University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


  • Racism - Page 2

    Racism - Page 2

    alfred hocheII.7
    Alfred E. Hoche (1940)

    Alfred Erich Hoche (1865-1943), was from 1899 onwards professor in Strasbourg and since 1902 a full professor for psychiatry and later-on for neuropathology in Freiburg/Br., was honoured by the Nazis as pioneer of „euthanasia"; however, after 1933, he obviously dissociated himself from his former ideas. These were clearly stamped by his experience of World War I and the dying of German soldiers (one of them was his son), which was said to be in contrast with the number of survivors in mental homes. In fact, the death rate in psychiatric institutions was, however, extremely high during the war.

    Seminar on "Hereditary Teaching and Racial Hygiene "with the Staatsmedizinische Akademie in Berlin-Charlottenburg, December 10th-15th
    December 1934

    The physicians of the mental hospitals regularly participated in scientific lectures and congresses on "Hereditary Teaching "and "Racial Hygiene ", where they also met the leading representatives of Nazi racism.

    propaganda board

    "It would end like this... "exhibition "Wonders of Life", Berlin 1935
    Propaganda board

    The horrible results of an uncontrolled growth of population were always forecasted in Nazi propaganda, like here in an exhibition of the Reich government. Behind was the idea that "inferiority traits "are passed on with more vigour than "high value. traits ".

    "The dreadful heritage of an alcoholic woman", 1936

    The Nazis considered large groups of the population as of minor value: poor people and beggars, criminals, prostitutes, alcoholics. The pictures of propaganda followed the idea that ways of behavior and life, too, are passed on by reproduction.

    "Ich klage an" (I accuse), 1941
    Film poster

    Deutsches Filmmuseum Frankfurt a.M. The killing of people, sick and of "inferior value", was dealt with in public only in a most secret way. The film "I accuse", initiated by the Führer's chancellery in 1941 (under the direction of Wolfgang Liebeneiner. 1905-1987, professor with the Filmakademie in Babelsberg) is the most known example of film propagandaAlready shown after the killing action by gas, it was obviously intended to prepare public opinion for more assassination by drugs and withdrawal of food. However, the focus of the film is neither on a "mentally sick" nor on a disabled person, but on the wife of a physician, who suffers from multiple sclerosis. Her husband, having been urged by his wife to give her the fatal medicine ends up by making the first step before court and to accuse himself. The film ends without a judgment. Ail the personnel of the Eichberg mental hospital were among the spectators who were asked to watch this film.

    "Das Leben" (the life), exhibition of the German Museum of Hygiene in Darmstadt, May/June 1938

    Hess. State Archives Darmstadt, R 12 K Nazi propaganda placed in opposition persons of "inferior value" to "healthy" "Aryan" life for which the Nazis granted all kinds of support such as matrimonial loans, family allowances etc.

    "Die deutsche Haltung, die deutsche Leistung beweisen das nordische Rassenerbe!" (German attitude, German performance give proof of Nordic racial heredity), no date
    Picture of propaganda

    picture of propaganda

    Der Lebensborn (the Fountain of Life), 1943

    Federal archives, Collection of photos The "Lebensborn" association founded in 1935 by Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer of the SS, was designed to care for pregnant women, "racially and biologically precious, who, after an attentive examination by the association of both their own and the progenitor's family are expected to give birth to children of the same quality." The association's specialized physicians included the directors of the Marburg university clinic and of the hygiene institute of the university of Marburg.

    Until the final days of the war the association maintained eight maternity and four children's homes at different places. Between 7,000-8,000 children were born in these homes, of which 50-60% of them were illegitimate. The children of the home "Taunus" near Wiesbaden, established in 1939, were given to adoptive parents through the channels of the adoption office of the Nassau district agency, under the custodianship of Landesrat Fritz Bernotat. Some of the mothers came from the concentration camp Ravensbrück, since 1943 under the field office control of the home. If children in the "Lebensborn" homes were born sick or disabled, they were immediately "selected" and killed,with others, in the Brandenburg-Görden "Children's Specialty Department".

    "You have the duty to be healthy for the nation and the state", 1939
    Newspaper article
    Nassauer Volksblatt dated 2nd April 1939 For the Nazis, health and disease were political categories of the first rank. Disease was considered as a symptom of insufficient social discipline and of a missing commitment to "national unity", that needed to be "healthy" and "racially pure" if it wanted to reign the world.