HANS FRIEDRICH KARL GüNTHER (February 16, 1891 – September 25, 1968) was a German race researcher and eugenicist in the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich . He was also known as Race Günther (Rassengünther) or Race Pope (Rassenpapst). He is considered to have been a major influence on National Socialist racialist thought. He taught at the universities of Jena , Berlin , and Freiburg , writing numerous books and essays on racial theory. Günther's Short Ethnology of the German People (1929) was a popular exposition of Nordicism . In May 1930 he was appointed to a new chair of racial theory at Jena. He joined the Nazi Party in 1932 as the only leading racial theorist to join the party before it assumed power in 1933.
* 1 Biography
* 2 Racial theories
* 3 Influence on
Pages 34-5 of Short Ethnology of the German People. On the left
page (right of two) there is an image of
Günther was the son of a musician. He studied comparative
linguistics at Albert Ludwigs University in Freiburg, but also
attended lectures on zoology and geography . In 1911, he spent a
semester at the
In 1919, after the end of the war, he started his writing career. He
wrote a polemical work entitled "The Knight, death and the devil: the
heroic idea", a reworking of the tradition of German Pagan-Nationalist
Romanticism into a form of "biological nationalism". Heinrich Himmler
was very impressed by this book. In 1922 Günther studied at the
University of Vienna while working in a museum in
He received several honors during the
Third Reich , notably in 1935
he was declared "pride of the NSDAP" for his scientific work. In the
same year he received the Rudolph Virchow plaque, and in 1940 the
Goethe Medal for arts and science from
World War II
Günther's theories arose from the Nordicist ideology prevalent at
He wrote that a race could be identified in the following manner. "A race shows itself in a human group which is marked off from every other human group through its own proper combination of bodily and mental characteristics, and in turn produces only its like"
Günther divided the European population into six races, the Nordic , Phalic, Eastern, Western, Dinaric and East Baltic . "Western" and "Eastern" were, in practice, alternatives for the more widely used terms "Mediterranean " and "Alpine ". The "Phalic" race was a minor category dropped in many of his writings.
Günther in his book Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes (English: Racial Science of the German People) categorized Germans as belonging to the Nordic, Mediterranean, Dinaric, Alpine and East Baltic races. Opposed to the Nordics were the Jews, who were "a thing of ferment and disturbance, a wedge driven by Asia into the European structure." Günther argued that the Nordic peoples should unite to secure their dominance.
Although Günther seemed to admire Mediterraneans and Dinarics, as well as the highly praised Nordics, the East Baltic race was considered inferior in nearly every instance Günther mentioned it in his book, The Racial Elements of European History.
Günther believed Slavic people to be of "Eastern race" separate from Germany and Nordics and warned about mixing "German blood" with Slavic one
Among his disciples was Bruno Beger who, after an expedition to Tibet , concluded that the Tibetan peoples had characteristics that placed them between the Nordic and Mongol races, and were thus superior to other East Asians.
INFLUENCE ON HITLER
Timothy Ryback , who examined the books retrieved from Adolf Hitler
's private collection, notes that