[The slack observation of a public enemy: East and West German psychiatrist and psychotherapist Dietfried Müller-Hegemann in files of the East German state security (Stasi)].Fortschr Neurol Psychiatr. 2020 Aug; 88(8):514-527.FN
This paper is the first to present and assess material gathered on a psychiatrist and psychotherapist by East German Intelligence Service Stasi, officially referred to as Ministry of National Security (Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, MfS), over the course of several decades.We have analysed all files on professor of psychiatry Dietfried Müller-Hegemann (1910-1989) preserved in the authority now responsible for preserving, studying and making all files of the former East German Secret Service accessible (BStU). The material gained from different authorities within the MfS and on a variety of topics showed significant differences in relevance, in terms of both their quality and their amount.In the 1950 s, Müller-Hegemann's career was willingly promoted by political leaders, while in the 1960 s these same authorities started to try to hinder it, until finally Müller-Hegemann emigrated to West Germany. Even though the material presented here substantiates how such influence was exerted in a single case only, it might also help to better understand procedures commonly applied by the MfS and political hierarchies. The files show that from the end of the 1950 s on leading health ministry staff and political hierarchies started categorising Müller-Hegemann as politically unreliable and as a 'public enemy' and trying to hinder his career. By contrast, it was not before after his 'defection' (emigration) in 1971 that he was first officially dealt with by the MfS.What the study of the material gained made clear is that despite a great power, this power of the Secret Service was indeed restricted. On the one hand, the MfS needed to rely on very subjective opinions of both colleagues and neighbours on the 'target'. On the other hand, in the case of Müller-Hegemann the MfS did not succeed in stopping all contact to his family left behind.Another result of our analysis is that intelligence operations on Müller-Hegemann were sporadic and relaxed and by no means systematic. Even though this is the result of a single cases study only, it might still cast some shade of doubt on findings in contemporary research saying that psychiatrists and psychotherapists stood in the special focus of the Secret Service's work.