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Antje Hinrichs * 1940

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

GEB. 16.1.1940
ERMORDET 27.10.1944

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, 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

Antje Hinrichs, born 16 Jan. 1940 in Hamburg, murdered on 27 Oct. 1944

Marckmannstraße 135 (former Children’s Hospital) (Hamburg-Mitte, Rothenburgsort)

Antje Hinrichs was the second of the three children of the traveling salesman Reinhold Hinrichs, born in Hamburg in 1890, and his wife Gertrud, 22 years younger and an infant nurse from Altona. Antje was born in the Jerusalem Hospital in Hamburg-Eimsbüttel. She was baptized in the Protestant church. Her parents lived at Diagonalstraße 14 in Hamm. Even before the "firestorm” on 27/28 July 1943 that destroyed her home, almost daily air-raid alarms interrupted her everyday routine. Gertrud Hinrichs and her children were bombed out, and they found temporary quarters in Meldorf in the Dithmarschen district, while the 53-year-old father served in Hamburg as a reactivated precinct senior sergeant (Revieroberwachtmeister) of the urban police, in the 55th Police Precinct in Hamburg-Horn. He now lived in the former Primary School for Boys at Morahtstraße 4 in Horn, presumably an emergency accommodation of his employer. After the "firestorm” and the evacuation of the affected population, the school stood empty.

On 27 Sep. 1943, when Antje Hinrichs was almost four years old, the Meldorf physician Hans Behrends admitted her to what was then the Alsterdorf Institutions (Alsterdorfer Anstalten) because she suffered from a "nervous disorder.” According to the medical diagnosis, she could not walk unassisted, did not speak, and was not toilet-trained.

Her parents had noticed before Antje was one year old that she was not developing as other children did, but she liked to play and enjoyed having other people engage with her. She was calm and pleasant-natured, and knew her name, other people, and her surroundings. Apart from whooping cough, she had had no other illnesses.

No one had reported her to the "Reich Commission,” because her handicap was not physically apparent, and she fitted compatibly into the family’s life. We do not know whether her parents agreed to Antje’s stay in the institution because of the precarious housing situation.

In mid-August 1943, after the destruction caused by the air raids on Hamburg, the management of what was then the Alsterdorf Institutions had transferred several hundred patients to other facilities and thus made room for potential war victims. The chief administrator, Friedrich Lensch, made an effort, as he informed his colleague Friedrich von Bodelschwingh in Bethel on 9 Sep. 1943, to make "provision for any new catastrophes by means of additional transfers.” Instead of transferring additional patients, he admitted new ones, though only a few. One must assume that Antje was sent here by the "Reich Commission,” because after the closing of the Langenhorn "special children’s ward” ("Kinderfachabteilung”) and the serious damage to the Rothenburgsort Children’s Hospital, Hamburg had no "observation ward” for a child with disabilities. One alternative would have been referral to Schleswig-Stadtfeld, but the requirement that at least one parent stay in the vicinity proved to be an obstacle. Her parents took Antje, remarkably well supplied with clothing, to "Alsterdorf” on 29 Sep. 1943 and stated upon her admission that there were no particular medical conditions in the family. Antje’s brother, one year older, was healthy, they said, and the pregnancy and Antje’s birth were normal.

The managing senior physician, Dr. Gerhard Kreyenberg, certified for the health insurance fund of the Hanseatic City of Hamburg that Antje Hinrichs was admitted "for observation on suspicion of mental deficiency.” One must anticipate, he said, a stay of at least three months. After that, the social welfare administration became responsible for the costs. In the report on his findings upon admission, he described Antje as a "girl with dark blond hair and an expression of ‘childlike amazement’” whose physical development was appropriate for her age but who lacked the corresponding mental abilities. He gave the diagnosis of "imbecility” ("mental deficiency of a moderate degree”).

The observation period was extended. On 4 May 1944, Kreyenberg sent a medical opinion to "Dr. Stuhlmann, Altona Office of Public Health.” "Antje Hinrichs, born 16 Jan. [19]40, suffers from mental deficiency of a significant degree (idiocy). She cannot speak but merely makes sounds, mostly ending in the vowel a, and she reaches out for shiny objects. She cannot care for herself in any way, must be dressed, undressed, and fed, and is not toilet-trained.”

