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Already layed Stumbling Stones

Peter Evers * 1939

Langenhorner Chaussee 560 (Hamburg-Nord, Langenhorn)


GEB. 23.10.1939
ERMORDET 30.11.1941

further stumbling stones in Langenhorner Chaussee 560:
Gerda Behrmann, Uwe Diekwisch, Elke Gosch, Claus Grimm, Werner Hammerich, Marianne Harms, Hillene Hellmers, Helga Heuer, Waltraud Imbach, Inge Kersebaum, Hella Körper, Dieter Kullak, Helga Liebschner, Theo Lorenzen, Jutta Müller, Ingrid Neuhaus, Traudel Passburg, Edda Purwin, Angela Quast, Erwin Sänger, Hermann Scheel, Gottfried Simon, Monika Ziemer

Peter Evers, born on 23 Oct. 1939 in Hamburg, killed on 30 Nov. 1941 in the "children’s special ward of the Langenhorn sanatorium and nursing home.”

Asklepios-Klinik Nord-Ochsenzoll, Henny-Schütz-Allee, Memorial Site House 25

Peter August Evers was born in Hamburg-Horn on 23 Oct. 1939, the son of Johanna Elisabeth Elsbeth Evers, divorced name Müller, and the graphic artist August Wicht.

The pregnancy had been normal. However, the doctors at the Altona hospital had initiated a salvarsan-bismuth treatment because of earlier miscarriages and lues (syphilis), congenital according to the mother’s own statements, and carried out three to four "specific” courses of treatment until the delivery.

Peter’s medical history shows that his condition at birth was considered "severely asphyxial and cyanotic” (reduced or stopped breathing, bluish skin, etc. as a result of "cyanosis”): "Was only nursed for a few days. Did not develop at all, was cross-eyed at birth, had slanted palpebral fissures. He was friendly and good-natured. Can now hardly sit up, does not speak, shows only senseless expressions of joy,” Dr. Knigge later noted when Peter was admitted to the "children’s special ward” ("Kinderfachabteilung”) in Langenhorn.

After his birth, Peter initially stayed with his mother, who lived with her daughter, born before marriage, and his father, August Wicht, in a common household in Hamburg-Horn, at Heinz-Brands-Strasse 19 (today Grosseweg). Peter was not baptized, with his mother listed in the medical records as "believing in God” ("gottgläubig”) [a Nazi alternative to other Christian denominations]. After a few weeks, she noticed a difference from other children. Peter’s mental development seemed too slow to her. The doctor and the welfare service stated that he was retarded.

Several hospitalizations followed: On 7 Sept. 1940, at the age of ten months, Peter was admitted to St. Georg General Hospital, Baustrasse Ward, because of pneumonia. After one month, he was to be discharged back home: "Since the child is free of fever and thrives well, he can be discharged, with the moderate bronchitis improved, to the statutory health insurance physician on 6 Oct. [19]40.”

On 19 June 1941, Peter was admitted to the Rothenburgsort Children’s Hospital at the age of one year and eight months. The medical record there states, "The child grasps and plays, but does not react to his surroundings. He does not sit up or stand. Appetite is good, but the child eats only sweetened food, preferably lemon juice. Quiet playful child. Sleeps a lot.”

Eleven days later, on 30 June 1941, he was admitted to the Altona Children’s Hospital for evaluation. This institution reported "a case of mongoloid idiocy” (Down’s syndrome) to the "Reich Committee for the Scientific Registering of Serious Hereditary and Congenital Illnesses” ("Reichsausschuss zur wissenschaftlichen Erfassung von erb- und anlagebedingten schweren Leiden”), as the committee was called that decided from a distance in Berlin on the life and death of children with disabilities. Peter was then discharged to go home.

After three months, shortly before his second birthday, the mother took little Peter to the Langenhorn "sanatorium and nursing home” ("Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Langenhorn”) on 11 Oct. 1941, with a referral slip from the public health department with the previous diagnosis of "idiocy.” For the doctor Knigge, "characteristics of a severe mongoloid idiocy were unmistakable. In addition to the known characteristics, there was the overly long tongue and the holding of the head with the feet.” He also diagnosed congenital "tabes” (syphilitic spinal cord disease).

During this time, an additional examination took place at the Eppendorf University Eye Clinic. The physician by the name Umland wrote to Knigge on 28 Oct. 1941: It had not been possible to view the "fundus” without anesthesia, and an unpleasant incident had occurred during anesthesia, which had to be interrupted prematurely. He went on to report that only the papillae (misspelling, correct: pupils) were found to be normal, the macula and periphery could not seen.

