History of Kent School - part 2

Provincial Owners

The Rhine province, today the Rhine Federation Republic, were owners of the institute from 1937 to 1952, and led it as branch of the Provincial welfare and institute for care Suechteln Johannistal [help?].


In 1937 the Rhine province acquired Waldniel Hostert for 600,000 Reichmarks from the bankrupt Franciscan estate. According to the original sales contract the fire insurance sum amounted to 1.75 million Reichmarks. The new owner built a house in Eschenrath for the commercial manager and nine single family homes at the Waldnieler heath for the maintenance personnel, who had to work on the estate.

1940s postcard
Postcard circa 1940

Transfer and massacre

The National Socialists set about their New Order which questioned certain groups of people's right to life. First "only" the mentally handicapped were sterilised, then by the outbreak of the war Berlin brought their "euthanasia program" into effect, which resulted in the death of over 200,000 people.

In order to hide any trace of this process, people selected by the medical profession were shifted first to distant institutes, where they were then murdered (e.g. in Hadamar, Limburg or in occupied Poland and Chechnya).

For the Institute, now renamed the "Waldniel Institution", at least 30 children were murdered through the National Socialist euthanasia programme. In total, more than 500 "patients" died. Another 1,044 people were transported to other institutions where many of them died. These were the site's darkest days.

Pupil cartoon "Nebenan - another world", 1988

Child specialist division

By 1939 the Nazis imposed an obligation on authorities to register all handicapped newborn children, which were then subsequently siezed. From 1940 these newborn babies, along with older handicapped children, were moved into newly formed "child specialist divisions".

In Waldniel Hostert a "protection house" was setup for this purpose using one of the former Franciscan buildings, converted by the 1 October 1942. Doctor Wesse was employed as the leading doctor for these children. At least thirty handicapped children were subsequently killed by two nurses under Dr Wesse's charge. In July 1943 the "child specialist division" in Waldniel Hostert was dissolved and the remaining 183 children were moved to other specialist divisions.

Bronze plate
Bronze plate at the right gate column, 1988

Part 1   PART 1 - The start of the story

Part 3   PART 3 - The church building

Part 4   PART 4 - The British arrive

Part 5   PART 5 - Final notes

Page last updated on: Thu, 13 Jun 2013 11:30