[Psychiatrist Johann Christian August Heinroth's (1773-1843) practical work at St George's prison, orphanage and madhouse in Leipzig]

Wurzbg Medizinhist Mitt. 2004;23:346-75.
[Article in German]


This paper ventures to give insights into and evaluate HEINROTH's practical work as a doctor at Leipzig's Georgenhaus on the basis of primary sources found at Leipzig and other Saxony archives. The analysis shows that HEINROTH took up this post because of financial needs. Hence there arose a conflict between this job at the city's orphanage and madhouse and HEINROTH's real ambition of becoming a professor of psychiatry at Leipzig University. THis continued for the whole of his time there. HEINROTH undertook an extremely responsible role and worked energetically at St George's from 1814 until 1834; almost the entire medical care of the 600 inmate lay in his hands. HEINROTH cannot be held responsible for the failure to reform the mental health care system, though urgently needed. On the contrary, he made every effort to ease his patients' mental anguish and life at St George's. However, it must be pointed out that HEINROTH entrusted to his assistants a great part of his duties. HEINROTH did not always fulfil his duties at the local prison to the agreed extent. Increased tensions between him and authorities led to mutual recriminations which ultimately resulted in HEINROTH's dismissal at Christmas 1833. No final judgement can be made as to what extent the arguments propounded by both parties were justified.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • English Abstract
  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Germany
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • Prisons / history
  • Psychiatry / history*

Personal name as subject

  • Johann Christian August Heinroth