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Dieter Hollenrieder, Mai 1945
Dieter Hollenrieder, Mai 1945
© Archiv Ev. Stiftung Alsterdorf

Dieter Hollenrieder * 1940

Humboldtstraße 20 (Hamburg-Nord, Barmbek-Süd)

JG. 1940
"VERLEGT" 7.8.1943
ERMORDET 17.8.1943

Dieter Hollenrieder, born 4.6.1940 in Hamburg, admitted 9.3.1943 to the then Alsterdorfer Anstalten, admitted 7.6.1943 Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Langenhorn, transferred back 29.6.1943 Alsterdorfer Anstalten, transferred 6.8.1943 Heilanstalt Kalmenhof/Idstein, murdered 17.8.1943

Humboldtstrasse 20

Dieter Hollenrieder became a so-called Reich Committee Child ("Reichsausschusskind” after being judged by the Reichsausschuss) on April 29, 1943. This had been preceded by the fact that Health Senator Friedrich Ofterdinger, had instructed Gerhard Kreyenberg, the senior physician of the then Alsterdorfer Anstalten, to transfer the child to the "Kinderfachabteilung" of the then Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Langenhorn.

The senator, in turn, acted on behalf of the "Reichsausschuss[es] zur wissenschaftlichen Erfassung von erb- und anlagebedingten schweren Leiden" (Reich Committee for the Scientific Registration of Hereditary and Congenital Serious Illnesses), to which Dieter had been reported. From late summer 1939, all midwives, doctors and welfare workers were obliged to report to the health authorities (and these in turn to the above-mentioned committee) infants and small children with malformations of the head, spine, spastic paralysis and Down's syndrome.

They were then to be admitted to specially designated "children's specialist departments" and observed for their possible future development. If it was to be expected that they would become capable of work and thus valuable to the Volksgemeinschaft (peoples community), they would be released or further observed. Otherwise, the parents' consent was to be obtained for treatment that supposedly held a small chance of cure but actually meant the child's murder. This was decided by a three-member expert committee on the basis of the observation results communicated by the doctors of the children's specialist departments, without ever having seen the children.

Dieter Hollenrieder had been born without complications on June 4, 1940, in the Finkenau Women's Clinic, the largest maternity clinic in Hamburg at the time. His parents, Leonore Babette Hollenrieder and Georg D., were not married. The father was a merchant and had his own family with three children. Leonore came from a working-class family, her father was a locksmith. She was single and, like her sister, was a factory worker at the time. Her brother was a model carpenter. Until WWI, the three siblings had lived with their parents Siegfried and Babette Hollenrieder in Winterhude and then moved to Barmbek-Süd. After Siegfried Hollenrieder's death, his widow moved to Olivaer Straße on Dulsberg, where Leonore was also later registered.

Dieter developed normally in the first year of his life, but then his next steps were delayed. He did not learn to walk until he was two years and two months old, and he hardly learned to speak at all. The only word he ever said was "Mama." He went through measles and chicken pox and suffered from rickets. His mother described him as affable and even-tempered, with no noticeable fatigue or fussiness. However, his moods were changeable and he often laughed or cried for no apparent reason.

At the age of two and a half, on December 30, 1942, Dieter was admitted to the University Hospital Eppendorf (UKE) for observation and already on January 4, 1943, he was examined by the medical officer of health for his mental condition. The diagnosis was "erethic idiocy," a reduction in intelligence with great excitability. Apparently neither the doctors at the UKE nor the medical officer considered Dieter's disability to be notifiable, which is why he was not admitted to one of the two "children's specialist wards" that existed in Hamburg at the time, but was sent to the Alsterdorf institutions as a nursing case. The corresponding referral certificate was issued by the medical officer on February 12, 1943. The social administration took over the costs. Dieter remained in the UKE until his admission to Alsterdorf on March 9, 1943.

Like all new admissions, Dieter Hollenrieder first came to the infirmary. There he was found to be clean and neatly dressed and to weigh 14.3 kg. A medical examination followed, which revealed that he had no physical illnesses. His mood was good, he laughed a lot and seemed to have a sunny disposition. But his behavior was conspicuous: He was constantly moving, making rocking movements with his body (that we now interpret as hospitalism), and his mouth muscles twitched. He ran around wildly, screaming frequently. There were difficulties with eating. He could not chew, was given only porridge, and had to be fed. Perhaps this, together with his strong urge to move, was the reason for his weight loss in the first three months of his stay at Alsterdorf, during which he lost one kilogram. His care was complicated by the fact that he could not signal that he needed to go to the bathroom.

