The Fools Tower was Vienna's first mental institution. The building was erected during the reign of Emperor Joseph II. Here the fools were shackled and chained and ruled over by men with bullwhips. The screams could be heard far away. At night the sound was said to terrifying.
Today I went to Am Steinhof.
It was from there, as part of the Nazi Euthenasia Programme known as Aktion T4, that 3,200 patients, considered to be a burden on the Reich, were taken away to be murdered. In addition, some 800 sick or handicapped children were murdered on the spot and 3,500 other so-called patients were systematically starved to death or left to die from infections.
Slave labour from Russia and other Eastern states was an important, if not a vital tool, of the Nazi Empire. It was at Am Steinhof that many of these imported workers were forcibly sterlized. Under the Nazi Racial Laws these people were considered unfit to breed.
One of the first exhibits to catch the eye on entering the permanent exhibition on the ground floor of Building V (Social Medicine Centre) at the Otto Wagner Hospital, Baumgartner Höhe, Vienna, is a glass case containing books, and one of them bearing a photograph of the author is more prominent than the rest.
The Exhibition is titled: Der Krieg Gegen Die Minderwertigen (The War Against People of Less Worth).
(to be continued...)