Ottilien Babies

Starting from May 1946, the Jewish Hospital of St. Ottilien used its facilities as delivery station for pregnant Jewish mothers mostly from the DP camp Landsberg which was the largest among the Bavarian DP camps, but also from other camps of the American occupation zone. The delivery station in Landsberg was closed down in autumn of 1946 probably because of the transfer to St. Ottilien. The reason for this transfer was probably the fact that the fully equipped hospital in the monastery had less and less medical cases so that the delivery station provided a new task. The high number of births is part of the so-called „DP baby boom“ among Jewish survivors (starting from the second half of 1946, about 750 babies each month in the US DP camps according to Adina Grossmann, Jews, Germans and Allies, Princeton 2007, p. 188). Altogether 428 children (slightly more girls than boys) were born in the monastery compound from 1946 through to 1948 many of whom have now „Eresing“ or „St. Ottilien“ as birth place in their passport (in addition, 7 children are buried in the hospital cemetery which were probably not registered because they were already delivered as stillbirths). Several couples married in the DP camp. If you want a birth certificate or a marriage certificate of your parents, please address yourself to the local register office of Windach: kelly@vg-windach.de.
LIST alphabetical (according to UNRRA-lists from the International Tracking Service of Bad Arolsen)
LIST chronological (according to UNRRA-lists from the International Tracking Service of Bad Arolsen)

Birth rate 1946 (202 children)
April: 1
May: 10
June: 22
July: 16
August: 19
September: 23
October: 32
November: 40
December: 39

Birth rate 1947 (196 children)
January: 42
February: 37
March: 31
April: 23
May: 19
June: 11
July: 10
August: 3
September: 6
October: 5
November: 7
December: 3

Birth rate 1948 (20 children)
January: 7
February: 6
March: 5
April: 2

The data for the birth registration was always given by the Hospital administration to the local birth registry of Eresing. More precise information about the dwelling places of the parents starts only in August 1946. According to these incomplete indications, the mothers lived in the following places:
DP Camp Landsberg am Lech: 126 (a number of the mothers lived outside the camp)
DP Hospital St. Ottilien: 22
DP Camp Pocking (Waldstadt bzw. Schlupfing): 17
DP Camp Gabersee (Wasserburg am Inn): 16
DP Camp Freimann: 14
DP Camp Neu-Ulm: 14
DP Camp Eichstätt: 10
DP Camp Dornstadt (Ulm): 5
DP Camp Holzhausen (Buchloe): 5
DP Camp Ulm: 4
DP Camp Heidenheim: 4
DP Camp Freilassing: 3
DP Camp Feldafing: 3
DP Camp Frauenberg (Austria): 2
DP Camp Dieburg: 2
DP Camp Bad Reichenhall: 2
DP Camp Gauting: 2
DP Camp Eschwege (Frankfurt a.M.): 1
DP Camp Leipheim: 1
DP Camp Geretsried: 1
Greifenberg, Kibbuz Hanoar: 1
The other mothers lived in private places or their DP Camp is not clearly indicated. Nearly all the mothers came from within the American zone of occupied Germany.

Photographs from the Archives of St. Ottilien

Photographs from contemporary newspapers

The mothers of Dachau
When Dachau was liberated on April 29, 1945, the American troops found seven mothers with their children alive. Five of these mothers spent a rehabilitation time at the DP-Hospital St. Ottilien on June/July 1945.

Photographs of Arik Bahat (born on January 23, 1947) and his parents Michael Bahat (Bachmat) and Ester Bahat, nee Gamsa
Ester Bahat stayed in January 1947 in the Maternity Ward of St. Ottilien where she gave birth to her first born son Acharon (Arik) Bahat. Michael Bahat and his wife lived in Munich from 1947 to 1948 close to the headquarter of the Jewish Agency. They worked there as pioneers in the Nocham Zionist youth movement which founded Kibbuzim settlements in Israel. After the emigration to Israel in 1948, Michael Bahat became a renowned educator and a driving force of Jewish-Zionist education
© Text and images kindly provided by Arik Bahat, Hod Hasharon

Photographs of Miriam Fishman (born on February 16, 1947) and her parents Max Fishman (Fischman) and Sara Fischman, nee Baicher
© Provided kindly by Miriam Fishman, Tarrytown

Photographs of Chana Wolreich (born on March 26, 1947 in St. Ottilien)
Chana Wolreich was born on 26th March 1947 in the maternity ward of St. Ottilien. Her parents were concentration camp survivors. Her father Szyja had been liberated from Buchenwald and owed his survival to the fact that he was a musician and played music for the Nazis. Her mother Rosa was probably in Dachau. Her father had been married before, but his first wife Zwetla and two of his children (Joel aged 5 and Ruzie aged 2) perished in Treblinka. Only the eldest Abram (who in 1945 was 17) survived. He had been flown to the UK as one of 732 surviving children. After the war, Szyja and Rosa were taken to Landsberg Displaced Camp. This is where they met and then married on 10th June 1946. Rosa was a nurse and looked after Szyja. In March 1947, Chana was born at St. Ottilien hospital. Not much is known about their time in Landsberg. They stayed in Landsberg until the second half of 1949 when they emigrated to Israel and built a new life there. Abram had originally planned to join them but in 1949 he met his future wife and settled in the UK, later having his son and two grandchildren. In 1951, Chana’s new baby sister Leah was born. In 1963 at the age of 16, Chana visited her brother in London where she met her future husband Barrie, also 16, a Jewish boy from the East End of London. Chana returned to Israel to begin her army service. In August 1965 Chana and Barrie married in Israel and returned together to start life in London. They had two children and three grandchildren. Leah continues to live in Israel and has 3 children and 8 grandchildren.
© Images and text kindly provided by Lorraine Gerrard, England

Photographs of Shlomo Paster (born on April 17, 1947 in St. Ottilien) and his parents in Weilheim
© Provided kindly by Shlomo Paster, Israel

Photographs of Michaela Avnir, nee Steingarten, and her son David (born on June 12, 1947) in St. Ottilien
© Provided kindly by David Avnir, Jerusalem (see also the memories of his mother Michaela Avnir in „Documents, Memories and Films“)

Photographs of John Glass (born on March 24, 1948) and his parents Hirsch Glass and Ester Glass, nee Rosenzweig
© Provided kindly by John Glass, Melbourne

Ruth Machtinger returns to St. Ottilien in 1967
The article in the Ottilien magazine „Heidenkind 1 (1968), p. 17“ reports how Ruth Machtinger, an American student of medicine, visits St. Ottilien during a trip through Europe in Summer 1967. Ruth was born in St. Ottilien in July 22, 1946 and wanted to see this place which had often been described to her by her mother. Text: Article 1968