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Polzer, A. (1991). Georg Groddeck's Racism—A Dismal Discovery. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 39:575-577.

(1991). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 39:575-577

Georg Groddeck's Racism—A Dismal Discovery

Anne Polzer

October 5, 1989

In the course of research about the pioneers of psychoanalysis in general and Georg Groddeck (1886–1934) in particular who, of course, is considered the father of psychosomatic medicine, I came upon two disgraceful statements of unadulterated racism in one of his early works: Nasamecu (Natura sanat, medicus curat [1913]) reprinted (Groddeck, 1984, Die Natur heilt). Groddeck has experienced a remarkable revival in Germany and Austria. His numerous books have been reissued, and a Groddeck Society has been established in Frankfurt.

Of his many books only two have been published in the United States: The Book of the It(1977), which propounds the thesis that "we do not live but we are being lived" by a force which, for want of a better term, he calls "the It" (das Es), and The Meaning of Illness(1976), which contains several of his papers and his correspondence with Freud. The latter, as we know, gladly accepted the practicing physician as a "disciple." Neither volume shows any trace of racism. Although much has been written about Groddeck, relatively little else by Groddeck has been translated.

In my recent researches I have uncovered a deplorable portion of Groddeck's texts which contradicts everything he held and taught. In Die Natur heilt(1984) he makes the perfectly reasonable statement that a healthy offspring presupposes healthy parents, and that no government can prevent people from marrying and begetting children. He then goes on to say (my translation) that insofar as habitual drunkards and criminals are concerned,

… the authorities know them. Castrate them and leave it at that.

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