Posted: September 19, 2013 in Historic Crime

During 1790, a home for poor people was founded in Brandenburg (near Berlin). From 1820 on, the complex of buildings was extended and then used as a prison. In 1931 the Brandenburg prison was closed because a new one was built-in Brandenburg-Görden.
From 24 August 1933 until 2 February 1934 the Nazis used the buildings as concentration camp and police barracks. Up to 1,200 prisoners were locked up in the cells. Until 1939 some buildings were converted into a euthanasia killing center. Its term: Landespflegeanstalt Brandenburg a. H. (on the river Havel). The location: In the center of the city!

1940 A gas chamber (3×5 m) was installed in the former brick barn. The exact location of the gas chamber is unknown because only the foundations of the barn still exist. From the adjacent former storage building only the floor is still to be seen. The cells for working and sleeping do not exist anymore and only its foundations were discovered in 1996.

The killings took place in the same way as in the other euthanasia centres: Buses brought the victims to the site where they were registered, undressed, examined and gassed. In Brandenburg the gas chamber also looked like a shower bath where carbon monoxide was used for gassing. The bodies were cremated in two mobile cremation ovens at night. The crematory could have been situated in the adjacent building or near the former church. Since July 1940 the corpses were cremated outside the town at Paterdamm street. The site was disguised as Chemisch-Technische Versuchsanstalt (Chemical and Technical Research Institute).


The first killing took place in January 1940 when 18 to 20 insane criminals were gassed in this test, which contributed to the decision to use carbon monoxide gas for killing. Among several doctors from the T4 staff, the following persons were present: Dr Brandt (Hitler’s personal doctor), Dr Conti (Reichsärzteführer), Philipp Bouhler (Reichsleiter / Chief of Hitler’s Chancellery) and Dr August Becker (chemist and supplier for the gas cylinders). This gassing was carried out by Christian Wirth, who played a prominent role in the mass extermination program in the Generalgouvernement (Poland), called Aktion Reinhard.
The last killing took place on 29 October 1940. Children from the mental home in Brandenburg-Görden were murdered.
More than 9,000 persons lost their lifes in the Brandenburg euthanasia centre within nine months. Among the victims were more than 400 Jews.

After the stopping of the euthanasia program the buildings served as a prison, accomodation for forced labourers and police barracks. During the war some buildings were destroyed and demolished after 1945. More traces of these crimes were lost when new buildings were constructed on the site.
Finally on 27 April 1997 the Brandenburg memorial was opened, but further research is needed to uncover the exact history of this former killing site.



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