Pavilion 5

Pavilion 5 of the Steinhof hospital in Vienna hosts a permanent exhibition about the history of Nazi medical crimes in the Austrian capital, named Der Krieg gegen die "Minderwertigen". Zur Geschichte der NS-Medizin in Wien (The War against the "Inferior". On the History of Nazi Medicine in Vienna).

"The Heil- und Pflegeanstalt "Am Steinhof" (today's Otto Wagner Hospital) developed in the years after the Anschluss of 1938 into the Viennese center of National Socialist medical murder that was to take the lives of far more than 7,500 Steinhof patients:

  • Between 1940 and 1945 a so-called "children's ward" named Am Spiegelgrund existed on the Steinhof premises where approximately 800 sick or handicapped children and young people perished.
  • In the course of the so-called "Operation T4," more than 3,200 patients were deported from the clinic in 1940/41 and murdered in Hartheim Castle near Linz.
  • After the official halt to "Operation T4" in August 1941, "euthanasia" was continued within the clinic by means of deliberate malnutrition and systematic neglect. More than 3,500 patients fell victim to hunger and infection.

Remains of victims of the "Am Spiegelgrund" clinic were used in medical research until the 1980s. They were interred in an honorary grave at the Vienna Central Cemetery only in 2002. Additional Spiegelgrund preparations as well as remains of victims of the "decentralized euthanasia" at Steinhof were put to rest in May 2012."1.


A section of the exhibition is dedicated to the controversial psychiatrist Heinrich Gross "who had carried out medical killings and had later become a psychiatrist and court expert, has been unique in highlighting the way Austria has been dealing with the crimes of National Socialism.

In 1948, Gross was indicted by the People's Court of Vienna for his part in the killing of children at Spiegelgrund. He was sentenced to two years imprisonment at first instance; however, the verdict was revoked by the Supreme Court because of a formal defect and the trial eventually came to a standstill. Gross embarked on a second career, in which he benefited from his membership in the "Bund Sozialistischer Akademiker" (BSA, Association of Socialist Academics): he trained as a specialist in the Neurological Hospital at Rosenhügel (Vienna), then returned to Steinhof where he rose to the rank of Primarius (head physician).

He began with the medical examinations of the carefully preserved brains of Spiegelgrund victims already in 1953. For a period of 25 years he used this research as a basis for extensive publications in the field of neuropathology, partly collaborating with prominent colleagues. In 1968, Gross received his own Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Research into Malformations of the Nervous System, where he continued to systematically exploit the brain specimens that had been preserved from the Nazi period. Parts of the specimen collection were stored there until their interment in April 2002"2.

  • Photos by Luca Borghi ti.supmacinu|ihgrob.l#| (August 2016)
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License