The first 75 years of sabotage in visual science

(1925 -2000)

a) Beginning and destruction of the research on actual genesis

All preceding theories of visual perception are - sorry! - fruitless. Why? Because they are unable to account for the many different percepts that are made possible through one and the same stimulus. Why? Because visual scientists do not know them. Why not? Because since the time they were discovered, these facts have been suppressed. Why? Because they cannot be accounted for by existing theories. The circle that hinders research has closed. Who discovered the new facts, who began to suppress them, who continued the suppression? These questions will be answered in this section.

In the years from 1925 to 1940, the Leipzig Ganzheit psychology exhibited new facts that were expected to be able to give a fresh impetus to visual science: the facts of the ("hologene") "actual genesis" of a percept, which consists of a series of percepts of increasing complexity with increasing stimulus magnitude. One of the main achievements of the ETVG is the explanation of the actual genesis of a percept, which leads also to the general principles for the ontogenesis of visual perception. A number of the represen- tatives of the Leipzig gestaltists, however, prevented the further organic development of actual-genetic research, and consequently also of visual science, by sabotage, which began 1925 and has continued up to this day. As a great number of today's German psychologists, including perceptual scientists, are involved in this research sabotage and its cover-up, and as the 1961 ETVG manuscript, too, has been casuality of this sabotage (see Part 10), one cannot expect that any German psychologist can afford to deal with the ETVG proposed by an author who, at the same time, accuses a great number of living, and dead, internationally respected German university lecturers to have taken part in this scientific forgery.

It had already puzzled me in 1961, that I was the one who had developed the theory based upon "actual genesis" and not Prof. Friedrich Sander, in whose institute actual genesis was being researched. It was only in 1983, when I further developed the theory, that I was reminded of my questions at the time and decided to find out why Prof.Sander's research had remained fruitless. I could hardly believe what I was seeing as I closely read through Sander's publications. At first I thought that he had only been somewhat clumsy in his choice of test objects, by means of which he had wanted to research visual perception. Then I had the feeling that in reality, he wasn't even interested in visual perception, although he pretended to research it. At length I came across evidence of manipulations whose purpose was to prevent the advance of science. At that point I was fully alert: did Sander have something he wanted to hide? If so, what? Why would he want to hide it? How would he do so? And so I systematically searched through all the relevant Sander literature and discovered a chain of research sabotage involving Sander and at least two of his students. What follows is a brief summary of my findings, as the relevant original publications are in German.

I described the sabotage of Sander, Undeutsch, and Graumann in the domain of visual actual genesis (Kleine-Horst 1992c), which was first published in three booklets titled "The prevented science" (Kleine-Horst 1984a,b; 1985).

Prof. Dr. Friedrich Sander

Friedrich Sander was one of the founders of Leipzig Ganzheit Psychology. Subject and method of "actual genesis" were founded by his student Erich Wohlfahrt (1932), and described in his indepen- dently conceived 1925 doctoral thesis. Wohlfahrt interpreted his experimental results as being expressions of two processes (Part 6):

1. a "development to object adequacy", with increasing stimulus magnitude, in which process a series of pre-percepts ("Vor- gestalten") occur which grow, step by step, in differentiation and richness, often starting with diffuse simple spots, and ending in the complex and fully differentiated end-percept ("Endgestalt");

2. a "tendency toward good gestalt" (known from other experiments) that is most distinct in the first stages of small stimulus magnitude, i.e. of small sensory energy, and thus most dissimilar to the end-percept.

Right from the start, Sander himself began to destroy the actual genetic research in his institute. Sander pursued two aims: first, to pass himself off as the founder of actual genesis, which he rightly thought highly of. He systematically presented himself as a true crusader for the actual-genetic cause, both in a number of own essays and through experimental work on actual genesis in his institute. He ignored, however, the actual foundership of Wohlfahrt as often as possible, and referred to the latter's investigation as little as possible. With tricks and lies, he tried to at least claim the priority of actual genesis for himself by "proving" that he had already described actual genesis in his postdoctoral thesis in 1922. He could claim this for the first time in 1962, after Wohlfahrt had died in Nov. 1961, one of the only people who had known that no postdoctoral thesis of Sander exists.

Sander's second aim was particularly to keep what is new about actual genesis far from his readers' mind: the "development to object adequacy", which he was not able to account for with his own small theory of actual genesis. He tried to arrive at his aims by means of many tricks: he delayed the publication of Wohlfahrt's doctoral thesis for seven years while he published his own essays in which he presented mostly only such information about the actual-genetic process that did not conflict with his theory.  

