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November 2011
Psychiatry under National Socialism: Remembrance and Responsibility

Psychiatrie im NationalsozialismusDuring its 2010 Congress, the German Association for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (DGPPN) held a special event to commemorate the victims of psychiatry under National Socialism. At the event, the association asked all victims and their families for forgiveness for the pain and injustice they suffered in the name of German psychiatry and at the hands of psychiatrists during the Third Reich. The speeches that were given during the commemorative event have now been compiled in the book Psychiatry under National Socialism: Remembrance and Responsibility. In light of the significance of this issue for the past, present and future of psychiatry, the DGPPN decided to make these texts available in a dual-language book so they would be accessible to a broader international public. The book includes a DVD with a recording of the moving occasion in the original German and a dubbed English version (Please find more details on: http://www.springer.com/medicine/psychiatry/book/978-3-642-20468-5)

The DGPPN is aware of its responsibility for the events of the past. For the DGPPN, the commemorative event did not mark the end of an overdue effort to address what occurred in the name of psychiatry during the Third Reich, but the beginning. For example, the DGPPN is currently conducting a study to determine the degree of involvement of the DGPPN’s predecessor organizations and their representatives in the “euthanasia” programme, in the forced sterilization of mentally ill people, in the forced emigration of Jewish or politically undesirable psychiatrists, and in other crimes perpetrated under National Socialism. This scientific approach to addressing the past is being overseen by an independent commission made up of four renowned medical and scientific historians.

Furthermore the DGPPN wants to inform about psychiatric practice under National Socialism and commemorate the victims. Therefore the DGPPN is asking for funds to develop an exhibition and to stage this exhibition in other cities across Germany and Europe, to document the names and fates of victims and details about the perpetrators within comprehensive, publicly accessible databases and to promote research, for example through the provision of grants. The DGPPN has announced its intention to donate a one-off sum of at least € 100,000 to finance these projects and has launched an appeal for donations from its members and the German medical community. It also aims to finance a research position for ten years. In order to do so it has prepared an appeal for donations. Many medical associations have already joined the DGPPN’s initiative.

More detailed information at: www.dgppn.de/donation

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