Warta


In March 1940, doctors arrived at the mental hospital in Warta, about 40 kilometers east of Kalisz. Doctors immediately began to draw up lists of those patients whose mental disabilities were not consistent with the Nazi racial ideology of freshness and soundness. At the end of march, the germans began to prepare an action against those on the lists. The action was that these people would be murdered because their disability posed a threat to the racially pure society that the Nazis sought. Between 2 – 4 April, 499 patients were murdered in a specially designed truck with a hermetically sealed cargo compartment. When the load compartment was filled, the doors were closed and the engine started and the exhaust gases were led into the cargo compartment and the patients died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Before being brought into the cargo area, patients had been given a soothing syringe so that they would not resist. The murders were carried out by a special command called Sonderkommando Lange under the leadership of Herbert Lange. The command’s main task was to kill mentally ill patients in various mental hospitals around the district of Wartheland with the help of the truck. The bodies were buried in a mass grave in a forest just outside Rossoszyca, about ten kilometres east of Warta.

Current status: Preserved with monument (2023).

Location: 51°41' 56.48" N 18°43' 40.84" E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

The hospital (Sieradzka 3, 98-290 Warta) is still in use and there is a monument dedicated to the victims. As always when I visited similar monuments at mental hospitals, it gives a feeling of discomfort to have stayed in such places. In the forest at Rossoszyca where the bodies were buried, there is also a memorial surrounded by a fence. It is located about 500 meters from the road. The names of the murdered are on paintings on either side of the monument.

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