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On the spot of the present Robert-Nussbaum-Haus the Minden Orphanage was situated before the Second World War. Willi Otte lived here until 1938.
He was born an illegitimate child on July 22nd, 1920, at Herford . His father was not able to pay the maintenance demanded from him.
Due to his mental handicap Willi Otte was accepted as a young man of eighteen years in the mental hospital Wittekindshof on July 27th, 1938. At that time his mother lived in Bethel Mental Hospital, Bielefeld. As a mentally handicapped person W. 0. was always under threat by the euthanasia policy of the Nazi regime which condemned any “life not worth living” to death. Against the resistance of the institution, W. 0. was transported to the mental hospital at Gutersloh on November 6th, 1941, and from there to the “hospital” at Dortmund-Aplerbeck on February 7th, 1942.
At this time the euthanasia actions had been stopped officially because of the powerful public protests and resistance; inofficially, however, they were continued up to the end of the Nazi regime. We have no precise figures of the victims of euthanasia, but it is virtually certain that at least 200,000 psychically or otherwise mentally handicapped or “socially unacceptable” persons were murdered in the course of euthanasia actions in “hospitals” or similar institutions.
On June 24th, 1943 Willi Otte was transported once more, this time to the “hospital” at Egelfing-Haar near Munich. These moves were frequently made to make it difficult for the victim’s relatives to find out about his or her whereabouts. In Egelfing-Haar, like in other similar institutions, a so-called “hunger house” existed where the victims were killed by planned and intentional lack of food. Here W. 0. died on February 25th, 1945.
During our examination of the records of the victims of euthanasia we found that Willi Ottes mother, Paula Gehlhaus, was admitted to the Bodelschwing Sanatorium in Bethel, Bielefeld, on the 7th July, 1934, the reason given being mental disease. From there she was sent to the, so called, Recovery Sanatorium in Gütersloh on the 21st November, 1941, her son was also there at that time. On the 9th June, 1942, she was moved again and it was to Warta in Poland.
During the German occupation Warta belonged the 3rd Reich’s district of Wartheland. The so called Recovery Sanatorium there, was in fact, one the Sanatoriums used for carrying out Euthanasie killings. That’s where Willi Otte’s mother was murdered on the 2nd February, 1945. There is a Stumbling Stone in front of the house at Bachstrasse 8, in Dankersen. in her memory.