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ployed on the farm of the Ottilienheim. These mentally defective persons were originally sent there by the various Country Welfare Organizations. Already last year 25 inmates were removed in the course of the well known scheme; of these 24 died, while one inmate was again brought back to the Ottilienheim. It was allegedly then a case of inmates for whom the Country Welfare Organization of Swabia had to provide.
Last Friday the inmates of the Ottilienheim for whose cost the Country Welfare Organization of Upper Franconia and Middle Franconia had taken over the responsibility were taken away in two large cars. The removal was carried out by the personnel of the Sanatorium and Nursing Home of Erlangen under the direction of a professor from this Institution. These people were taken away in the most conspicuous manner imaginable. Instead of the buses entering the courtyard to pick up the inmates who were to be removed, the vehicles were stationed outside the Ottilienheim in the middle of the market place. The inmates of the Ottilienheim who were to be removed and were accordingly excited had to be taken to the vehicles singly and by force. The whole population of Absberg, which is strongly Catholic, had congregated and watched the incident crying loudly. That certain circles made suitable psychological use of this incident cannot be regarded as surprising. Party Member Kirchhof reported that there were even party members among these weeping onlookers and that, in the general excitement of the people, certain remarks were passed which must be regarded as irresponsible. It goes without saying that the pastor of the Ottilienheim himself helped to create the appropriate atmosphere by having the people who were to be removed brought to the Abbey church for confession and communion in the morning, and having them practically carried to the altar with the help of the nuns.
I shall now make detailed inquiries about the incident through the sub-prefect. I consider it necessary, however, to advise the authorities responsible to use somewhat more tact in the removal of these persons who are to be eliminated as a Reich Defense measure, as it is not necessary to create unnecessary difficulties and play into the hands of our opponents. As soon as I receive the report, I shall pass it on to the Gaustabsamt (Gau Staff Office).
Gaustabsamtsleiter [Chief of the Gau Staff Office]
8. Ortsgruppenleiter Kirchhof, Absberg. 25.2.1941. Kreisleitung Weissenburg in Bavaria
Langlan, the 25th February 1941.
Incidents on the occasion of the latest removal
of mentally defective persons from the Ottilienheim in Absberg.
Reference: Telephone conversation Party member Gerstner and Party member Kirchhof on 24.2.41.
To the Kreisleitung of the NSDAP, Weissenburg.
With reference to the telephone conversation mentioned above, the desired report about the recent incidents in Absberg a few days ago is enclosed herewith for your cognizance.
We would request you not to pass on the original of this report to the Gendarmerie Officer Pfister in Absberg for possible examination of the participating spectators, as the Ortsgruppe fears that Pfister as he is judged and regarded as strongly Catholic by us-may not take effective steps against his own fellow believers in this matter.
The local Ortsgruppe itself, however, is of the opinion that the Ottilienheim will serve a much more useful purpose if it is cleared of its present inmates and placed at the disposal of the State as a military hospital or some other institution of military use.
Owing to the course of last Friday, 21.2.1941, a bus from Erlangen took 57 inmates of the Ottilienheim, Absberg, away in two parties, allegedly for an examination at the clinic at Erlangen. In the bus itself there were a doctor and three nurses who loaded these people on to the bus and supervised each transport.
A great number of spectators congregated each time these people were put on the bus, as it is reported that the loading did not take place in the courtyard but in front of the gate. The wildest scenes imaginable are reported to have taken place then, as some of these people did not board the bus voluntarily and were therefore forced to by the accompanying personnel.
These were people who were mad or mentally defective and were said to have other epileptic illnesses as well-and whose
upkeep the state and other Public Bodies have so far had to provide for either completely, or at least for the greater part.
I was able to learn in this connection that the Country Organization of Swabia fetched eight such persons back last autumn, and that seven of these were said to have died very shortly afterwards of influenza and low blood pressure which set in. Only one person returned to the Ottilienheim in Absberg.
This matter gradually became known to Absberg, and as a result a great crowd gathered also on the occasion of the last action, who, I have heard, allowed themselves to pass remarks against the National Socialist State. I was unfortunately unable to find out the names of the spectators concerned, as all spectators who had taken part showed great reticence towards me about this matter during my investigation.
These incidents during this action-which is after all necessary -are to be condemned all the more because even Party members themselves did not shrink from joining in the lamentations of the other weeping spectators. The fact that a certain group of spectators concerned gave expression to their former convictions and did not refrain from minimizing and criticizing the great necessity of the measures taken and introduced in the course of Reich defense was only to be expected from these people.
