Kurt Schneider

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Main work by Kurt Schneider

Kurt Schneider (born January 7, 1887 in Crailsheim , † October 27, 1967 in Heidelberg ) was a German psychiatrist . Schneider is considered to be one of the most important, also internationally significant German researchers in the field of psychopathology .


Kurt Schneider, son of the Ulm District Court President Paul von Schneider (1855-1918) and the pastor's daughter Julie Mathilde Weitbrecht (1860-1938), studied medicine in Tübingen and Berlin. In Tübingen he was promoted to Dr. med. PhD. With Gustav Aschaffenburg in Cologne he was able to do his habilitation in 1919 and work as a clinical senior physician. In 1920 he completed a philosophical dissertation under Max Scheler and received the Dr. phil.

In 1922 he became associate professor and in 1931 in Munich chief physician at the Schwabing hospital and, under Walther Spielmeyer, head of the clinical department of the "German Research Institute ( Kaiser Wilhelm Institute ) for Psychiatry" founded by his academic teacher Emil Kraepelin , today's Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry . He had refused a call to Hamburg in 1934.

After the death of his predecessor Johannes Lange in 1938, he was offered a professorship for psychiatry and neurology at the University of Breslau , which he turned down after an interview in Breslau without negotiating with the city or the institute. Most recently, from 1946 until his retirement in 1955, he was full professor and director of the Psychiatric University Clinic in Heidelberg , where he also spent his old age and is buried.

Kurt Schneider (not to be confused with Carl Schneider ) was not involved in the psychiatric crimes during the Nazi era (such as Aktion T4 ) . However, he supported the neurologist and psychiatrist with active participation in the T4 campaign and child “euthanasia” Gerhard Kloos in the early 1950s in his further career.


Schneider was best known for his distinction between the first and second degree symptoms of schizophrenia . His work is considered the basis for the research groups that developed the diagnostic systems ( ICD and DSM ) that are valid today in the 1970s . He divided the mental disorders into five groups:

Its disease classification in a narrower sense, however, only includes two groups of diseases:

  1. Abnormal types of psychological nature (abnormal mental faculties, personalities and experience reactions)
  2. Mental abnormalities as a result of illnesses (somatological or etiological order and psychological or symptomatological order). To this second group he included schizophrenia and cyclothymia , the hypothetical somatological basis of which, however, can only be postulated.



Kurt Schneider's main work is "Clinical Psychopathology": It was published in 2007, the 15th edition in the 120th year of his birthday.

  • 1909 Exogenous Psychoses. In: Steven R. Hirsch & Michael Shepherd (Eds.): Themes and Variations in European Psychiatry : An Anthology. University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville 1974
    • Diss .: 1912 About some clinical-psychological investigation methods and their results. At the same time a contribution to the psychopathology of Korsakov's psychosis. - Inaugural dissertation for obtaining a doctorate in medicine, surgery and obstetrics under the presidium of Dr. Robert Gaupp of the Medical Faculty of Tübingen. Separate printing. Springer, Berlin
    • Diss .: 1921 Pathopsychological contributions to the psychological phenomenology of love and compassion. In: Zschr ges Neurol Psychiat. Originals. Edited by O. Foerster , R. Gaupp and W. Spielmeyer . Volume 65.Springer, Berlin (Dr. phil.)
  • 1923 The psychopathic personalities. In: Gustav Aschaffenburg (Hrsg.): Handbuch der Psychiatrie. Special part, 7th department, 1st part. Deuticke, Leipzig; 2. wes. change 1928 and wider, last 9th edition 1950
  • 1924 The instinctual and the conscious man. In: Emil Utitz (Ed.): Yearbook of Characterology. 1st year / Berlin 1924 / 1st volume. Pan Verlag Rolf Heise, Berlin pp. 345–351
  • 1947 Psychiatry and the faculties. Springer, Berlin
  • 1946 contributions to psychiatry. Thieme, Wiesbaden; 2nd presumably edition 1948. 3rd edition - with new title - from
  • 1950 Clinical Psychopathology. 3. Edition. Thieme, Stuttgart (in many, also in foreign languages, unchanged from the 8th, most recently 15th edition 2007)
  • 1950 poems. Private printing, Heidelberg
  • 1952 Psychiatry today. Thieme, Stuttgart 2 1955, 3 1960
  • 1953 The assessment of sanity. A presentation. Thieme, Stuttgart 2 1953, 3 1956, 4 1961
  • 1955 Foreword to: Hans Jörg Weitbrecht : Critique of Psychosomatics. Stuttgart, Thieme
  • 1956 Foreword to: Carl Friedrich Wendt : Basics of a psychotherapy of understanding. Springer, Heidelberg


  • Work on psychiatry, neurology and their border areas. Festschrift for Kurt Schneider on his 60th birthday. Ed. by Heinrich Kranz . Scherer, Willsbach / Heidelberg, 1947
  • Psychopathology today. Prof. Dr. med. Dr. phil. Dr. jur. hc Kurt Schneider on his 75th birthday. Ed. by Heinrich Kranz. Thieme, Stuttgart 1962
  • Werner Janzarik: Jaspers, Kurt Schneider and Heidelberg Psychopathology. In: The neurologist. Volume 55, 1984, pp. 18-24.
  • Advances in Psychosis Research? On the 100th birthday of Kurt Schneider with the award of the d. Kurt Schneider Prize. 7th Weissenau Schizophrenia Symposium on the 5th and 7th December 6, 1986 in Bonn. Ed. by Gerd Huber. Schattauer, Stuttgart 1987
  • Gerd Huber:  Schneider, Kurt. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 23, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-428-11204-3 , p. 300 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Waltraut Wertheimer: "Kurt Schneider - Head of the Clinical Department of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Psychiatry in the Schwabing Hospital", in: excluded - disenfranchised - deported, Schwabing and Schwabinger fates 1933-1945 , Munich, 2008, 444–446
  • Norbert Frei : Introduction. In: Medicine and Health Policy in the Nazi Era. Edited by Norbert Frei, R. Oldenbourg, Munich 1991 (= series of the quarterly books for contemporary history, special issue), ISBN 3-486-64534-X , pp. 5-32; here: p. 29 f.
  • Dirk Blasius : The “Masquerade of Evil”. Psychiatric research during the Nazi era. In: Medicine and Health Policy in the Nazi Era. Edited by Norbert Frei, R. Oldenbourg, Munich 1991 (= series of the quarterly books for contemporary history, special issue), ISBN 3-486-64534-X , pp. 265–285; here: pp. 276 and 279–284
  • Volker Roelcke : Schneider, Kurt. In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , p. 1304.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Volker Roelcke: Schneider, Kurt. 2005.
  2. Dirk Blasius: The "Masquerade of Evil". Psychiatric research during the Nazi era. In: Medicine and Health Policy in the Nazi Era. Edited by Norbert Frei, R. Oldenbourg, Munich 1991 (= series of the quarterly books for contemporary history, special issue), ISBN 3-486-64534-X , pp. 265–285; here: p. 276
  3. Christof Beyer: In the presence of the past. The reintegration of perpetrators of Nazi “euthanasia” in Lower Saxony after 1945. Psychiatrie Verlag, Cologne 2020 (research for practice, university publications ), ISBN 978-3-96605-001-2 , pp. 67–68