Brandenburg State Hospital and Nursing Home

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Brandenburg State Hospital and Nursing Home
Opened 1933
Closed 1945
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Single Building



History[edit]

In 1790, a home for paupers was founded in Brandenburg, near Berlin. In 1820, the complex of buildings was extended and subsequently used as a prison, until in 1932, the prison was closed following the building of a penitentiary in Brandenburg-Görden. From 24 August 1933 until 2 February 1934 the Nazis used the city-centre buildings of the former prison at 90-C Neuendorfer Straße as a concentration camp and police barracks.

Up to 1,200 prisoners were incarcerated in the cells. In 1939 some of the buildings were converted into a euthanasia killing centre named “Brandenburg State Hospital and Nursing Home” (Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Brandenburg). The site was probably chosen for its convenient location. A gas chamber (3x5 m) was installed in a former brick barn, although the exact location of the gas chamber within the barn is unknown, since only the foundations of the barn remain. he gas chamber was disguised as a shower room, but at first no showerheads were installed and patients were therefore told that they were entering an "inhalation room" for therapeutic reasons. Later showerheads were added. Only the floor of the adjacent former storage building is now visible. The cells no longer exist; it was not until 1996 that their foundations were uncovered.

The fear that knowledge about the killing centres would cause unrest among the local population probably led to the closure of Brandenburg. In all, at least 9,772 individuals lost their lives in the Brandenburg euthanasia centre within a period of nine months. Among the victims were more than 400 Jews. After the cessation of the euthanasia program the buildings served as a prison for forced labourers and a police barracks. During the war some buildings were destroyed; others were demolished after 1945. Further traces of the crimes were lost when new buildings were constructed on the site. On 27 April 1997 the Brandenburg memorial was dedicated at the site of the euthanasia centre.