Cinema release in Germany at April 19th. 2018 Distribution: Salzgeber & Co. Medien GmbH
A Documentary by Gerd Kroske
DE 2018, 111 Minutes
In 1970, Dr. Wolfgang Huber and a group of patients founded the anti-psychiatric “Socialist Patient’s Collective” in Heidelberg. Controversial therapy methods, political demands, and a massive interest in the movement from patients deeply distrustful of conventional “custodial psychiatry,” led to run-ins with the University of Heidelberg and local authorities. The conflict quickly escalated and resulted in the radicalization of the SPK. Their experiment in group therapy ultimately ended in arrests, prison, and the revocation of Huber’s license to practice medicine.
From a historical perspective, the SPK court cases seem to anticipate the Stammheim trials, with the exclusion of defense attorneys, the total non-compliance of the defendants, and harsh penalties for both Huber and his wife. The severity of the sentences handed down appears hardly proportional to the actual deeds of the accused. The allegation of having supported the RAF, and thus of being complicit in their terrorism, still clings to the SPK and overlies what the movement was originally about: the rights of psychiatric patients, resistance, and self-empowerment—issues that are still relevant today.