The Info List - Racial Hygiene

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Racial hygiene
Racial hygiene
was a set of state-sanctioned policies in the early twentieth century by which certain groups of individuals were allowed to procreate and others not, with the expressed purpose of promoting characteristics deemed desirable. Such policies were implemented in Nazi Germany, in accordance with Nazi eugenics. The idea that some races were superior to others emerged in the 19th century. The concept of racial purity was developed by Arthur de Gobineau, who argued that race created culture and that race-mixing leads to chaos. Racial hygiene
Racial hygiene
was historically tied to traditional notions of public health, but usually with an enhanced emphasis on heredity. The states of poverty and sickness were attributed to the individual and not social causes. A poor person was considered lacking in terms of heredity. The kind of medicine that evolved from turning these labels of “degeneration” into scientific categories was known as racial hygiene.[1] Francis Galton
Francis Galton
began working in 1869 to find a statistical science of heredity which he believed could encourage voluntary care in selecting partners, and in 1883 he introduced the term "eugenics" for this subject, but in the early 20th century a eugenics movement adopted ideas of Mendelian genetics and promoted negative eugenics to prevent those thought to be unsuitable from having children, and eugenics was used to legitimise policies of racial hygiene.


1 Origins and history 2 Francis Galton 3 In Germany 4 See also 5 References

Origins and history[edit] German social Darwinists felt the need for intervention in what they believed was the degeneration of humans. This desire for intervention was based on their belief that provision of health care to the lower social ranks and the rapid multiplication of the poor and weak members of society contributed to the corruption of the human race. However, this discussion was not restricted to Germany. British Social Darwinist voiced his opinions on the race problem by saying that diseases such as scrofula and tuberculosis were "our racial friends" because they rid society of the weak of constitution.[2]

Herero chained by the Germans during the 1904 rebellion in South-west Africa

There have been several examples of unethical medical experimentation that has been performed on various groups in Africa, which acted as a precursor to the holocaust. An example of this medical experimentation on African prisoners of war was in concentration camps in Namibia during the Herero and Namaqua Genocide. German South West Africa was a German colony. Sterilization experiments were conducted on Herero women who were the offspring of mixed race to gather evidence to ban interracial marriages.[3] Though they have been less covered in scholarly data, eugenics movements in Central and Southeast Europe have received significant analytical effort in recent times. Géza von Hoffman (1885–1921) was a Hungarian eugenicist who wrote Eugenics
in the Central Empires Since 1914, which was a comprehensive analysis of all the eugenic movements in central Europe at the time. American eugenicist Samuel J. Holmes wrote a similar A Bibliography of Eugenics
that also covered central European movements along with German, French and British movements.[4] Francis Galton[edit] Francis Galton
Francis Galton
was a polymath and statistician who coined the term 'eugenics', which is the basis of racial medicine. He defined eugenics as "the study of the Agencies under social control, that improve or impair the racial qualities of future generations either physically or mentally".[5] His father initially forced him to pursue a path of medicine, which he later gave up. Galton was one of the founders of the eugenics movement and a strong proponent of the concept of 'nature vs nurture'.[6] One of his most lasting contributions to the study of heredity is his theory that race defines a person far more than the person's environment.[7] In Germany[edit] See also: Nazi eugenics

Alfred Ploetz

The German eugenicist Alfred Ploetz
Alfred Ploetz
introduced the term Rassenhygiene in his " Racial hygiene
Racial hygiene
basics" (Grundlinien einer Rassenhygiene) in 1895. He discussed the importance of avoiding "counterselective forces" such as war, inbreeding, free healthcare for the poor, alcohol and venereal disease.[4] In its earliest incarnation it was concerned more with the declining birthrate of the German state and the increasing number of mentally ill and disabled people in state-run institutions (and their costs to the state) than with the "Jewish question" and "degeneration of the Nordic race" (Entnordung) which would come to dominate its philosophy in Germany from the 1920s through the second World War.

Eva Justin
Eva Justin
checking the facial characteristics of a Romani woman as part of her "racial studies"

