Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Nervenarzt. 2016 Aug;87 Suppl 1:42-52. doi: 10.1007/s00115-016-0144-7.

[German neurology and neurologists during the Third Reich: the aftermath].

[Article in German]

Author information

1
Institut für Geschichte, Theorie und Ethik der Medizin, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Deutschland.
2
Institut für Geschichte und Ethik der Medizin, Universität zu Köln, Joseph-Stelzmann-Straße 20, 50931, Köln, Deutschland. ajg02@uni-koeln.de.

Abstract

The article discusses the consequences for neurology as a discipline which resulted from neurologists' participation in the crimes committed under National Socialism (NS). Chronologically, the current literature distinguishes mainly four overlapping stages: (1) a first phase was characterized by legal persecution and "denazification", which was also the time of the Nuremberg doctors' trial in which no neurologists were on trial. A detailed documentation of the trial for the German medical profession was published by Alexander Mitscherlich. (2) In the subsequent practice of wide amnestying and reintegration of former Nazi followers during the 1950s, neurologists were no exception as its elite continued in their positions. The year 1953 was the year of the Lisbon scandal, when chiefly Dutch representatives protested against the participation of Julius Hallervorden in the International Congress of Neurology. The newly founded societies, the German Society for Neurology (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurologie, DGN) and the German Society for Psychiatry and Neurology (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychiatrie und Neurologie, DGPN), unanimously supported their member. (3) The next period was characterized by a nascent criticism of the prevailing attitude of covering up the crimes committed by physicians during the Nazi period. The discovery of incriminating brain sections at various Max Planck Institutes brought neurology to the focus of the debate. (4) Since the 1980s and 1990s historians (of medicine) have been systematically examining medicine's Nazi past in a professional way, which resulted in a noticeable increase of knowledge. Additionally, a new generation of scholars provoked a change of mind insofar as they recognized medicine's responsibility for the crimes committed between 1933 and 1945. We expect that future historical research will further elucidate the history of neurology during the NS regime and have consequences for our current understanding of research ethics.

KEYWORDS:

Biomedical research/history; Eponyms; Germany; Neurology/history; Neurosciences/ethics

PMID:
27325248
DOI:
10.1007/s00115-016-0144-7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center