Hier Wohnte

Hier Wohnte

About a week ago, I noticed that there is a new little patch of bricks on the sidewalk of my street. In the middle of this patch there is a small, brass block.

It’s a Stolperstein which aptly translates to "stumbling block". They are brass bricks placed by Gunter Demnig, a german artist, in front of buildings where people had lived. People that had disappeared, taken by the Nazis. The blocks contain agonising, perfunctory details about lives, the overwhelming majority of which were jewish. Details like when they were born, when and where they died, and how.

Survived bombardment, died of typhoid fever in Minsk”. “Executed”. “Beheaded”. “Tortured by the Gestapo, killed in a stairwell”. “Murdered in Strutthof”, which is a concentration camp that I have visited. “Escaped in death”, which I think means committed suicide while in captivity.

The most I’ve seen in front of one house is eleven. That’s probably not a record. It’s not rare to see four or five bricks together all with the same last name. Every once in a while, you'll see a brick that ends with “überlebt”, survived. But that is rare.

I first encountered the Stolperstein in Freiburg. Hamburg has five thousand of them scattered around the city. Berlin, seven thousand. They are numerous. I wanted to say ‘everywhere' instead of ‘numerous' but I can’t, because they’re not everywhere. Munich, for example, refuses to have them. It also happens to be where the Nazi party started. I’m sure that’s just coincidence.

But this one, the shiny, new one on my street, it says:

HERE LIVED

INGRID HAHN

BORN 1933

COMMITTED 1939

ALSTERDORFER ANSTALTEN

‘TRANSFERRED‘ 7.8.1943

HEILANSTALT EICHBERG

MURDERED 1.9.1943

This is a terrible story, all written out with amazing brevity on a tiny, metal brick. Born in 1933, murdered in 1943. It’s a stumbling block, for sure.

But that block says so much more if I translate those other two lines.

The Alsterdorfer Anstalten—the Alster Village Institution—was an Evangelical institution started in 1850 for socially disadvantaged children. But, by 1930, it had a director that was, in addition to being an Evangelical theologian, a member of the Sturmabteilung. Most people won’t recognise that name but they would recognise their other name: the Brownshirts. The head doctor, also a Brownshirt, was the regional head of the Nazi Racial Research Department. That’s the department that oversaw the Genetic Health Court which had the power to sterilise people.

So, when we read that six-year-old Ingrid Hahn was committed in 1939, we can see that, because she had some sort of mental disability, she was committed to the Alsterdorfer Anstalten right at the beginning of the war. And there she lived, in this institution which subjected many in their charge to forced experimental treatments, for the next four or five years. Or, to put it another way, the last half of her life.

Then, in early August of 1943, she was transferred. The place she was transferred to was called the Heilanstalt Eichberg—The Healing Institute of Eichberg, a town near Wiesbaden.

After all of three weeks at The Healing Institute, she was dead. The little brass brick pulls no punches in its description, it says murdered and it is correct, she was, but that should be no surprise. Ninety-five percent of the children sent there shared the same fate. That is mass murder.

Coincidentally, two weeks ago, I went to what had been the Alsterdorfer Anstalten. It has another name now but it is still an Evangelical institution and it is again an institution that actually helps people—both disabled and abled. There are also a few shops and a grocery store there—what we had actually gone there for—in what I assume was the centre of the old village of Alster. If I had walked about fifty metres north-west, I would have seen another inscription. Also written in metal, embedded in a sidewalk, it states that between 1941 and 1943, 539 residents were transferred away from this place. Almost all of them died.

One of those that was sent away to die was a little girl that had lived on my street.

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EXIF

Camera: NIKON D300
Lens Type: AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED
Focal Length: 45 mm
35mm Focal Length: ? mm
Exposure: 1/320 sec
Aperture: f 8
ISO: 100

Taken: 2016-06-13 16:58:35
Posted: 2016-06-21 | 22:21





Hier Wohnte

Hier Wohnte

About a week ago, I noticed that there is a new little patch of bricks on the sidewalk of my street. In the middle of this patch there is a small, brass block.

