The Psychiatric Files Klaus Kinski's Widow Files Charges against Berlin, Clinic

Last week, German tabloids revealed the secret medical files of legendary actor Klaus Kinski. This week, his widow has accused both Berlin and a psychatric clinic where Kinski once stayed of violating privacy laws.


German actor Klaus Kinski was known for his passionate performances that bordered on the manic. In countless films such as "Fitzcarraldo" and "Aguirre: The Wrath of God" -- many directed by Werner Herzog -- he often portrayed men on the very edge of madness. Indeed Herzog's documentary on their fraught relationship, "My Best Fiend," revealed just how difficult it was to deal with the actor's extravagant and extreme personality. Now, however, Kinski's widow is filing a criminal complaint against the Berlin state archive for releasing files that indicate that the notoriously temperamental star may have at one stage been truly mentally ill.

Minhaoi Loanic, Kinski's third wife, is going after the archive for releasing Kinski's patient file from the time he was admitted to the Karl Bonhoeffer Nerve Clinic in September, 1950. The records were among thousands that Vivantes, the company that runs the clinic, handed over to the city's archives last week. The mass circulation daily Bild published details from Kinski's file last week.

The Berlin state archive has the right to all of the clinic's 90,000 documents covering the years 1880 to 1960. The patient files that were released last week were of particular interest to researchers as most date back to the Third Reich and included files belonging to victims of the Nazi policy of euthanasia. However, they also included the file of one Klaus Nakschinski, Kinski's real name, who spent three days in the psychiatric clinic back in 1950 when he was 26 years old.

Loanic's lawyer Ferdinand von Schirach says she was furious that her husband's hospital files were released and that she was neither asked nor informed about the decision. Shirach says the files contain statements that the then patient Kinski confided to his doctors and psychologists and which would have been subject to doctor/patient confidentiality. In a statement released on Sunday, the attorney accused both the archive and Vivantes of breaking Berlin's data protection law and said that the "most private revelations about the life of Klaus Kinski" had caused "irreparable damage." Loanic has not yet decided whether to sue for damages.

Loanic, who is originally from Vietnam, lives in Lagunitas, northern California, where Kinski died in 1991 at the age of 65. She visited the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year for the premier of "Jesus Christ Savior," a documentary about a legendary 1971 performance by Kinski.

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