Professional identity across the borders: Refugee psychiatrists in Palestine, 1933-1945 Academic Article uri icon


  • The article explores and contextualises the arrival of Jewish psychiatrists from Germany and Austria in Palestine and their absorption process during the 1930s and 1940s. We investigate the interaction between the refugees and a varied local population composed of Jews from different origins, Arabs and immigrants. We claim that the case of psychiatrist refugees from Europe in the 1930s was unique in comparison to the migration of Jewish psychiatrists to other countries and in comparison to the immigration of other medical professionals to Palestine during the period. The lack of a psychiatric community in Palestine before their arrival determined the nature of their unique absorption. It also created a special psychiatric discourse based on a mixture of the German medical model and the reality of the Jewish Zionist settlement that forged new perceptions of both mental health and Zionism.

publication date

  • January 1, 2009