First name:
20th century
Field of expertise:
Anthropological psychiatry
Place of birth:
St. Petersburg (RUS)
* 17.04.1885
† 17.11.1972
Biography print

Russian-French psychiatrist and philosopher.


Eugène Minkowski (1885–1972) was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to Jewish-Polish parents. When he was seven years old, the family returned to Warsaw, where he attended school and started his medical studies. Due to the temporary closure of Warsaw University in 1905, he had to continue his studies in Breslau, Göttingen, and Munich. There he obtained his medical degree in 1909 and later completed his academic education with studies in philosophy and mathematics. In 1913, he married the psychiatrist Françoise Minkowska-Brokman. The couple settled in Munich but was forced to leave Germany due to the outbreak of World War I. They moved to Zurich, where Minkowski worked as an assistant to Eugen Bleuler at the psychiatric university clinic Burghölzli. In 1915, Minkowski joined the French Army as a military medic. He earned several military decorations, including the “Croix de Guerre”, and became an officer of the Legion of Honor. After the war, he returned to science and worked, for instance, at Sainte-Anne’s Psychiatric Hospital in Paris. He published important works on the links between phenomenology and psychiatry (e.g.,1927; 1933; 1966). During World War II, he was in the French Resistance and helped saving several hundreds of Jewish children by hiding them with non-Jewish families (Roches 2003: 31). Beginning in 1946, he studied how these children coped with their trauma, for which coined the term of “affective anaesthesia” (Gordon 2002: 4). Eugène Minkowski died in 1972.



Gordon, V. (2002): The Experience of Being a Hidden Child Survivor of the Holocaust. Melbourne: University of Melbourne.

Minkowski, E. (1926): La Notion de perte contact vital avec la réalité et ses applications en psychopathologie. Paris: Jouve.

Minkowski, E. (1927): La schizophrénie. Psychopathologie des schizoides et des schizophrènes. Paris: Payot.

Minkowski, E. (1933): Le Temps vécu. Études phénoménologiques et psychopathologiques. Paris: Payot. [English: Lived Time. Phenomenological and Psychopathological Studies. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1970].

Minkowski, E. (1936): Vers une cosmologie. Fragments philosophiques. Paris: Aubier.

Minkowski, E. (1966): Traité de psychopathologie. Paris: Univ. de France.

Minkowski, E. (2000): Au-delà du rationalisme morbide. Paris: L’Harmattan.

Minkowski, E. (2002): Écrits cliniques. Remonville: Eres.

Roches, C. d. (2003): Rue Amelot. Rescue as Resistance in Occupied France. 1940–1944. Montréal: Concordia University.


Robin Pape


Referencing format
Robin Pape (2015): Minkowski, Eugène.
In: Biographisches Archiv der Psychiatrie.
(retrieved on:17.04.2024)