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. adolf

    its all lies. the US committed these acts after the war and blamed it on me to justify their illegal attack on Europe!

    January 5, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • gunsche

      fegelein has tampered with your lawnmower. He amplified the horsepower.

      January 5, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BiggusDiccus

    This should make it clear to everyone that disabled people and people with genetic defects need a homeland of their own. Unless we give them a homeland, another Holocaust against the disabled and people with genetic defects will surely happen again. There are defenseless people in Borneo. Let's push them off their land and make way for the disabled and genetically defective.

    January 5, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Peter Melzer

    The Nazis sold this program to the public by claiming that the so-called "idiots" ate up the food that was direly needed for the soldiers at the front who valiantly defended the Fatherland. The Nazis succeeded in making their evil agenda the German people's agenda on the pretense that they acted only to save the nation. If you argued against that you were a traitor, unpatriotic and unGerman.
    By far not everybody was enthusiastic. My grandfather worked as an administrator in one such psychiatric ward until the Nazis forced him into retirement because he refused to join the Party. His boss rather committed suicide than surrendering those entrusted into his care. I do not know whether he could save anyone. The victims of this horrible program should be a reminder to all of us, how easy it is in times of fear to be co-opted into policies that we otherwise would never condone.

    January 5, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. VickyG

    The comments on this article have shown the low level of education of so many in tip country. The disgusting thoug.t that there is yet another mass grave of people that died under Hitler's regime is horribly sad. But there are those fools that think this is something to make fun of or make light of shows me and the rest of the world what fools Americans can be. We can't get our minds of our capitalistic idiocies long enough to have moral insight into anything. As Americans we shrug off the horrors that have been done and are still being done. And yes Anne, you are an idiot too. America has never apologized for the atrocities of slavery or the fact that this country was stolen from the Native Americans. But you know no country will prosper when it exists because it stole the land it stands on and exists from the labor of slaves and underpaid labor of the Chinese, and Mexicans they also stole from. Shame on you America! All Americans should go back to school and learn some history!

    January 5, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anne

      What?? How am I an idiot? I fully acknowledged the evil perpetrated against the Native Americans, who, as pointed out in this post, originally came from Asia via the Bering Strait. We're all immigrants here.

      January 6, 2011 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jamie

    This story just reminds me of the other stuff, the worse stuff. Euthanasia is nothing compared to what the Nazis did to the Jews. Wiki "Nazi human experimentation" – things like experiements on twins involving injecting chemicals into their eyes, physically sewing people together, surgery without anethesia, forced hypothermia, forced sterilization with radiation and other methods, malaria, mustard gas, posions, even forcing people to drink only sea water. They did evils I never even thought were possible – it's my proof to myself that evil really does exist. Go find out for yourself what happened. I would wish for death in a case like that...

    January 5, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. tcaros

    For those of you who loved GW Bush... do a little history on how his grand pappy made money.

    Look up Brown Brothers Harriman, Prescott Bush, and/ Fritz Thyssen.

    All the misinformed knuckle heads who think he is a Christian were mislead. They never looked at this family close enough.

    January 5, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anne

      The apple doesn't fall far from the tree in this case.

      January 6, 2011 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
  7. It's already happening again

    My grandmother was euthanized (against the wishes of her family) in a hospital, which will remain unnamed, a few months ago. According to the technical definitions of both euthanasia and murder, she was actually murdered by hospital staff who were aided by a Guardian (assigned by the court). Several other people also experienced a similar crime against their family members (except their loved ones did not have guardians) that I know of and were given the same line of BS that we were given, including blatant lies regarding medical conditions and procedures. I'll give it to you straight: do not sign a living will and be sure to have a power of attorney that you trust if you hope to have even a slight chance to survive a medical condition that might cost a hospital $$$ to treat you. It goes like this:One day you are fine -cognizant and conscious and well. Then they sign you up for a test or procedure that requires sedation (a sedation that you never wake up from). They begin to dope you with morphine on a schedule and say it's a "coma." Requests to lay off the morphine are disregarded. Then they withhold nourishment and even a saline iv until your kidneys fail (if you have a living will. If not, they wait until your breathing slows so much from the morphine that O2 supplies are so depleted and CO2 levels rise and make the blood acidic, killing off the organs that way). Then, once they are certain that organ damage has proceeded to the point of no return and will evidence this on the autopsy, they overdose you with morphine. I never before understood why people were afraid of hospitals. Now I am also terrified of them.

    January 5, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mikey

    Apologize Vickey? Hundreds of thousands of Americans DIED to end slavery.

    January 5, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mikey

    And oppression, and injustice, oh and to ensure you're freedom to speak as you wish.

    January 5, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. person, anonymous

    You know what? Comments are like the random game: you start out with a random word and the next person says something related but not the same.this comments list started with a nazi grave site and ended with 911 US vs. Arabs its destiny. You know what this means? Either we have no lives, are passionate about the subject, or just saw this page and went hmm i think I'll add something.

    January 5, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |

    Im jewish and I have to say that everybody who states the holocaust never happened are total racist haters. You people are ignorant and retarded but thats ok.Our religion is the most hated and its truely because of jealousy. We are hardworkers and professionals who are educated and are hated for it. In regards to the 3rd Reich the peope of Germany were told that if you do not accept the Nazi regime you can be imprisoned on the spot. You see the videos of everybody haling to Hitler like a puppet? If you didnt hale to Hitler you would be jailed/exiled from the country. His regime brainwashed his entire country with Fear to build his empire of terror. Hitler wanted to annihilate the jews because he looked at us a threat and wanted to make the ultimate race of blonde hair blue eyed beings. Hitler was a psychotic freak and anybody who thinks otherwise are uneducated freaks. I had family who were killed at the concentration camps and for dumb people to be so naive stating it never happened amazes me. The general consensus of people who dont like my race state that jewish people want all the power and want to control the government. YOur just jealous racist punks who dont have a real job and are uneducated and were taught your silly traits from your dumber parents that raised you. Congratulations on being retarded. I applaud you. Im jewish and all I have to say is FU to all the haters of my religion. There are plenty of you but thats what happens when your gods chosen people. HATERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 5, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • SJ

      I understand your intensity here...but as a fellow Jew I wanted to say...countering negativity with more of the same is never a good thing. No need to stoop to their level. Peace.

      January 6, 2011 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Jack


      January 6, 2011 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Clio is my muse

      Who remembers the Armenions ?

      January 6, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  12. duke

    Chosen huh??

    January 6, 2011 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
  13. christine

    Hitler did what he wanted 2 whether u were a jew or german i am a german but i dnt hate the jews hitler hated his own ppl if u wasnt a blonde he had u condemmed long ago it was hitlers word not ours he was a sicko & those that wrked 4 him shud had shot him long ago & those who think nazi dnt exsist u r just runng frm the true !

    January 6, 2011 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      I absolutely agree with you Christine. No one had suffered more than anyone else.

      January 6, 2011 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  14. canon

    I honestly could careless for a lost grave. I could care less for immigrants. We all hurt society. Americans? natural citizen? Your blood comes and ran from overseas! If you not a native american please don't say "us americans". The whole nazi thing is so that we can learn and grow as a nation. It teaches us how to have equality. All you racist people need a tall glass of shut up.

    January 6, 2011 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
  15. Olstone

    The writer of this article is an idiot. When you use phrases like ' so-called,' that would imply that no proof of any mis-deed; like a criminal that has yet to stand trial. Mass murder is an absolute of the Nazi Regime. Get over your politically correct garbage or get out of journalism.

    January 6, 2011 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
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