Manfred Bernhardt, born 01.07.1929
Stahlwerkstr. 21, Do-Nord

Manfred Bernhard was born in Dortmund at the beginning of July 1929 as the second child of metalworker August Bernhardt and his wife Martha Magdalena, née Netlitz. They already had a daughter, born in 1923.

Already from an early age, Manfred began to show signs of a medical condition that was variously interpreted as the consequences of a birth trauma, a fall in infancy or an organic brain condition. He suffered constant fits, only learned to walk at the age of four, and his ability to talk remained underdeveloped. Manfred was classified as unfit to attend school and incapable of learning, and for the time being was kept at home. When Martha became unable to look after her son properly due to a nerve paralysis in her right leg, he was transferred in November 1942 to the specialist children’s department of Aplerbeck Provincial Hospital (Provinzialheilanstalt Aplerbeck).

In these so-called “specialist children’s departments”, a large number of mentally and physically disabled children fell victim to the euthanasia programme conducted under the Nazi regime. Manfred visited his family at Christmas and then at Easter 1943, before suddenly falling ill and dying in early June 1943. The causes of his death were stated as measles, epilepsy and meningitis, and although it is no longer possible to review this statement today, it appears probable from the circumstances of his death that Manfred Bernhardt was a victim of the euthanasia programme.

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