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Heinrich Gross’ activities is that after the children had been murdered, parts of their bodies, particularly their brains were preserved.

07-02-2018

Heinrich Gross was born in Vienna on 14 November 1915. His parents, Karl and Petronella Gross, were in the wool and knitwear business. His father died before Heinrich was born and his mother placed him in a Catholic boarding school for his early education. He  graduated from a public high school in 1934 and received a medical degree in 1939 from the University of Vienna.

In 1932 Gross became a member of the Hitler Youth  and joined the Sturmabteilung  in 1934. He remained a member throughout the period 1934 to 1938 when these organizations were outlawed in Austria. After Germany annexed Austria in 1938, Gross joined the Nazi Party.

Euthanasia was commonly practiced long before the infamous Nazi concentration camps. The euthanasia program was introduced to the German people as an efficient manner to obtain a Master Race for the Nazi people and an economic relief to families. As Nazi popularity grew and the economy still struggling these options were widely accepted by the German people. Am Spiegelgrund was a youth care facility on the grounds of a mental institution. From the years of 1940 to 1945 it was used for mentally handicapped adults or children.   During their stay they suffered numerous forms of torture and up to 800 people were murdered there. Heinrich Gross  began in pavilion 15 in November 1940. A significant element of the controversy surrounding Gross’ activities is that after the children had been murdered, parts of their bodies, particularly their brains, were preserved and retained for future study for decades after the murders. By 1942 he had killed more children than any other doctor in the hospital.

The brains of those who died are still kept in preservation jars in the hospital’s basement. Dr Gross is believed to have continued experimenting on them until recently.

He was allowed to keep the body parts of many of the children in a private collection.

He became the leading psychiatrist and began studying the neurology of mentally handicapped children. With the passing of Aktion T4 under SS Obergruppenführer and Chief of the Chancellery of the Führer of the NSDAP. Philipp Bouhler  the killings increased and Dr. Gross began to harvest the brains of his victims for further study. In 1943 the doctor was called for military service returning pretty regularly for research until his capture in 1945.  After his crimes, Gross enjoyed a 50-year-long, high-profile career as a court-appointed expert in psychopathology.

In the same year of his overturned manslaughter case Dr. Heinrich Gross was allowed to resume his research at Rose Hill. In 1955, he completed his training as a specialist in nervous and mental diseases became the head prison doctor or physician in the former Hospital and nursing home Am Steinhof.  In 1957 he became the Chief court psychiatrist for men’s mental institutions. Here he worked with the justice system in insanity cases and was the main decision maker in all sterilization cases as well. He got promoted to the management of the “Ludwig Boltzmann Institute  for the study of the abnormalities of the nervous system” created specially for him in 1968. Dr. Gross worked as a reviewer and for years was considered the most busy court expert in Austria. In 1975 the Republic of Austria awarded him the medal für Wissenschaft und Kunst 1,  of which he was stripped in 2003. In 1975 it was realized that he had been involved in illegal killings during the Nazi occupation of Austria. Dr. Gross was stripped of many awards but continued serving as a court expert until he came under investigation in 1997 for 9 counts of murder.  The former patients of Heinrich Gross all remember one thing about the young Nazi doctor when he worked at Vienna’s notorious Spiegelgrund clinic for handicapped and delinquent children in the early 1940s.

It was only on 28 April 2002 that the preserved remains of these murdered children were finally buried. Gross has denied responsibility in the children’s deaths and claims not to remember anything about the period. The court psychiatrist said he is suffering from the early stages of dementia and does not have the mental “flexibility” to respond to prolonged questioning. Even so, after the hearing, Gross gave a TV interview  in which he answered detailed queries about his past, a metamorphosis that even Judge Seewald found “completely incomprehensible.” Seewald is now considering whether to order another medical exam, but a full-fledged trial still seems unlikely. “He lived a good life,” says Johann Gross. “He sleeps well at night.” Perhaps. But for the relatives of those who died, the nightmare continues. The former patients of Heinrich Gross all remember one thing about the young Nazi doctor when he worked at Vienna’s notorious Spiegelgrund clinic for handicapped and delinquent children in the early 1940s.  Whenever he entered a ward, it grew suddenly quiet. “It was like a cold wind coming,” recalls Johann Gross  (no relation), 69, a house painter who as a teenager spent three years in the clinic. Last week, the same chill descended on a waiting area outside a Vienna courtroom when Gross, now 84, arrived to face charges for complicity in the deaths of nine of 772 children allegedly killed at Spiegelgrund

In August 2005, Dr.Erwin Jekelius‘s  interrogation records emerged from the archives of the Russian military prosecutor’s office from 1945 to 1948, which heavily incriminated Gross, but the prosecutor’s office was no longer active. Gross died in the same year. Dr.Jekelius was the lover of Hitler’s sister Paula Hitler. Dr Heinrich Gross died unconcerned  in Vienna on 15-12-2005, old age 90.

 

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