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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.
  • The Workhouse Dresden-Leuben After 1945: A Microstudy of Local Continuities in Postwar East Germany, in: Journal of Contemporary History (Online First: voraussichtlich Juni 2018).
  • Medizinische Erfahrungen von Kindern und Jugendlichen während der Kriegs- und Nachkriegszeit am Beispiel von Dresden und Leipzig, in: André Postert, Francesca Weil (Hg.), Kindheiten im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Leipzig 2018, S. 514-532.
  • (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 2018)
  • ‘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
  • Tagungsbericht: Marketplace, Power, Prestige: The Healthcare Professions’ Struggle for Recognition. Developments, Conflicts, and Areas of Tension among Healthcare Professions in the Twentieth Century, 15.11.2017 – 17.11.2017, Stuttgart, veröffentlicht auf: H-Soz-Kult, 26.1.2018. → Read Conference Report:
  • (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
  • A Remnant of Capitalism? Treating Alcoholism under Socialism in East Germany (Conference of the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies, Cambridge, GB, 14. April 2018)
  • Eine „verwahrloste“ Jugend? Die Pathologisierung von Jugendverhalten in Ostdeutschland nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg (Oberseminar, Universität Ulm, 15. Januar 2018)
  • „Asocial“, „Weak“, or „Sick“? Debating the Social and Medical Concept of Alcohol Addiction in East Germany during the 1970s (Socialist International Health Workshop, funded by the Wellcome Trust, University of Exeter, GB, 13. Januar 2018)
  • „Your Right, Your Duty“: Experiences of Patients with Alcohol Addiction, Diabetes, and Sexually Transmitted Diseases in the German Democratic Republic (Conference of the European Association for the History of Medicine and Health, Bukarest, Rumänien, 31. August 2017)
  • ‘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
  • Rezension zu: Winter, Jay: War beyond Words. Languages of Remembrance from the Great War to the Present. Cambridge 2017, veröffentlicht auf: H-Soz-Kult, 03.11.2017.
  • Wahl, Markus, Medical Memories and Experiences in Postwar East Germany: Treatments of the Past (London: Routledge, 2019) <> [accessed 13 June 2019]