The Influence of the German Occupation of 1940-1945 on Psychiatry in the Netherlands

Schreuder, Bas J. N.
December 2006
International Journal of Mental Health;Winter2006, Vol. 35 Issue 4, p110
Academic Journal
This article is an exploration into the situation of Dutch psychiatry during the Nazi occupation between 1940 and 1945. The Nazis tried to �conform� Dutch society into a National Socialist state guided by the principle of their racial doctrine. They tried to create a superior Germanic race by genetic selection and the elimination of racially impure elements. Dutch doctors were expected to play a role in the transformation, but they resisted. The role of medical resistance is examined. The paper then considers the persecution of the Jews and the dramatic consequences for all Jewish psychiatric patients before considering the consequences of the German occupation for psychiatric hospitals in general. Patients in most psychiatric institutions suffered from starvation, in particular during the �Hunger Winter� of 1944-1945. Eugenic experiments, however, were on a very small scale and not always initiated by the Germans.


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