Heinrich Meng

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MENG, HEINRICH (1887-1972)

Heinrich Meng, the German physician, professor, and psychoanalyst was born in Hohenhurst, Germany, on July 9, 1887, and died in Basel, Switzerland on August 10, 1972.

When he was two years old he contracted poliomyelitis and very nearly died from it. Throughout his life he manifested a disposition to be useful to others; while still a student he took an interest in nutrition and physiology. He was vegetarian and joined youth movements to promote temperance, popular education, social and mental hygiene, socialism, and pacifism.

When he finished his medical studies (1907-1911) he practiced in Stuttgart. During World War I he came into contact with Karl Landauer, a psychoanalyst from Frankfurt. In 1921 he went into analysis with Paul Federn in Vienna, followed in 1922 by a second analysis with Hanns Sachs in Berlin. In 1923, thanks to the influence of Clara Zetkin, he was summoned along with other physicians to Lenin's bedside in the Kremlin. From 1929 to 1933 he and Landauer managed the Frankfurt Psychoanalytic Institute (FPI) in association with the Institute for Social Research, which they co-founded. In 1933 he emigrated to Switzerland and in 1937 he acquired the first university chair of "mental hygiene" in Europe. He occupied the chair until his retirement in 1956.

In collaboration with Federn, Meng edited the Psychoanalytisches Volksbuch (1926, a popular manual of psychoanalysis) and co-edited the Zeitschrift fürPsychoanalytische Pädagogik (Magazine of psychoanalytic pedagogy; 1926-1937). He manifested his interest in psychoanalytically-informed mental hygiene through many publications, also editing the Praxis der seelischen Hygiene (The practice of mental hygiene; 1943) and Psychohygienische Vorlesungen (Conferences on mental hygiene; 1958). He published his major work on psychosomatic questions with Louis R. Grote:Über interne und psychotherapeutische Behandlung der endogenen Magersucht (Contribution to the internal and psychotherapeutic treatment of endogenous anorexia; 1934) and developed the concept of Organpsychose (organic psychosis). His autobiography, Leben als Begegnung (Life as encounter; 1971) played an important role in the history of psychoanalysis in Germany.

Meng's many publications contributed greatly to popularizing psychoanalysis in Germany. By means of subtle influences he managed to have the city of Frankfurt attribute the Goethe prize to Sigmund Freud in 1930 (Plänkers, 1996). In Switzerland he was the pioneer of psychoanalytically-informed mental health praxis.

Author Name

See also: Germany; Goethe Prize; Sigmund Freud Institute; Switzerland (German-speaking); Zeitschrift für psychoanalytische Pädagogik .


Federn, Paul, and Meng, Heinrich. (1928). Das psychoanalytische Volksbuch. Stuttgart: Hippokrates.

Grote, Louis R., and Meng, Heinrich. (1934).Über interne und psychotherapeutische Behandlung der endogenen Magersucht. Schweizerische medizinische Wochenschrift,15,7.

Meng, Heinrich. (1934). Strafen und Erziehen. Berne: Hans Huber.

. (1958). Psychohygienische Vorlesungen. Eine Einfüh-rung in Theorie und Praxis des seelischen Gesundheitsschutzes. Basel-Stuttgart: Benno Schwabe.

. (1971). Leben als Begegnung. Stuttgart: Hippokrates.

Plänkers, Tomas. (1996). Die Verleihung des Frankfurter Goethe-Preises an Sigmund Freud 1930. Die Sitzungsprotokolle des Goethe-Preiskuratoriums. In Tomas Plänkers, et al., Psychoanalyse in Frankfurt a. M. Zerstörte Anfänge, Wiederannäherung und Entwicklungen (pp. 254-331). Tübingen: Diskord.

. (1996). Hygiene der Seele. Heinrich Meng (1887-1972). In Tomas Plänkers, et al.: Psychoanalyse in Frankfurt a. M. Zerstörte Anfänge, Wiederannäherung und Entwicklungen, (pp. 109-140). Tübingen: Diskord.

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Meng-Koehler, Heinrich Otto (1887-?)

Physician, psychoanalyst, and author. He was born on July 9, 1887, at Hohnhurst, Baden, Germany, and studied at the University of Heidelberg (M.D., 1912), the University of Leipzig, and the University of Würzburg. He became director of the Institute of Psychoanalysis, Frankfurt (1928-33), and after the fall of Nazism, he emerged as professor of mental hygiene at the University of Basel, Switzerland (1945-55). Following his retirement he was named professor emeritus.

Meng-Koehler edited and contributed to a number of works on mental health and wrote one book, Psychohygiene (Mental Hygiene, 1960). In the field of parapsychology, he took special interest in connections with psychoanalysis. He attended the International Conference on Parapsychological Studies held in Utrecht, Netherlands, in 1953, and the Conference on Unorthodox Healing at St. Paul de Vence, 1954.


Meng-Koehler, Heinrich O. "Parapsychologie, Psychohygiene, and Aerztliche Fortbildung" (Parapsychology, Mental Hygiene and Medical Training). Hippokrates (1954).

. "Wunderheilungen" (Miracles of Healing). Hippok-rates (1954).