Brandenburg Euthanasia Centre
The Brandenburg Euthanasia Centre (German: NS-Tötungsanstalt Brandenburg), officially known as the Brandenburg an der Havel State Welfare Institute (Landes-Pflegeanstalt Brandenburg a. H.) was established in 1939 and acted during the Nazi era as a killing centre as part of the Nazi Euthanasia Programme, subsequently referred to after the war as Action T4.
The euthanasia centre was located in Brandenburg an der Havel in the old gaol in Neuendorfer Straße 90c. Brandenburg Concentration Camp was housed in these buildings from August 1933 to February 1934.
A concentration camp, one of the first in Germany, was located on Neuendorfer Straße in Brandenburg Old Town. After closing this inner city concentration camp, the Nazis used the Brandenburg-Görden Prison, located in Görden, a suburb of Brandenburg. Later the old gaol became the Brandenburg Euthanasia Centre where the Nazis killed people with mental problems, including children. They called this operation "Action T4" because of the Berlin address, Tiergartenstraße 4, the headquarters of this planned and well-organized killing "euthanasia" organisation. Brandenburg an der Havel was one of the very first locations in the Third Reich where the Nazis experimented with killing their victims by gas. This was a foreshadow for the mass killings in Auschwitz and other extermination camps. After complaints by local inhabitants about the smoke, the mobile furnaces used to burn the corpses ceased operation. Shortly after this, the Nazis closed the old prison.
According to a table compiled in 1942 and discovered in 1945, the so-called Hartheim Statistics, a total of 9,772 people were murdered in a gas chamber at the Brandenburg Euthanasia Centre in 1940.
These statistics only cover the first killing phase, under Action T4, that was halted by an order from Hitler dated 24 August 1941.
References and footnotes
- Klee, Euthanasie, p.126. The building is not identical with Brandenburg Prison or the Görden State Institute.