A tribute to Nazi ideology?

“This day merely marks the beginning of a more intensive preoccupation with one of our city’s great men, a prominent psychiatrist, and therefore aims to make his life and work accessible to the public.” Quote by Mayor Andreas Grund taken from the online portal Neustrelitz Leben in 2006.
Neustrelitz went to great lengths to arrange for Dr. Rainer Gold, at the time head physician at Neubrandenburg Psychiatric Hospital, to deliver the laudatory speech at the anniversary celebration.
On this day, when he spoke in commemoration of the psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin, Gold had only words of praise to say about Kraepelin’s research achievements. Gold referred to Kraepelin’s classification of mental disorders and disease systemology as examples of his important contributions to the psychiatric field. In addition, Gold stressed Kraepelin was one of the most avid supporters for a scientific exploration of alcoholism.
How is it possible that a commemorative plaque has been dedicated to the psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin, a man who wrote defamatory statements about Jews, who came up with dubious conclusions about homosexuals and people he deemed “different,” who discussed and considered eliminating nonconformist, “maladjusted” people, a man whose writings inspired, among others, his assistant medical director Rüdin to co-found the German Society for Racial Hygiene, therefore paving the way for the Nazi’s extermination campaigns?
Although this commemorative plaque is still mounted at Glambeckerstraße 14 in Neustrelitz, Dr. Peter Lehmann, recipient of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, urges the long overdue public condemnation of Kraepelin as one of the ideological forerunners of psychiatric mass murder during Hitler’s dictatorship. (Lehmann; 19922010, pp. 25-372017).
Mayor Andreas Grund did not react when asked whether the commemorative plaque could be removed. When questioned to what extent, if any, the onsite psychiatrists have critically examined Kraepelin’s work, the Neubrandenburg clinic also chose to remain silent. However, it is hardly surprising that Gold, who gave the laudatory speech, has not developed a more nuanced opinion of the historically controversial figure Kraepelin.
In 1991, Gold, who worked as a pharmacist and chief physician in Berlin during the GDR era, openly admitted in an interview with the German news magazine Der Spiegel that at the time he had tested medication on alcoholics, a questionable medical practice even then, and which is now against the law.
By honoring Kraepelin and selecting Gold at a laudatory speaker, Mayor Grund as well as the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania not only demonstrated a lack of sensitivity, they also sent a disastrous political signal. Such denial of historical human rights violations unfortunately still prevails, as political leaders continue to remain silent in the face of all public efforts to draw attention to the current human rights violations taking place in German psychiatric institutions.

Dr. Christian Discher (2017)

From 1993 to 2010, Dr. Rainer Gold was head physician at the Neubrandenburg psychiatric hospital in Wilhelm-Külz-Straße. Following his retirement, he reportedly continued to work as a psychiatrist until 2014. 

Bibliography

Kraepelin, Emil 1918: “Geschlechtliche Verwirrungen und Volksvermehrung”: Münchener Medizinische Wochenschrift: Organ für Amtliche und praktische Ärzte. 65. Jahrgang.117-120.

Lehmann, Peter 2017: »Sterben unter psychiatrischer Behandlung – Gedanken zur »Euthanasie« über den gestrigen Tag hinaus«, in: Irrturm (Bremen): »Euthanasie-Verbrechen«.

Lehmann, Peter 2010: »Der chemische Knebel – Warum Psychiater Neuroleptika verabreichen, 6. Auflage, Berlin / Eugene / Shrewsbury.

The paper “Fortgeschrittene Psychiatrie: Der J.F. Lehmanns Verlag als Wegbereiter der Sozialpsychiatrie im Faschismus” was translated into English and published with the title:
“‘Progressive’ psychiatry: Publisher J. F. Lehmann as promoter of social psychiatry under fascism”, in: Changes – An International Journal of Psychology and Psychotherapy (London), Vol. 12 (1994), No. 1, pp. 37-49. You can download it from: http://www.peter-lehmann-publishing.com/articles/lehmann/j-f-lehmann.htm

Lehmann, Peter 1992: »Fortgeschrittene Psychiatrie: Der J.F. Lehmanns Verlag als Wegbereiter der Sozialpsychiatrie im Faschismus«, in: Psychologie und Gesellschaftskritik, 18. Jg., Nr. 62, Heft 2 (»Euthanasie + Modernisierung 1939 bis 1945«), S. 69-79.

Online-Portal Neustrelitz Leben 2006: “Neustrelitz ehrt Emil Kraepelin – Gedenktafel am Wohnhaus der Familie enthüllt”.

Roelcke, Volker 1999: Krankheit und Kulturkritik: Psychiatrische Gesellschaftsdeutungen im bürgerlichen Zeitalter (1790-1914). Campus. Frankfurt/New York.

Sheperd, M. 1995: “The two faces of Emil Kraepelin.”: The British Journal of Psychiatry 167 (2): The Royal College of Psychiatrists: 74-183.

Sheperd, M. 1995: Kraepelin and modern psychiatry: European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience. Volume 245 Number 4/5:189-195.

Spiegel: 04.02.1991 “Das ist russisches Roulett”.

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