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Already layed Stumbling Stones

Anneliese Drost * 1941

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

GEB. 23.3.1941

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

Anneliese Drost, born on 23 Mar. 1941, in Jever/Oldenburg, murdered on 14 Dec. 1941, in the Hamburg-Rothenburgsort children’s hospital

Marckmannstraße 135

Anneliese Drost was born on 23 Mar. 1941 in the Oldenburg/Friesland city of Jever as the second daughter of the merchant Hans-Wilhelm Drost, born on 16 Oct. 1894, and his wife Gerda Catharine Sophie, née Oetken, born on 26 Feb. 1905. Her father was in the service of the German Wehrmacht as cavalry captain (Rittmeister) during the Second World War. Anneliese was born suffering from spina bifida, a "split spine.” This malformation was operated on at the Sophienstift in Jever immediately after her birth.

Spina bifida was a notifiable disability, to be reported to the "Reich Committee for the Scientific Registering of Serious Hereditary and Congenital Illnesses” ("Reichsausschuss zur wissenschaftlichen Erfassung von erb- und anlagebedingten schweren Leiden”) in the Führer’s Chancellery in Berlin. On 25 Mar. 1941, the midwife, Gertrud Heikes, filled out the registration form as far as she was required to do as a midwife, and passed it on to the responsible public health officer, Medizinalrat Fritz Hildebrandt. The information read as follows: The birth weight had been 3250 grams; Anneliese had been born three weeks prematurely, with normal birth duration of five hours after premature water breaking, without respiratory arrest. Reportedly, similar cases of disability had not yet been observed in the family.

Anneliese Drost was discharged to stay with her family, residing at Grosse Burgstrasse 2. Two months later, the public health officer completed the registration form to the "Reich Committee,” in which he was also asked for his "assessment of any cure or improvement to be expected.” Initially, Fritz Hildebrandt assessed that as questionable, subsequently negating it. With respect to any probable limitation "of the life span of the child due to the condition,” he stated that it was questionable, but to be assumed. Regarding treatment that had already been carried out, he wrote, "Was operated on immediately after birth. After the surgery, paralysis of the legs on both sides for three days, now subsiding.” He answered the detailed questions about the physical and mental development to date as regular, and stated that the current state corresponded to the age. Anneliese Drost was two months old. With this positive prognosis, she was reported to the "Reich Committee” by the health department for the district of Friesland in Jever, i.e., by Fritz Hildebrandt.

The next documented step in the proceedings entailed a military letter envelope from 31 July 1941, addressed by the father to the lawyer Friedrich Christians in Jever, the contents of which are missing. The involvement of a lawyer by the child’s father in the "Reich Committee proceedings” was unusual. In this case, the special reason involved the fact that the child’s father was not present. Captain Drost was at that time in Siedlce, District of Warsaw, in the General Government [of occupied Poland]. Friedrich Christians was a brother-in-law of the Drost couple and he was asked for advice in many cases in the family.

In the meantime, Anneliese Drost showed the formation of a hydrocephalus, a second notifiable malformation. On 12 Aug. 1941, the head of the public health department in Jever turned to the "Reich Committee” concerning Anneliese’s admission to a "children’s special ward” ("Kinderfachabteilung” – KFA) and, in a letter dated 28 Aug. 1941, he received the information that Anneliese could be admitted to the "children’s special ward” of the Hamburg Langenhorn "sanatorium and nursing home” ("Heil- und Pflegeanstalt” Hamburg Langenhorn) at any time by arrangement with the departmental head there, Friedrich Knigge. The letter was signed by Richard von Hegener, the head of the main department in the Führer’s Chancellery and co-initiator of the "Reich Committee proceedings.” On 1 September, Medizinalrat Hildebrandt asked Friedrich Knigge for an admission date.

Friedrich Knigge came from Jever. Since he was only five years older than Anneliese Drost’s mother, one may assume that both knew each other.

The brother of lawyer Friedrich Christians, Rudolf Christians, was chief public prosecutor in Oldenburg at the time. On 23 Apr. 1941, he took part in the secret conference of the Reich Ministry of Justice in Berlin, whose goal was to involve the judiciary in "Operation T4” ("Aktion T4”) and to prevent any prosecution of the murders. In 1965, Rudolf Christians was indicted by Chief Public Prosecutor of Hessen, Fritz Bauer, for aiding and abetting the murder of some 80,000 disabled persons.