1925: Sander forges an experimental protocol, which contains wrong results, and forces Wohlfahrt to refer to it in his doctoral thesis.

1926: During the International Conference of Psychology in Groningen, Sander introduces actual genesis for the first time as "lying at the heart of a series of investigations by the speaker and his coworkers completed years ago, but never published" (Sander 1928, p.57). (This suggests: they are unavailable). However, in reality only Wohlfahrt's study had been done (and was actually available) - no other investigation had been started.

1932: Sander publishes Wohlfahrt's doctoral thesis of 1925 and covers up the seven years' delay with the help of faked data. During this time, he desinforms his readers through his own essays on actual genesis.

1932: Sander publishes an essay which considerably deviates from his 1930 essay that was published in USA, and presents it as its reprint ("Abdruck"). In the USA paper, he wrote of rigid laws in the actual-genetic process: "...whereby the evolution of config- urations is exhibited in logical order". In the "reprint" for his main German audience, he nebulously claims: " which the genesis of gestalts presents itself in connection" ("in der sich im Zusammenhang das Werden von Gestalten darstellt."), a version he uses in a similar form also in future German articles.

1939/40 After four other students stress the crucial developmental aspect of actual genesis, Sander puts an end to such dangerous experiments, the results of which would plunge his little theory of actual genesis into absurdity. At any rate, he had never investigated any of the many questions which surfaced in the wake of the actual-genetic experiments.

1963: Sander receives the early ETVG manuscript (Kleine-Horst 1961), responds enthusiastically to it, and promises to read it thoroughly, as he feels that it must be worth his while. However, despite an inquiry, he is not heard from again, thus preventing the theory from being made available to science.

1967: Sander secretly adopts the ETVG’s crucial hypotheses on the actual-genetic process of visual perception, distributes them throughout three articles, and presents them as his own concept, the one he had been meaning all along (see Part 10).

1969: His colleague Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Salber, Cologne, helps him cover up his intellectual theft. In an article, Salber refers to Sander’s three papers from 1967, in which Sander introduced the totally new concept of actual genesis, but Salber does not even mention one word about the new concept’s contents.

1971: Sander dies.

1972: Sander’s self-portrait appears posthumously, in which he only refers to Salber’s article of 1967 in his reference list (in addition to his own literature). Sander had prepared everything perfectly, in order to leave Kleine-Horst behind in the present and to perhaps be discovered by a biographer in the future not only as the one who had already discovered the facts about actual genesis, in his postdoctoral thesis in 1922, but also to have explained it in 1967 in the framework of such a theory that he had recognized (in Kleine-Horst’s manuscript of 1961) as the theory of the future.  

By confusing his readers' Geist in order to prevent their recognizing his forgery of Wohlfahrt's material, Sander became - among others -  the leading gestaltist in the inflationary use of "gestalt". Thus, in all his German essays that are relevant for actual genesis, he used 153 different words which begin with "gestalt". In his 1930 USA article, he used "gestalt" 14 times, but 146 times in the German "reprint" of it. In this "reprint", Sander used the German terms "Gestalt", "Gestaltetheit", and "Gestaltung" as synonymous not only to one another, but also to 19 English terms: "character, configuration, construct, creation, figure, figuration, form, formation, forming, formulation, gestalt, organization, product, production, sense, shape, structure, symmetry, unity". Sander's cofraud Albert Wellek made fun of the non-gestaltists' difficulties in understanding gestalt psychology.

I was now puzzled a second time, this time about why no one before me had ever uncovered Sander's forgeries, especially the most obvious reprint forgery; Sander's students in particular must have known about Sander's few publications on actual genesis. I found two students and a colleague who made references to those pages of the original (Sander 1930) and the "reprint" (Sander 1932) that contain the reprint forgery: Udo Undeutsch, Carl Friedrich Graumann, and Prof. Dr. Albert Wellek.


Udo Undeutsch

In an international journal Sander's student Udo Undeutsch (1942) makes his knowledge of the sabotage known to his professor, particularly the forging of the reprint, and certifies that Sander has worked "with all methodological care and scientific neatness", and adds to the sabotage with an own contribution. Among others, he does not refer to any of the five investigators in actual genesis at Sander's institute, not even Wohlfahrt, and states that "F.Sander has developed the actual-genetic procedures", with which a "Copernican turning point" was achieved, and refers only to literature by Sander. With this, he even presents himself as Sander's only investigator in actual genesis, although he has never investigated in it. He uses the opportunity to describe the general course of an actual-genetic process in greater detail, for which he, however, plagiarizes, word-for-word and almost word-for-word, from a report by his colleague Butzmann (1940).