On 5 Nov. 1941, W. Bayer, director of the Rothenburgsort Children’s Hospital, wrote a letter to Knigge: "Enclosed is the copy of my letter to the Reich Committee concerning the child Peter Evers. I am vividly interested in your assumption of tabes in the child. I would be grateful to you for letting me have the medical record some time – as soon as the case is settled.”

With the report to the Reich Committee in Berlin, Peter’s fate was decided, for with this clinical picture, he was one among those children who, in the opinion of the committee members, were to be killed in one of the "children’s special wards” created for this purpose.

Seven weeks after his admission, Peter was killed in the "children’s special ward of the Langenhorn sanatorium and nursing home.” On 30 Nov. 1941, Knigge recorded, "Had fever for several days. Exitus letalis” (fatal outcome). "Diagnosis: mongoloid idiocy, tabes infantilis.” (infantile syphilitic spinal cord disease).

Peter died on 30 Nov. 1941 at 9:30 p.m. in the "Langenhorn sanatorium and nursing home” in the Women’s Ward II, Building M 10.

Knigge noted in the protocol as he did in the death certificate as the cause of death "mongoloid idiocy, tabes infantilis congenita, bronchopneumonia.” Knigge killed with injections of Phenobarbital (Luminal), a sleep-inducing drug. Fever and pneumonia would result; the children suffered a slow and agonizing death. In most death certificates, as in Peter’s case, the addition of "bronchopneumonia” points to this method of killing.

A nurse notified Peter’s father of his death at 9:00 the next morning.

Peter reached the age of two years, one month, and seven days.

His burial took place five days later on 5 Dec. 1941 in the cemetery of the Lutheran parish in Schiffbek, located at Schiffbeker Weg 144, gravesite Field IX No. 278. His gravesite is no longer preserved.

Two months later, his mother gave birth to a healthy son.

After the war, investigations for murder were underway against Friedrich Knigge and others. The defendant Knigge testified before the investigating judge in the Hamburg Regional Court (Landgericht) on 15 Jan. 1946 that Peter’s mother had agreed to the "treatment” "because her other children were frightened by the appearance and behavior of this child,” and because she had been pregnant again.

When the parents were questioned as witnesses on 15 Jan. 1948, the mother, Johanna Wicht, née Evers, stated, "I was pregnant at that time and when I met with the welfare worker, she thought that the child could be disruptive after all and made me go to the public health office again, because I wished to place the child in a home. At the health office, I then received an admission slip for the hospital in Langenhorn. Moreover, this time the public health officer did not say anything further to me. I then went to Langenhorn with the child. There Dr. Knigge asked me in detail about Peter’s medical history. Dr. Knigge told me that the child was mongoloid. He then explained that he would try a treatment with a medication. However, he could not say whether it would be successful. He said the treatment could do the child good, but something could also go wrong.” "I told Dr. Knigge that he should only do something good for the child so that the child would get well. Dr. Knigge replied that I should be prepared that I would not get the child back. I did not say another word, but got up and slammed the door. Outside Dr. Knigge’s office, I met a nurse who asked what was wrong with me because I looked so distraught. I then said to her, ‘Do me a favor and treat my child well.’ Upon this, I received the reply from the nurse, whose name I do not know, that nothing would happen to my child here. My husband then received a call from Langenhorn Hospital to the hydrographic office that the child had died. I told my husband immediately when the news of the death came that they had killed Peter. I did not speak to Dr. Knigge or the nurses after the death of my child.”

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

Stand: May 2021
© Margot Löhr

Quellen: Standesamt Hamburg 5a, Geburtsregister Nr.782/1939 Peter Evers; StaH 213-12 Staatsanwaltschaft, 0013 Bd. 060, S. 309-363; StaH 213-12, 0017 Bd. 001 Bayer Dr. Wilhelm u.a., S. 69; S.134, S.152, S.160/161; StaH 332-5 Standesämter, Sterberegister 9926 u. 689/1941 Peter Evers; StaH 332-5 Standesämter, Sterbefallsammelakten 64155 u. 689/1941 Peter Evers; StaH 352-5 Todesbescheinigungen, 1941 Sta 1b Nr. 689 Peter Evers; StaH 352-8/7 Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn, Abl. 2000/01, 64 UA 3, Akte 29095; Grabregister 1941 Friedhof der Ev.-Luth. Kirchengemeinde in Schiffbek, Auskünfte 01.07.2020.

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