The Beginning

  • Patrick D. Hahn


The chapter begins with an account of the author’s visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. He pauses in front of a photomural depicting the Hadamar Psychiatric Institute, the site of one of the Action T4 centers for killing the mentally ill, organized by Nazi psychiatrists as a part of their efforts to improve the Aryan race. After noting that the idea that mental illness has a hereditary basis goes back a lot further than that, the roots of the idea that mental illnesses are hereditary conditions is traced, going back to the beginning of the asylum era and ending with the admonition of Eugen Bleuler (the psychiatrist who coined the term “schizophrenia”) that we must take drastic action or else “our race must rapidly degenerate.”

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick D. Hahn
    • 1
  1. 1.BiologyLoyola University MarylandBaltimoreUSA

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