Carl Friedrich Graumann

Undeutsch was the second referee for the doctoral thesis of Carl Friedrich Graumann. Graumann, who had systematically searched for Nazi-statements in the literature of his lecturers with fellow- students, had in this way also become acquainted with the Nazi-past of Sander and Undeutsch as well as their forgeries. He begins his career as a psychology historian with a grand forging of psychology history (Graumann 1959). He does not ignore Wohlfahrt, but uses a number of tricks to make Sander the founder of actual genesis with priority over Wohlfahrt.

1. He withholds the year of Wohlfahrt's 1925 doctoral thesis from his readers, and makes it  appear to have existed only since the year of publishing (1932), thus solidifying Sander's ruse of delaying the printing.

2. Using a trick of definition, Graumann declares three papers of Sander, Ipsen and Werner from 1926 to be the "earliest foundation" ("Anfangsgrundlagen") of actual genesis. Which, due to its publishing date of 1932, categorizes Wohlfahrt's doctoral thesis as "further development (Ausbau) of the actual-genetic research approach", and Wohlfahrt is thus already out of the picture.

3. Graumann's ingenious claim that the auditory studies of 1926 were published before the visual ones helped to put Ipsen out of the running, as his work refers to the visual domain.

4. With the linguistically-suggestive trick of always referring to the three 1926 investigations in the sequence: "Sander - Ipsen - Werner", and referring back to Sander's research when mentioning Werner's and not vice versa, Graumann gives the impression that Werner published his work late in 1926 and at that point arrived at the same conclusions as Sander had in his auditory rhythm-research. At this point, Werner, too, is out of the picture, and Sander has become the true founder of actual-genesis.

5. This result, however, is based on a number of lies. Sander's (1926) publication ("On spatial rhythm") obviously does not deal with auditory rhythm, as its subtitle clearly shows: "Experimental investigations on the rhythmlike forming of sequences and groups in simultaneous visual impressions". (Sander would thus have been out of the picture together with Ipsen.) Moreover, Sander himself refers to other authors' literature from 1893 to 1896 on both "the subjective rhythmization of sound impressions" and "valuable supplementations by studies...., which showed analogue phenomena in the perception of successive light stimuli". Among the authors of this research is also Werner with a paper "On optic rhythm" from 1919. But there is more: Sander himself tells readers right at the beginning that he did not do his own research, and had instead only "repeated the experiments of his predecessors for his own orientation and re-examination. That what, in the following, goes beyond what is reported in the literature, comes from these own observations" (Sander 1926, p.126).

In other words: with the help of several lies and tricks, psychology historian Graumann manages to establish Wohlfahrt as the successor of Wohlfahrt's successor Sander, and even to sell the scientific community an obvious collage of nine investigations by seven authors, one of them being Sander, as Sander's exclusive creation, one that at the same time represents the foundation for the new research approach to actual genesis.

In case readers should not be willing to accept these arguments, Graumann slanders Wohlfahrt by accusing him of using "misleading nomenclature", and even an "inexactitude of psychological thinking and experimentation", because he had, in order to describe pre-gestalts, not used purely descriptive terms, as Sander did, but such that require the (impossible) knowledge of the endgestalt, "regularization", for example, in comparison with a non-regular endgestalt, or "symmetrization" in the case of a non-symmetric endgestalt. This claim is another lie, as Sander also used these terms, as all his actual genesis investigators did. (From that point on, however, Sander never again used these criticized terms).

Graumann's forgery is integrated into a Festschrift for Sander, who publishes it in a journal he edits, and later thanks Graumann for his "systematical and critical presentation of the history of the approach to actual-genetic research". Immediately after having submitted his fake, Graumann obtains his postdoctoral qualification from Sander, and in 1963 is made professor in Heidelberg.


Prof. Dr. Albert Wellek

Wellek, too, knows of Sander’s reprint forgery of 1932. He even has knowledge of Sander’s repeat performance in the private edition of 1943. It is Wellek who integrates Graumann’s forgery into the Festschrift for Sander in 1959. In this same document, he ascribes Sander ”most exact and minute work”, ”scientific strictness and critic”, and even celebrates the one who has destroyed gestalt- genetic research as the ”epitome of a Gestalt geneticist” and he sells him to the reader as one of ”such men (that) will always be exemplary and the leaders of talented youth...” (see Kleine-Horst 1998b).


b) Cover-up of the sabotage of actual genesis
by the German psychology establishment

I sent "The prevented science" to many German psychologists, to German journals and the German Association for Psychology (DGPs). I have described what happened next together with supplemental information from the past in a second book (Kleine-Horst 1998b): first, further swindles by Graumann, Undeutsch and Sander; second, the continuation of the sabotage through today's German psychologists, particularly the executive committee of the DGPs; and third, the close connections between scientific sabotage in the actual genesis domain and the Nazi network that managed the DGPs until 1960.


