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Archives of Clinical Psychiatry (São Paulo)

Print version ISSN 0101-6083On-line version ISSN 1806-938X


ARMBRUSTER, Jan  and  THEISS-ABENDROTH, Peter. Deconstructing the myth of Pasewalk: Why Adolf Hitler’s psychiatric treatment at the end of World War I bears no relevance. Arch. Clin. Psychiatry (São Paulo) [online]. 2016, vol.43, n.3, pp.56-59. ISSN 0101-6083.


Even more than 70 years after the end of WW II, questions regarding the personality of dictator Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) remain unresolved. Among them, there is a focus on the problem of his state of mental health, in particular on the possible relevance of the medical treatment he received for a war injury at the military hospital of the small German town of Pasewalk in the last days of WW I. Some authors have come to postulate a profound change of his personality due either to a psychic trauma suffered or a hypnotic therapy he supposedly underwent for curing a hysterical blindness.


The assumptions about Hitler’s war injury which rely on only two significant sources shall be assessed for their validity.


Existing historical sources and inferred hypotheses will be discussed in the light of alternative interpretations.


The mentioned suppositions reveal their highly arbitrary character: neither a hysterical blindness of Hitler’s nor a hypnotic treatment at Pasewalk military hospital can be substantiated.


Given the fact that Hitler’s medical sheet is most likely irrevocably lost, the authors plea for the acceptance of the limitations of historical research, even more so since the occurrences in Pasewalk lack any deeper importance for a historic assessment of Hitler’s personality.

Keywords : Adolf Hitler; Edmund Forster; Ernst Weiß; Pasewalk; hysterical blindness.

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