Der Spiegelgrund-Komplex

Kinderheilkunde, Heilpädagogik, Psychiatrie und Jugendfürsorge im Nationalsozialismus


  • Herwig Czech Dokumentationsarchiv des österreichischen Widerstandes



Medical Crimes, Children’s Euthanasia, Am Spiegelgrund, WW II, Vienna, Austria, Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Pedagogy


Am Spiegelgrund, originally an exclusively topographic term, during WW II designated one of the most important killing facilities in the ‘children’s euthansia’ program. It was part of the City of Vienna’s public health and welfare system. Its creation in 1940 coincided with attempts to establish Therapeutic Pegagogy as a new discipline in Germany, based on the principles of race hygiene and dominated by the influence of medical doctors. With ‘children’s euthanasia’ an organisation was created that allowed the permanent selection and extermination of children who were deemed of little or no biological or economic value to the German body politic. Everywhere, children and youths were assessed, segregated, and selected in order to separate the ‘worthy’ from the ‘unworthy.’ Between 1940 and 1945, altogether 789 children and youths lost their lives in the Spiegelgrund facility. The systematic identification of potential victims for this campaign was only possible due to the cooperation of numerous institutions and individuals. The most important among them was the City of Vienna’s Children Admittance Center (KÜST), but there were also important connections to Vienna University, most importantly to the Pediatric Clinic under Prof. Franz Hamburger. One of his assistants, Dr. Elmar Türk performed lethal tuberculosis experiments on children from Spiegelgrund. The head of the clinic’s Ward for Therapeutic Pedagogy (Heilpädagogische Abteilung), Dr. Hans Asperger, was also responsible for transferrals of children to the Spiegelgrund clinic.



Czech, H. (2014). Der Spiegelgrund-Komplex: Kinderheilkunde, Heilpädagogik, Psychiatrie und Jugendfürsorge im Nationalsozialismus. Österreichische Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaften, 25(1-2), 194–219.