Editors of German journals

In 1984, the Berlin gestaltist and visual scientist Prof. Dr. Michael Stadler promised to review Part 1 of "The prevented science" (Kleine-Horst 1984a), dealing only with the swindle of Sander, for the journal "Gestalt Theory"  that he edited, and planed another review in the German edition of "Psychology Today". Because: "what you have uncovered must be made known to the experts". He refused, however, to review Part 2 (Kleine-Horst 1984b) that was published several months later and that pertains to the still living coforgers of Sander, i.e. Stadler's colleagues Graumann and Undeutsch, but again confirmed the review of Part 1, as he had no objections to its approx. 150 verified quotes. However, this review was also never published. (Today Undeutsch does business with the discreet Stadler).

Prof.Dr. Oskar Lockowandt, not a visual scientist, spontaneously offered to arrange for a review on Parts 1 and 2 of "The prevented science", which he judged to be "strong stuff". But he found, to his own surprise, that none of the referees who usually wrote for his journal were willing to review these publications.

Psychology Associations  

In 1985, I sent the three booklets on "The prevented science", the third of them dealing with Sander's plagiarism in respect to the ETVG (Kleine-Horst 1985; see also Part 10) to the DGPs. Its full response:

"The executive committee of the German Association for Psychology does not see any reason to comment on your - in our opinion groundless - accusations against single colleagues."

This executive committee consisted of the Prof. Drs. Franz Emanuel Weinert, President, Hans-Joachim Kornadt, Vice- President, Hans Spada, Urs Baumann, and Manfred Amelang.

In 1986, the Secretary General of the International Union of Psychological Science and former DGPs president, Prof. Dr. Kurt Pawlik, did not object to the membership of an association consisting of both researchers and forgers. He was to become president of the International Union in 1992 upon recommendation of the DGPs.

The Professional Association of German Psychologists, of which Sander was an honorary member since 1958, and in which Undeutsch was the head of the department for traffic psychology, did not answer my question regarding ”The prevented science”. Its discreet Vice President Prof. Dr. Egon Stephan was given the honor of receiving his retired protégé Prof. Undeutsch's university chair.

In 1990 I asked the DGPs a second time for a reaction to "The prevented science". Its executive committee, too, refused to do so, as its president, the visual scientist Prof. Dr. Gerd Lüer, wrote. The next DGPs executive committee (President: Prof. Dr. Jürgen Bredenkamp) made the forger and former DGPs president, C.F. Graumann, an honorary member of the DGPs.

The Nazi network and the German Association for Psychology

1933: The Jew Professor Peters is fired from his chair at the Institute of Psychology at the University of Jena and is replaced by the Nazi Sander, who two months later is already closely connecting science and ideology.
1934: Sander is made coeditor of the "Zeitschrift für Jugendkunde" and writes into the preface:"The loyalty to a chosen Führer innate in our nature proves itself time and again through subordination, obedience and discipline."

1935: Sander becomes a member of the executive committee of the DGPs.

1935: Sander publishes G.Hausmann's doctoral thesis of 1933, the second on visual actual genesis, in an abridged version leaving out the detailed theoretical parts, and then submits this abridged version to the faculty as Hausmann's doctoral thesis - without the author's knowledge or even permission.

1936: After this document forgery, Sander loses his membership in the DGPs executive committee.

1937: Sander states in a journal for teachers that  

        And thus,
1938: Sander is received back into the DGPs executive committee; he is its vice-president from 1939 to 1945.

1943: Sander repeats his reprint forgery of 1932 as a private edition.

1944: Sander accepts the postdoctoral thesis of J.Voigt on actual genesis in thought processes only after having forced the author to remove its detailed theoretical part.

1945: Nazi-Sander is dismissed as university lecturer; the Nazi-DGPs is closed.


1946: Sander's coforger Undeutsch, student until 1945, emerges as "Diplompsychologe Dozent Dr. habil." at the University of Mainz, to which he has his friend A.Wellek follow him later. A doctoral thesis by Undeutsch cannot be found, its existence is only asserted in literature, and only that by Sander, Wellek, and Graumann as well as by a former fellow student of Undeutsch. Undeutsch's scientific achievements consist of 38 printed pages from 1940 and 1942, in which he forges for Sander and presents himself as a racist. Nobody can be found, moreover, from whom he could have obtained his postdoctoral qualification.

