The history of the clinic on Holwede Street

From the Clinic for Socially Deprived to the Municipal Hospital of Braunschweig

The history of the clinic on Holwede Street

The inscription "Kinderheim", followed by the year and the municipal coat of arms are still visible on the old wall of the hospital in Holwedestraße. This house was built as a children's home and was inaugurated the following year.

The aged Brunswickers still remember a long, old building which stood along the Holwedestrasse. This former nursing home, where the history of the hospital started, was demolished 1959. A new building with operating rooms, function wards and administrative rooms was erected at the beginning of the1960s.

Misery, famine, exodus from rural areas at the end of the 18th century led to population growth in the cities and the growing number of the economically deprived citizens. Alms and voluntary contributions of the well-to-do citizens were no longer sufficient; A special poor tax was introduced and more cost-saving opportunities for poor care were discussed by the city administration: the poor should learn to provide themselves.

Since they not only needed food, but also accommodation, the request was made by the magistrate, led by Wilhelm Bode, to build a new house for the poor citizens, and children in particular: "Only through impact on the education and instruction of the children, who are often neglected by the family, can we combat the progressing poverty."

The unemployed, but also adults who were not fit for work, were estimated according to their ability and capacities to contribute to gardening and housework. Among the tasks, performed by the residents were spinning, sewing, field work and gardening, maintenance of urban paths, woodworking, washing and shoemaking. The clothing was hand-made and entirely provided by the nursing home.

It should be emphasized that the nursing home was not just a workplace: the healthy residents also took care of sick and elderly inhabitants; the women "maintened the orphan children" living in the house. The children also weekly received 18 hours of lessons, provided by the pastor Oberhey and two Armenian teachers, the Hustedt brothers: religion, singing, reading, writing, arithmetic, orthography and geography were on the timetable. This policy was successful: after leaving the nursing house the children could be employed as tradesmen and servants "to the greatest satisfaction of their patrons".

Originally planned for 80 children and as many adults as possible, the nursing home was no longer sufficient. Spatial problems and negative influences of the male inhabitants on children, questioned the educational success. Therefore, in 1842 an additional poor house was opened on the extended site (now Goslarsche Straße 93), which was used to accommodate the poverty-stricken, the old and sick. Even "the especially fragile and useless people" (according to the Braunschweig Magazin on June 22, 1844) were taken from the poor house and infirmary building on the Klinte and St. Leonhard, which had to be closed.

The history of the clinic on Holwede Street

Since 1859, instead of transferring the sick people to the "Herzogliche Armenkrankenhaus" at the Wendenstrasse, it was decided (for financial reasons) to provide the nursing care at the house. This again led to space problems. In 1878, a three-storey brick building was erected on the right side from the nursing home („the house for children and women“), which since 1880 was also used as a hospital.

In 1927 Robert Müller, who, as well as Dr. Benno von Holwede, joined the clinic as a physicianin 1895, retrospectively described the situation in this house: "The sick, the fragile, the mentally disturbed, the children, the aged, the workers – all of them living closely together. There was even a prayer room with an organ, which could only be played by men with particularly strong limbs. ... No trace of bathrooms. Furnace heating ... It is shuddering to think of the surgical procedures at the time of aseptic operating rooms. They were dared in a room that was both the doctor's chamber and the waiting room."

The physicians working in the clinic started creating conditions for an up-to-date hospital service under pretty unfavorable circumstances (the government's chief motto was frugality). At first the nurses of the Red Cross took over the nursing care. Electrical equipment and a telephone line were installed. The sick men, women and children were gradually separated from each other. Sanitary innovations such as hot water and water closet were introduced.

Benno von Holwedes was particularly interested in researching childhood diseases and combating child mortality. As early as in 1897, he reported at the Congress that the House had facilities for treatment of fifteen sick infants and small children.

The typhus epidemics in 1903 accelerated the process of transformation into the hospital, which was however hampered by spatial restrictions. In order to be able to treat 200 children with typhus, the new barracks had to be set up on the premises.

It was only in 1904 that the situation relaxed, when the children house was inaugurated with a total of 237 beds. Dr. Benno von Holwede in his opening speech said: "It has become a stately home - not just a house!"

The hospital could now be further expanded. The development process was however interrupted by two world wars, economic and political crises. In 1927, the hospital had an intake capacity for 304 patients and offered home for 450 foster children.

The positive economic development in the 1950s allowed a complete transformation of the building complex into the hospital.

Besides the children's clinic, the Elly-Heuss-Knapp-House, was built and launched in 1954. In 1956 the last children left the nursery, which had been opened in 1904. With the demolishing of the old nursing home in 1959, the chapter on the care of the poor was concluded in the history of the Holwedestraße hospital.

Today the hospital Holwedestraße has 326 beds and is part of the Municipal Clinic of Braunschweig („Städtische Klinikum Braunschweig gGmbH“). According to the two-site concept, two large medical centers are to be built in Cellerstrasse and Salzdahlumer Straße by 2023, which implies the end of the Hospital on the Holwedestraße.

From Beate Hornack

Statistics 2017
  • 21 departments
  • 1428 licensed beds
  • 460 advanced practice clinicians
  • 1094 medical staff
  • 60785 inpatient admissions
  • 170733 outpatient visits
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