University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


  • Epileptics, and mentally ill

    Epileptics, and mentally ill

    Persons concerned

    Epileptics, mentally ill, and mentally disabled persons.

    Patients of the Philippshospital doing the shoemaker's work, about 1900

    From the very beginning, the inmates of the hospitals or institutions were working in workshops, farms and various other supply facilities, depending on their, vitality. Since the turn of the century, work was considered more under the angle of a therapy.

    Female patients of the Giessen mental hospital working in the fields, no date

    Female patients of the Philippshospital preparing vegetable, 1935

    In the twenties and thirties, different shockand cramp-therapies were developed for the treatment of "mental diseases" and applied in psychiatry, especially cardiazol-, electro- and insulin shock treatment. Such therapies were used in all Hessian mental hospitals, some of them in a most brutal way and sometimes even as punishment as applied by the Eichberg mental hospital directed by Friedrich Mennecke. In 1943, "T-4" had provided almost all mental hospitals with newly developed electro¥shock devices of the company Siemens in order to make the patients' capacity to work recover as quickly as possible.

    Old permanent bath of the mental home Philippshospital, 1930

    Permanent baths, introduced as a therapy at the end of the 19th century, were designed to tranquillize "restless" patients. The patients had to sit in the bathtub, fixed with cloths and with only their head out of the water.

    Treatment of the schizophrenic Josef F by means of an insulin shock, 1936

    Hypoglycemic shock by insulin, 1939