1951: After having published nothing from 1943 to 1949 (except a number of smaller Sander-friendly fakes in the form of book reviews) and two essays on juvenile sexuality in 1950, Undeutsch is made professor in Cologne. The district attornies of the Rhineland vie for the suspected title swindler, who is open to blackmail, as a psychological expert witness. In the years that follow, until 1992, Undeutsch gives more than 2000 testimonials. He even dares to judge the credibility of evidence given by Jewish witnesses in a murder trial against former SS-men. Testimony: not credible.

1952: Undeutsch plays an important role in a putsch: by a crucial vote the DGPs executive committee, which has in the meantime been newly founded, expands its membership by a racial anthropologist. As could be expected, two other members, one of them Bondy who had been dismissed from his chair in 1933 because he was a Jew, leave the committee and are replaced with Nazis, one of them Undeutsch. Thus the last of the pre-war Nazi-network – F. Sander, A. Wellek, O. Kroh, P. Lersch – reestablish their control over the German university lecturers for psychology, which they maintain up to and including 1960.

1953: Sander, who can now be blackmailed by insiders on two points (the actual genetic research and the document forgeries) is once more made Vice-President of the DGPs. No sooner had democratic elections been reinstated in the DGPs than they were done away with again. (This "policy" has continued to the present: every member of the board is nominated according to the old boys’ system, running without an opposing candidate to then be elected with a 70-90% positive vote.)

1955: Sander is given a chair at the University of Bonn. Three times in succession, in 1955, 1957, and 1959, he is ”elected” DGPs President.

1960: Severe international pressure due to his 1937 racist article is necessary before Sander gives up his presidency of the International Psychological Conference in Bonn and also resigns as DGPs President. Graumann, Weinert and Thomae manage the local conference committee.

1963: Undeutsch, also open to blackmail, is made a psychological expert for the state North Rhine-Westphalia.

1968: In a putsch-like campaign, Graumann is made DGPs- President, ”elected” by 33 out of several hundred members. Several voters, known by name, out of the group of Graumann- faithfuls as well as Pawlik, are favored for the positions of President and Vice-President in the following time period.

1990-1998: During the second inquiry into the DGPs in reference to ”The prevented science” in 1990, we meet the six Graumann- faithfuls as President and Vice-President in the next five executive committees again: Prof. Drs. Weinert, Kornadt, Spada, Baumann, Amelang, Lüer, while for years Undeutsch headed the division for traffic psychology of the DGPs.  

These facts are in the second fraud book (Kleine-Horst 1998b) that was published in August 1998 and made it into the hands of the DGPs President Prof. Dr. Manfred Amelang, Heidelberg, together with the first fraud book (Kleine-Horst 1992c). But even the election of the executive committee 1998/2000 on October 1st, 1998, which made Prof. Dr. Rainer H. Kluwe, Hamburg, President, did not bring an end to the sabotage. This has continued up to today (December 31st, 2000).

In October of 1998, Prof. Dr. Dieter Heller of Aachen planed to examine my deception books. He promised to inform me of the result of his investigations. However, he never contacted me again and did not answer my two inquiries. Was he silenced as well?

Scientific fraud pays, not only for the forgers, but also for those who know of the fraud but remain silent and for whom the forgers are vulnerable. Both work together to forward the other into positions of power and prestige, by electing each other as presidents and honorary members of national as well as international scientific societies and professional associations, supplying each other with university chairs and doing business. Under such circumstances it is to be expected that my detailed descriptions of the deception are used as "self-help books" by clever young scientists to learn the necessary know how for a safe university career: study the literature of your professor, discover his deceptions, discreetly let him or her know of your findings, and what follows is an honorable ascent full of sinecures through the university hierarchy. It is especially easy for German psychologists. They do not have to worry about finding new deceptions, but can still profit from the Graumann-Undeutsch- Sander forgery. For, as long as the conspiracy of silence that was begun decades ago continues, the forgers can be blackmailed, be it directly or indirectly, through the number of exploiters that has steadily grown over the years. Sander could be blackmailed since 1935, Undeutsch since 1946 and to an even greater extent since 1951, and Graumann and his DGPs executive committees since 1986.

I wonder what the next 75 years will bring.

Excerpts from  L.Kleine-Horst: "Empiristic theory of visual gestalt perception. Hierarchy and interactions
of visual functions" (ETVG). Köln 2001 (Preface and Introduction)]

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