History of Hartheim Castle to 1940
Hartheim Castle is a Renaissance castle that was built in the 17th century and is considered one of the most important works of Renaissance architecture in Upper Austria. At the close of the 19th century, it was donated by its former owner, Prince Starhemberg, to the Upper Austrian State Welfare Society (Oberösterreichischer Landeswohltätigkeitsverein) for the care of mentally and physically disabled people. This society established a so-called 'Facility for the Feebleminded, Imbecile, Idiotic and Cretinous', where the disabled were cared for by the Merciful Sisters of St Vinzenz von Paul until 1940. Following Austria’s integration into the German Empire in 1938 and the Act on Transition and Categorisation of Societies, Organisations and Associations of 17 May 1938, the Upper Austrian State Welfare Society was disbanded on 10 December 1938 and its direction was transferred to the Institution of the Welfare Department of the District Self-Administration.