It is said that a section of these people even went so far as to formulate and disseminate more or less the following assertion: "The State must be in a bad way now, or it could not happen that these poor people should simply be sent to their death solely in order that the means which until now have been used for the upkeep of these people may be made available for the prosecution of the War". This view originates predominently from the Catholic population of Absberg.
It is even said that these poor victims as they are regarded by the clergy and the religious inhabitants of Absberg—were taken to the Catholic church for confession and communion shortly before their departure. It seems absolutely ridiculous to want to take away by an oral confession the possible sins of people, some of whom completely lack all mental powers.
Although of the 57 people that were fetched away there were some that had been employed by the Ottilienheim in the kitchen and in agriculture and, as it happens, could only carry out these tasks under supervision, the measures taken can, for that reason too, not be understood by the population. As this measure is gradually becoming known now, yesterday already 7 such people were fetched back by relatives into their households, so that they allegedly could no longer be included in the action. Added to
this comes the fact that about 14 days ago strangers thoroughly inspected the Ottilienheim and made notes as to the size of the rooms, etc. Because of all of these reasons the population of Absberg now fears that the Ottilienheim may possibly be vacated and made available for other purposes.
Langlan, 24th February 1941
9. Chief Gendarme Pfister, 24.2.41.
Gendarmerie post Absberg,
Rural district of Gunzenhausen,
county of upper and central Franconia.
To the Gunzenhausen Sub-Prefect.
Subject: Removal of asylum inmates.
Further to your telephonic orders on the 24th inst. I beg to report the following:
On the 21st inst. at about 10 hours a large bus drove through Absberg into the Ottilienheim. The bus did not drive into the courtyard of the asylum through the open gateway but through the gateway which is provided with gates. The gates were immediately closed again. About an hour later the bus left the asylum full and drove off in the direction of Geiselsberg. As during the whole year such a large bus never comes to Absberg, it was conspicuous to the population, and they presumed that inmates of the asylum were being removed. During the bus's first departure there was no one in front of the asylum. At about 1500 hours the bus came once again, drove into the asylum courtyard through the same gates, which were again closed immediately, and left again after about one hour full of asylum inmates. As at the time of the bus's arrival the school had just closed, about 20 to 25 schoolchildren and 4 or 5 adults stood in front of the Ottilienheim and waited until the bus had departed. Some of the women standing there, who felt sorry for the women and girls, wept.
During the departure through Absberg many people stood before their houses and waved to the girls and women. But that it go as far as riotous scenes or insults is not the case. It is, however, not impossible that one person or another was not in agreement with the removal of the asylum inmates. But remarks about this were not made.
The population of Absberg, of both religions, are good Chris
tians, and individuals may have found fault, among themselves, with the removal of the girls and women, but otherwise they obey all official orders and do not allow themselves to be carried away to excesses.
I had not previously informed you of the removal of the asylum inmates as I was of the opinion that this was known to you and because there were no incidents. If I had in the least noticed such, or if unpleasant remarks had been made, I should not have omitted making a report to you.
As I have ascertained, all the asylum inmates attended communion on Friday the 21st inst. but not only those that have left but all of them. As the mother superior, Willibald Guggenberg, is a sick person and she found it too difficult to inform the people concerned that they would be leaving that day, she asked the local priest, Joseph Zottmann, to tell them.
Shortly before the arrival of the bus, the mother superior had the people concerned called into a hall, where Zottmann then told them. The mother superior had known for some time that in the near future so and so many asylum inmates would be fetched, but she told neither the priest nor her fellow sisters about it. She had also been forbidden to inform the relatives about the removal. Neither I nor the local population knew that people from the asylum were to be removed.
[signed] Pfister, G.M.
10. Kreisleiter Gerstner, 6.3.1941.
Kreisleitung Weissenburg, Bavaria
6th March 1941.
To the NSDAP Gauleitung Franconia, Gau Staff Office,
Subject: Disturbing the population of Absberg by conspicu-
Further to my report of the 24.2.41 which I made on the strength of a previous telephone report from the Ortsgruppenleiter, party member Kirchhof, I submit the requested written report of the Ortsgruppenleiter (N.B. No.8) and also the requested report of the competent Gendarmerie post (N.B. No.9). The report of Ortsgruppenleiter party member Kirchhof is of no importance, inasmuch as it does not include any real facts but merely relates the events as told by third persons.