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Nazi Medical Crimes at the Psychiatric Hospital Am Steinhof

Thursday, April 22, 2021, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

ABSTRACT When the Heil- und Pflegeanstalt "Am Steinhof" was opened in 1907, it was one of the largest and most generous psychiatric institutions in Europe. After Austria’s Anschluss to the Third Reich in 1938, Steinhof became one of the focal points of the Nazi regime’s internal war against psychiatric patients and persons with mental disabilities. Between 1940 and 1945, as part of the “child euthanasia” program, a so-called “special children’s ward” named Am Spiegelgrund existed on the Steinhof premises where approximately 800 children and young people lost their lives. In the context of the so-called “Operation T4,” more than 3,200 patients were deported in 1940/41 and gassed at Hartheim Castle near Linz. After the official halt to “T4” in August 1941, “euthanasia” was continued at Steinhof by means of deliberate malnutrition and systematic neglect, to which 3,500 patients fell victim. The lecture gives an overview of Steinhof’s role during National Socialism and addresses the enduring legacy of these crimes.

PRESENTER / Herwig Czech, Medical University Vienna
RESPONDENT / Ina Friedmann, University of Innsbruck 
INTRODUCTION / Michael Laurence Miller, CEU

MODERATOR / Michael Ignatieff, President and Rector, CEU

Please register for the event here. Please use this ZOOM link to join.


Herwig Czech is professor of history of medicine at the Medical University of Vienna, Department of Ethics, Collections and History of Medicine (Josephinum); he co-directs the research project “Brain research at institutes of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society in the context of National Socialist crimes,” funded by the Max Planck Society. His main fields of research are medicine and biopolitics before, during and after National Socialism, with a special focus on the history of eugenics and racial hygiene, public health, psychiatry, pediatrics and neuropathology. Since January 2021, he is a member of the Lancet Commission on Medicine and the Holocaust. His recent publications include From scientific exploitation to individual memorialization: Evolving attitudes towards research on Nazi victims’ bodies (Czech, H., Weindling, P. & Druml, C., 2021), The Medical University of Vienna and the legacy of Pernkopf’s anatomical atlas (Czech, H. et al., 2021), and Hans Asperger, National Socialism and ‘Race Hygiene’ in Nazi-era Vienna (Czech, H., 2018).

Ina Friedmann studied Latin and History at the University of Vienna, focusing on Contemporary History, History of Medicine. Between 2014-2020 she was researcher in different projects at the University of Innsbruck, recently she is affiliated with the Wissenschaftsbüro Innsbruck  and researcher in the project: Studie zu Martinsbühel. Fremdunterbringung in konfessionellen Heimen in Tirol nach 1945. She received her Phd in 2020, for Ward for Therapeutic Pedagogy at the Vienna University Children's Clinic between 1911 and 1949.

Michael L. Miller is an Associate Professor in the Nationalism Studies program at Central European University in Budapest, and co-founder of its Jewish Studies program. Michael’s research focuses on the impact of nationality conflicts on the religious, cultural, and political development of Central European Jewry in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Miller’s publications include Rabbis and Revolution: The Jews of Moravia in the Age of Emancipation (Stanford University Press, 2011), he is one of the authors of Zwischen Prag und Nikolsburg: Leben in den böhmishcen Ländern (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019), which will appear in English as Prague and Beyond: Jews in the Bohemian Lands (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021). He is currently working on a history of Hungarian Jewry, titled Manovill: A Tale of Two Hungarys.