Austria to exhume possible Nazi-era mass grave at psych hospital
January 5th, 2011
01:13 PM ET

Austria to exhume possible Nazi-era mass grave at psych hospital

Austrian officials plan to exhume a mass grave near a psychiatric hospital that could contain victims of the Nazis' so-called euthanasia program.

Officials in the western Austrian city of Hall told UPI that they will begin digging in March, when the ground thaws. The process could take two years.

The Irish Times reported that construction workers at the hospital, about 6 miles east of Innsbruck, found 220 decomposed bodies while they were excavating the site for a new building.

Though Christian Haring, a director at the hospital, which is still in operation, told the Times it was unclear whether all the bodies were of euthanasia victims, historian Oliver Seifert told UPI that the bodies were buried between 1942 and 1945.

Seifert further told the Guardian in London that the death rate of patients at the hospital spiked toward the end of World War II, even though the hospital was not officially included in the Third Reich’s euthanasia program.

“We know that murder was actively carried out at other psychiatric institutions, by overdosing patients, neglect or undernourishment,” Seifert told the newspaper.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum says Adolf Hitler’s attending physicians “began to organize a secret killing operation targeting disabled children” in 1939. It was broadened to include disabled adults later that year, the center says.

The program was officially discontinued after an outcry from the public and church officials, but the Times reported that the practice continued unofficially until the war ended.

Experts told the Times that as many as 200,000 people – many of them physically or mentally disabled – are estimated to have been killed.

Hartheim Castle near Linz was occupied Austria’s most notorious euthanasia facility, the site of an estimated 30,000 killings, the newspaper reported.

Scientists exhuming the bodies in Hall will try to determine the identity and cause of death for each victim, and the hospital is asking anyone who believes their relatives are among the victims to come forward.

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Filed under: Austria • Crime • Germany • Human rights • War
soundoff (249 Responses)
  1. leann starman

    Very sad for all those who were tortured and killed. it never should hv hppnd...and im German.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. btmstr

    wow guys please, 60 to 80 million people died in Europe just from WWII – and some speculate up to 100 million from the total oppression – alone some 26.6 million Russians died. it's hard for anyone to grasp these what is 220 bodies? everyone was being killed mercilessly – it's not called a world war without reason. this won't be repeated again until something like a nuclear or a christain-muslim war that will eventually have to happen sometime in the future.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Roger ....

    Remember that we were allied with stalin who was responsable for more deaths than Hitler ... Read Chomsky "Harvest of Sorrow" if you want a glimpse into how terrible our friends were

    January 5, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ramtruck2500


    January 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dagmar Preinerstorfer

    I wonder, why nobody here compares all those cruel things the Nazi did, to what happened to the NAtive American People and the black people in the USA?? WOUNDED KNEE!!!
    But its easier to dig up all the dirt in foreign countries!

    January 5, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anne

      Of course, you're right; the heinous U.S. campaign against the Native Americans was not trivial or to be forgotten. But you have to admit that the sheer scale and utter ruthlessness of the Nazi exterminations takes your breath away.

      January 5, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • OhPinion

      I agree. Wounded Knee. Sully "Expedition". Crow Creek. Fort Snelling internment camp. The list can go on an question there was ethnic cleansing and genocide of Native Americans, courtesy of white European Americans. And government officials, agents, representatives, and U. S. citizens thought it was all good, when it was their behavior (greed and corruption, broken treaties, fraud, etc.) that ultimately caused the US-Indian wars.

      January 5, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • DavidMichael

      Over 90% of the Native Indians were not killed by guns but disease. Whites had immunities, Native Indians did not and it's that simple. And while I'm writing actual facts, Native Indians are actually Native to Asia and came to what is now America via the Siberian/Bering Land Bridge...they just came earlier than Europeans did.

      Hitler used religious dogma both Catholic and Lutheran to accomplish what he did. Stalin just starved 20 million to death, three times Hitler, yet most people don't even know about Stalin.

      January 5, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anne

      DavidMichael, why is it that? I suppose Stalin will have to be next on my reading list.

