Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team
Nazi Eugenics &
T- 4 Staff
T- 4 in Poland
T - 4 in Germany &
Kobierzyn Mental Home
There were more than 1,000 patients in the Babinski hospital in Kobierzyn, near Krakow, when the war broke out. The Germans appointed two directors of the hospital - Zweck (a tradesman) until October 1940 and then Aleksander Kroll (an official from the Warsaw Health Service) until September 1942. There were 3 phases of liquidation at the hospital: starvation deportation of Jewish patients and finally mass murder. From the time Kroll took over the post, patients started to receive half of their usual food rations.
Before the final deportations almost half of the patients had died of malnutrition. On 9 and 11 September 1941, the Germans moved all Jewish patients, 91 people, in two transports to the Zofiowka sanatorium in Otwock near Warsaw. This group shared the fate of all Otwock Jews - some were gassed on 19 August 1942 in Treblinka, others shot at the premises of the sanatorium and buried in the garden there.
The rest of the Polish personnel were locked in an old theatre building during the time of the aktion. 30 patients, who were temporarily on rehabilitation in a nearby Catholic convent, were transferred back to the hospital and were the first to be loaded on a truck and delivered to the Swoszowice railway station. Later, Kroll opened the wards and counted the patients, assisted by a German male nurse, Leo Zipper. SS men herded the patients to the trucks and transported them to the railway station.
In the evening the train carried 535 patients to Auschwitz-Birkenau where they were gassed in Bunker I. 30 patients, unable to walk to the trucks, were killed by lethal injections, probably dispensed by Beck himself, and buried at the local cemetery, together with 25 Jews from Skawina, southwest of Krakow, who had been shot. One patient, Maria Szames who worked as a maid at Kroll's house, was later murdered at the cemetery by an SS man, assisted by Kroll and Zipper.
He was evacuated to the West with all of the evidence and was responsible for the destruction of it. He was questioned by the Americans in 1950 in Hamburg and became a valuable witness regarding Soviet crimes. He died in 1988 in Aachen.
Mateusz Szpytma, (Instytut Pamieci Narodowej, Oddzial w Krakowie): Zbrodnie na pacjentach w Panstwowym Zakladzie dla Umyslowo i Nerwowo Chorych w Kobierzynie, Krakow 2002
Copyright: BB H.E.A.R.T 2007