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Wilhelm Reich Trial: 1956

Discovers "orgone"

Before 1930, Reich published his book, The Function of the Orgasm. It theorized that physical and mental health were founded on the circulation through the body of a biological energy he called "orgone," repression of which led to physical or mental disease. While Freud's theory of libidinal energy established the libido only as a metaphorical concept, Reich insisted that the orgone was a physical reality.

Reich broke with Freud in 1930. Moving to Berlin, he established a lucrative psychiatric practice and became involved with the German Communist Party until its leadership declared his books, which emphasized sexual health rather than the class struggle, counter-revolutionary. Then, as the Nazis included his articles and books in their public book-burning in 1933, Reich fled to Vienna. There his wife dissolved the marriage, taking the children with her.

Reich moved to Norway, establishing an open marriage with Elsa Lindenburg, who had been in his Berlin Communist cell. There he conducted seminars in psychotherapy and published his findings on biogenesis. The year 1937 brought vicious attacks by the press on his "Bion Experiments," which he said revealed building blocks of life—pulsating microscopic material—that came from inorganic matter. Leaving Lindenburg, Reich next accepted an offer from the New School for Social Research in New York City to teach medical psychology. He sailed in August 1939, two weeks before the Nazis invaded Poland to start World War II (1939-1945).

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1954 to 1962Wilhelm Reich Trial: 1956 - Discovers "orgone", Invents "accumulator", Builds "cloud-buster", Ignores Injunction, Suggestions For Further Reading