[The career of the psychiatrist Dietfried Müller-Hegemann (1910-1989) : Example of a politically motivated rise and fall in the German Democratic Republic].Nervenarzt. 2018 Jan; 89(1):78-87.N
Dietfried Müller-Hegemann was one of the prominent figures in East German psychiatry and psychotherapy of the 1950s and 1960s. Having been a communist prior to 1933, a resistance fighter during the National Socialist regime and having gone through political training during his exile in Soviet Russia, he proved to be a committed member of the new ruling SED socialist party in Eastern Germany. As such both governmental and party organs regarded him as a promising and reliable party member to be supported and implemented as executive staff within the new, socialist scientific system. Also, due to the fact that he supported the Pavlovian school of thought for modern psychiatry, Müller-Hegemann was installed as the new head of the Department of Neurology and Psychiatry at Leipzig University by the state secretary for higher education, notably against the clear opposition of the university medical faculty. Soon thereafter however Müller-Hegemann fell from favor due to the fact that he supported views that did not follow the strict ideological guidelines, e. g. with regard to the emergence of fascism. Moreover, he strongly opposed the separation of neurology from psychiatry as ruled by the ministry. An attempt in 1963 by junior party members and ministerial staff to remove him from office failed, but still managed to make Müller-Hegemann resign from his Leipzig post and take over that of director of the Griesinger hospital for the mentally ill in East Berlin. In May 1971, after new conflicts with party officials, he did not return from a business trip to Essen in West Germany. This study does not review the scientific and medical merits of Müller-Hegemann, but concentrates on how his career as a leading psychiatrist was manipulated, both supported and sabotaged, and ideologically controlled by the German Democratic Republic (GDR) system. His development is documented proof that party officials did not tolerate opposition, neither in ideological nor in professional questions, even if the opponent was a committed Marxist. The example of his career shows that political and ideological dissent soon melted into personal animosity and drives, as a result of which Müller-Hegemann's promising career as professor in Leipzig was terminated.