Freudenberg qualified as a doctor in Germany in 1934. He trained as a house officer in surgery in Berlin, where he married fellow doctor Gerda Vorster. He soon left Berlin in order to escape Hitler’s Germany and went to Vienna, where he developed his interest in the physiology of the insulin coma. This led to an invitation to work in England, and he moved to Moorcroft House in 1936. He worked at Moorcroft during the war years, where he was one of the pioneers of the physical treatment of schizophrenia using deep insulin coma.
With the establishment of the NHS in 1947, Freudenberg moved to Netherene Hospital and was appointed Superintendent in 1951. He made significant changes at Netherene, to both the treatment and living conditions of patients with schizophrenia. He reduced overcrowding, provided more occupational therapy and improved the clothing, care and attention for his patients. Gerda Freudenberg worked alongside him in the League of Friends of Netherne Hospital.
In 1961 Freudenberg joined the Ministry of Health as Senior Principal Medical Officer and Head of the Medical Mental Health Section for the next four years.
The archive relates to Freudenberg's psychiatric practice at Netherne Hospital, his involvement with various professional bodies, and his writings on psychiatry from the 1930s-1970s. The original papers may be consulted at the Wellcome Library.
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