This problem-oriented article is based on two patient records of the Psychiatric Poliklinik in Zurich. It deals with the complexity of interpretations connected with sanctions like artificial abortion and sterilization of young women. The two examples of the 1930s and 40s illustrate how difficult it is to verify eugenic motivation. However, social, economic and moral factors could influence the psychiatric opinion. In addition, the article advocates the integral archival storage of individual patient records as a source for a differentiated
historiography of medicine.