Social history of medicine - Research projects funded by other sources

Elaboration on the history of homes in the Gustav Werner Foundation before 1945

Editor: Dr Sebastian Wenger

After the Institute for the History of Medicine of the Robert Bosch Foundation had already researched the history of the Gustav Werner Foundation's Bruderhaus home and the Haus am Berg gGmbH from 1945 to 1970, the current project will focus on the history of homes in the Gustav Werner Foundation in the period before 1945. Against the backdrop of National Socialism, there were numerous admissions of men and women to the Gustav Werner Foundation as well as to the cooperating Beschäftigungs- und Bewahrungsheim (occupation and retention home) of the city of Stuttgart, arranged by offices, sometimes with the support of doctors. The reason for the reappraisal is the wish of the BruderhausDiakonie charitable foundation to obtain an even more complete picture of the history of its homes in the 20th century and, if necessary, to reveal possible injustices. Initial source material is available in the historical archives of the BruderhausDiakonie Gustav Werner Foundation and Haus am Berg for scientific research on the topic. Research will be carried out in other archives.

Over 180 years ago, the theologian Gustav Werner laid the foundation stone for the Gustav Werner Foundation for the Bruderhaus with the first children's rescue home in Walddorf near Stuttgart, which he founded with his wife Albertine in 1881. At that time, the foundation already included the Bruderhaus grounds in Reutlingen with numerous residential and educational institutions and Christian industrial enterprises as well as around 25 branch institutions in Württemberg.

Today, the BruderhausDiakonie charitable foundation offers assistance and support services, care and counselling as well as education, upbringing and work opportunities in almost 20 towns and districts in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Around 5000 employees provide care for about 10,000 clients in the areas of care for the elderly and disabled, social psychiatry, youth welfare as well as employment and vocational training.

Violence experienced by residents of the Paulinenpflege Winnenden home from 1949 to 1978

Editor: Dr Sebastian Wenger

The post-doctoral project, which began in mid-2019, focuses on coming to terms with the experiences of violence of former home residents, within a period of investigation from 1949 to 1978. The impetus for this came from a former child who lived in the home, who approached the Paulinenpflege home in the middle of last year and reported various forms of violence by educators.

Paulinenpflege Winnenden, a Christian social service institution, was founded in 1823 as part of the Rettungshaus ("rescue home") movement for children in poverty. In the further course of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, the institution expanded continuously, consisting essentially of three areas during the period under study: A special school for children with learning difficulties with an associated educational home, a vocational school for deaf apprentices with a home for apprentices, and what was known as the deaf and dumb asylum. The latter housed adults with multiple disabilities, who often spent much of their lives in this institution.

The aim of the work is to contribute to the recognition of the suffering experienced by those affected and to expand the current discourse on education in homes. Of central importance for this are references in the sources to physical, psychological and sexualised experiences of violence by former residents of the home. Was violence perpetrated in the Paulinenpflege home, what was the nature of this and who were the alleged victims and perpetrators? In addition, what led to the children's placement in the home and how everyday life in the home was structured will be examined. Furthermore, the values and moral concepts of the educators as well as their educational practices are questioned.

The source material for this work is made up of files of former residents of the home. These can be found firstly in the regional church archive (Evangelische Landeskirche) in Stuttgart Möhringen and secondly in the Paulinenpflege home itself. Eyewitness interviews with children who used to live in the home, vocational school students as well as former staff members will also be conducted. The annual reports of the Paulinenpflege home complete the corpus of sources.

The history of the established medical profession in the region of what is now the federal state of Baden-Württemberg from 1920 to 1960

(Editor: Aaron Pfaff)

