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Netherlands: authorities investigate 1950s deaths at Catholic facilities

August 17, 2011

Authorities in the Netherlands are investigating the suspiciously high number of deaths in the early 1950s at two Catholic homes for the mentally handicapped in the southeastern town of Heel.

34 boys between the ages of 12 and 18 died at St. Joseph’s home for boys between 1952 and 1954, at a time when enrollment was 60. During the same time period, 40 girls--most of them under 12--died at St. Anna’s home for girls.

Members of the Deetman Commission, which is investigating clerical abuse in the Netherlands, discovered the high death rates as they conducted archival research.


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