I do mention Euthanasias in the title but in reality they were murders. Euthanasia. Sonnenstein Euthanasia Clinic was in of the euthanasia centres of the T4 program.
It operated between June 1940 and September 1941. Most of the victims were suffering from psychological disorders and intellectual disability, but their number also included inmates from the concentration camps.
It didn’t take much to be branded as somebody with a psychological disorder, even political delinquents were seem as people with mental disabilities.
Between June 1940 and September the centre euthanized on average 915 victims a month, or about 30 victims a day.
One of the victims was Elfriede Lohse-Wächtler.
She was was a German painter of the avant-garde movement whose works were considered “degenerate art” and therefor banned and sometimes destroyed.
In 1929, she suffered a nervous breakdown due to financial problems and relationship issues ,she was committed to a psychiatric institution in Hamburg-Friedrichsberg. During the two months she stayed there stay, she painted the Friedrichsberg heads. A portfolio of work consisting of about 60 drawings and pastels of mainly portraits of fellow patients. After her recovery she had a very creative phase. She painted numerous paintings of Hamburg’s harbor, scenes from the life of workers and prostitutes, and pitiless self-portraits. But despite some exhibitions, sales, and smaller grants, she lived in poverty.
Due to these financial problems and increasing social isolation, she returned to her parents’ home in Dresden in 1931. When her mental state worsened her father admitted her to the state mental home at Arnsdorf in 1932. Where she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. From 1932 to 1935 she was still creatively active, drawing portraits and creating arts and crafts. After her husband divorced her in May 1935 she was incapacitated due to “incurable insanity”.
After refusing to consent to a sterilisation, she was no longer allowed to leave the hospital . In late 1935, she was subjected to a surgical sterilisation in the Dresden-Friedrichstadt women’s hospital as per the Nazi eugenicist policies. After this trauma she never painted again. In 1940 she was deported to Sonnenstein where she was killed on July 31,1940.
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