It’s a Stolperstein which aptly translates to "stumbling block". They are brass bricks placed by Gunter Demnig, a german artist, in front of buildings where people had lived. People that had disappeared, taken by the Nazis. The blocks contain agonising, perfunctory details about lives, the overwhelming majority of which were jewish. Details like when they were born, when and where they died, and how.

Survived bombardment, died of typhoid fever in Minsk”. “Executed”. “Beheaded”. “Tortured by the Gestapo, killed in a stairwell”. “Murdered in Strutthof”, which is a concentration camp that I have visited. “Escaped in death”, which I think means committed suicide while in captivity.

The most I’ve seen in front of one house is eleven. That’s probably not a record. It’s not rare to see four or five bricks together all with the same last name. Every once in a while, you'll see a brick that ends with “überlebt”, survived. But that is rare.

I first encountered the Stolperstein in Freiburg. Hamburg has five thousand of them scattered around the city. Berlin, seven thousand. They are numerous. I wanted to say ‘everywhere' instead of ‘numerous' but I can’t, because they’re not everywhere. Munich, for example, refuses to have them. It also happens to be where the Nazi party started. I’m sure that’s just coincidence.

But this one, the shiny, new one on my street, it says:

HERE LIVED

INGRID HAHN

BORN 1933

COMMITTED 1939

ALSTERDORFER ANSTALTEN

‘TRANSFERRED‘ 7.8.1943

HEILANSTALT EICHBERG

MURDERED 1.9.1943

This is a terrible story, all written out with amazing brevity on a tiny, metal brick. Born in 1933, murdered in 1943. It’s a stumbling block, for sure.

But that block says so much more if I translate those other two lines.

The Alsterdorfer Anstalten—the Alster Village Institution—was an Evangelical institution started in 1850 for socially disadvantaged children. But, by 1930, it had a director that was, in addition to being an Evangelical theologian, a member of the Sturmabteilung. Most people won’t recognise that name but they would recognise their other name: the Brownshirts. The head doctor, also a Brownshirt, was the regional head of the Nazi Racial Research Department. That’s the department that oversaw the Genetic Health Court which had the power to sterilise people.

So, when we read that six-year-old Ingrid Hahn was committed in 1939, we can see that, because she had some sort of mental disability, she was committed to the Alsterdorfer Anstalten right at the beginning of the war. And there she lived, in this institution which subjected many in their charge to forced experimental treatments, for the next four or five years. Or, to put it another way, the last half of her life.

Then, in early August of 1943, she was transferred. The place she was transferred to was called the Heilanstalt Eichberg—The Healing Institute of Eichberg, a town near Wiesbaden.

After all of three weeks at The Healing Institute, she was dead. The little brass brick pulls no punches in its description, it says murdered and it is correct, she was, but that should be no surprise. Ninety-five percent of the children sent there shared the same fate. That is mass murder.

Coincidentally, two weeks ago, I went to what had been the Alsterdorfer Anstalten. It has another name now but it is still an Evangelical institution and it is again an institution that actually helps people—both disabled and abled. There are also a few shops and a grocery store there—what we had actually gone there for—in what I assume was the centre of the old village of Alster. If I had walked about fifty metres north-west, I would have seen another inscription. Also written in metal, embedded in a sidewalk, it states that between 1941 and 1943, 539 residents were transferred away from this place. Almost all of them died.

One of those that was sent away to die was a little girl that had lived on my street.

Show this photo on a map ✈

EXIF

Camera: NIKON D300
Lens Type: AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED
Focal Length: 45 mm
35mm Focal Length: ? mm
Exposure: 1/320 sec
Aperture: f 8
ISO: 100

Taken: 2016-06-13 16:58:35
Posted: 2016-06-21 | 22:21


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