Book Review

      Not only did they go free, but many of the German psychiatrists of the era continued to be regarded as pillars of the psychiatric community. They continued to teach in the universities, to write and to promote their twisted philosophies.

      Many were members and officers of the Society of German Neurologists and Psychiatrists. The authors researched the sordid past of the presidents of this organization from 1935 to 1980, and none of them have clean hands regarding racial hygiene and the Nazi atrocities.

      Did the psychiatrists recant their involvement with the Nazis and renounce the ideologies that led to the Holocaust? Far from it. Ernst Rudin, quoted above as one of the founders of the German Society for Racial Hygiene was acknowledged in 1992 for “following his own convictions in ’racial hygienic’ measure, cooperating with the Nazis as a psychiatrist and helping them legitimize their aims through pertinent legislation” (quoted from “75 Years of the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry, Munich 1917 ­ 1992”).

      The perverted thinking of the racial hygiene movement did not die with the end of World War II, nor did it confine itself to psychiatry alone. The book offers us the following chilling excerpts from a 1962 London symposium on gene research:

      [From Francis Crick:] “I’d like to concentrate on a certain issue. Do people even have the right to have children? As we have heard, it would not be difficult for governments to add something to the food supply which would prevent procreation. In addition, and this is hypothetical, the government could keep another substance at hand which would counteract the effect of the first one, and only people whose procreation is desired could receive it. This is definitely not out of the question.”


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