Carl Schneider (Dezember 19, 1891, Gembitz, Kreis Mogilno, Province of Posen – December 11, 1946, Frankfurt am Main), professor at Heidelberg University, (1933–1945) chairman of its department of Psychiatry, director of its clinic, was a senior researcher for the Action T4 Euthanasia program.
Schneider is said to exemplify the descent of a distinguished academic psychiatrist into the Nazi worldview. Some described him as having shown great empathy in his psychiatric rehabilitation work, and having a great idealism about transforming the 'horror' of psychiatric patients thought to be regressed, isolated and backward. He would sometimes put forward two possible ways of helping a patient - one of them 'work therapy', and the other to sterilize or kill them.
Schneider joined the Nazi Party in 1932. He defined and elaborated the psychological assumptions of Nazi ideology and science. He coined the term National therapy for ethnic cleansing: ridding the populace of genetic and blood contaminants threatening the psychological and physical health of the German/Aryan population. He collected the brains of murdered Jews, retarded children, and other victims, for research in his clinic and for instruction. He taught a technique of replacing spinal fluid with air, to get clearer x-rays of the brain.
After the war, the U.S. occupation authorities barred his reinstatement to the university's medical faculty, even before they learned of his role in the euthanasia program. They later arrested him. Professor Schneider hanged himself in his prison cell (1946) awaiting trial in Frankfurt am Main.
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