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“Our true identity was to be destroyed.” The Children Consigned to Bad Sachsa after July 20, 1944

A German Resistance Memorial Center exhibition in conjunction with the Memorial Foundation for July 20, 1944, and the Town of Bad Sachsa

In late July and early August of 1944, the "National Socialist People's Welfare" children's home "Bremen" in Bad Sachsa was hurriedly evacuated on the instructions of the Reich Security Main Office in Berlin.

Four buildings separated by age and gender and one for babies and toddlers were prepared for up to two hundred children in total. Their fathers had been involved in the attempted coup of July 20, 1944, and were murdered after receiving death sentences issued by the "People's Court," or they had turned against the National Socialist dictatorship as members of the National Committee "Free Germany" in Soviet prisoner-of-war camps. In many cases, their mothers were being held in prisons or concentration camps, under the "Sippenhaft" policy of punishing family members.

The children were given new forenames and surnames. Siblings were often separated, and the use of real names was forbidden. There are many indications that at least the youngest children were to be put up for adoption, whereas the older ones-under their new names- most likely were to be sent to National Socialist boarding schools.

However, in late September of 1944, the National Socialist leadership changed tack. As some of the mothers were being released from prison, the Gestapo brought their children back to them from Bad Sachsa. They were no longer needed to place pressure on their fathers.

The children remained in Bad Sachsa were all to be taken to Buchenwald concentration camp at the beginning of April 1945, where a larger group of "Sippenhaft" prisoners was already being held. However, a severe air raid on Nordhausen destroyed the rail connections, preventing this move. The children returned to the home and spent the last days of the war in the basement of one of the buildings.

On April 12, 1945, American troops occupied Bad Sachsa. The new provisional mayor, Willi Müller, placed the remaining children under his personal protection. Many of them could not return to their mothers until the summer or fall of 1945.

The exhibition is on display in the special exhibition area on the first floor until January 10, 2018.

Opening hours

Mon-Wed, Fri 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thurs 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sat, Sun and public holidays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

We reserve the right to make changes. Information by telephone: +49 (0)30-26 99 50 00.