German Wartime Science – a brief visual appendix

namet 2009 069With the development of the various biological disciplines at the turn of the twentieth century, the question of hereditary health and genetic prevention began to receive public attention. This was a worldwide trend. In Germany, with the surging nationalism, these issues were increasingly used as a public whip and as justification for stigmatizing certain social groups. The proper selection of a partner practically became religion, with the rules for this selection dictated by science, as interpreted by the relevant SS units and scientists within the National Socialist German Workers Party.

It is therefore no coincidence that, in a diagrammatic structure of party institutions, the race office is located at the very top of the hierarchy of the Reich's eight ideological organizational units.

namet 2009 01 The logistics involved in total reform were then performed by the executive units of the SS. Public opinion was methodically influenced by a wide range of print and film propaganda.

The SS Race and Resettlement Office (RuSHA SS) was responsible for dealing with the question of resettling and liquidating large groups of people in the Central Reich and the subjugated territories. Specifically, this included important tasks such as the implementation of Operation Reinhard, i.e., the Final Solution of the Jewish question, the repatriation of Germans living outside the Reich, and the racial purification of the Central Reich, i.e., the full Germanization of Bohemia, Moravia and almost half of Poland.

namet 2009 02 namet 2009 03 Numerous disputed issues - regarding mixed-race individuals, the vetting of Germans living outside the Reich and overseeing the proper racial evolution of "purebred" individuals within Europe - required constant inspection by racial experts, well-developed selection methods and the proper technological support. Thus was established the concept of "flying professors". These professors traveled all over the Reich and the occupied territories, conducting mass selective measurements on the populace.

namet 2009 096 In the visual collage, one of the leading race biologists working in Prague, Bruno Kurt Schultz, is seen conducting anthropometric measurements on his own son. This father of five beautiful Germanic children was also responsible for the logistics of mass murder in Ukraine and Russia, gave lectures on race biology at the German Charles University, and edited one of the most extreme racial journals.

In period newsreels created by Goebbels's news teams, shots from the eastern front frequently depict the forward march of smiling soldiers as a romantic adventure. Moving behind the Wehrmacht soldiers, statisticians produced source materials for the creation of the settlement plans. These special maps presented the far-reaching vision for utilizing the vast areas in the east, which in the future would be separated from the Central Reich by a "racial rampart." The Reichsführer-SS in charge of strengthening the German element, Heinrich Himmler, himself delighted in planning its location. He frequently went on his inspection tours accompanied by Prague-based experts in order to personally assess the racial quality of this or that territory.

namet 2009 04On his numerous tours, he unceasingly studied scientific source materials and statistics. His vision of future international borders were constantly evolving with wartime developments, but neither he nor his subordinates ever once doubted that it would come to fruition: Their favorite slogan was: "Though we must win this war by military force, neither must we lose it biologically."

namet 2009 031namet 2009 032A firm and unquestioning conviction in the Nazi ideology's scientific basis was didactically imparted on German children, citizens, party members and soldiers throughout the Nazi era. As early as in primary school, textbooks transposed the principles of Mendelian genetics, depicted using the sweet pea, onto human genetics. After successfully co-opting traditional genetics to form the basis of the Nuremberg Laws, Mendel's peas were reduced to a simple diagrammatic character, transformed into a diagram showing people.

Hidden behind this diagram, however, is the greatest mass murder in the history of mankind.

Under the spell of such highly persuasive forms of education and propaganda, Germany's best young soldiers volunteered to be killed on the front. With similar zeal, the elite of Germany's scientific community came up with visions of the human race of the future. While the soldiers fought with conviction until the last drop of blood, the scientists consciously worked to perfect their theories... In view of developments on the front, their conviction in the German system's invincibility is nothing less than baffling.

namet 2009 05Pictures intended for health education reveal much about the openly racist principles which were presented in various forms to pupils of various ages... Propaganda worked in ingenious ways to defend the racial laws and mass murder. It often sought the help of complicated scientific theories, which were successful in using quite witty approaches in order to popularize these ideas for easy comprehension by the masses. We can make full use of these "humorous educational images" in order to illustrate our documentary's storyline. Once we are capable of describing their background, the film will gain an important sense of discovery founded on the brutal argumentation of Nazi methodology.