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. holy smokes

    Well "Mr. Armydinnerjaket" the holocaust is fiction , isn't it!!!

    January 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dave

    Remember the NAZIs were the National SOCIALIST Workers Party.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • sonofgadfly

      The Nazis may have thrown around the word "socialism", but they were not socialists. Their social agenda was not motivated by a desire to rescue the working class from its capitalist oppressors (regardless of how well or how poorly actual socialism does that), but rather by a desire to be more efficient, effective totalitarians. By conflating "capitalist oppressors" and "Jews", the Nazis were able to turn socialist ideology into highly effective propaganda for their own goals.

      So please, Dave - If you have any REAL critique of socialism, by all means spit it out. But enough with the smear campaigns and enough with using the very word "socialism" to push people's buttons. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Castro - none of these people or their regimes are good measures of socialism, which seems to be doing quite well today where it gets applied in earnest - even within the United States.

      January 5, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. LMAO

    LMAO Who cares

    January 5, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anne

      You will, fool, when they suddenly come for you, strip you without recourse of all your belongings and wealth, your family and friends, your occupation, freedom and liberty, your clothing and substance, and indeed take your very life if you protest in the least.

      January 6, 2011 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sam

    I feel sorry for the jews that where killed in WW 2 but the modren jews now could go to hell all they care is for power and money RIP for all the men and women that died in WW 2 but screw the jewish goverment

    January 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Evelyn

      Pray tell Sam how the United States has a "Jewish government." Because I can assure you that when my fellow American Hebs and I went to our annual "Jewish American Matsers" (JAM) meeting we couldn't reach a decision on how to best implement our plot to take over the world /

      January 5, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Evelyn

      Pray tell Sam how the United States has a "Jewish government." Because I can assure you that when my fellow American Hebs and I went to our annual "Jewish American Masters" (JAM) meeting we couldn't reach a decision on how to best implement our plot to take over the world /

      January 5, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • stejo

      Evelyn, you rock!

      January 5, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John D Lamb

    Comments please.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Nukemall99

    JomoDaMusicMan you are so wrong! First this is a story about Nazis and not black america. Stick to the subject at hand. Second black america is not like you with all the simple minded slave talk. My father is black. He has never said anything about slavery EVER! Get over it. That card has been over played and is used up. The new America is of all colors and you are no longer special. So what are you going to hate now that you only have yourself to look at in the mirror and blame for the your life and personal choices. America is still the land of oportunity and greatest place in the wold. Dont complain if you dont work hard to get a good job, move out of your home if you dont like it. Its all within you own power. You are a simple minded fool. And to the subject at hand, it was war time and the 40's. There was not the level of health care in place like today. Mentally ill people would fall to the way side in the struggle for all people to survive such hard times. When you dont have water to drink, how can you care for someone who is mentaly ill. You simply cant. And near the end of 1945 that was the case in lots of war torn areas. Plus more....

    January 5, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • JomoDaMusicMan

      You're the FOOL. Simple because your father was black does not make u the authority on the problems that we faced and still face everyday here in America. Yes, America has changed somewhat but has a long way to go towards blacks being completely healed because of America's racist Past. Blackness is more of a state of mind than skin color. Take your foolish ideas and join Clarence Thomas and Alan Keyes to your Racist Republican TeaBagging Party. The TeaBaggers enjoys a FOOL IN BLACK FACE. SAMBO

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


      January 5, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • stejo

      Jomo, there's nothing "we" (meaning white people, I guess) can ever do to make up for slavery. It was a horrible, horrilbe thing, and there's nothing we can do about it. So, is this going to be something a good portion of the African American population resents us for forever? A wise man once told me that when you resent someone, it's like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

      January 5, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jon

    Sounds to me like this discovery is just another sad, sad page in Nazi history. I wonder how many more discoveries there are out there that will mark humanity.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. alois

    I recommend Axis Sally: The American Voice of Nazi Germany.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tony

    Was the Nazi mass grave in Arizona?

    January 5, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Efrain

    If they cain't contribute to society put 'em to sleep I say.
    We have so many folks on the guvment dole that ain't contributing to society. Put them to sleep too!

    January 5, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • OhPinion

      And when you can no longer "contribute" to society, I'll be the first one to put YOU to sleep. How about I give you a signed, one-time gift certificate for a visit to Jack Kevorkian right now! Fool!

      January 5, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. duke

    If your father was black and he never mentioned slavery to you,then he failed you!!
    Cut out the hard work "newt gingrich" stereotype!because nobody has worked harder than black people in this country??
    The holocaust was an exaggerated propaganda campaign that "never" happened worlds away!!

