After the end of World War 2, as the Nuremberg trials began, a large number of psychiatrists were due to stand trial. The American Psychiatric Association feared that because of the actions of these psychiatrists the profession would carry a permanent black mark, so pressure was applied to minimize the number of psychiatric defendants.
The involvement of Ernst Rüdin was thoroughly whitewashed. Three types of accounts have been identified:
- Those who write about German psychiatric genetics in the Nazi period, but either fail to mention Rüdin at all, or cast him in a favorable light
- Those who acknowledge that Rüdin helped promote eugenic sterilization and/or may have worked with the Nazis, but generally paint a positive picture of Rüdin’s research and fail to mention his participation in the “euthanasia” killing program
- Those who have written that Rüdin committed and supported unspeakable atrocities.”
After the war, the German Medical Association blamed Nazi atrocities on a small group of 350 criminal doctors. It was not until the 21st century that the truth started to appear.
And let us never forget how massive these events were and it is easy to miss details, even significant details.