Tag: nazi psychiatry
Although I left Ueckermünde without the ability to speak, heavily traumatized and barely able to move, I managed to reclaim life after more than a decade. Today I am one of the few witnesses who survived the Hell of Ueckermünde, who can tell the story of my companions and raise awareness of the injustice committed against us as well as demand answers.
The Nazis either killed or sterilized almost all the schizophrenics in Germany, yet this was followed by a doubling of the population of schizophrenics in Germany. If it were really an inherited disease, how was this possible? My own explanation for the appearance of these high incidence rates were the conditions of the time.
In any society that prioritizes economic efficiency, productivity and order above life and all of life’s varieties, people experiencing altered and extreme emotional states will be seen as defective and as burdens—monkey wrenches that disturb the societal assembly line.
In a 2013 edition of the Journal of the History of Biology, Norbert Wetzel and I published an article on the Swiss-German psychiatric geneticist Ernst Rüdin (1874-1952) and his close colleagues, and how their work and crimes in the Nazi era have been discussed or ignored by contemporary psychiatric genetic writers and researchers. Here I would like to summarize the main points we raised in that article, and to make several additional observations. Whether Rüdin reluctantly aided and helped implement the “euthanasia” killing program in support of the war effort, or more likely, that he saw it as the crowning achievement of his decades of psychiatric genetic research based on racial hygienic (eugenic) principles, is an issue that may be decided in the future.