Dr Gerhard Kujath conducting experiments on 4 year old Valentina Zacchini, 1936

oil on canvas, found room
Waldschänke Stahnsdorf 2020

 

Valentina Zacchini, who was blind, was born in England in 1932. Left with a relative in Berlin while her parents travelled to Chicago for work, she was admitted to the Charité hospital Berlin in 1936 because she had an abnormally small head. Subject to barbaric medical experiments by Dr Gerhard Kujath, she was finally murdered by medical staff at Wittneau Heilstättin (Asylum) under direction of Dr Ernst Hefter in October 1941.

Her torture is documented in a medical film created at the time and used for educational purposes in the archives of the IWF (Institute for Scientific Film)  until 1988 when it was decided that the film was not scientific enough to be of any further use. Valentinas brain is illustrated in a standard medical textbook used by scholars to this day. Her torturers were never brought to trial, continued to work and teach in hospitals and Universities, their crimes apparently unnoticed, most went on to receive National awards of Honour. (Ernst Klee 2001)