Press statement
by the Landesverband Psychiatrie-Erfahrener Berlin Brandenburg e.V.

(Regional Association of Psychiatric Survivors of Berlin Brandenburg)

With disgust and dismay the Psychiatric Survivors were informed that the Heidelberg University intends to open a permanent exhibition of the so-called “Prinzhorn Collection” in a lecture hall of the Psychiatry/Neurology Department, for which the murderer Carl Schneider was responsible. This shameful project can be summed up as “Looted art in the murderer’s lecture hall”. Instead, all these works of art should be handed over to the BPE (the National Association of Psychiatric Survivors) so that they could be exhibited in the planned memorial museum "Haus des Eigensinns – Museum der Wahnsinnigen Schönheit". The realization of this memorial site in the Tiergartenstr. 4 has become closer to fulfillment now that the CDU’s participation in the Berlin government has ended.

Since the BPE’s letter dated January 15, 1998 it was known to the rector of the Heidelberg University, the Baden Wurttemberg government’s Culture Minister and the Psychiatric Department of the Heidelberg University that this art collection was obtained in bad faith and for this reason never became the property of the university (we again refer to the expert opinion of July 3, 1996 by the specialist in copyright laws, Prof. Raue). The university indirectly recognized this expert opinion in that they never made any effort to validated any copyrights, because they obviously did not have any.

We therefore hereby call apon the media to make extensive use of these works of art by the persecuted artists without any permission from the Heidelberg University. Hans Prinzhorn and the Heidelberg University plucked up these works of art and thus became like colonial ruling institutions in order to create a “psychopathological museum”, which is nothing other than a place for slandering and stigmatizing the artists and their work as “mentally ill”.

This matter now has its perfidious fulfillment: a collector as a looter of art will be honored – works of art being pathologized, even when the identity of the artist is unknown and his/her fate was only of interest to these colonial masters in as much as that they could be psychiatrically slandered.

The Heidelberg University is quite aware of their evil deeds – witness the attempt by the rector Siebke at diverting attention by deceiving the public into believing that the alleged “neurological” lecture room was never part of murdering Prof. Carl Schneider’s “realm”. In fact the university calendar, which is publicly accessable, documents the university professor Carl Schneider as “Director” of the psychiatric/neurological clinic in the Voss Street. The claimed separation into neurological and psychiatric clinics exists only as efforts at deception by rector Siebke, the University Psychiatry Department and the custodian of the “Prinzhorn Collection”, who all signed this allegation to protect themselves. This would also contradict the biological understanding of a Nazi psychiatrist for whom “the blood” and the principles of genetics play a decisive role in the psyche.

That the attempts at a cover-up by the university stand in the foreground of the whole re-building of the lecture room is apparent by the fact that the offers of compromise made by Bishop Prof. Wolfgang Huber and Prof. Raue on behalf of the Association, "the Friends of the Haus des Eigensinns” were completely rejected by Prof. Siebke and Prof. Mundt. Instead then – and only then – was financing made available by Baden Wurttemburg, after Mrs. Jadi, the custodian of the so-called “Prinzhorn Collection” became aware in Summer of 1996 of the plans for a "Haus des Eigensinns".

The re-building of this lecture room is therefore a defensive reaction to our initiative to have the works of art exhibited in a “Museum of maddening Beauty”. By doing so they are trying to cover up the crimes against humanity of the Heidelberg University. And in addition to this kind of white-washing – “overcoming history” – the looted art is exploited by the university. This kind of “remembrance” can only ensure forgetfullness.

We call this:

We appeal to all to support the protests organized by the Anti-fascist initiative in Heidelberg against the opening of the so-called “Prinzhorn Collection”.

The Board of the “Landesverband Psychiatrie-Erfahrener e.V.

For the directors Uwe Pankow