Mikhail Shaevich Stern (Russian: Михаил Шаевич Штерн, 1918 – 17 June 2005) was a Soviet endocrinologist, sexologist and dissident.


Viktor Stern in 1977, holding a Dutch newspaper Haagsche Courant with the article 'The West Saved Stern'
Women's demonstration in the Hague on 8 April 1976, demanding release of Stern, among other things

Stern was born in a Jewish family in a small Ukrainian town of Zhmerynka. In 1944 he received his doctor degree, and in 1947 organized in Chernovtsy the first endocrinological center in Ukraine. In 1952 he moved to Vinnitsa. The same year he was discharged because of the Doctors' plot, an imaginary conspiracy of Jewish doctors to poison Soviet leaders. He was reinstated in 1954, a year after Stalin's death. In 1963, Stern became a section head in a newly established endocrinological center in Vinnitsa.[1]

In 1974, after his sons, Viktor (born 1941) and August (born 1945), applied for asylum in Israel, Stern was questioned at the Vinnitsa visa office and his flat was searched. Two weeks later he was arrested for swindling and bribery, and in December sentenced to eight years of hard labor in Kharkiv.[2][1]

Meanwhile, his sons left the Soviet Union and campaigned for the release of their father. In 1976, August published a transcript of his father's trial, which was the first time the transcript of a dissident trial was leaked to the public.[3][2] The transcript revealed various inconsistencies between witness accounts recorded behind closed doors and in the open trial, implying that the case was fabricated.[1] In 1977, an international tribunal was organized in Stern's defense in Amsterdam, which was attended by Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre. Stern was released a week before the opening of the tribunal. He immigrated to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where in 1979 he wrote a book describing taboos, sexual ignorance, and suppression of sexual freedoms in the Soviet Union.[4] The book documents Stern's professional communications with patients. Stern's medical files were confiscated during his trial, and therefore the book is mostly written from memory, supported by photographs and personal letters.[5]

Stern died in 2005 in Amsterdam, two months after being beaten by burglars.[2]


  1. ^ a b c СУД НАД ШТЕРНОМ. memo.ru
  2. ^ a b c Felix Corley (24 June 2005) Dr Mikhail Stern. Sexologist and Soviet dissident. independent.co.uk.
  3. ^ Mikhail Shtern; Vinnyt︠s︡ʹka oblastʹ(Ukraine). Oblasnyĭ sud. Kolehii︠a︡ kryminalʹnykh sprav (1976). Prednamerennoe ubiĭstvo Zakonom: "delo" doktora M. Shterna. "Панорама".  Republished in
    English as The USSR Versus Dr Mikhail Stern: An 'ordinary' Trial in the Soviet Union ISBN 0224014218
    French as Un procès "ordinaire" en U.R.S.S.: le Dr Stern devant ses juges ; édité par August Stern
  4. ^ Mikhail Shtern; Avgust Shtern (1979). La vie sexuelle en U.R.S.S. A. Michel. ISBN 978-2-226-00798-8.  Republished in 1979–80 in
    English as Sex in the USSR, ISBN 9780812909425
    Dutch as Seksuallivet i Sovjetunionen ISBN 8741825888
    Spanish as La vida sexual en la Unión Soviética ISBN 8402067522
    Portuguese as A Vida Sexual na União Soviética ISBN 9723811146
    The book was never published in Russian, but some chapters were back-translated from English by volunteers [1]
  5. ^ Suzanne G. Frayser; Thomas J. Whitby (1995). Studies in Human Sexuality: A Selected Guide. Libraries Unlimited. p. 659. ISBN 978-1-56308-131-6.