    January 5, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • JomoDaMusicMan

      That, FOOL does not know who her daddy was. Her mother was too business trying to screw every black man that she saw. Maybe her daddy was a black entertainer. Probable Sammy Davis Jr. You know he was Black, naw I forgot he was Jewish therefore he didn't want his child to know about slavery but remember the Holocaust

      January 5, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. logan

    This was a genocide before the holocaust5, one that no one new about, every person with any physical or mental disability, even as slight as a stutter in some cases was killed. They were trying to ween the weak and "feeble" minded out of the Aryan blood line so Hitlers Master Race could be as pure as possible, most of these people simply dissapeared with their families receiving death certificates stating some kind of infection or sickness killed them, when in many cases they were simply gassed or shot. I'm glad they found this, people need to be reminded so these things don't happen again, even though we have continue to let in happen all over Africa and the middle east

    January 5, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cythara

    Nazism was a REACTIONARY political philosophy. This means, it was REACTING to a political problem already there, namely Communism. Every government in the world considered Communism to be comprised in its majority by Jews. The US State Dept. for instance, went for decades by the official figure of 48% membership of the Bolshevik party was Jewish. 90% of the American Communist party was Jewish. When the Kremlin records office was finally opened in the late '80s, it was found to actually be 53% Jewish. The Communists had launched at least 2 armed revolutions in Germany during the 20s. Several key high offices in the corrupt Weimar Republic were also held by Jews. It was a most natural conclusion (and a good one) that the Jews were at the base of German problems.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cythara

      Even still, the main emphasis was against COMMUNISTS, not Jews. From the US Holocaust Memorial Museum's (USHMM) own lists of facts there were 500,000 German Jews before WW2. The Nazis worked with the Jewish Agency in Palestine. Levi Eshkol (later, 3rd prime minister of Israel) was the Jewish liaison to the SS for accomplishing an emigration of 65,000 young German Jews to Palestine, along with their bank accounts through the 'Agricultural Transfer Act'. This ended in Sept. 1939. This left around 400,000 German Jews (accounting for those that fled to England and US, etc. on their own) in Germany at the start of WW2. At the end of WW2, by Jewish source statistics, there were 300,000 GERMAN JEWS who had SURVIVED the war! Less than 100,00 German Jews died BY ALL POSSIBLE MEANS, i.e. old age, disease, starvation, Allied bombing, concentration camps, etc. At the same time, from a nation of 69 million Germans somewhere over 9 million German CIVILIANS died! This is not taking into account the military dead. One of 6 German civilians died. One of every 5 German Jews died. The figures are nearly equivalent proportionally.

      January 5, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cynic

      Statistics is at the root of all evil!

      January 5, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Einstein

      Trust the math but never the numbers. . .

      January 5, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • JomoDaMusicMan

      This kinda reminds me of the mindset of the Right Wing Republicans and the Tea Baggers. They believe that America problems is with Blacks and welfare and illegal aliens. Blacks & hispanics had better stay alert. THE PAST CAN BECOME A REALITY. RACISM HAS NOT GONE AWAY. THERE ARE MILLIONS OF WHITE AMERICANS LURKING, WAITING TO ENSLAVE & KILL US. THEY KEEP USING PHRASES SUCH AS "LET'S TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK" AND I KEEP SAYING "BACK TO WHERE, I'VE BEEN THERE AND I WILL FIGHT & DIE BEFORE I GO BACK"

      January 5, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • stejo

      Cythara, they did quite a number on the Polish Jews, but I don't see you mentioning them.

      January 5, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • rs1201

      3 million Polish Jews were killed by the nazis. Have you conveniently forgotten about them???? The nazis killed so many children that countless generations of Jews were lost...forever.

      January 5, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. The Truth

    The similarities of the nazis and current day america are staggering, we just don't kill, we jail, for the same reasons they killed. We are right around the corner from a serious fascism in our own country. Our judicial system persecutes people all the time, you will see worse things happen yet. Things are getting bad and the nazi reminders are not going to stop our own government, we already are headed toward the final solution. Look at how americans viewed arab-americans after 911. It will happen again, its our destiny...............

    January 5, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anne

      I see private prisons as a huge, thoroughly evil step toward fascism. There's all the financial incentive in the world to jail people for long periods of time, no matter what their "crime." I absolutely despise privately run prisons.

      January 6, 2011 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
  15. FloridaDave

    There is a saying that "In an insane society, one must appear to be insane in order to survive". I think that is what allowed the Nazi thugs to become so pervasive. The saying came about during the reign of the Ceasars in Rome. Some current day examples that come to my mind are the reign of Richard Nixon regime, the Ronald Reagan regime (which is why the Middle East mistrusts us so much) and even the GW Bush regime (stole the election not once but twice!) Intimidation is a powerful force that makes ordinarily good people do things they would not have done otherwise.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
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