      January 5, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bill

    This is not a matter to take lightly, the peole of germany know these Camps were there but just looked away. I hope financIaly the german govt. Pays dearly for this act.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Physicist

    The following comment attached is so extreme and offensive that I feel obligated to respond to it. Obama, whether you agree with his strategy or not, try to draft legislation to allow those underprivileged and the vulnerable in the USA to be given life-saving medical care. You can democartically debate his approach and work with teh Republicans to find a compromise solution, which is what USA democracy is about.

    On the contrary, The Nazi's killed those underprivileged and vulnerable people who cannot look after themselves. If this commentor (alias "karek40" ) cannot distinguish the act of offering life-saving medical care from the act of giving lethal injection to kill and injure those who simply suffer from physical or mental handicap, not by their own choice, karek40 must have an IQ level just to qualify as a perfect subject for the Nazi 'euthanasia' T4 programme".

    Count youself lucky not having been born in the WWII era Karek40 or you will be crying when a needle sticks in your vains involuntarily

    January 5, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • JomoDaMusicMan

      U people keep going back to Germany & Hitler. But in reality many of your white children idolize Hitler. Look at the Nazi's, Skinheads and the KKK in america and around the world today. If u really wanted to eliminate The Racist Climate you should start by exterminating them first. Some of you are talking about Islam an Ally of Hitler when your own children is his modern day ally

      January 5, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • DavidMichael

      Why do pregnant women get an AFP, ultrasound, and/or an amniocentesis? No, Americans aren't that different. We just chose younger victims and I am pro-choice so that makes me one of the guilty.

      January 5, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jrea

    How did they come to the 200,000 dead figure? There are so many holes in the holocaust story for anyone who is willing to look.

    January 5, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      The only holes in the story are from Nazis who deleted the records near the end of the war...tell me, have you ever scrutinized your own theory, or are you just another tinfoil-hat nutjob who will latch on to every conspiracy theory that passes by?

      January 5, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richp, Easton, Pa

      Easy, they just did a head count silly... :-))))

      January 6, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jrea

    So they find 200 bodies in a ditch and somehow they jump to 200,000?

    January 5, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Richp, Easton, Pa

    Does not even hold a candle to Stalin.

    January 5, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. dalis

    The eugenicists are alive and well today. They only abort the disabled instead of gassing them.

    January 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Elliot

    Bush is just as guilty as Hittler for a war that was not call for. As for the idoits talking about Obama care must understand that Obama show that with the Health Care reform shows Obama Cares that right. t Thats why Becks ratings are down and got droped by two big radio stations and Fake News ( FOX) ratings is going down the tube too. Obama rating is higher than Becks and Fox ( Fake) New combined.

    January 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dalis

    The eugenicists are alive and well today. Instead of gassing the disabled, they abort them.

    January 5, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bill

    Lots of the blogs are Inmature In nature and people should take the a educated manner before posting ,showing are I q not are belt size.

    January 5, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. duke

    I'm confused !!
    Why is it,that black people should shut up about slavery and act as if it never happened,
    But this exaggerated event should never be forgotten??
    Before you call me out my name!!
    Hitler and his click are gone??
    The world won't accept the extermination of NO White skin(dar fur is okay I guess),
    So why can't what happened in another country,be put to rest over here in america??
    Stop talking about the holocaust,besides it was funded by jews!!

    January 5, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christopher Z.

      Why would Jews ever fund a maniac who killed 6 million of there brothers and sisters? Or are you just ignorant?

      January 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • JomoDaMusicMan

      DUKE, this is actually a reply to Chris Z, There are many Blacks who were trained to mistrust & hate other blacks. I am sure there are Jews who feel the same toward other Jews. There were Polish Jews who greeted Czech Jews with smiling faces and told them to take off their clothes they will be given showers, then led them to the Gas Chambers. This happen thru out Europe. It is not hard for the Dominate Culture to Brain Wash a Minority to hate the people who look like him. LOOK AT CLARENCE THOMAS, ALAN KEYES AND NEWLY ELECTED CONGRESSMAN FROM FL COLONEL WEST. IF U THOUGHT CLARENCE THOMAS WAS TERRIBLE, CLARENCE IS A SOFTEE COMPARED TO COLONEL WEST

      January 5, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • stejo

      well, the holocaust MUSEUM was funded by Jews, so you're partly correct, I suppose.

      January 5, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
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