The history of the clinic on Salzdahlumer Street
The history of the clinic in Salzdahlumer Street – the Former Military Hospital
The clinical unit in Salzdahlumer Street was erected by the National Socialists as an air force lazarette. The construction works started 1836 and the clinic was opened 1940.
Since 1936 the Nazi government stepped up to the future war. German „Wehrmacht“ (Armed Forces), economy and society should have had to be fully prepared for the war by the year 1940 at the latest. The planning of the military hospital in Braunschweig, as well as the establishment of further military facilities and the expansion of armor-relevant enterprises stood on the agenda. Since the mid-1930s Braunschweig was developed into the armaments center of Germany.
The Air Force ministry commissioned the architect Hermann Distel to plan special „air force hospital“ in Braunschweig. Since the ministry was fascinated with the new flight technology, the main building complex of the hospital should look like a kind of aircraft. As an inspiration served the newly developed airplane „Ju 90“, the Junker, a 40-seat, four-engine airliner developed for and used by Deutsche Luft Hansa shortly before World War II. It was supposed to be a „four-engine plane“, which has set up various world records. In the "corpus of the aircraft" functional rooms such as the pharmacy, laboratory and radiography as well as the eye department should be established, in the "tail part" – the operating rooms. There were also residential facilities for the staff on the premises provided.
Being a military institution, the Clinic focused primarily on the treatment of the wounded.
Construction phase 1937-1940
The construction activity began on 1 July 1937 at the specially allocated construction site. Many small businesses in Braunschweig received orders from the Air Force Building Authority. Approx. 300 construction workers were involved into the building process.
The building was constructed with such materials as iron concrete, elm limestone and red clinker stones as well as the unique in quality Carrara-Mamor from Italy. The equipment of the hospital was paid great attention to. The independent energy and water supply were arranged for the purposes of the air force hospital. The construction works were launched in March 1938 and were completed in 2 years.
Inauguration and opening 1940/41
On 21 October 1940, the air force hospital was opened and at the same time the military ensign was hoisted on the ridge. The representative of the construction management thanked to all those who have contributed to the construction of the "impressive building" and handed over the key to the first Head of the hospital. Numerous honorable guests formulated words of greeting and wishes.
On the openning day 350 beds of the planned 400 were available. The bed number has grown up to 500 by the year 1944. At the end of the war, there were so many patients that the wounded had to be placed partly in the hallways.
It was only in July 1941 that the official inauguration of the hospital held by Joseph Goebbels, a propaganda ambassador in Germany, took place. This event was not mentioned in the newspapers in order not to inform the allied rivals of the location of the hospital.
Medical facilities at the military hospital:
- Fully equipped operating area
- X-ray department
- Treatment rooms and laboratories for:
- internal diseases
- Skin-and venereal diseases
- Eye diseases
- Neck-nose-ear diseases
- Nervous and mental disorders
- Tooth, mouth and jaw diseases
- Eye department for flying personnel
- Gynecology Department
- Segregation area for patients with contagious diseases
- Healing baths with hydro, steam and electrical applications
War prisoners and forced laborers
In 1939 the Polish prisoners of war were briefly housed in the barrack camp. On August 1, 1943, this barrack was occupied by a working command of Russian soldiers who were captured by the war. These were employed as installers in the house, supervised with soldiers of the local guard battalion. In 1943 about 20-25 forced laborers from Ukraine were accommodated in one of the barracks. They were supervised by the DRK's sisterhood and worked in various areas, including the kitchen aid.
One of the women, named Mironenko, gave birth to her daughter Ludmilla in June 1943 in the notorious home for "Eastern Workers" in Broitzemer Street. In January 1945, Ludmilla was taken back to Broitzemer Street from the camp in theair force-lazarette, where she, like other toddlers, died under dubious circumstances.
During the war, the destructive force of air raids became more and more evident. In order to meet the protection requirements, cellar rooms were specially isolated in the construction phase. In 1942/1943 additional measures for air protection were implemented. The entire building stock as well as the roofs were painted with camouflage color. In the early hours of the night of September 17, 1944, an English bomber flew over the hospital. The western part of the building was destroyed. 34 people died and 76 persons were injured. Miraculously, 34 schoolchildren survived because they had to wait for the key in front of the locked air-screening door. Meanwhile, the air-raid shelter was demolished. During the massiv attack on the 14th of October 1944 the old Brunswick was largely destroyed, but the military hopital was fortunately spared.
End of the war and new beginning. The after-war period 1945-1960
At the end of the war, the military hospital was taken over by the US armed forces and surrendered to the Allies after the 14 April 1945. Until May 6, 1948, it served as a military hospital for the Americans and later on for the British soldiers. After 1948, the city of Braunschweig took control over the “Luftwaffelazarett“ as well as the State hospital. In 1963, the hospital was finally handed over as the city property under the name Medical Clinic II of the City of Braunschweig.