Born April 5, 1917, the fourth child of five, of Hermann Buck
and his wife Anna Buck, nee Lahusen, I spent my first 19 years
in a cosmopolitan parsonage in Naumburg/Saale, in Oldenburg/
Niedersachsen and on the island of Wangerooge (Northern Sea).
Five weeks after a mental jolt, my first psychosis broke out
the morning of March 2, 1936, with the disturbing certainty
of a coming dreadful war. In the asylum of Bethel
near Bielefeld, being kept there for nine months, I was confronted
with a psychiatry which left us unoccupied and only kept, enforced
sterilization included, without any chance of a dialogue with
a physician. This disciplinary action included the prohibition
to marry and various rigorous restrictions regarding education
and career. I had to give up my vocation to become a nursery
school teacher and was only allowed to accept a freelance job.
Starting with pottery, I became a sculpturer. My first episode
was followed by four more: 1938, 1943, 1946 and 1959. I then
began to think of my psychosis, labelled as schizophrenia,
as a break-through of my own subconscious, in order to solve
former mental jolts or conflicts the same way night dreams do,
in form of awakenings of symbols, identifications, with a different
feel for the world and otherwise not felt connections of sense.
Ever since I began to live by my inner impulses, which came
to the top in my five psychoses, and receded with them to a
weak instinct, in order not to let them stop and reappear in
new episodes. From 1959 on, I have been healthy. My early suggestions
to prominent psychiatrists of introducing group discussions
for a mutually gained understanding of psychosis and of a conception
the way one sees him- or herself. in psychiatry, was neglected
A severe hiatus in my life after my enforced sterilization
in 1936 has been the hidden medical patient-murders of so-called
Euthanasia. During the Eichmann trial in 1961, I first heard
numbers of psychiatric victims named for the first time. Except
a minor chapter in Medical Science Without Humanity
by A. Mitscherlich und F. Mielke, nothing could be found about
these crimes in those days. I researched archives. In a record
of the Military Court of Nürnberg of 1946, the number of
the murdered inhabitants of asylums and homes rose to at
least 275,000. These hidden medical crimes and the unchanged
degrading and inhuman German asylums disturbed me deeply, although
I could have used my concentration for my artistic work. As
a sculptor, I lived on public commissions in Hamburg, which
could only be gained through competition. When in 1965, my last
bronze objects were placed, I stopped this work. As long as
there was no elementary humanity, art seemed less important.
I revised the researched facts of euthanasia in
a play with a followed satirical theatre play for a patient
drama group. As the long-prepared big euthanasia
trial did not take place, because of the suicide of the main
prisoner at the bar/defender Professor Heyde, I would have preferred
the announcement of these crimes on stage from the view of the
In 1970, we founded our Club 70 with people who experienced
psychiatry and were lonely. In 1971, Aktionskreis '71
(Action circle '71) followed as the first self-help group
of people who experienced psychiatry in Hamburg.
If we want psychiatry to be based on our experiences rather
than on theory, we are asked to defeat its dogma of physical
and genetic incurable, endogenous psychosis, as
this psychiatric dogma prevents any dialogue about the contents
and early history of our psychosis and its meanings. Without
any dialogue, psychiatrists could not get to know and meet us
as human beings. This is why they could transport hundreds of
their patients to the gas chambers of the six death camps and
poison them by overdosed medication and starve them to death
after the official gas stop in August 1941.
In my manuscript following my Euthanasia play,
I examined psychiatric theories and confronted them with my
own experiences with psychosis. Hans Krieger, contributor to
the big German magazine DIE ZEIT, advised me, to make my experiences
the main substance for my book. I wrote during the mornings,
and from 11:30 on, since 1969, I taught as a lecturer, and from
1974 on, as a teacher of art and handcraft at the College for
Social Pedagogics of Hamburg. In 1990, my report about schizophrenia
and self-healing, On The Track Of The Morning Star: Psychosis
as self-realization, was published under the anagram of
schizophrenia = Sophie Zerchin by List Publishers.
The book was reviewed in many newspapers as a self-healing process.
A year before 50 years after the beginning of euthanasia
Prof. Dr. Dr. Dörner offered me the opening lecture
for the 41st training week of Gütersloh: Now
it's getting serious the reform of psychiatry begins!
To understand schizophrenia as an attempt in solving a problem
was new to the audience. From then on, I got invitations for
lectures and readings.
The first and only hearing that those of us who were survivors
of forced sterilized and psychiatric death camps got was at
the Deutsche Bundestag in June 1987. I was asked to write down
my criticism on today's still suppressing psychiatric methods
of medication for the Federal Health Department. In June 1988,
I handed my 22 page petition for a working group for more
participation of those from self-help groups in psychiatry
to Ms. Rita Süssmuth, the German Health Minister. Its assembly
should be by (ex-) users and survivors of psychiatry, relatives,
psychiatric staff members of all occupational groups and both
theological leaders of a catholic or Lutheran clinic. All in
all, 30 members, meeting monthly in the department, should initiate
the foundation of further working groups within Germany. A better
understanding of psychosis taught by people who are experienced
in psychosis would also help to improve the social circumstances
of the (ex-) users and survivors of psychiatry, for people burden
only those they do not understand and thus regard inferior with
things unbearable themselves.
The Federal Health Department placated us with the advice to
form the petition locally. In the summer term of
1989, I suggested, as a guest student in a regular psychosis
seminary, initiated by the psychologist Dr. Thomas Bock for
students and professionals, not just to talk about psychotic
people, but to talk with us, the (ex-) users and survivors of
psychiatry. In winter term of 1989/90, the psychosis seminar
was opened for people who experienced psychosis, and for relatives.
In the meantime, about 80 psychosis seminars exist in Germany
at universities, colleges, evening classes etc., and since October
'96, also in Zurich, Berne, Basel and Vienna, in which people
who are experienced in psychosis and depression, relatives and
psychiatric staff members exchange their experiences. Our first
psychosis seminar in Hamburg brought about two books as a consequence,
in 1992 and 1994. Our third project: A Guidance Aid
Psychosis Seminars Aid For a Dialogue, we have
just finished for the Psychiatry Publishing House.
During the last seven years, I have written articles for many
books and magazines. Year by year, I get more invitations to
conferences and trainings (lectures, work groups, readings,
psychosis groups as an exchange of experiences).
Our Hamburg psychosis seminar was the initiator of the Initiative
Group of People Who Experienced Psychiatry (as patients).
Together with the work group of (ex-) users and survivors
of psychiatry within the holding-organization of psychosocial
aid organizations and many individual fighters, we founded
our registered association Bundesverband Psychiatrie-Erfahrener
(Federal Association of [ex-] Users and Survivors of Psychiatry)
in October 9-11, 1992, now, in 1997, with 650 members.
Since May 1996, in cooperation with my sister, the publisher
Dr. Anne Fischer-Buck, I have been working on information and
on a collection of signatures against medical research on persons
who have not the ability to consent even when the
research is not for their personal benefit which is being
planned by the Bioethic-Convention of the European Council.
We keep collecting signatures till April 30, 1997. In January
1, 1997 we have gained 30.000 signatures.
We experienced the fate and life-destroying psychiatric interventions
of forced sterilization and medical mass murder on patients,
its missing insight and knowledge because of their withheld
dialogue with us. Now we demand an empirical psychiatry, based
on the experiences of the (ex-) users and survivors of psychiatry.
As we all the psychiatrists included can only
know for sure, what we have experienced personally.
Translation: Brigitte Siebrasse, Bielefeld (Germany)