79 years ago today, on August 9, 1944, 14-year-old Ernst Lossa was murdered with a lethal injection in the Kaufbeuren sanatorium and nursing home.
Ernst’s parents were travelling merchants who travelled around in a covered wagon with their three children during the summer months. For Ernst, this time was a great adventure. However, the Nazis referred to the family, which belonged to the Yenish group, as “gypsies” and considered their way of life to be “antisocial”. From 1933 onwards, the welfare office placed the children in various homes. Ernst was homesick and was treated badly. When he began to steal trifles from other children, he was taken to the Kaufbeuren sanatorium and nursing home in April 1942, although he was perfectly healthy and had neither physical nor mental impairments.
He quickly noticed that something was wrong there: many sick people hardly got anything to eat and became weaker and weaker. Children who were still awake in the evening lay limp in their beds the next morning. A day later, they were dead. As a witness to the murder of the sick, he confided in individual adults and told them about his disturbing observations. Ernst knew that he was in danger and feared for his own life until the end.
Cover photo: This photo was attached to Ernst’s medical record. © Archive Bezirkskrankenhaus Kaufbeuren