It is possible that chief public prosecutor Rudolf Christians, owing to his many connections, had lobbied for Anneliese Drost not to be admitted to a Lower Saxony "children’s special ward” but to get admitted to Friedrich Knigge’s ward in the Langenhorn "state sanatorium and nursing home” in Hamburg.

To the best of our knowledge today, Anneliese Drost was not the first "Reich Committee child” from the district of Friesland to be admitted to a "children’s special ward” in Hamburg. Before her, Hermann Beekhuis from Weener had already been observed and treated in the Rothenburgsort Children’s Hospital (see corresponding entry).

Anneliese Drost was initially admitted to the Rüstringen children’s home on Banter Weg in Wilhelmshaven, which was run by Wilhelm Arkenau. A children’s clinic was attached to the home, where she was possibly treated or was to be treated. The admission register does not provide any information about this.

Instead of to Langenhorn, Anneliese Drost was admitted to the private Rothenburgsort children’s hospital in on 10 Sept. 1941, probably on the recommendation of a friend of the Drost family. On 8 Sept. 1941, Senator Friedrich Ofterdinger, the adjunct for the health administration, instructed Medizinalrat Fritz Hildebrandt to have the child admitted to the Rothenburgsort Children’s Hospital. Friedrich Knigge may have been responsible for this turn of events as well. One may assume that he wished to avoid the admission interview with the mother he knew from Jever. Furthermore, as a psychiatrist in his ward, Friedrich Knigge did not have the same diagnostic means as his colleague Wilhelm Bayer at the Rothenburgsort Children’s Hospital. Both had cooperated since the establishment of the Langenhorn "children’s special ward,” so Knigge knew how Bayer dealt with the "Reich Committee children.” The latter had all the professional means of pediatrics at his disposal, which he used for observation and treatment. On the other hand, in contrast to Knigge, he did not hesitate for long to forward the results to the office of the "Reich Committee” in Berlin for evaluation and, after receiving approval for the "treatment,” i.e. killing, to have the child murdered.

Just one day after her admission, Anneliese’s father was sent an invoice for board covering the period from 10 to 19 September, amounting to 47.50 RM (reichsmark). He passed it on to the public health department for the assumption of costs, which in turn turned to the "Reich Committee.” The latter referred to the last circular issued by the RMdI (Reich Ministry of the Interior) on 30 May 1941, according to which the welfare department was responsible. The latter rejected having jurisdiction, whereupon Medizinalrat Hildebrandt again turned to the "Reich Committee” on 3 Oct. 1941, and, referring to the activity of Anneliese’s father as a captain in the Wehrmacht, asked for reimbursement of costs. By way of exception, von Hegener then declared himself willing to assume half of the "total costs, initially up to the duration of half a year.”

There are no records on how Anneliese Drost fared at Rothenburgsort. Anneliese ended up in the ward of the physician Ursula Petersen. Three months after her admission, the doctor gave her an overdose of Phenobarbital (Luminal), as a result of which she developed pneumonia, which led to her death on 14 Dec. 1941. Ursula Petersen cited "multiple malformations, circulatory insufficiency, bronchopneumonia” as the cause of death. Anneliese’s mother reported her death two days later to the Rothenburgsort records office. There, the cause of death entered was only "circulatory insufficiency.” Anneliese Drost reached the age of nine months. She was not baptized. She was buried in the Ohlsdorf cemetery in Hamburg.

Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: December 2020
© Hildegard Thevs und Beate Christians

Quellen: StaH 213-12 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht NSG, 0017-001; 332-5 Standesämter, 1145+503/1941; 352-5 Gesundheitsämter – Todesbescheinigungen, Sta 4b 503/1941; Mitteilungen von Gerhard Genters, 3.5.-27.6.2016; Matthias Nistal und Dr. Wolfgang Henninger, Niedersächsisches Landesarchiv, Gesundheitsämter Rep 630 Akz. 2009/009 Nr. 1, E-Mail 11.5.2016; Ingo Harms, Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, E-Mail vom 12.5.2016; 80 Jahre Paul-Hug-Kinderheim. Ursula Aljets, Arbeitskreis Banter Geschichte, 2007; Aufnahmebuch Kinderheim Rüstringen, 1941, lfd. Nr. 407, Gemeinnützige Gesellschaft für Paritätische Sozialarbeit Wilhelmshaven (GPS); Hanno Loewy / Bettina Winter (Hrsg.) NS-"Euthanasie" vor Gericht, Campus Verl. 1996; Friedhof Hamburg-Ohlsdorf, Findbuch, Dezember 1941, lfd. Nr. 9464.

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