Print

The castle was expropriated from the Upper Austrian State Welfare Society in 1939 and re-built to become a euthanasia centre for the southeast of the "Drittes Reich" in 1940. In addition to the rooms on the ground floor, where the murders took place, there were also functional and residential rooms, but not one patient room. Apart from the actual killing rooms, there were also a room for dissection, further functional rooms and a kitchen.

In the offices on the first floor, comprehensive documents about those killed and potential further victims were kept, but there was also a clever system for death notices for those people who were killed at other euthanasia centres, and urns with incorrect details about the respective death were sent out. In addition to the administrative rooms, Dr Renno's director's flat and a dining room for staff were also located here.

The numerous staff was accommodated on the upper floors. They were responsible for smooth operations and were only seldom allowed leave the facilities.

At the close of 1944, all the documents were removed or destroyed, all the euthanasia equipment was dismounted and the castle was practically restored to its state in 1939. As of March 1945, a "district special education school" was housed in the castle.

It seemed as if not one trace had remained. It was not until the Lern- und Gedenkort Schloss Hartheim was being established that construction-related investigations revealed traces that stem from the time and function of Hartheim Castle as a Nazi euthanasia centre. These recovery works primarily concerned the former euthanasia facilities, but also the area round the former bus garage. Moreover, an area with personal effects of the victims, ash from the crematorium and bones was discovered whilst digging in the castle garden. In total, approximately 8,000 objects were recovered and are now housed at the Documentation Service in Hartheim. The human remains were interred.

Securing traces and pieces of evidence was the objective declared by the Lern- und Gedenkort Schloss Hartheim upon its establishment. All the clues are now the central focus at the Lern- und Gedenkort Schloss Hartheim, since it is not until they have been found, secured and interpreted that they can also be "read" by our visitors. Memory stands in direct relation to them.

 

Photo: Detail of a picture with discoveries, here: plates and bowls  Photo: Chutes with diverse discoveries, here: commodity items