort hospital, when for the first time she became increasingly restless and experienced muscle contractions and apparently showed no connection to her surroundings. An examination of the cranium, an encephalography (to check the brain’s electrical activity) was supposed to yield information about possible brain damage. X-rays revealed pathological abnormalities.

Four days later, Renate was moved back to the Olga-Heim. To calm her she received small regular doses of Luminal and Vigantol to prevent rickets. After a month, an oozing skin condition set in which, despite intensive treatment with light, baths, powder, and salve, developed into an abscess on the back of her head. On 21 August 1944, with a bandaged head, weighing 7 ¼ pounds, and a notation "twin, premature birth," the nearly five-month old Renate was released at the family’s request to be cared for by her paternal grandparents, who apparently also cared for her brother. They sublet a home in Wohldorf at Schleusenredder 23, where until 1937 the Jewish physician Alwin Gerson had lived (see his commemorative stone in Hamburg-Wandsbek at Walddörfern, S. 53–59). Renate was still not baptized, nor would she be later.

Her care proved unexpectedly difficult so that after three weeks, on 11 September 1944, she was again sent back to the hospital. She was considerably underweight, 7¾ lbs. instead of the nearly 14 lbs. appropriate for her age; and she also suffered from "microcephaly," an abnormally small head. She arrived at the small children’s ward of the main Rothenburgsort hospital.

Two days after her admission, Renate Pöhls was, because of her disability, reported to the "Reich Board” (for the Protection of German Blood), apparently without consultation with her father or grandmother. No examinations were conducted in the following seven weeks. Renate’s eating problems got better with time, but the anemia persisted. Instead of further blood transfusions, a bunker experiment was performed. During a 4-week stay in darkness and in air with lower oxygen content, her blood count improved noticeably.

At the end of October 1944, the attending physician Gisela Schwabe administered a lethal Luminal injection to Renate, assisted by the ward nurse Hanna Westermann. Renate ceased to drink and fell into unconsciousness until, during the night of 31 October, she died.

Her grandmother reported Renate’s death three days later to the Billbrook registry office, which replaced the destroyed Rothenburgsort office. The causes of death listed in the registry were "microcephaly and pneumonia.” Renate was seven months old.

Renate Pöhls‘ second hospital stay lasted seven weeks, most of which was spent in the bunker. That this treatment went beyond therapy and involved a test in the sense of a scientific experiment, there is no evidence of efforts made to clarify the cause of her developmental disorders. Complications during pregnancy and delivery, as well as in the newborn period, including serious jaundice, may have damaged her brain.

Translator: Richard Levy
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: February 2018
© Hildegard Thevs

Quellen: StaH 213-12 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht – NSG, 0017/001, 002; 332-5 Standesämter 1237+403/ 1944; 352-8/7 Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn, Abl. 2000/01, 63 UA 4.

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