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Wooden office desk painted white and used at the Schwerin mental hospital during its operation as a Nazi-era euthanasia killing ward

Object | Accession Number: 1999.280.1

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    Brief Narrative
    Large writing desk used in the euthanasia center at the Schwerin mental hospital in Sachsenberg, Germany, by doctors and Nazi personnel between September 1941 and 1945. The desk and other furniture at the clinic were painted white to create the atmosphere of a normal hospital and not of a nursing home for incurables. The Schwerin Psychiatric hospital, which merged with the Lewenberg Children’s hospital, participated in a secret euthanasia operation organized by the Nazi government targeting children and the mentally and physically disabled. Between 1941 and 1945, approximately 300 children in residence in the Sachsenberg killing ward were murdered by starvation or lethal injection. The methods and implementation of the child-killing policy were left to each hospital; the children's ward at Schwerin was directed by Dr. Alfred Leu. The policy was issued by the Office of the Fuhrer as part of the plan to create a master race and to cleanse the German population of genetically diseased persons. The euthanasia program continued until the end of the war; it is estimated that 200,000 people were killed.
    creation:  1935
    use:  1941-1945
    use: Nervenklinik Schwerin; Schwerin (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Nervenklinik Schwerin
    Original owner: Nervenklinik Schwerin

    Physical Details

    Furnishings and Furniture
    Object Type
    Pedestal desks (aat)
    Physical Description
    White painted wooden, probably oak, office desk with a flat rectangular work surface set on 2 rectangular cabinets on decorative beveled plinths with 4 scrolled, wooden feet. The center pull out drawer has a keyhole plate above a circular, brown painted metal replacement knob. The frame and panel cabinet doors open outward on brass colored piano hinges, with a hole for a missing doorknob above a keyhole plate. On the right side of the scratch covered left cabinet exterior is a triangular 3 holed marking where something was attached. The left door interior has 4 holes where the lock mechanism had been attached. Four wooden, scoop drawers slide out on side rails; the unfinished drawer bottoms slide into horizontal side grooves. The 2nd drawer from the top is separated into 3 compartments. Text and numbers are inscribed on 2 of the partitions.
    overall: Height: 32.250 inches (81.915 cm) | Width: 59.000 inches (149.86 cm) | Depth: 30.500 inches (77.47 cm)
    overall : wood, paint, metal, adhesive, graphite
    interior, partition, front, pencil : 70.314 [underlined, line across 7) / 210 (2nd 1 stylized) / 70 / 250
    interior, partition, front, pencil : illegible text, illegible number / 2. (illegible text) / Pok / A. (illegible text) 160 (first 1 stylized)
    partition, front, pencil : 5 / 40 c(?)

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The desk was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1999 by the Nervenklinik Schwerin.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-09-21 12:03:12
    This page:

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