T4 - Memorial and Information Centre for the Victims of the Nazi Euthanasia Programme at Tiergarten Straße 4, Berlin, site where the programme was planned

T4 - Memorial and Information Centre for the Victims of the Nazi Euthanasia Programme at Tiergarten Straße 4, Berlin, site where the programme was planned

In memory of the victims of the medical killings and forced sterilisations during the National Socialist regime

– © Jan Frontzek
– © Jan Frontzek
– © Jan Frontzek
– © Jan Frontzek

In November 2011, the German Bundestag approved plans to establish a memorial site in Berlin for the victims of the Nazi euthanasia programme. The memorial and information centre was dedicated on 2 September 2014. The ceremony was attended by large number of the public and representatives of the victims, the federal and state governments, and other memorial sites.

A late remembrance

The public discourse about the Nazi euthanasia programme and remembrance of its victims gained momentum starting in the 1980s. Indeed, those who had been involved in the extermination programme were still being called before the German Bundestag in the 1960s as "experts" on the topic of euthanasia. The foundations behind the Topography of Terror and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe began working with the victims' families, concerned citizens and representatives of various institutions and authorities to push for a dignified memorial in Berlin.

Where the crime was planned

The memorial is north of the Berlin Philharmonie at Tiergartenstraße 4, where there once stood a villa of Hans Heinrich Liebermann - the nephew of the famous painter and taken from its Jewish owners. This villa served as "Central Office T4" from January 1940 to August 1941 and was where the mass killings and forced sterilisations were planned.

Thousands of victims

About 70,000 people were murdered in the six killing centres expressly built for this purpose. Protests from the churches and civil unrest led the Nazi regime to end the programme within the borders of Germany in 1941. But the same programme had also begun in the territories occupied since the start of the war in 1939 and continued unabated after 1941 through food deprivation and drug overdoses. Research to date indicates that there were more than 300,000 victims of the programme across Europe.

As blue as the sky

A bright blue and highly visible glass wall marks the memorial and information centre. It is an abstract, yet vivid way of showing visitors just how easily a group of fellow humans and even neighbours could be separated and isolated, just like those living a "life unworthy of life" were isolated and killed during the Nazi dictatorship. Architect Ursula Wilms has said that the blue glass wall symbolises the sky and stands for the victims of the extermination programme.

Multimedia and without barriers

Multimedia displays at the Tiergartenstraße site present representative biographies of those who were killed instead of receiving treatment and those who received forced sterilisations and victims of other related Nazi crimes. All of the information is written in easy-to-understand language and is also transcribed into Braille. The multimedia displays are programmed to be accessible. The memorial and information centre is also designed to be structurally accessible.

Other memorials

Memorials and exhibitions have already been set up in the Action T4 killing centres in Hadamar (Hesse), Brandenburg (Brandenburg), Bernburg (Saxony-Anhalt), Grafeneck (Baden-Württemberg), Pirna (Saxony) and Hartheim (Austria). The Deutsche Paritätische Wohlfahrtsverband operates an informative website at http://www.gedenkort-t4.eu/gegenwart

Infobox

Tiergartenstr. 4
10785 Berlin TIERGARTEN

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10785 Berlin
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