"'Der Kinderfachabteilung vorzuschlagen': Psychological examination of children at the Jugendpsychiatrische Klinik Loben"

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 Kamila Uzarczyk (Medical University of Wrocław)

"'Der Kinderfachabteilung vorzuschlagen': Psychological examination of children at the Jugendpsychiatrische Klinik Loben"

(Introduced by: Etienne Lepicard. Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

[35min36; 12 slides]


This paper was presented to the international symposium:

"Reassessing Nazi Human Experiments and Coerced Research, 1933-1945: New Findings, Interpretations and Problems"

4 - 7 July 2013, Wadham College, Oxford


Convened by Paul Weindling (Oxford Brookes University), Marius Turda (Oxford Brookes University), and Volker Roelcke (University of Giessen).

Kindly funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, and the University of Giessen


Abstract: The psychological evaluation of children reported by various care institutions, orphanages and psychiatric clinics constituted an important field of investigation among numerous Nazi medical research projects. Depending on the results of these coercive examinations, children could be transferred either to the children’s euthanasia’s “special psychiatric care units” (Kinderfachabteilungen), correctional institutions or juvenile reform schools, or recommended for NS-Jugendheimstätten or family care.    


The Jugendpsychiatrische Klinik Loben was actively involved in the psychiatric examination of children from various Upper Silesian institutions. Doctor Elisabeth Hecker and her assistant physicians, mainly Hildegard Stanjek and Beate Sandri-Dawid, systematically gave expert opinions on children – many of them transferred from orphanages – and took decisions regarding further “distribution” of the patients. Diagnostic procedures, such as brain X-rays, were used to verify the hereditary character of the observed disabilities. Children diagnosed as “unable to learn” were subjected to poisoning with luminal and provided material for post mortem neuropathological research, conducted at the Neurological Institute in Wroclaw. Similar projects were carried out in other provinces of the country as part of erbiologische Bestandsaufnahme. In Upper Silesia, however, due to a large proportion of Polish population, additional factors played a role in the process of selection and evaluation, and in the relocation of children in various institutions.

In my paper, I will focus on the psychiatric-psychological evaluation of the children admitted to the Jugendpsychiatrische Klinik Loben. I will analyse examples of medical reports containing information on family background, intelligence tests and diagnostic methods used in the course of observation of the children who were sent to the killing station Abteilung B, and those who were recommended for treatment at the Jugendpsychiatrische Klinik or for further observation at the reform school in Bergstadt. I will also present a few examples of psychological tests and medical expertises of children considered as suitable for Lebensborn, in order to account for the full array of possible outcomes of these examinations.


Bio: Kamila Uzarczyk is educated as a historian, currently working as an assistant professor at the Medical University of  Wrocław, Poland. Her research interests include the history of eugenics and race hygiene, Nazi medical experiments, and the history of sexuality with a focus on prostitution in Poland.



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