Archiv für den Monat: April 2023

Apolitical Science? Wilhelm Reich and Psychoanalysis in National Socialism. An abridged version (2023)

by Andreas Peglau

Please cite as: Peglau, Andreas (2023): Apolitical Science? Wilhelm Reich and Psychoanalysis in National Socialism. An abridged version (

Here you can download the pdf version – differing in some illustrations – of the following text.

The forwarding and distribution of this text for non-commercial purposes is expressly desired.




In 2013, my dissertation „Unpolitische Wissenschaft? Wilhelm Reich und die Psychoanalyse im Nationalsozialismus“ was first published as a book. In 2015, the second edition followed and in 2017, the Psychosozial-Verlag Gießen brought it out in a third and expanded edition.

In a review, philosopher Werner Abel described it as „one of the most important books on the history of psychoanalysis, making its decline from a socially critical theory and practice to a medicalised, supposedly ‚apolitical‘ science comprehensible in detail for the first time.“.

The psychoanalyst Bernd Nitzschke stated: „The interweaving between the fate of psychoanalysis in the Nazi state and the history of Wilhelm Reich’s exclusion, persecution and emigration, which Peglau meticulously reconstructs, is the lynchpin of the book, which is an indispensable reference point for anyone who wants to deal with the Nazi history of psychoanalysts without blinkers in the future.“

I then compiled some of the most important results of my years of research in 2019 – with the kind permission of Psychosozial Verlag – in an abridged version in the orignal German. It has since been downloaded several thousand times from my website.

In order to make this information even more widely available, I have now supplemented and updated the text and translated it into English with the help of DeepL. Weiterlesen

Concepts of Man

by Andreas Peglau[1] 


Each and every one of us has – at least unconsciously – an image or concept of Man: Assumptions about what people are like in general, good or bad, capable of learning and changing or not, reliable or unreliable, lazy or industrious, under what circumstances they feel comfortable, how they react in a particular situation, what makes them happy, sad or angry, what drives them, what can influence them, etc.

Depending on what we consider to be true in this respect, we also assess what causes and remedies there are for negative social developments – such as the fascistoid ones. Weiterlesen

Links to download (most of the) English language articles as pdf

Please note the following:  My English skills are not very good. Most of the following texts were therefore first translated with DeepL and then corrected by me. I am sure that there are still translation errors in these articles – and ask those who discover such errors to send a message to
The „English section“ also contains some articles that are not available as pdf.



Wilhelm Reich and the first „Unity Association“ in Düsseldorf

by Andreas Peglau [0]


It was already clear that Düsseldorf and the Lower Rhine region played an important role for the sexual reform organization that Wilhelm Reich was involved in founding and leading. It was also known that Reich had a significant influence on the founding conference of the first „Unified Association for Proletarian Sexual Reform and Maternity Protection“ (UA), which took place in Düsseldorf on May 2, 1931 (see here). A number of things can now be added to this. Weiterlesen

Mass Organization or „small splinter group“? About the German „Sex-pol“

by Andreas Peglau[1]

For a better understanding of this text and what Reich called „Sexpol“, it is recommended to read in advance The Unified Associations for Proletarian Sexual Reform and Maternity Protection and Wilhelm Reich’s real role in the German „Sex-pol“


Already during his lifetime Reich was the victim of intense slanders. They never stopped. Peter Bahnen has the merit of being the first to reconstruct Reich’s sexual reform activities in Berlin. However, this was done on the basis of a clearly negative bias against Reich. Bahnen also doubted Reich’s figures about the „German Sex-pol“. Weiterlesen

Was Reich „mad“? On the credibility of widespread clichés

by Andreas Peglau[0]


A „campaign of character assassination that continues to the present day“ (Nitzschke 1997a, p. 91) was and is ongoing against Reich.[1] Already during his Scandinavian exile (1933-1939), former colleagues of Reich, including his former teaching analysts Paul Federn[2] and Sándor Rado, put the claim into the world that Reich had gone mad. Preferably, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia (Cremerius 1997, p. 144). Weiterlesen

The station of Ducherow – a trace of Wilhelm Reich

by Andreas Peglau


Wilhelm Reich was friends with the communist and anti-fascist Theodor Neubauer (, who was executed in 1945.
Reich mentions him in reference to dogmatic KPD officials:

„My friend Neugebauer [sic], who was a Reichstag deputy of the Communist faction and a brilliant, scientifically trained sociologist and a decent fellow, once said to me: ‚What should one do?‘ They should be thrown out, but will there be better things to come? We lack the trained intelligence.
For the time being, there is nothing to do but grit our teeth.'“
(Reich 1995, p. 160)

Reich, his wife Annie, and Neubauer also spent a short vacation together at the Baltic Sea in 1932. Weiterlesen

An „unfulfillable demand“ on the „lawgiver of philosophizing“. The first public worldview debate of the psychoanalysts

by Andreas Peglau


In 1983 Helmut Dahmer reported in the journal Psyche on publications that took a stand on the identity of psychoanalysis in the late 1920s, early 1930s. Key points were, on the one hand, Wilhelm Reich’s pleas for a rapprochement of psychoanalysis and Marxism, on the other hand, the emphasis on the scientific-objective, therefore „non-political“ character of analysis as well as the distancing from „leftist“ psychoanalysis interpretation and Bolshevism.
Dahmer also pointed out that something comparable had already occurred „on the eve of World War I,“ „in the form of a discussion of the relationship between psychoanalysis and ‚philosophy'“ (Dahmer 1983, p. 1133). This earlier controversy is also worthy of consideration. Weiterlesen

100 years of „Urszene“ („Primal scene“). Notes on a controversial term

by Andreas Peglau[1]


Psychoanalytic rubble heaps

Johannes Cremerius (1995, p. 47) assess that psychoanalysis only has a future if it undergoes „tidying up“ in concept formation instead of continuing to stumble along „rubble heaps of arbitrary, ambiguous terms or that are understandable only to the initiated.“ Even „in the center of psychoanalytic theorizing“ one encounters „generalizing ideas,“ „private philosophies,“ which have never been clarified and passed on without reflection (see also here).
I share this view. Weiterlesen

Did the German Democratic Republic (GDR) produce more „right-wing“ attitudes than the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG)? No – quite the opposite.

by Andreas Peglau[1]  


In 1992, two years after the GDR’s annexation to the FRG, a social science study came to the following conclusion: the „proportion of East Germans expressing anti-Semitic, right-wing extremist or xenophobic views“ was „lower than the corresponding proportion of West Germans. German citizens in the East take the consequences of the Nazi past for the present more seriously.“ Weiterlesen