Historical site  

Post-event history


By the 28th of March, the Gestapo had already begun dismantling the work education camp. At that time, there were still 716 prisoners in protective custody (Schutzhaftgefangene) in the camp, 176 of which were women. In the process of vacating the camp, some of the male prisoners were taken from Guxhagen to Buchenwald Concentration Camp by train. On the 30th of March, 157 former prisoners of Breitenau were registered at Buchenwald. Other prisoners in protective custody were ordered to march north-east and then liberated by American soldiers only a few days later after the guards had stepped down. Almost concurrently, the Gestapo shot 28 of the remaining prisoners of the work education camp in the early morning of 30 March 1945 at the Fuldaberg. When American soldiers arrived the next day, they release the few remaining prisoners still in protective custody as well as almost 80 inmates of the Breitenau state workhouse and state welfare home (Landesarbeitsanstalt und das Landesfürsorgeheim Breitenau). Following a lead from a formerly captive Polish forced worker, the Americans discovered the mass grave at the Fuldaberg three weeks later. Survivors and eyewitnesses were questioned, the course of events leading to the crime was reconstructed and an investigative report was prepared. Upon order of the American military government, a solemn funeral took place at the facility's cemetery on 25 April 1945. 


National Socialists would be interned in the facility until late 1945 and early 1946. After November 1945, a department of the local city hospital, Stadtkrankenhaus Kassel, was based in the former women's house where women were treated for sexually transmitted diseases. The district association (Bezirksverband) then initiated the reopening of the Breitenau state workhouse and state welfare home in 1946. Both men and women that were subject to correctional measures (Korrigenden and Korrigendinnen) continued to be committed into the facility on the basis of the "act against dangerous habitual criminals and regarding measures of reform and prevention" (Gesetz gegen gefährliche Gewohnheitsverbrecher und über Maßregeln der Sicherung und Besserung) of 1934. The correctional facility would not be closed until it was ordered by the American military government in 1949. Following this, the district association maintained a welfare home in the former workhouse, which has been under the auspices of the state welfare association Landeswohlfahrtsverband Hessen (LWV) since 1953. This home, which housed female adolescents who were regarded as having behavioural issues and young women from mostly disadvantaged backgrounds, increasingly came into public scrutiny in the late 1960s due to the corrective measures practised there. What triggered the criticism was a study examining the reading and writing abilities of adolescents who were living in such homes. Residents and teachers of the youth home Landesjugendheim Fuldatal were also interviewed in this context. The study revealed that youth education was hardly being promoted in the Fuldatal welfare home. After the report was published, journalist Ulrike Meinhof, who later became a founding member of the Red Army Faction, visited the girls' home in Guxhagen, interviewed the young women residents and subsequently created a radio feature. The feature was broadcast on Hessischer Rundfunk in November 1969. As a result, criticism of the "girls' home" began growing in the region. Students of the Geschwister-Scholl-Schule in Melsungen even rallied together to protest in front of the girls' home. Due to both the protests and budget shortages, the girls' home was closed in December 1973. Since 1974, a residential home has been located on the site for people with chronic mental illness. The LVW conducted an extensive study on the education and reform practices that took place between 1953 and 1973 in LVW homes. In addition, LWV Hessen published a brochure on the girls' home in Fuldatal entitled Mädchenheim Fuldatal in 2012.