The fate of psychiatric patients under National Socialism (RCPsych Congress 2016)


Under National Socialism prior to and during World War 2, more than 200,000 patients with mental illness or learning disability were killed, often by their own doctors. Could similar atrocities ever happen again, and what lessons can be learned from this dark period in history? Raj Persaud talks to the former President of the German Society of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Professor Frank Schneider, prior to his panel discussion on this topic at the RCPsych International Congress 2016.


Date published: 30 June 2016

Presenter: Dr Raj Persaud

Interviewee: Professor Frank Schneider

Audio running time: 21 minutes

Credits: 0.5


Learning outcomes


By the end of this podcast, we hope you will have gained an understanding of:


  • the extent of the fatalities of patients with mental disorders under National Socialism


  • the sociological theories regarding the motivations behind these killings and the relevance of the upsurge in eugenics at the beginning of the 20th century


  • the role played by the German Society of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics in the atrocities


  • lessons that can be learned from this era in history.


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