In Nazi propaganda the term "race" was often interchangeably used to describe and mean the "Aryan" or Germanic "Übermenschen" which was said to represent an ideal and pure master race that was biologically superior to all other races.[8] In the 1930s, under eugenicist Ernst Rüdin, National Socialist ideology embraced this latter use of "racial hygiene", which demanded Aryan racial purity and condemned miscegenation. This belief in the importance of German racial purity often served as the theoretical backbone of Nazi policies of racial superiority and later genocide. These policies began in 1935, when the National Socialists enacted the Nuremberg Laws, which legislated racial purity by forbidding sexual relations and marriages between Aryans and non-Aryans as Rassenschande
(racial shame). Racial hygienists played key roles in the Holocaust, the German National Socialist effort to purge Europe of Jews, Romani people, Poles, Serbs
(along with majority of other Slavs), black people, multiracial people, the physically disabled, and the mentally retarded.[9] In the Aktion T4
Aktion T4
program, Hitler ordered the execution of mentally ill patients under the cover of euthanasia and deaths from strokes and illnesses.[10] The methods and equipment that had been used in the murder of thousands of mentally ill were then transferred to concentration camps because the materials and resources needed to efficiently kill incredibly large numbers of people existed and had been proven successful. The nurses and staff that had assisted and performed the killings were then moved along with the gas chambers to the concentration camps that were being built in order to be able to replicate the mass murders over and over. [11] The doctors who executed horrific experiments on the prisoners in concentration camps specialized in racial hygiene and used this supposed science to back their medical experiments. Some of the experiments were used for general medical research, for example injecting prisoners with known diseases in order to test vaccines or possible cures. Other experiments were used to further the German’s in war strategy, putting prisoners in vacuum chambers to see what could happen to pilot’s bodies if they are ejected at a high altitude or immerse human prisoners in ice water to see how long they would survive and what materials could be used to prolong life to be able to make effective coats or suits for German pilots who get shot down in the English Channel. [12] The precursors of this notion were earlier performing medical experiments on African prisoners of war in concentration camps in Namibia
during the Herero and Namaqua Genocide.[13] A key part of National Socialism
National Socialism
was the concept of racial hygiene and during their rule the field was elevated to the primary philosophy of the German medical community, first by activist physicians within the medical profession, particularly amongst psychiatrists. This was later codified and institutionalized during and after the Nazis' rise to power in 1933, during the process of Gleichschaltung
(literally, "coordination" or "unification") which streamlined the medical and mental hygiene (mental health) profession into a rigid hierarchy with National Socialist-sanctioned leadership at the top.[14] The blueprint for Nazism's attitude toward other races was written by Erwin Baur, Fritz Lenz, and Eugen Fischer
Eugen Fischer
and published under the title Human Heredity
Theory and Racial Hygiene (1936). See also[edit]

Aktion T4 Endogamy Ethnic cleansing Eugenics
in Japan Eugenics
in the United States Euthanasia Genetic pollution, a controversial term because of its similar connotations Mental hygiene Miscegenation
(in humans), Outcrossing (in non-human organisms) Pure blood theory in Korea Purebred Race (human classification) Race of the future – a theoretical composite world race which will result from ongoing racial admixture Racial policy of Nazi Germany Rassenschande White supremacy

References[edit] Notes

^ Götz, Aly (1994). Cleansing the Fatherland: Nazi Medicine and Racial Hygiene. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.  ^ Wentz S, Proctor RN, Weiss SF (1989). "Racial hygiene: the pseudo-science of Nazi medicine". Medical Humanities Review. 3 (1): 13–8. PMID 11621731.  ^ Harriet, Washington (2006). Medical Apartheid.  ^ a b Turda, Marius; Weindling, Paul (2007). Blood and Homeland": Eugenics
and Racial Nationalism In Central and Southeast Europe, 1900-1940. Budapest: Central European University Press. p. 1.  ^ "Francis Galton's definition of eugenics :: DNA Learning Center". www.dnalc.org. Retrieved 2017-04-19.  ^ Proceedings. 1875-01-01.  ^ Comfort, Nathaniel (2012). The Science of Human Perfection: How Genes Became the Heart of American Medicine. Yale University Press.  ^ Peter Longerich (15 April 2010). Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews. Oxford University Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-19-280436-5.  ^ Gumkowski, Janusz; Leszczynski, Kazimierz; Robert, Edward (translator) (1961). Hitler's Plans for Eastern Europe. Poland Under Nazi Occupation (First ed.). Polonia Pub. House. p. 219. ASIN B0006BXJZ6. Archived from the original (Paperback) on 9 April 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2014.  at Wayback machine. ^ Proctor, Robert N. (1982) "Nazi Doctors, Racial Medicine, and the Human Experimentation", in Annas, George J. and Grodin, Michael A. editors, The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremburg Code: Human Rights in Human Experimentation. New York: Oxford University Press. pp.19-26. ^ Proctor, Robert N. (1982) "Nazi Doctors, Racial Medicine, and the Human Experimentation", in Annas, George J. and Grodin, Michael A. editors, The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremburg Code: Human Rights in Human Experimentation. New York: Oxford University Press. pp.19-23. ^ Proctor, Robert N. (1982) "Nazi Doctors, Racial Medicine, and the Human Experimentation", in Annas, George J. and Grodin, Michael A. editors, The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremburg Code: Human Rights in Human Experimentation. New York: Oxford University Press. pp.25-26. ^ Lusane, Clarence (2002-12-13). "Hitler's black victims: The historical experiences of Afro-Germans, European Blacks, Africans, and African Americans in the Nazi era". ISBN 9780415932950.  ^ Herzog, Dagmar (2005). Sexuality and German Fascism. Berghahn Books. p. 167. 

Further reading

Collins, John F. (2015). Revolt of the Saints: Memory and Redemption in the Twilight of Brazilian Racial Democracy. Durham: Duke University Press. Glad, John. (2008). Future Human Evolution: Eugenics
in the Twenty-First Century. Hermitage Publishers. Joseph, J. (2004). The Gene Illusion: Genetic Research in Psychiatry and Psychology Under the Microscope. New York: Algora. (2003 United Kingdom Edition by PCCS Books) Joseph, J. (2006). The Missing Gene: Psychiatry, Heredity, and the Fruitless Search for Genes. New York: Algora. Paul, Diane B. Controlling Human Heredity, 1865 to the Present. New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1995. Proctor, Robert. Racial Hygiene: Medicine Under the Nazis. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1988.

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