AHP readers may be interested in a new open-access piece in the Journal of the History of the Neurosciences: “The problematic legacy of victim specimens from the Nazi era: Identifying the persons behind the specimens at the Max Planck Institutes for Brain Research and of Psychiatry,” Paul Weindling, Gerrit Hohendorf, Axel C. Hüntelmann, Jasmin Kindel, Annemarie Kinzelbach, Aleksandra Loewenau, Stephanie Neuner, Micha? Adam Palacz, Marion Zingler & Herwig Czech. Abstract:
Although 75 years have passed since the end of World War II, the Max Planck Society (Max-Planck Gesellschaft, MPG), successor to the Kaiser Wilhelm Society (Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft, KWG), still must grapple with how two of its foremost institutes—the KWI of Psychiatry in Munich and the KWI for Brain Research in Berlin-Buch—amassed collections of brains from victims of Nazi crimes, and how these human remains were retained for postwar research. Initial efforts to deal with victim specimens during the 1980s met with denial and, subsequently, rapid disposal in 1989/1990. Despite the decision of the MPG’s president to retain documentation for historical purposes, there are gaps in the available sources. This article provides preliminary results of a research program initiated in 2017 (to be completed by October 2023) to provide victim identifications and the circumstances of deaths.