Hans Heinze

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Hans Heinze, sometimes referred to as Euthanasie-Heinze ("Euthanasia Heinze"; 18 October 1895 – 4 February 1983) was a Nazi German psychiatrist and eugenicist.


After service as a medical orderly during World War I Heinze trained as a psychiatrist at Leipzig, where he worked from 1924 in child psychiatry. He was later appointed director of the child psychiatry department of the University Clinic in Berlin, and also, in 1934, director of the Landesheilanstalt in Potsdam, holding the two posts simultaneously. On 2 October 1939 he was appointed Dozent for neurology and psychiatry in the medical faculty of Berlin University, where on 6 April 1943 he became a professor.

In November 1938 Heinze took over the direction of the Landes-Pflegeanstalt Brandenburg an der Havel mental institution, commonly now referred to as the Brandenburg Euthanasia Centre,[1] with about 2,500 patients, 1,000 of them children. Here he supervised the murder by injection, starvation and poisoning of thousands of children whose brains he then supplied to Nazi researchers.[2] He also trained physicians for the T4 Euthanasia Programme.

After the war Heinze remained in post at Brandenburg-Görden. The Russians were interested in some of his work and offered him the direction of an institution in the Crimea, but when he turned this down, tried him for war crimes, convicting him on 14 March 1946. He was imprisoned for seven years, mostly in the Soviet Special Camp No. 7 at Sachsenhausen, where he worked as the camp doctor.[3][4]

He was released on 14 March 1952 and declined offers of senior medical posts in the Volkspolizei and at the University of Jena in order to return to his family in West Germany. He took up the directorship of the department of child and adolescent psychiatry in the hospital of Wunstorf in Lower Saxony, where he remained until his retirement, and where he died in 1983.[5]

German judicial investigation[edit]

In 1962 the legal authorities of Lower Saxony opened a preliminary investigation into Heinze, but the proceedings were halted after Heinze, represented by the lawyer Kurt Giese (formerly a senior lawyer in the Private Chancellery of the Führer) was declared psychologically unfit for the process.[5]


In 1997 Dr Klaus-Dieter Müller, a German historian seeking research material, approached the Russian military authorities for their files on Heinze, which he was only able to obtain by entering a request for Heinze's rehabilitation (a recognition by the Russian authorities of Heinze's innocence of the crimes for which he had been imprisoned). As a result of Müller's request the Russian military legal service reviewed Heinze's case and in 1998 declared him rehabilitated. This caused considerable discussion in Germany of the extent to which historians should take responsibility for the consequences of their researches.[6][7]


  • Veränderungen des Liquor cerebrospinalis und ihre Bedeutung für die Auffassung vom Wesen des Ischias, Leipzig 1923
  • Kindliche Charaktere und ihre Abartigkeiten, Paul Schröder with explanatory case studies by Hans Heinze, Breslau 1931
  • Zur Phänomenologie des Gemüts, Berlin 1932
  • Die Entstehung und Funktion des intervillösen Raumes, Halle 1933
  • Rasse und Erbe: Ein Wegweiser auf dem Gebiet der Rassenkunde, Vererbungslehre und Erbgesundheitspflege für den Gebrauch an Volks- und Mittelschulen, Halle 1934
  • "Zirkuläres Irresein (manisch-depressives): Psychopathologische Persönlichkeiten", Handbuch der Erbkrankheiten ("Handbook of Hereditary Illnesses"), ed. Arthur Julius Gütt,Vol. 4, revised by Hans Heinze et al., Thieme, Leipzig 1942[8]
  • Ein Geschwisterpaar mit Myoklonusepilepsie, Bonn 1955

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ not the same buildings that are now Brandenburg-Görden Prison
  2. ^ "The Rise of hatred & violence in Germany - Freedom Magazine". Freedom Magazine. 1995. p. 58. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ p. 17, Ernst Klee: „Was sie taten – Was sie wurden“, p. 136
  5. ^ a b Ernst Klee: „Was sie taten – Was sie wurden“, pp. 137/138
  6. ^ „Verfolgung unterm Sowjetstern in der SBZ/DDRF“, XV. Bautzen-Forum der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Büro Leipzig, 13 and 14 May 2004, ISBN 3-89892-296-0 (PDF; 695 kB)
  7. ^ Warum ein Nazi-Massenmörder rehabilitiert wurde. Spiegel Online, 24 August 2004]
  8. ^ The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this 6-volume handbook of Nazi euthanasia medicine only at Leipzig, in the former DDR. In the former BRD the copies at Frankfurt/Main were apparently disposed of; in any event they are not now to be found in the OPAC.


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