• »Alte Pathologie« Memorial Wehnen
Since 2004, the »Alte Pathologie« (»Old Pathology«) Memorial in Wehnen, a district in the Oldenburg region, commemorates the killing of at least 1,500 patients of the former Wehnen mental hospital between 1936 and 1945. The memorial was established on the initiative of victims' relatives.
Image: Bad Zwischenahn, about 1910, View of the pavilions of the Wehnen mental hospital, in: J. Bresler: Deutsche Heil- und Pflegeanstalten in Wort und Bild,  Halle a.S. 1912
Bad Zwischenahn, about 1910, View of the pavilions of the Wehnen mental hospital, in: J. Bresler: Deutsche Heil- und Pflegeanstalten in Wort und Bild, Halle a.S. 1912

Image: Bad Zwischenahn, 2007, Exterior view of the »Alte Pathologie« Memorial Wehnen, Hedwig Thelen
Bad Zwischenahn, 2007, Exterior view of the »Alte Pathologie« Memorial Wehnen, Hedwig Thelen
Already in 1936, the management of the Wehnen mental hospital introduced cuts in the care and nutrition for their patients. Deliberate shortages of food and negligence of the mentally ill patients led to an extraordinarily high death rate at Wehnen, it in fact doubled in 1936. The mass deaths began in Wehnen in 1936, three years before Adolf Hitler's orders to establish the National Socialist »euthanasia« campaign, the so-called »Action T4«. The situation at the Wehnen mental hospital worsened dramatically in the following years: the clinic was overcrowded with patients from other institutions who were gradually moved to Wehnen. There were no transports from Wehnen to killing centres in the course of the »T4« campaign since the medical personnel at Wehnen itself »assisted« their patients in succumbing to the effects of undernourishment and negligence. Insufficient hygienic conditions led to a rapid spread of diseases. By 1945, the death rate had increased to the six-fold of pre-war figures. The hospital's graveyard had to be extended several times due to the high death toll.
Image: Bad Zwischenahn, about 1910, View of the pavilions of the Wehnen mental hospital, in: J. Bresler: Deutsche Heil- und Pflegeanstalten in Wort und Bild,  Halle a.S. 1912
Bad Zwischenahn, about 1910, View of the pavilions of the Wehnen mental hospital, in: J. Bresler: Deutsche Heil- und Pflegeanstalten in Wort und Bild, Halle a.S. 1912

Image: Bad Zwischenahn, 2007, Exterior view of the »Alte Pathologie« Memorial Wehnen, Hedwig Thelen
Bad Zwischenahn, 2007, Exterior view of the »Alte Pathologie« Memorial Wehnen, Hedwig Thelen
It is difficult to determine accurately how many patients were killed by malnourishment and negligence of medical personnel due to the fact that deaths of natural causes too occurred in that period. Historians assume that at least 1,500 patients fell victim to deliberate neglect.
Image: Bad Zwischenahn, 2009, Memorial stone to a victim on the former hospital cemetery, Hedwig Thelen
Bad Zwischenahn, 2009, Memorial stone to a victim on the former hospital cemetery, Hedwig Thelen

Image: Bad Zwischenahn, 2009, Photo gallery which is part of the project »Patient Stories«, Hedwig Thelen
Bad Zwischenahn, 2009, Photo gallery which is part of the project »Patient Stories«, Hedwig Thelen
In 1998, a small group of relatives of victims of the Wehnen mental hospital established a working group which in 2003 was formally registered as the »Wehnen Memorial Circle Association«. A monument to the victims of patient killings was set up in 2001 on the premises of what is today the Karl Jaspers Clinic. The Wehnen Memorial Circle Association opened the »Alte Pathologie« Memorial in 2004 in the mortuary of the former mental hospital in which autopsies were performed on victims who had starved to death. The memorial displays a small exhibition on the topic of National Socialist health policy and »euthanasia« in the Oldenburg region. Some of the stories of victims were recorded in small red books. A small memorial site was set up on the former hospital cemetery in 2008. Located there is a monument as well as 800 smaller stones in memory of the patients who were buried there.
Image: Bad Zwischenahn, 2007, Monument to the victims of »National Socialist Euthanasia« on the premises of the Karl Jaspers Clinic, Hedwig Thelen
Bad Zwischenahn, 2007, Monument to the victims of »National Socialist Euthanasia« on the premises of the Karl Jaspers Clinic, Hedwig Thelen

Image: Bad Zwischenahn, 2009, Memorial site on the former hospital cemetery, Hedwig Thelen
Bad Zwischenahn, 2009, Memorial site on the former hospital cemetery, Hedwig Thelen
Name
Gedenkstätte »Alte Pathologie« Wehnen
Address
Hermann-Ehlers-Straße 7
26160 Bad Zwischenahn
Phone
(0441) 961 53 96
Web
http://www.gedenkkreis.de
E-Mail
info@gedenkkreis.de
Open
Sunday: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Guided tours by appointment
Possibilities
Guided tours, library