The aim of the project, which began in March 2018, is to review the history of the medical profession in what is now the state of Baden-Württemberg from 1920 to 1960.
The focus of the study is the Nazi period and the integration of the medical profession into the party's apparatus and Nazi health policy. The central issue here is eugenics, which was already of increasing interest in the medical profession as well as in civil society during the Weimar Republic. This was not a specifically nationalist issue at first, but was addressed by all parties across the political spectrum.
The treatment of Jewish and non-Aryan colleagues by the professional medical organisations will also be analysed and considered in terms of forms of resistance.
The period under investigation extends beyond the caesura of the Second World War in order also to be able to illuminate the reorganisation of the medical profession in the post-war period with regard to what changed and what stayed the same.
The extension of the study period also makes it possible to look at the development of medical education and training as well as the way established doctors deal with the next generation of doctors and the increasing importance of female doctors in an almost entirely male-dominated field across different political systems.
The main sources used are the Stuttgart Main State Archive, the Ludwigsburg State Archive and the Berlin Federal Archives (Berlin Document Center) as well as the archives of the medical self-administration, i.e. the Landesärztekammer (State Chambers of Physicians) and the Bundesärztekammer (German Medical Association). Regional and national medical journals and first-person documents are also included..

Drug trials on children and adolescents in the context of education in homes in Lower Saxony between 1945 and 1976

Editor: Dr. des. Christine Hartig

On behalf of the state of Lower Saxony, represented by the Lower Saxony Ministry for Social Affairs, Health and Equality, drug studies of the post-war period in Lower Saxony on children in care as well as vaccination trials on infants and young children were scientifically processed. It should also be investigated whether adolescents were also among the patients of the Göttingen psychosurgery. Due to the current reporting, the question was also investigated as to whether a medical indication was the basis for the performance of pneumencephalographies and whether information was provided and consent obtained before the procedure in accordance with standards.
In addition to the evaluation of the ministerial files and the files of the home supervisory authorities, the records of the home providers were also examined. The relevant reference books and journals are also part of the research subject. Furthermore, it was examined whether individual case files exist from the homes from the period under investigation and are accessible for research.
The fact that such drug studies and vaccination trials were also carried out in Lower Saxony is beyond question. However, the extent, planning (e.g. the initiators), actual implementation, i.e. whether contemporary ethical, professional and legal standards were adhered to, as well as the consequences of these experiments were unknown. Also of interest was the extent to which the Ministry had knowledge of the trials or was involved in them.
Since some of the research questions could not be answered or only partially answered on the basis of the files reviewed and individual case files from homes and (child) psychiatric institutions proved to be a meaningful source, the Lower Saxony Ministry of Social Affairs decided to commission further research. The aim of the project, which is scheduled to run for twelve months, will be to make statements about the concrete implementation of drug studies through a systematic analysis of individual case files from homes and (child) psychiatric institutions. In this way, the results achieved so far are to be advanced.

Medical self-administration in the Imperial Era 1871–1918 (Saxony)

(Editor: Dr. Markus Wahl)

The topic is being worked on as part of the Saxony State Medical Association's project on the "Development of medical self-administration in Saxony". With the foundation of the Medical Association in 1872, largely initiated by the Dresden physician Dr Hermann Eberhard Friedrich Richter, Saxony joined the general trend of establishing forms of self-administration for physicians in the other federal states. The project will explore these beginnings and illuminate them in the context of developments in the German Empire after 1871. The articulation of professional interests was one of the most important concerns of the associations of doctors who saw themselves threatened in the practice of their profession, not least by the new trade regulations of 1869 (e.g. the abolition of the ban on "quack doctors"). However, a dispute quickly flared up within the medical profession about the function of the disciplinary court sought by the chamber as well as about the forms of defence and enforcement of professional interests. In this context, the Leipzig doctor Hermann Hartmann started work and, in September 1900, founded the "Schutzverband der Ärzte Deutschlands zur Wahrung ihrer Standesinteressen" (Association of Germany's Doctors for the Protection of their Professional Interests), later the "Hartmannbund" (Hartmann Association), which also included the trade union methods of struggle otherwise detested by the medical profession. In describing these lines of conflict and different interests, the project will trace the non-linear development of medical self-administration until the end of the First World War.

