Psychiatrists Admit to Role in Holocaust but Admission Still Needed in Apartheid

Addressing the role that psychiatry played in the Holocaust, Dr. Koos Marais, a surgeon and author spoke about the German occupation of South Africa and revealed the beginnings of psychiatry’s collusion in the Holocaust and the precursors to apartheid.

ID: 1475246
recent pressrelease next pressrelease

(businesspress24) - Dr. Koos Marais, a surgeon and author of Die Keiservoel oor Namaland (€œThe Kaiserbird over Namaland€) spoke at the opening of a human rights exhibit in Cape Town this week, addressing the role that psychiatry played in the Holocaust. His book about the German occupation of South Africa also reveals the beginnings of psychiatry€™s collusion in the Holocaust and the precursors to apartheid. The book exposes how German psychiatrist Eugen Fischer€”whose works influenced Hitler€™s plan for mass murder€”experimented on the Khoisan people in 1906 in concentration camps at Shark Island, decapitating them, forcing female prisoners to scrape the skulls clean with broken glass and then shipping the heads to Germany for study of €œinferior races.€

Later, South African psychiatrists helped steep their own country in racism and claimed Africans were €œinferior.€ However, while German psychiatrists have admitted to their role in the Holocaust, South African psychiatrists have yet to admit their integral role in helping design, build and maintain apartheid.

Dr. Marais detailed how Fischer traveled to German South-West Africa in the early 1900s to study the offspring of German or Boer fathers and African women in Rehoboth, present-day Namibia. Fischer claimed that each mixed-race child was physically and mentally inferior to its German father and therefore mixed marriages should be prohibited. [1] Fischer''s recommendations were followed, and by 1912 interracial marriage was prohibited throughout the German colonies.

[Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR)](, a mental health watchdog group that organized the [Psychiatry: an Industry of Death exhibit]( displayed free at the Castle of Good Hope, said the history of psychiatry€™s involvement in both the Holocaust and apartheid should be known. Dr. Marais added that contemporary society could learn from the past. €œI wrote my book about these events in order to hold up a mirror to society, to show the world how a small, seemingly unimportant chain of events can have serious consequences,€ said Dr. Marais.

The CCHR exhibit uses historical photographs and film to showcase the history of psychiatry fueling eugenics and racism and helping engineer the Holocaust and apartheid. After sixty years of silence about this, in 2010, Dr. Frank Schneider, then President of the German Society for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Neurology (DGPPN), publicly apologized for Nazi psychiatrists being €œprimarily responsible€ for euthanasia, controlling €œthe selection of those to be killed,€ murdering 275,000 patients and sterilizing 400,000. [2] It was psychiatrists who tested the first gas chambers before they were implemented in the concentration camps, killing millions.

In 1921, Fischer co-wrote Menschliche Erblehre und Rassenhygiene (Human Genetics and Racial Hygiene), one of three psychiatric books on racial inferiority that inspired Hitler€™s Mein Kampf and the €œscientific€ justification for euthanasia. [3] Apartheid Prime Minister and psychologist Hendrik Verwoerd had studied in German universities during the height of such eugenics planning. His Nazi thinking was obvious in South Africa€™s segregation and apartheid laws.

In 1997, CCHR presented an extensive submission on psychiatry and psychology€™s role in apartheid to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) detailing some of the German and South African psychiatrists€™ eugenics studies that had fueled racism and apartheid.

€œWhile such atrocities seem like something of a distant past, psychiatry€™s influence is interwoven through the fabricate of apartheid in South Africa and the discrimination still experienced today, here and abroad,€ said Rev Fred Shaw, international spokesperson for CCHR, who flew to Cape Town from his home in Los Angeles to officiate the grand opening.

Rev Shaw said the submission to the TRC detailed how in the 1970s, South African psychiatrists incarcerated 10,000 blacks in secret psychiatric camps, drugging and subjecting them to painful electroshock without anesthetic. Blacks were allowed to die from easily treatable medical conditions. Those that lived were used for slave labor, funded by the apartheid government. When CCHR first exposed this in 1975, pressed by psychiatrists, the government passed a law in 1976 making it a criminal offense to report or photograph conditions in psychiatric hospitals. CCHR went outside South Africa, reporting to the World Health Organization, which investigated the camps and in 1983 reported, €œIn no other medical field in South Africa is the contempt of the person, cultivated by racism, more concisely portrayed than in psychiatry.€

In 1999, the late Lawrence Anthony, an advisor to CCHR International and representing the South African Department of Health, addressed a World Psychiatric Association (WPA) meeting saying that psychiatrists in South Africa had €œfailed to admit any guilt or responsibility€ in apartheid. He stated: €œUnfortunately, the fact remains that without the driving forces of psychiatry and psychology, both the Holocaust and apartheid arguably may not have happened or, at the very least, wouldn€™t have been maintained. Psychiatrists and psychologists were not the victims of an oppressive apartheid regime, many helped build, man and perpetuate it.'' [4]

CCHR€™s exhibit, which is offered free the world over in the public interest, provides facts so that people can become wiser: €œThis information can change the course of history so it doesn€™t repeat itself. The objective is to secure a better and safer future for Africans by not allowing psychiatry to subvert the Khoisan and other tribal cultures and traditions,€ said Rev. Shaw.

About CCHR:

CCHR was established in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Professor of Psychiatry, Thomas Szasz as an independent mental health rights group. It has been responsible for obtaining more than 180 laws worldwide to protect individuals from coercive psychiatric practices, including a Federal U.S. law that prohibits schools from forcing children to take psychiatric drugs as a requisite for their education. For more information visit, [](


[2] Robert H. Yolken, et al, €œPsychiatric Genocide: Nazi Attempts to Eradicate Schizophrenia,€ Schizophrenia Bulletin, 2010 Jan; 36(1): 26€“32
[3] Robert N. Proctor, Racial Hygiene, Medicine Under the Nazis, (Harvard University Press, 1988), p. 26.

[4] €œPsychiatry and Apartheid,€ Presentation on behalf of the South African Government to the XI Congress on Psychiatry, Hamburg, Germany,11 Aug. 1999.

More information:

Keywords (optional):

holocaust, revealed, africa, south, occupation, beginnings, german, precursors, collusion, psychiatrys,

Company information / Profile:

Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Florida

PressRelease by


(727) 442-8820

PressContact / Agency:

published by: alekspressdev
print pressrelease  send to a friend  

Date: 12/13/2016 - 02:10
Language: English
News-ID 1475246
Character count: 7287
Firma: Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Florida
Ansprechpartner: Diane Stein Feedback to about Pressrelease-id:
Stadt: Clearwater
Telefon: (727) 442-8820

Meldungsart: Unternehmensinformation
Versandart: Veröffentlichung
Freigabedatum: 12/12/2016

Number of hits: 232


Direct Link to this PressRelease:

We would appreciate a link in your News-, Press- or Partner-Site.

Comments on this PressRelease

All members: 9 380
Register today: 0
Register yesterday: 1
Members online: 0
Guests online: 50

Don't have an account yet? You can create one. As registered user you have some advantages like theme manager, comments configuration and post comments with your name.