Six weeks later, the official reply arrived, with these instructions:
Antje Hinrichs, at the direction of public health officer Walter Stuhlmann of the Altona Office of Public Health, in accordance with a decision of the "Reich Commission,” was to be transferred to the Rothenburgsort Children’s Hospital. On 29 June 1944, the administration of the institution reported to the social welfare administration that the transfer had been made. One day later, it informed her mother, who at the time was in Polkau in the Altmark region, as follows: "Your daughter, according to a notification from the Reich Commission on 28 June, has been transferred from our facilities to the Rothenburgsort Children’s Hospital, Marckmannstraße.” Whether the mother ever received an explanation of what the "Reich Commission” was is not clear from the documents.

Antje, together with Gebhard Pribbernow (see relevant entry), went to Rothenburgsort. While he was killed as early as the first part of July, she was taken back to "her residence” in Alsterdorf on 8 Aug. 1944, after a six-week stay, according to the transportation report of the German Red Cross, "pending final clarification of further measures,” as the physician Lotte Albers explained. "Upon corresponding word from Berlin, the child will be sent for again.”

There are no documents in existence regarding this first stay of approximately six weeks in the Rothenburgsort Children’s Hospital, when Antje was under observation. She was examined, and the report on the findings was sent to the "Reich Commission.” Thus, a decision about Antje’s fate had not yet been made. Her disability was evidently not conclusive for the experts, nor was it clear whether further observation should ensue. Until the decision was made, it was more cost-effective to house Antje in a mental asylum than to leave her in the hospital.

On 15 Sep. 1944, Antje was "furloughed” to the Rothenburgsort Children’s Hospital, as it was said, for performance of myelography (see Explanations). She was admitted to the surgical ward of Lotte Albers. The myelogram, produced on the third day of her stay, showed stenosis of the vertebral canal in the area of the lumbar vertebrae. The test, repeated 10 days later, showed stenosis in the area of the thoracic vertebrae. In the meantime, Antje’s temperature rose, possibly as a result of the tests, though she had no other complaints. On 1 Oct., Lotte Albers handed over the ward to Ingeborg Wetzel. The next day, Wetzel tested the cerebrospinal fluid for inflammation, using a contrast agent (iodipin). Antje tolerated the iodipin.

On 10 Oct. 1944, Antje Hinrichs fell ill with scarlet fever, acquired in the hospital, and was transferred to the infectious disease ward, to Ortrud von Lamezan, who was informed at the time of transfer that Antje Hinrichs was a "Reich Commission child” and that the application for "authorization for treatment” had already been filed by another party.

Despite the acute infection, the very invasive and excruciating tests were continued, with the result that Antje displayed "no changes. No paralyses,” her reflexes remained "easily triggered,” and, in sum: "In essence, the child is no different than usual.” On the basis of the notes regarding the clinical course, it must be assumed that these tests had to do with research on the risks of myelography in general and potential side effects of the contrast agent, as previously with Ursula Bade.

Several days after the last test, Ortrud von Lamezan received a note with the words "authorization for Antje Hinrichs is on hand.” Assisted by Felicitas Holzhausen, she gave her an injection of 10 ccm of Luminal. On 27 Oct. 1944, Antje Hinrichs died.

Nothing can be stated with certainty about the cause of Antje Hinrichs’s developmental disorder. She died at the age of four years and 10 months.

Reinhold Hinrichs, by now a resident of Altona, registered the death of his daughter, five days after it occurred, with the Billbrook Civil Registry Office, which had assumed responsibility for Rothenburgsort. "Inhibited development, pneumonia” was entered as the cause of death. Arguments over absorption of the costs for the burial dragged on until March 1945.

In the investigation proceedings, Walter Stuhlmann, who had given orders for Antje’s admission, admitted only that he had forwarded and signed the document. He could not recall the reason for her admission, he stated, because the parents had not lived in his district and he also was not an expert. Similarly, almost none of the public health officers recalled his participation.

Translator: Kathleen Luft

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg

Stand: October 2016
© Hildegard Thevs

Quellen: Ev. Stiftung Alsterdorf, Archiv, V 265; StaH 213-12 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht NSG, 0017-001; 0017-005; 332-5 Standesämter, 1237+397/1944.

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