20th Location: Simeonstraße 29

Hedwig Frieda Hempel

Hedwig Frieda Hempel was born 3rd May, 1916, the daughter of the merchant Fritz Hempell and his wife Frieda nee´. Because of false entry in her birth certificate her surname was Hempel. She was baptised a protestant and lived with her parents at Simeonstrasse 29 until she was nearly four years old. Hedwig Frieda Hempel born badly handicapped both physically and mentally. Because of  this she was admitted to Wittekindshof,  referred to, at that time, as ‘Idiot House’, on 28th January, 1919. She lived there for more than twenty two years. Her medical records stated that although being handicapped she was otherwise, always in good physical condition. She was described as being friendly, receptive and trusting , and it was repeated several times, that she was generally quiet and content. Her body weight was always normal, according to the medical records.

In November 1941, those persons in care at Wittekindshof were transferred to other Westfalian institutes, the directive made being political. As a resultt Hedwig Frieda Hempel was sent to the sanatorium in Guetersloh on 4th November,1941.It can be accepted that the transfer took place so that she could be killed as a person ‘unworthy of life’ in the euthanasia campaign. Officially the programm was brought to an end in August, 1941,  but it was carried on, in strict secrecy, until the end of the Nazi regime.20_Hedwig Frieda Hempel

In Guetersloh, Hedwig Frieda Hempel’s health deteriorated dramatically. In a short period of time her medical record showed a loss of weight and a considerable worsening of her general condition. On 21st March, 1942, the records show her as dying. She died on 25th March. Cause of death, according to the death certificate was ‘Marasmus by Idiocy’  (M: weakness).

In the cemetery book at Guetersloh sanatorium her grave is recorded as being Nr. 762. The grave can no longer be found.


Biography of Hedwig Frieda Hempel (according to the birth certificate, Hempel. Probably a false entry. Fathers name: Hempell.

  • Born 3rd May, 1915, in Minden.
  • Religion: Protestant
  • Address: Simeonstr.29
  • Parents: Businessman Fritz Hempell and Frieda nee´Marpe´, both registered at Koenigstr. 37 in  1941/1942.


Personal record:

  • 28.1.1919 Admitted to the ‘Idiot House’, Wittekindshof, diagnosis Lunacy.
  • Admission number 1944.
  • Diagnosis according to her medical record between admission  and 1932, (constantly re-occurring) born with mental deficiency, crippled hands and feet, cleft palate, inarticulate and totally helpless. Medal record findings between 1932 and 20.3.41 (constantly re-occurring): Physical condition good, in general , quiet, content, friendly, receptive and trusting but is in totally need of care.

Weight trend:

  • 1930-first registration – 42 Kg; 1934 – 49Kg
  • 1938 – 48,5Kg    1939 – 49,5Kg       20.3.1941 (last registration in Wittekindshof  – 47Kg
  • 4.11.1941 transferred to the Guetersloh sanatorium. Weight on 12.1.1942 (first entry) 39,5Kg
  • 17.1.1942 Notification from the Public Health Office, Wiedenbrueck citing the ‘Law for the Prevention of Hereditary Disease in Future Generations.’
  • Footnote: Release is out of  the question: capable of reproduction.
  • 14.3.1942 Entry in medical record:  massive weight loss, considerable worsening of the general condition.
  • 21.3.1942 Entry in medical record: Impression of approaching death. Looks dreadful.
  • 25.3.1942 Dead. Cause of death according to the doctor’s findings: Marasmus by Idiocy.
  • 26.3.1942 The father was informed together with the burial date. The father did not attend the burial. Buried in grave Nr.762 (can no longer be found).



Archives Landschaftsverband Wesxtf-Lippe, Bestand Klinik, Guetersloh, Best. 661

LWL-Klinik Guetersloh, Friedhofsbuch