Tue, 28 June 2016
Professor Frank Schneider, M.D., Ph.D. Chair, Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, University Hospital Aachen and Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, also Past President of the German Society for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, talks to Dr Raj Persaud about the role of the German Society for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy in the mass murder of psychiatric patients which occurred in Germany during the Second World War at the hands of Nazis and Nazi ideology. How was it that elite doctors and psychiatrists, caring and highly accomplished clinicians, could so rapidly be transformed into killing machines? Some 200,000 psychiatric patients eventually lost their lives, often at the hands of their own doctors – could the same thing happen again? The interview occurs at the Royal College of Psychiatrist Annual Congress 2016 just before Professor Schneider takes part in a panel discussion on how German psychiatric patients suffered during the Nazi era partly as a result of the rise in eugenics or genetic theories concerning the spread of mental illness. Is it possible that the modern rise of biological psychiatry could presage the same atrocities occurring again?