1st Edition

Psychiatric Institutions and Society The Practice of Psychiatric Committal in the “Third Reich,” the Democratic Republic of Germany, and the Federal Republic of Germany, 1941–1963

By Stefanie Coché Copyright 2024

    The book probes how the serious and sometimes fatal decision was made to admit individuals to asylums during Germany’s age of extremes. The book shows that - even during the Nazi killing of the sick - relatives played an even more important role in most admissions than doctors and the authorities.

    In light of admission practices, this study traces how ideas about illness, safety, and normality changed when the Nazi regime collapsed in 1945 and illuminates how closely power configurations in the psychiatric sector were linked to political and social circumstances.

    1. Historical Parameters of Committal Practice—Psychiatry, State, and Society to 1941 2. The State and Psychiatric Institutions—Parameters and Committal Decisions 3. Danger and Security: On the Practice of Compulsory Committal 4. Disease and Diagnostics—Medical Aspects of Committal 5. Work and Performance—Ability and Inability to Work in Committal Rationales 6. Conclusion.


    Stefanie Coché is a historian at the Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen. Her research interests are history of psychiatry, religious history, German history, and American history.