WAIMH member, Dora Knauer has died from COVID-19

Dora Knauer photo

Dora Knauer. Source: rts.ch.

La pédopsychiatre Dora Knauer est décédée du Covid-19

A tribute by Kai von Klitzing

On April 20, 2020, Dora Knauer (70), a long standing WAIMH member from Geneva, has died of Covid 19. According to the Tribune de Genéve, Dora had to be admitted to the intensive care unit three weeks ago but succumbed to the malicious lung disease.

Dora was one of the pioneers of infant psychiatry and worked together with Bertrand Cramer, Francisco Palacia Espasa and Francois Ansermet. She was a member of the Swiss Psychoanalytic Society and the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA). She essentially contributed to establishing the famous Guidance Infantile in Geneva, at which she conducted seminal research on psychopathology and psychotherapy in infancy. She ran the innovative jardin d’enfants thérapeutique (therapeutic Kindergarten), a day treatment unit for preschoolers, and developed innovative techniques of mother – infant psychotherapy. With all her enthusiasm, sensitivity, and creativity she was devoted to the young children and their parents during the perinatal period.

During my years in Switzerland I collaborated with her on several occasions. Especially I remember a visit at her Jardin d’enfants in Geneva which was a model for a similar unit which we established at the Basel child psychiatry department. She regularly attended the WAIMH world congresses and presented her pioneering work. She was an important member of our association who was always integrating the infant mental health tradition of the French and English speaking world. She was such a devoted person; the community of infant researchers and clinicians owes much to her. We will miss her.

Interview with Dora Knauer
Tribune de Genève


Kai von Klitzing, University of Leipzig, Germany, President of WAIMH