Dieter showed no interest in his surroundings and could not do anything with toys. He could not be influenced even by good coaxing. Gerhard Kreyenberg routinely drew up a family tree of the family to record any hereditary burdens and included the family of the father, who now also officially admitted his paternity. According to this, Dieter came from a family in which no one had a mental or emotional illness that could have been passed on to him. The cause of his abnormalities was not clarified. Dieter was transferred to the normal children's ward. There he was always cheerful, ran around a lot outside, had a good appetite and only cried when he was not fast enough when being fed.

Dieter Hollenrieder had apparently been reported to the Reich Committee by the health administration after all, and according to the above-mentioned letter of April 29, 1943, he was to be transferred to the specialized children's ward in Langenhorn. The mother gave her consent to this, whether only for admission or also for possible treatment is not clear from the medical records. Dieter's transfer was to take place on May 20, 1943, but the management of the Alsterdorf institutions at that time refused to carry it out, for what reasons is not known. Two and a half weeks later Dieter was transferred to the children's ward of the Langenhorn sanatorium. The mother was informed of this.

On Dieter's admission on June 7, 1943, reference was made to the Alsterdorf medical record, and the contents were confirmed and supplemented. Dieter now weighed 14.4 kg with a height of 94 cm. It was noted that his cerebral skull was strongly developed in relation to his narrow face, without any diagnostic conclusions being drawn from this. He was described as a very lively boy who ran around and climbed beds. When he was put to bed, he tried to tear the bedding and got under a "tight blanket," so he was restrained. His behavior was described as unruly. In the following days, he became calmer, grimaced when sitting up in bed, but still did not respond when spoken to. It is not clear from the medical records whether his hearing was ever checked.

On June 24, 1943, Dieter joined other children in the playroom for the first time, but kept to himself and took no notice of the toys. Four days later he got diarrhea and had to stay in bed. This ended his time in the children's ward after only three weeks, because it was closed at the end of the month. The six remaining children were released either to their homes or to the Alsterdorf institutions, where there was no specialized children's ward under the control of the Reich Committee. Thus Dieter Hollenrieder was admitted to Alsterdorf for a second time as early as June 29, 1943. He was again initially sent to the infirmary. There, no changes from his previous condition and state were noted, so he returned to Department 10 on July 2, 1943.

After the major Allied air raids on Hamburg in July/August 1943, during which the Alsterdorf institutions were also damaged, Pastor Friedrich Lensch, the director of the institution at the time, arranged for more than 450 patients to be transferred to "air-safe" areas in order to achieve leeway for another use of the institution. With the approval of the Hamburg health authorities and in cooperation with the "Euthanasia Center" at Tiergartenstraße 4 in Berlin, he organized these transports. The first transport included 128 children and men and left Hamburg on August 7, 1943, with the destination of two asylums in the Rheingau.

A group of 52 boys and girls between the ages of two and twelve were destined for the Kalmenhof Sanatorium and Nursing Home in Idstein am Taunus, including four of the six former Langenhorn "Reich Committee Children": Gerhard Fokuhl, age 5, Dieter Hollenrieder, age 3, Rudolf Meyer, age 4 (see and Hans-Ludwig Wülflinger, age 3. Why they in particular were chosen is not known to us.

The Kalmenhof was a formerly well-regarded institution that was involved in the so-called euthanasia program in two ways: as a transit station to the "killing facility" Hadamar and, from the end of 1941, with a "children's specialist department". Bypassing the complicated bureaucratic procedure associated with child euthanasia, both children and adults were killed there. The Reich committee proceedings initiated in Hamburg for the four boys were not continued at the Kalmenhof for this reason.

After their arrival at Kalmenhof, the children were divided up: 32 were immediately sent to the "hospital" on the outskirts of the asylum, which was adjoined by a field that served as the asylum cemetery, and 20 were temporarily sent to the "old people's home" opposite.

In the hospital, the children were murdered one by one with overdosed morphine/scopolamine or Luminal and then buried in the institutional cemetery. Dieter Hollenrieder went straight to the "hospital" where he died ten days later. He was three years and two months old. It is not known whether the mother ever learned of this.

Only one child of this transport lived to see the end of Nazi rule.

Translation by Beate Meyer
Stand: February 2022
© Hildegard Thevs

Quellen: Hamburger Adressbücher; Archiv Ev. Stiftung Alsterdorf, V 51,V 57, V 68, V 89; StaH 352-8/7, Abl. 2000-01, 8, 18, 47, 54; Thevs, Hildegard, Stolpersteine in Hamburg-Rothenburgsort; Michael Wunder et al., Auf dieser schiefen Ebene gibt es kein Halten mehr, Stuttgart 2016³.
Stand: 20. September 2017

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