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Memorial Book Hartheim


I. Objective

The principle objective of the Hartheim Memorial Book Project is to record those murdered in Hartheim by name. We want to restore the identities of the victims, not allow them to disappear into anonymity and help relatives and descendants to find the last traces of their murdered family members.
The project was initiated in 1998 with support from the State of Upper Austria and the Federal Ministry for Education and Arts. The original idea arose in connection with research work done in the records of the Sanatorium and Nursing Home Niedernhart. Whilst working with these files, it became evident that many of the names of the victims could be determined by means of secondary sources and were therefore identifiable.

II. Sources

Whilst utilised as a Nazi euthanasia centre (1940–1944), Hartheim Castle had its own register office. At the close of 1944, all the documents from this time were either removed or destroyed.
For this reason, we are essentially forced to resort to four types of secondary sources when researching the names of victims: 1. Documents from the mental health and care facilities, if still available; 2. files from post-war trials regarding the Nazi euthanasia programme; 3. records of cemetery administrations; and 4. camp records from the former concentration camps.

III. Current State of Research

The number of victims who died at Hartheim is generally estimated at approximately 30,000. Although this figure is based on a relatively weak foundation of sources, it is recognised in scientific research. The objective of the project is to confirm this figure as closely as possible or to correct it. There are currently approximately 23,000 victims recorded in the Memorial Book. Due to the lack of a primary source, we are also fully aware of the fact that comprehensive records will remain an unattainable goal. Many of the large facilities have already been covered, but the fact that lots of small mental health and care homes no longer exist represents an unsolvable problem. Even if these care facilities still exist, the files are normally no longer available. Indications frequently point to individuals being picked up at home and being found dead shortly thereafter. These statements have not been able to be confirmed by means of the sources available, and the trail of these people was lost upon being transported away. Various researchers also often present conflicting estimated numbers of victims. One explication lies in the use of different sources. In the end, the question arises in connection with already recorded data as to whether a particular murder actually took place at Hartheim or not, since the quality of the sources is in part poor.

IV. Purpose

The primary addressees of the Memorial Book are the relatives of victims on the one hand, and scientific researchers on the other. As the Data Protection Act 2000 considers patient records to be 'confidential data' that require special protection, the Documentation Service only provides data about victims to the two aforementioned groups. Hartheim Memorial Book is a database that offers various search parameters, for instance name, place of residence and place of birth.

Contact Details

Lern- und Gedenkort Schloss Hartheim

tel +43 7274 6536-546 
email office(at)schloss-hartheim.at 

Our office is open:
Mon–Thu: 8.30–16.30
Fri: 8.30–13.00

Opening Hours

Mon and Fri: 9.00 – 15.00
Tue – Thu: 9.00 – 16.00
Sunday and holiday: 10.00 – 17.00
Saturday closed


© 2013 Lern- und Gedenkort Schloss Hartheim