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2kNreeJ

2kNreeJ

Contextualising the

Contextualising the Victims HOLOCAUST EDUCATION IN PEDAGOGY, HISTORY, AND PRACTICE 94 Each of the approximately 30,000 victims shares the fate that they were killed in Hartheim by the Nazis. However, all these people were unique individuals. They varied in age, gender, nationality, and religion. Each had a life before they were brought to Hartheim to be killed. The reason why they were deported was often very different. Some suffered from disabilities like blindness or deafness; some had intellectual disabilities and others suffered from mental health disorders such as depression, epilepsy, or schizophrenia. There were also contingents of prisoners from the concentration camps of Mauthausen and Dachau who were killed in Hartheim. Although they do not fit the profile of the T4 victim, they were killed in a facility designated as part of the T4 program. Today, the majority of the names of the victims of Hartheim are known. Indeed, one of the most important works of the Hartheim documentation centre is to find out more about the people who where killed there. It is necessary to give the victims back their individuality and show the person behind the name. This link http://lebensspuren.schloss-hartheim.at provides biographies of some people who were killed in Hartheim. Currently, all of these biographies are in German but there are plans to translate them into English. One of the biographies provided on the website is that of Erich Forster. Erich Forster, 1885 - 1941 Erich Forster was born in 1885 in Sulzberg in the Vorarlberg region of Austria. He had ten other brothers and sisters. Born deaf and with mental deficiency, he lived at home with his family. For employment, Erich worked with sand and made a powder that could be used for laundry purposes. He and his family were well known and respected in their community. After his parents died and the rest of his family moved to Bavaria, Erich and another disabled brother lived in the poor house of the village. In March of 1941, they were brought from the poor house to the psychiatric hospital in Valduna Rankweil, Austria. Witnesses later recounted that he and his brother probably knew that they were going to be killed. Erich was very anxious and tried to “tell” people with his hands that he was about to be killed. His brother escaped, hid and survived the Second World War. On March 17, 1941, Erich was deported to Hartheim and killed the same day. In 2011, his hometown set up a memorial plaque for him. 2 2 http://lebensspuren.schloss-hartheim.at/index.php/2-biografie/15-erich-forster (May 10th 2015)

About the Perpetrators Approximately 70 people worked in the killing facility. They not only worked in the Hartheim castle, they also lived there. The daily life of the perpetrators was organized and seemingly “normal”. Pictures discovered after the end of the Second World War illustrate the disturbing normality of the perpetrators in Hartheim. Figure 2 (right picture) shows the perpetrators celebrating a festival in Hartheim. Figure 3 (bottom picture) shows a social outing of the perpetrators. It also demonstrates that they took the same buses for their recreation trips that were used for the deportation of the patients. (Foto19885, NARA II, RG 549, Records of Headquarters, U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR), War Crimes Branch, War Crimes Case Files (“Cases not tried”), 1944-48, Box 490, Case 000-12-463 Hartheim (P) VOL I/A Hartheim employees celebration. Credit: Dokumentationsstelle Hartheim des OÖLA 95 HOLOCAUST EDUCATION IN PEDAGOGY, HISTORY, AND PRACTICE (Foto19895, NARA II, RG 549, Records of Headquarters, U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR), War Crimes Branch, War Crimes Case Files (“Cases not tried”), 1944-48, Box 490, Case 000-12-463 Hartheim (P) VOL I/A Hartheim employees on a bus outing. Credit: Dokumentationsstelle Hartheim des OÖLA

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