Bernburg Psychiatric Hospital

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Bernburg Psychiatric Hospital
Established 1868
Opened 1875
Current Status Active
Building Style Echelon Plan
Location Bernburg, Saxony
Alternate Names
  • Landes-Heil und Pflegeanstalt (State Sanatorium and Mental Hospital)



History[edit]

A mental home with a capacity of 132 beds was founded in 1875 in Bernburg, near Magdeburg. As a replacement for Brandenburg, in September 1940 a section of the complex was confiscated by the Gemeinnützige Stiftung für Anstaltspflege (Charitable Foundation for Institutional Care), one of the fake organizations set up to camouflage the euthanasia programme commonly known as Aktion T4. From that time onwards, Bernburg mental home was divided into both a normal institution and a euthanasia killing site. In Bernburg the incoming victims were killed at once. Big grey buses entered the wooden garage. Then the victims were allowed to leave the bus. Through a corridor they came to the ground floor. In several rooms they were examined etc. Victims having physically special features, were marked with a red cross on their back, by the doctors. In groups of 60-75 they were ordered downstairs to the cellar, accompanied by "nurses". After gassing, the two gas chamber doors remained closed for one hour, until the room was ventilated. Next to the gas chamber was the dissection room. After gassing the marked victims were sorted out and the doctors performed an autopsy on their corpses. The others were cremated immediately by the "burners".

During the Sonderbehandlung 14f13 (Special Treatment / in Bernburg from 1941 until April 1943) about 5,000 persons were killed in Bernburg, mainly Jews from the concentration camps Buchenwald, Flossenbürg, Groß-Rosen, Neuengamme, Ravensbrück and Sachsenhausen. The buildings, not leased to T4, continued to operate as regular mental institution during the whole period.

On the site of the former State Hospital and Nursing Home, is now a specialist clinic for psychiatry.