Carl Schneider

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Not to be confused with bioethicist Carl E. Schneider or psychologist Kurt Schneider.

Carl Schneider (December 19, 1891 in Gembitz, Kreis Mogilno, Province of Posen – December 11, 1946 in Frankfurt am Main), professor at Heidelberg University, (1933–1945)[1] chairman of its department of Psychiatry,[2] 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.[3]

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.[4] He collected the brains of murdered Jews,[2] 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.[citation needed]

Schneider, along with Konrad Zucker, helped Heidelberg become one of the two leading training centres for the killing of children for theoretically scientific purposes, which went on at thirty clinics for three years.[5]

After the war[edit]

At the end of the war Schneider flew out of Heidelberg on the 29 March 1945. 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. Later Schneider was arrested and moved to Lager in Moosburg . On the 29 November 1946 Schneider was given to the German justice authorities in Frankfurt am Main, to be a witness in the trial against Werner Heyde. Prosecutor said to Schneider, that in a trial his position would be very bad. On the 11 December 1946 Schneider hanged himself in his prison cell (1946) awaiting trial in Frankfurt am Main. His co-workers were not punished and could continue their work.[6] [7] His membership in the Heidelberg academy of sciences was deleted.[8][9][10][11]


  1. ^ Shorter, Edward (2005). A historical dictionary of psychiatry. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-517668-1. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  2. ^ a b Y. A. Adam (March 2007). "Justice in Nuremberg: The Doctors' Trial – 60 Years Later A Reminder" (PDF). Israel Medical Association Journal. Israel Medical Association. 9 (3): 194–195. PMID 17402338. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  3. ^ The Nazi doctors: medical killing and the psychology of genocide pg 122 By Robert Jay Lifton 2000
  4. ^ James M. Glass. "Nuremberg Laws: Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity"., Inc. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  5. ^ The Strassmanns: Science, Politics and Migration in Turbulent Times (1793-1993)
  6. ^ M. Rotzoll, G. Hohendorf: Die Psychiatrisch-Neurologische Klinik. 2006.
  7. ^ Peter Sandner: Verwaltung des Krankenmordes. Der Bezirksverband Nassau im Nationalsozialismus. Psychosozial-Verlag, Gießen 2003, ISBN 3-89806-320-8, S. 932–934, S. 741.
  8. ^ Carl Schneider. In: "Mitglieder der HAdW seit ihrer Gründung im Jahr 1909" (in German). Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften. Retrieved 2016-06-11. 
  9. ^ Remy, Steven P. (2002). The Heidelberg myth: the Nazification and denazification of a German university. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. pp. 118, 138. ISBN 0-674-00933-9. LCCN 2002069072. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  10. ^ Uwe Henrik Peters, M.D. (2001). "On Nazi Psychiatry" (Fee). Psychoanalytic Review. National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis. 88 (2): 295–309. doi:10.1521/prev. Retrieved 2009-10-01. Schneider also committed suicide, in 1946, while in prison waiting for his trial to begin. 
  11. ^ L Singer (December 3, 1998). "Ideology and ethics. The perversion of German psychiatrists' ethics by the ideology of national socialism". European Psychiatry. Elsevier SAS. 13 (Supplement 3): 87s–92s. doi:10.1016/S0924-9338(98)80038-2. PMID 19698678. Carl Schneider committed suicide by hanging after his arrest... (subscription required)