Since 2018, Hadamar Memorial Museum has been home to the estate of journalist and historian Ernst Klee (1942–2013). He was one of the most distinguished researchers and publicists in the context of investigating the Nazi “euthanasia” crimes and pursuing the careers of the perpetrators before and after 1945.
The estate consists of roughly nine meters of archival shelf space containing folders and binders with numerous notes and records pertaining to the doctors’ trials or research reports, as well as documents relating to the period when Klee was involved in the disability rights movement as a social worker. At the heart of the literary estate is a drawer cabinet with travel reports, broadcast reports as well as radio and television broadcasts, letters to the editor, drawings, tourist visas (e.g. Afghanistan in 1975) as well as photo material of medical experiments and recordings from various concentration camps. In addition to this, there is also Klee’s private library with its 1,454 volumes, a collection of historical books and magazines from before 1945 and 50 video cassettes, mainly with records of Klees own productions.
Before his death in 2013, Ernst Klee and his wife decided together that Klee’s personal estate should be made available to Hadamar Memorial Museum. The estate is currently being made accessible for research. Klee’s work was not limited to the Nazi “euthanasia” crimes. The continuities regarding staffing and subject matter after 1945 remain a research desideratum. Klee performed pioneering work here and is thus associated not least with the difficulties of embedding the murder of the ill (Krankenmorde) by the Nazis in the German culture of remembrance. Acquiring Klee’s estate brings with it the challenge of also devoting attention to the other focus areas of his work. For example, Klee dedicated himself to highlighting the situation of other groups which were being pushed to the margins of society even after 1945. This aspect will not be overlooked as we create a new concept for the Memorial Museum, the process of which we are just beginning.