Names, Graves, and Memory. The Psychiatric Hospital Mauer-Öhling during National Socialism
euthanasia, Nazi era, history
The project overview
The high number of those killed inhouse together with those who perished with hunger, neglect or wrong medication, in November 1944 caused an extension of the institution cemetery for 300 grave sites. There is no sign of it today. The project therefore aimed at working with citizen scientists on the creation of public awareness on the extended hospital cemetery and those buried there. Through biographical research and interviews with relatives of victims and the medical staff at that time, the life stories were reconstructed
Fundamentally, methods and limitations of oral history, narratives in family conscience, analyses of guilt, shame and responsibility as well as strategies such as repression, relativisation and silence were discussed.
How did citizen scientists participate?
More than 400 people attended the events and presentations in Amstetten and St. Pölten, many of them contributed to the intensive discussions. 13 Citizen Scientists – relatives of victims, clinic employees and local historians – took on independent research supported by the project team. The grave with the number 64 was chosen as a representative of the mass graves as it can be identified on site due to a still existing mark. Based on their personal interests, Citizen Scientists researched the biographies of five buried persons as well as additional victims from Nazi “Euthanasia” from their own family, their place of residence or from various groups of victims. One participant evaluated the relevant information in the parish chronicle of Mauer-Öhling, another examined the evacuation of the old people's homes in the district of Amstetten which had been fatal for some of the residents.
What happened to contributions of citizen scientists?
The contributions and results will be presented at the closing event in the town hall of Amstetten. The results are being incorporated into the publications, lectures and initiatives of the commemoration. The commitment of the citizen scientists is having another effect: together with the hospital Mauer, a dignified presentation of the cemetery is being considered.
Participating and supporting institutions
PD Dr. Martha Keil