|Gas Chamber Building
a part of the prison in Brandenburg (near
) was converted into the
euthanasia killing centre
"Landespflegeanstalt Brandenburg a. H."
, located in the centre of the city!
A gas chamber (3x5 m) was installed in the former brick barn.
The exact location of the gas chamber is unknown because only the
foundations of the barn still exist. From the adjacent former
storage building only the floor is still to be seen. The cells for
working and sleeping do not exist anymore and only its foundations
were discovered in 1996
The killings took place in the same way as in the other euthanasia
centres: Buses brought the victims to the site where they were
registered, undressed, examined, and gassed. The gas
chamber looked like a shower bath where carbon monoxide gas was
used for killing. The bodies were cremated in two mobile cremation
ovens at night. The crematory could have been situated in the
adjacent building or near the former church. Since July 1940
corpses were cremated outside the town at Paterdamm
Street. The site was
disguised as Chemisch-Technische Versuchsanstalt
(Chemical and Technical Research Institute).
The first killing took place on 4 January 1940
when 18 to 20
insane criminals were gassed in this test, which contributed to the decision to
use carbon monoxide gas for killing. Among several doctors from the
staff, the following persons
were present: Dr Brandt
's personal doctor), Dr Conti
), Philipp Bouhler
Chief of Hitler
's Chancellery) and Dr
supplier for the gas cylinders). This gassing was carried out by
, who played a prominent role in the mass
extermination programme in the Generalgouvernement
described it later:
"I was ordered by Brack to attend the first
euthanasia experiment in the Brandenburg asylum
near Berlin. I went to the asylum in the
first half of January 1940. Additional
building work had been carried out especially for the purpose. There was a room similar to a
shower room which was approximately 3 metres by 5 metres and 3 metres high and tiled.
There were benches round the room and a water pipe about 1" in diameter ran along the wall
about 10 cm off the floor. There were small holes in this pipe from which the carbon monoxide
gas poured out. The gas cylinders stood outside this room and were already connected up to the
pipe. The work on this installation had been carried out by the SS Main Building Office
There were already two mobile crematoria in the asylum with which to burn the corpses.
There was a rectangular peephole in the entrance door, which was constructed like an air raid
shelter door, through which the delinquents could be observed. The first gassing was carried out
by Dr. Widmann personally.
He turned the gas tap and regulated the amount of gas...
As far as I can remember, among the prominent personalities who were there were: the doctors
already mentioned, Professor Dr. Brandt,
the Führer's personal physician, and a detective,
Wirth, at that time head of the homicide branch in the
Stuttgart police department and later head
Hartheim asylum near
Linz. For this first gassing about 18-20 people were led into this "shower
room" by the nursing staff. These men had to undress in an anteroom until they were completely
naked. The doors were shut behind them. These people went quietly into the room and showed no
signs of being upset. Dr Widmann
operated the gas. I could see through the peephole that after
about a minute the people had collapsed or lay on the benches. There were no scenes and no disorder.
After a further five minutes the room was ventilated. Specially assigned SS people collected the
dead on special stretchers and took them to the crematoria. When I say special stretchers I mean
stretchers specially constructed for this purpose. They could be placed directly on the ovens and the
corpses could be pushed into the oven mechanically by means of a device without the people
carrying them coming into contact with the corpse. These ovens and the stretchers were also
constructed in Brack's department
Following this successful test, Brack -
who was naturally also present and whom I forgot to mention -
said a few words. He expressed satisfaction with the test and emphasized once again that this
action must only be carried out by doctors according to the motto "syringes are a matter for doctors".
Finally, Dr Brandt spoke
and reiterated that doctors alone should carry out this gassing.
The last killing took place on 29 October 1940
. Children from the
mental home in Brandenburg-Görden
More than 9,000 persons lost their lifes in the Brandenburg euthanasia centre within nine months.
Among the victims were more than 400 Jews.
© ARC 2005