Psychiatric genetics in Munich and Basel between 1925 and 1945: programs-practices-cooperative arrangements.Osiris. 2005; 20:263-88.O
The first research institution worldwide to exclusively devote its research to psychiatric genetics was the Department of Genealogy and Demography at the German Institute for Psychiatric Research (Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Psychiatrie) in Munich, founded in 1917. In 1924, it was integrated into the Kaiser Wilhelm Society. From its foundation until the end of World War II in 1945, the department was directed by the Swiss citizen Ernst Rüdin, one of the protagonists of the racial hygiene movement in Germany. Riidin also initiated the establishment of the Department for Heredity Research (Abteilung für Erbforschung) at the Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Basel, Switzerland; from 1932 until 1944, this department was directed by Rüdin's student Carl Brugger. The paper analyzes the development of the research agendas and related practices of both institutions. Instead of using a rather static comparative approach, the focus is on the dynamic interrelationships and mutual dependencies between the two departments and their staffs in the different political contexts of contemporary Germany and Switzerland. This approach reflects the international cross-relations in the field of psychiatric genetics and the factual dominance of the Munich institution at least until the mid-1930s. However, in spite of similar research agendas, the common motivation by eugenic ideas, and close personal relationships, the differing economic resources, research infrastructures, political ramifications, and related value preferences had considerable impact on the development of the two programs.