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Already layed Stumbling Stones

Gundula Johns * 1942

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

GEB. 2.8.1942
ERMORDET 18.11.1942

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, 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

Gundula Johns, born on 2 Aug. 1942 in Hamburg, murdered on 18 Nov. 1942

Marckmannstrasse 135 (former children’s hospital) (Hamburg-Mitte, Rothenburgsort)

Gundula Johns was born as the sixth child of a Baptist family. The delivery took place in the Elisabeth Hospital on Schlump, the former Freemasons’ Hospital. Gundula did not appear viable. She showed dispositions toward a cleft palate, clubfoot, as well as a hydrocephalus, and she suffered from a heart defect. The doctors and nurses at the Elisabeth Hospital, most of them members of the Baptist parish, agreed with the Johns couple in their assessment that one could not count on Gundula’s condition improving. Probably Gundula’s disability was reported immediately upon her birth though. At her mother’s request, after a few days, she was already admitted to the Rothenburgsort Children’s Hospital, with whose head nurse the Johns parents were friends. In addition, the father knew [Dr.] Wilhelm Bayer from a hospital stay of one of his sons in 1939.

When Gundula was admitted in Rothenburgsort, the male and female physicians there had been practicing "assisted dying” ["Sterbehilfe,” i.e., euthanasia] for over two years already. The only persons initiated into this were the doctors, the head nurse, Martha Horstmann, and the ward nurses, though rumors about it circulated among the other nurses. The ward sister in charge of Gundula, Waltraud Arnold, did not remember her but she did recall that the obligation to discretion was renewed in those days, particularly vis-à-vis the nurses in training.

Gundula’s mother visited her daughter frequently, speaking to the head nurse about her on those occasions. As she recalled, once she also had a conversation with one of the female assistant physicians. Gundula’s father asked Bayer for an appraisal of Gundula’s condition, though not getting a clear answer but rather the consoling remark, "as long as a human being breathes, there is hope.” There was no subsequent conversation with him or one of the female doctors. There was never any talk of a "treatment” of any kind or of euthanasia.

Gundula’s condition worsened continuously. For this reason, Gundula’s parents assumed natural causes when they received notification of her death. Head nurse Horstmann confirmed them in their assumption. However, Gundula had been administered a Phenobarbital (Luminal) injection by the assistant physician in charge, Ursula Petersen. Tiny and weak as Gundula was, apparently, no nurse was required to hold her steady. She reached the age of three months and was thus the youngest child known to us whose killing the "Reich Committee [for the Scientific Registering of Serious Hereditary and Congenital Illnesses]” ("Reichsausschuss [zur wissenschaftlichen Erfassung von erb- und anlagebedingten schweren Leiden]”) had approved.

The following year, Gundula’s brother Ulrich was born in the Elisabeth Hospital with similar disabilities and put in Bayer’s care as well. He was admitted to the baby ward of the Olga-Heim, an alternative site of the Rothenburgsort Children’s Hospital, set up in Wohldorf after the destruction of the original hospital base in July 1943. He died there one month later, even before the "Reich Committee” had made its decision.

Translator: Erwin Fink

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: October 2016
© Hildegard Thevs

Quellen: StaH 213-12 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht NSG, 0017-001, 002; 332-5 Standesämter 1159+728/1942; 4324+44/1943.

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