St. Ottilien

The St. Ottilien Benedictine monastery was founded in 1884. Following the closure of the monastery in 1941 by the Gestapo, many of the monks were conscripted into war service or forced labour. From then on, the archabbey was used as a Wehrmacht military hospital.

From April 1945 until November 1948 the Roman Catholic Abbey of St. Ottilien became a Jewish hospital and displaced persons camp. Source: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Robert W. Hofmekler

The first concentration camp prisoners arrived at the catholic monastery at the end of April 1945. They were the survivors of an Allied low-level air attack on a train that was to have evacuated them to the Dachau concentration camp. Because of the good medical equipment in the monastery, it became a refuge and hospital for thousands of Jewish displaced persons (DP). The monastery was augmented by a camp, a maternity unit, a dormitory, a kindergarten, a Talmud school, a kosher kitchen and by additional sports and education facilities.

The DP camps quickly became a permanent home for many people. In a neonatal care unit nurses care for the newly born babies. Source: Archive family Posset
Today the graves of 73 former concentration camp prisoners are located in the concentration camp cemetery. Source: Stiftung Bayerische Gedenkstätten

A orchestra of former concentration camp prisoners grew up here and in several DP camps in the American occupation zone over a long period. Dr. Zalman Grinberg, the first medical director of the hospital, became a central figure in Jewish self-government in Bavaria.

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