Moritz Schreber

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Moritz Schreber
110 x 140
Daniel Gottlob Moritz Schreber
Born (1808-10-15)15 October 1808
Leipzig
Died 10 November 1861(1861-11-10) (aged 53)
Leipzig
Occupation physician, pedagogist, university teacher at University of Leipzig
Employer University of Leipzig
Title Medical Doctor

Daniel Gottlob Moritz Schreber (15 October 1808 – 10 November 1861) was a German physician and university teacher at the University of Leipzig. In 1844, he became director of the Leipzig Heilanstalt (sanatorium). His publications predominantly dealt with the subject of children's health and the social consequences of urbanization at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.

  • Die Eigenthümlichkeiten des kindlichen Organismus im gesunden und kranken Zustande (1839), literally: "Peculiarities of the child's organism in health and illness"
  • Der Hausfreund als Erzieher und Führer zu Familienglück und Menschenveredelung (1861), "The friend of the family as an educator and leader to family happiness and human refinement"
  • Die ärztliche Zimmergymnastik (1855), "Medical indoor gymnastics", his best selling piece of work

Remedial exercises[edit]

Contemporary depiction of remedial exercises

Schreber advocated both his "systematic remedial exercises" and countryside exercise for urban youth. During his time, the term Volksgesundheit (people's health) was coined. Back then, it comprised the idea of a "healthy relief of excessive energy", as Schreber rigidly opposed masturbation and even experimented with mechanical devices to prevent it in adolescents (see below).

Due to the limited success of these methods, he demanded playgrounds out of town, as free space for children to move about was too limited in urban mansions.

Allotment gardens[edit]

Main article: Allotment (gardening)

Schreber was the founder of the eponymous "Schreber movement", although that term was used only after his death. In 1864, Leipzig school principal Ernst Innozenz Hauschild established the first Schrebergarten, by leasing land for the physical exercise of children.

Poisonous pedagogy[edit]

Main article: Poisonous pedagogy

One of his sons, Daniel Paul Schreber, wrote an autobiographical account of what is now assumed to have been paranoid psychosis (a term not coined back then), Memoirs of My Nervous Illness (original German title Denkwürdigkeiten eines Nervenkranken).[1] The notes were later analysed by Sigmund Freud on the theoretical basis of psychoanalysis.[2]

Two other children of Schreber also suffered from mental disease. One of them, his oldest son Daniel Gustav Schreber, committed suicide.

According to Alice Miller, Schreber was a foremost figure of what she called poisonous pedagogy, in a translation of Katharina Rutschky's term Schwarze Pädagogik (literally: black pedagogy). Miller analysed the social impact of this rigid attitude towards child rearing and pedagogy.

Miller wrote in this context: "The father of the paranoid patient Schreber whom Freud described, had written several educational books, which were so successful in Germany that some of them were reprinted forty times and translated into several languages."[3]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Schreber, Daniel Paul (1903). Memoirs of My Nervous Illness. New York: New York Review of Books, 2000. ISBN 0-940322-20-X. 
  2. ^ Freud, Sigmund; Webber, Andrew (translator); MacCabe, Colin (contributor) (1911). The Schreber Case. New York: Penguin Classics Psychology, 2003. ISBN 0-14-243742-5. 
  3. ^ Miller, Alice (1983). For Your Own Good. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2002. ISBN 0-374-52269-3. 
This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.