The death of a hospital: The Krakow Psychiatric Institute under German occupation
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Arch Psych Psych 2006;8(4):45–49
The Nazi ideology considered mentally or physically impaired people to be useless individuals, life not worth living and a burden to the society. As the war approached the German Government took steps to rid the State of the burden and free the facilities for war related use. In August 1939 8 000 physically or mentally handicapped children were exterminated. Over 70 000 psychiatric patients were sent to converted mental hospitals, gassed and cremated between October 1939 and August 1941 (Aktion T4). The systematic extermination continued in occupied Poland (Aktion Brandt). The German administrator of The Babinski psychiatric hospital in Kobierzyn, Krakow, exterminated hundreds of patients by starving them systematically. In August 1941, 91 Jewish patients were transported from Kobierzyn to Zofiowka, Jewish Psychiatric Hospital in Otwock near Warsaw, Subsequently they were sent to Treblinka camp and murdered together with most of the staff. The remaining patients in Kobierzyn were either shot or deported to Auschwitz in June 1942 and killed there. The Babinski Hospital in Kobierzyn re-opened after the war; Zofiowka is abandoned but plans are made to turn it into a memorial center.