The project has been completed and published by the Saxony Medical Association: Wahl, Markus, "Einheit macht stark": Die Entwicklung der ärztlichen Selbstverwaltung im Königreich Sachsen, 1870/71 bis 1918" (Stronger as one: The development of medical self-administration in the Kingdom of Saxony, 1870/71 to 1918), in "Die Geschichte der ärztlichen Selbstverwaltung in Sachsen" (The history of self-administration in Saxony), ed. by Sächsische Landesärztekammer (Dresden: Sächsische Landesärztekammer, 2020)

War nursing in the Second World War by the German Red Cross and denominational nursing using the example of the Kaiserswerther Diakonie

Editor: Dr. Astrid Stölzle

The project on war nursing by the German Red Cross, which began in August 2014, has been thematically expanded to include denominational nursing, concluding in June 2016.
The role of wartime nursing for the Nazi state and the epistemological questions about professionalisation tendencies and the influence of the war on nursing have so far received little attention in research – especially with regard to denominational nursing.
The subject of the study on nursing by the German Red Cross as well as on denominational nursing is first the political framework conditions, whereby the interest of the Nazi state in nursing is to be elaborated. Furthermore, using first-person documents from the perspective of the deaconesses deployed at home, their work and tasks as well as their views on the war are analysed and finally contrasted with the experiences and perceptions of the Red Cross nurses in the occupied territories in order to show differences and similarities of war experiences.

The project has been completed in the meantime. The results have been published in the Jahrbuch Medizin, Gesellschaft und Geschichte (Medicine, Society and History Annual): MedGG 37 (2019), pp. 19–60.

Assessment, therapy and decision: The Innsbruck Children's Observatory in a lege artis comparison of its diagnostic procedures, treatment methods and assessment practice

Editor: Dr. Sylvelyn Hähner-Rombach(♱)

In the course of the Austrian debates about abuse in the placement of children and adolescents during the post-war period, the Innsbruck Children's Observatory also came into the focus of public interest. Commissioned by the Tyrolean provincial government and the Tyrolean provincial hospitals, this curative pedagogical-child psychiatric ward under the direction of the psychiatrist and curative pedagogue Maria Nowak-Vogl is being studied in the period from 1954 to 1987. For this purpose, 10 per cent of the total of 3650 medical records are examined. Among other things, the diagnosis at the time of admission, therapies carried out (medication) or curative/pedagogical care as well as behavioural therapy measures (for example, use of "bell mattresses") and finally the assessment practice are taken into account. In addition, the contemporary specialist literature is evaluated. The third subject of investigation concerns the emergence and temporal as well as spatial spread of child observation centres in German-speaking countries. The project offers the opportunity to focus on a group that has been little studied so far, especially in contemporary history – children and young people.

The project has been completed in the meantime; the publication is not yet fixed.

Company doctors' actions during the Nazi era as reflected in the professional press
Titelseite Deutsches Ärzteblatt 67 Nr. 20 (1937), S. 485.

Editor: Pierre Pfütsch

In the mid-1930s, the concept of "business-centred health management" was developed in National Socialist Germany. This was aimed at restructuring the health care system, in which company doctors played an important role. In addition to treating illnesses, they were supposed to monitor the health of workers and employees and ensure that sick leave was as low as possible. With the beginning of the war, this task became even more important for the Nazi regime, as only a healthy "body of people" could perform well. This increase in importance is also evident at the quantitative level. While in 1939 there were only 971 doctors working as company doctors, in 1944 there were about 8000, which equates to an increase of over 780 percent.
Although company doctors occupied such a central position in National Socialism, their history has so far only been partially researched. In particular, there is a lack of investigation of the concrete actions of company doctors during this period.
The research project on the actions of company doctors during the Nazi era aims to trace the concrete practices of company doctors in their everyday professional work. An examination of company medical practice can show the relationship between war and health policy and the harnessing of the medical profession for war and private economic interests.
Historical analysis of contemporary professional publications between 1933 and 1945 is a good first step into this topic, as they discussed both the issues of professional policy and medical practice at the time. The journals also contain content on the political and legal framework conditions of occupational physicians' activities, which can show the scope and limits of their work. In this project, over 100 volumes of the most important journals from the period 1933 to 1945 are being evaluated. These include, for example, the Zentralblatt für Gewerbehygiene und Unfallverhütung (Central Gazette for Industrial Hygiene and Accident Prevention), the Monatshefte für NS-Sozialpolitik (Monthly Papers for National Social Policy) and the Reichsarbeitsblatt (Reich Labour Gazette).
The project has been completed in the meantime, the publication is not yet fixed.