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Dr. Markus Wahl

Biographical note
Wahl completed his Bachelor of Education in History and Politics at the Technical University of Dresden in 2011. He did his Masters in Modern History at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. In the spring and summer of 2013, Wahl was an intern at the Hannah Arendt Institute for Research of Totalitarianism, Dresden. From September 2013 onwards, he received a three-year-scholarship from the University of Kent, UK, for the dissertation project “Medical Memories and Experiences in Postwar East Germany”. Wahl graduated as Ph.D. in 2017.
Since January 2017, Wahl has been a Research Fellow at the Institute for the History of Medicine at the Robert Bosch Foundation, Stuttgart.

Main Research Interests:
  • Social History of Medicine
  • History of Medicine and Patient Experiences in the German Democratic Republic
  • Medical Ethics in the German Democratic Republic/ Cold War
  • Memory Studies
Current projects
“Your Health, Our State”
Patients with Alcohol Addiction, Diabetes and Sexually Transmitted Diseases in the Healthcare System of the German Democratic Republic

In the competition for international reputation and legitimacy, the German Democratic Republic (GDR) always emphasised the importance of its healthcare system. Especially the state-run character of the medical provision was described as superior to the West German private healthcare system. The former Healthcare Minister Ludwig Mecklinger even proclaimed at a conference in 1981 that “[i]n the encounter with the healthcare and social welfare system, Socialism [had] for the citizen name, face, and address”. Based on these claims, the research project aims to develop a social and patient history in the microcosms of the former East German districts of Dresden and Rostock, investigating the impact of political and societal ideals on the reality and thus on the experiences of patients who have alcohol addiction, diabetes, or sexually transmitted diseases inside and outside East Germany’s medical institutions. The research draws not only on correspondence, reports, ego documents, and exhibition material from private and public institutions and archives, but also from literature to investigate the microcosm and the surroundings of the doctor-nurse-patient relationship in the GDR.
  • (with Ulf Schmidt), ‘Doctors and Research Behind the Iron Curtain: Medical Ethics Debates and the Declaration of Helsinki in East Germany (1961-1989)’ (Oxford University Press, expected 2017)
  • ‘Fluchtwillige im Visier des Ministeriums für Staatssicherheit – Am Beispiel von Ärzten’, Dossier of the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, 2016. URL:
  • ‘“Warum habt ihr solche Angst, dass wir nicht wiederkommen?” ‘Grenzübertritte’ der medizinischen Intelligenz in den 1970er Jahren’, in Medizinethik in der DDR. Moralische und menschenrechtliche Fragen im Gesundheitswesen, ed. by Andreas Fewer and Rainer Erices (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2015), pp. 59-80
  • ‘DDR-Ärzte: Fluchtwillige im Visier des MfS.’ Deutsches Ärzteblatt, 44 (2014): S. A 1894-A 1898
  • (with Ulf Schmidt), ‘Ärzte und Forschung hinter dem Eisernen Vorhang. Medizinethische Diskurse und die Deklaration von Helsinki in der DDR (1961–1989)’, in Forschung als Herausforderung für Ethik und Menschenrechte. 50 Jahre Deklaration von Helsinki (1964-2014), ed. by Andreas Frewer and Ulf Schmidt (Cologne: Deutscher Ärzte-Verlag, 2014), pp. 71-86
  • (with Anna-Maria Lehner), ‘Research Within Bounds. Protecting Human Participants in Modern Medicine and the Declaration of Helsinki, 1964–2014. Genf, 12.-13. September 2013’, Ethik in der Medizin, 2 (2014), 167
  • ‘Dictated or Guided? Shaping the ‘New’ Socialist Healthcare System in the Soviet Occupied Zone of Germany, 1945-1949’, auf der Konferenz Occupations in the Age of Total War: Micro Perspectives and Transnational Research, Canterbury, UK, 22. Juni 2017
  • ‘Institutionalised Treatments of the Past: The Case of the Workhouse Dresden in Postwar East Germany’, auf der Konferenz der Canadian Society for the History of Medicine/ Canadian Association for the History of Nursing and Canadian Historical Association, Toronto, CAN, 29. Mai 2017
  • ‘A Walk through the Waiting Room. Local Doctor-Patient-Relationships in Post-War East Germany’, auf der GDR Today II Conference, Bristol, UK, 10. September 2015
  •  ‘Raped and Forgotten? Sexual Violence against Women and Children in Post-War East Germany’, auf der Australasian Association for European History (AAEH) XXIV Biennial Conference, Newcastle, Australia, 16. Juli 2015
  • ‘“Women are the Problem”: Stigmatisation and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Post-War East Germany’, auf der ANZSHM 14th Biennial Conference/ International Society for the History of Medicine's 8th Conference, Sydney, Australia, 01. Juli 2015
  • ‘“Why are you so afraid that we won’t return?” The East German medical Intelligentsia in the 70s’, an der University of Canterbury, New Zealand, 27. Februar 2013