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Why January 12/13?

January 12/13 marked the darkest day in the history of the Rummelsburg workhouse.

On January 13, 1941 all 30 Jewish inmates were relocated to a hospital on the outskirts of Berlin as part of what the Nazis euphemistically called a ”euthanasia” program, later abbreviated to ”T4”. Four days later they were transported by bus to the Bernburg psychiatric clinic (in what is now Saxony-Anhalt), where they were gassed. Bernburg had by this point become a killing centre serving the T4 program, which was otherwise aimed at the sick and disabled and saw the murder of around 70,000 people across Germany and Austria through 1941.

On January 12, 1942, i.e. one year later, Rummelsburg was again the focus of a T4 operation. This time a high-ranking commission arrived to conduct a ”survey” of almost all the prison’s 1,500 male and female inmates. This was the first time all ”anti-social” individuals from a correctional facility were recorded for the Nazis’ T4 program.

In 314 cases the examiners decided to have the inmates killed. Unlike a year previously with the Jewish inmates, however, the orders were not carried out. This was because T4 personnel were now given the priority task of exterminating the Jews in Europe.

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