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May 1943 – May 1945, 9 Krankenhausstraße

During this period at least 972 compulsory abortions are carried out in either the Linz General Hospital or the Regional Women’s Clinic. The victims are mainly “workers from the East”.

As far as the Nazis were concerned one unwanted aspect of their forced labour policies was sexual contact between “foreigners” and those of “German blood”. In the first place pregnancy limited the ability of the affected women to work. Secondly, progeny of “workers from the East” were regarded as fundamentally “racially inferior”.

Because of this a discussion began in 1942 as to whether the prohibition on abortion ought not to be modified – abortion should now be used as a racist coercive measure. A number of leading Nazis were against relaxing the prohibition on abortion since abortion for German women would have to continue to be severely punished (professional abortion was punished by death), and it was thought that it would undermine morality. However, the defeat at Stalingrad and the increasing shortfall in the labour force provided the impetus to modify the abortion laws to take account of a “more rational” deployment of female forced labourers and to allow abortions for workers from the East and Poles. First of all an expert opinion from a doctor was required and the operation was then performed in the “infirmary barracks” for workers from the East.

From 1942 onwards there was an “Eastern Workers’ Department” in the General Hospital and a separate “Eastern Workers’ Barracks” in the Regional Women’s Clinic. It is documented that between the 20th of May 1943 and the 23rd of February 1945 972 compulsory abortions were carried out in these two institutions.