"Ernst Rüdin’s Recommendations on Psychiatric-neurological Research during the War (1942)"

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Hans-Walter Schmuhl (University of Bielefeld)

"Ernst Rüdin’s Recommendations on Psychiatric-neurological Research during the War


(Introduced by: Sheldon Rubenfeld, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston)



This paper was presented to the international symposium:

"Reassessing Nazi Human Experiments and Coerced Research, 1933-1945: New Findings, Interpretations and Problems"

4 - 7 July 2013, Wadham College, Oxford


Convened by Paul Weindling (Oxford Brookes University), Marius Turda (Oxford Brookes University), and Volker Roelcke (University of Giessen).

Kindly funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, and the University of Giessen


Abstract: In October 1942 Dr. Ernst Rüdin, in his role as chairman of the Society of German Neurologists and Psychiatrists, drafted for the “Reich health leadership” a 17-point plan of sponsorship for psychiatric and neurological research during the war. The plan, which was formulated mainly by Rüdin, links psychiatric genetics, therapy, practical racial hygiene, sterilization and “euthanasia”, which were regarded as complementary elements within a comprehensive system. The document allows insight into the world of ideas in which the doctors and scientists involved in “euthanasia” lived.


Bio: Hans-Walter Schmuhl was awarded his PhD in 1986 with the thesis: “eugenics, Nazism, euthanasia.” He has published widely on the history of modern Germany more generally, but his recent works focus more closely on the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology.



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