From 1940–1944 Hartheim Castle in Alkoven (Upper-Austria) was used as a Nazi euthanasia site where 30,000 people were murdered. There, the Nazis persecuted Germans with mental or physical disabilities. An estimated 360,000 people were sterilized between 1933 and 1939 to prevent them from having children.  

In a 1939 conference, Adolf Hitler suggested that the state should kill those who were, in his view, “unworthy of life.” The Nazis began by ordering doctors and nurses to kill newborns and young children with disabilities such as Downs syndrome. The euthanasia program soon expanded to include older children and adults with severe disabilities. 

The Nazis cleared out hospitals throughout Germany and sent ill and chronically disabled patients to Hartheim Castle and other euthanasia centers. About 70,000 people were murdered in this way.

Franz Stangl, the Nazi superintendent of Hartheim Castle, was transferred to Poland in 1942. He became commandant of the Sobibor and Treblinka concentration camps, where over one million Jews were killed. Another so-called "graduate" of the euthanasia program was Christian Wirth, who was later transferred to Chelmno to start the gassing of Jews and Gypsies.


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FolderText (Lern – Und Gedenkort Schloss Hartheim)