Southwest of Krakow is Babinski mental hospital, which at the outbreak of war in 1939 had about 1000 patients. When the Germans took Krakow, two German representatives were appointed who immediately began to practice euthanasia on those patients who were considered ”obotliga” in accordance with the nazi racial ideology. In Kobierzyn, the patients were murdered by starvation and poison injections. Jewish patients were deported to a concentration camp where they were murdered. In may 1942, the nazis decided to dismantle the hospital and use it for other purposes. By then, about 500 of the patients had been murdered. Under the pretext of sending patients to a hospital in Warsaw, the final evacuation of the hospital began. In fact, 535 patients were sent by train to Auschwitz where they were later murdered in the gas chamber in bunker I, Birkenau. However, about 30 patients were too sick to go to the trucks by themselves, and they were instead killed by a poison injection.

Current status: Preserved with monument (2009).

Address: ul. Józefa Babinskiego 29, 30-393 Kraków.

Get there: Car.

My comment:

The official euthanasia that took place in Germany between 1939 and 1941 gave clear directives on which ones should be covered, but in Poland it was quite different. It did not follow any official directives from any central authority but was more arbitrary. Exactly how many Polish mental hospitals there were euthanasia at can be difficult to determine. It can be difficult to equate the institutions that existed in Germany with the Polish ones. The German recalled the Nazi extermination camps, albeit to a much lesser extent. At the Polish mental hospitals no gas chambers were ever established, but gas wagons were used to a lesser extent. But most often the patients were murdered by starvation, poison injections or they were shot and buried in mass graves. The number of victims was also significantly smaller compared to the German euthanasia centers. Everything from about 500 to a couple of thousand patients per mental hospital were murdered. Euthanasia in Poland (and the rest of Eastern Europe) is well documented, the problem is that the literature is mostly in Polish (or other eastern European languages), which means that it only becomes an asset for Polish-speaking researchers.

Follow up in books: Friedlander, Henry: The Origins of Nazi Genocide – From euthanasia to the final solution (1995).