[Gottfried Ewald and the "operation t4" in Göttingen]

Nervenarzt. 2013 Sep;84(9):1049-50, 1052-5. doi: 10.1007/s00115-012-3652-0.
[Article in German]


Gottfried Ewald (1888-1963) had been director of the State Hospital and Nursing Home and the University Clinic for Psychiatry from 1934. In August 1940, he refused his cooperation as a medical expert in the National Socialist's "euthanasia" operation during a discussion of the "Reich Cooperative for State Hospitals and Nursing Homes" (Reichsarbeitsgemeinschaft Heil- und Pflegeanstalten) in Berlin. Shortly afterwards Ewald wrote a comprehensive position paper against the operation which was sent to Werner Heyde, head of the "T4" medical office, and Leonardo Conti, "Reich physician leader" (Reichsärzteführer), among others.While Ewald's protest remained unsuccessful, it did neither result in any disciplinary consequences. By his own account, he decided to remain in his position on order to be able to rescue at least some of the patients of the State Hospital and Nursing Home destined for transport to the "T4" killing centres. In cooperation with colleagues at the hospital and the Provincial Association in Hanover, he partly succeeded to meet this aim through deferrals, leaves of absence, re-assessments and releases. These strategies were, however, not used to prevent the deportation of Jewish and compulsory detention patients. Thus, Ewald's protest was a partial, pragmatic circumvention of the National Socialist's "euthanasia" operation.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Civil Disorders / history*
  • Eugenics / history*
  • Euthanasia / history*
  • Germany
  • History, 20th Century
  • Hospitals, Psychiatric / history*
  • National Socialism / history*
  • Psychiatry / history*

Personal name as subject

  • Gottfried Ewald