Tegel (Schloss Tegel)

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The Schloss Tegel was the first establishment in the world to provide psychoanalytic treatment in an institutional framework. It was inaugurated on April 10, 1927 at Berlin-Tegel by neurologist Ernst Simmel, who directed it until its economic collapse in August 1931.

Convinced by his experience treating war neuroses acquired in the course of World War I, Simmel first sought the financial support of the state for his project to open a clinic. Having failed to obtain this support in spite of his efforts and pleading, he founded, with the help of three administrators (Dr. Nussbrecher, director of the Phönix insurance company; Dr. Ludwig Jekels; and Prof. Julius Hirsch, state minister) a SARL (private limited company), the Sanatorium Schloss Tegel, as a psychoanalytic clinic. On November 6, 1926 a lease was signed with the owner of the castle, state councilor Reinhold von Heinz, concerning a "treatment center with accommodation for physicians, a pleasure garden and a park . . . for use as a sanatorium, authorizing the reception and treatment of patients suffering from various illnesses with the exception of physical deformities, sexually transmissible diseases, and mental patients." (Schultz-Venrath, 1995).

Unfortunately, the clinic was never free of financial difficulties and had to be permanently supported by Sigmund Freud, who instituted a help fund for it, to which Marie Bonaparte, Dorothy Burlingham, René Spitz, Franz Alexander, Max Eitingon, Raymond de Saussure, and Hugo Staub contributed. In spite of this the closure of the clinic in August 1931 became inevitable in the economic crisis of the declining Weimar Republic, because patients could no longer afford to pay the hospitalization costs.

The clientele that Ernst Simmel treated in his seventy-four-bed clinic consisted of seriously ill neurotics; addicts of various kinds, including inveterate gamblers; children and adolescents presenting deficits in character development (kleptomania, for example); patients in acute life crises; and chronic patients with complications. The Schloss Tegel Sanatorium was destined to become a center for systematic psychotherapy for patients suffering from organic illnesses. Among the collaborators having received analytic training we find Rudolf Bilz, Ludwig Fries, Alfred Gross, Irene Haenel-Guttmann, Karl Maria Herold, Hellmuth Kaiser, Eva-Maria Rosenfeld, Francis Deri, Ilja Schalit, Edith Weigert-Vowinkel and Moshe Wulff.

In order to deal with multiple transference situations in a therapeutic fashion, the nursing personnel, who had received analytic training, had to function as an extension of the psychoanalysts. Simmel was the first to introduce the concept of psychoanalytic treatment for patients suffering from organic illnesses, a concept with a dyadic orientation. There were as yet no examples of group psychoanalysis. The therapeutic technique stressed the importance of avoiding regression by, on the one hand, taking social reality into account and, on the other, by offering timely analytic interpretations.

Three case histories were published from this clinic, two of them being posthumous: the spectacular treatment of a case of heart failure with pulmonary edema (Simmel, 1931b), a feminine perversion (Simmel, 1990) and a young pyromaniac (Simmel, 1949). With the exception of two patients who were paid for by a charitable organization, all the others were private patients.

Ludger M. Hermanns and Ulrich Schultz-Venrath

See also: Freud, Ernst; Germany; Simmel, Ernst; Thomas Woodrow Wilson, Twenty-eighth President of the United States. A Psychological Study .


Simmel, Ernst. (1931b).Über die Psychogenese von Organ-störungen und ihre psychoanalytische Behandlung. In E. Kretschmer and W. Cimbal (Eds.), Bericht über den VI. Allgemeinen ärztlichen Kongress für Psychotherapie in Dresden, 14-17 Mai 1931 (pp. 56-65). Leipzig: Hirzel.

. (1949). Incendiarism. In K. R. Eissler (Ed.), Searchlights on Delinquency. New Psychoanalytic Studies Dedicated to Prof. Aichhorn on the Occasion of His 70th Birthday July 1948. New York: International Universities Press, 90-101.

. (1990). Neurotische Kriminalität und Lustmord. Eingeleitet und kommentiert von Schultz U., Hermanns L.M., Kütemeyer M.: die psychoanalytische Behandlung einer Lustmörderin im Jahre 1930. Psyche, 44, 71-99.

Schultz-Venrath, Ulrich. (1995). Ernst Simmels psychoanalytische Klinik Sanatorium Schloss Tegel GmbH (1927-1931). Frankfurt am Main-Washington: Deutsche Hochschulschriften 2081, Mikroedition.