Director's note on "Eugenic Minds"

Since its beginning, the entire project has had one basic goal... to offer a timeless meditation upon the abuse of the human pinnacles of science and education. In second place comes the question of academic careerism, which under totalitarian regimes reaches self-destructive proportions. From this, we naturally move to discussing the definition of science and when learning becomes pseudo-science. In third place comes the use of historical sources regarding the dominant theme of the first half of the 20th century, centered on the Nazi era. Nazism here is not only an inexhaustible fount of drama from a time when the value of human being and not-being were seriously deformed, but it also provides us with examples of propaganda capable of visualizing a subject in an unprecedented manner.

All three subjects form one compact whole, which we hope to encompass within a unique feature-length film that aims to speak to as broad an audience as possible – i.e., not just fans of historical documentaries.

The historical circumstances that caused Prague to be chosen as the site for one of the largest centers of applied race biology are specific to Prague and Bohemia. The capital city of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, which Adolf Hitler envisioned as the Reich's future capital of science, played a remarkable role within the network of SS offices involved in the mass extermination of "imperfect" social groups.

The primary discovery of our film's main historical advisor is the fact that Prague played an important role in giving birth to the vision of the world of the future – a new map of Europe created by the Thousand-Year Reich. Prague was the meeting place for leading race specialists who – on the grounds of the "oldest German university" – established scientific institutes analogous to those of the Reich. The small town of Prague thus gave rise to a small-scale version of the Reich's race movement.

Many of the subjects that make up the mosaic of the abuse of major biological discoveries have been discussed more than once – some of them even on film. We cannot claim that our project will offer 80 minutes of earth-shattering, newly discovered archival materials, although some are indeed new. However, our chosen format allows us to use original footage in a clear and almost entertaining manner in order to show ties and connections that could never be seen otherwise.

Animation allows us to visually connect facts that are historically related but have never been presented in this way. Some have been kept secret; others have been presented with different narration with the aim of manipulating the public. We definitely did not choose animation in order to follow the trend of incorporating unusual visual approaches in documentary film. Our subject's dramaturgy naturally resulted in the need to combine previously used material with previously unseen visual facts.

We would like to take previously presented themes and make them accessible to audiences that are not necessarily fans of historical documentaries. Using the film's visual and literary qualities, we hope to present the issue of uncontrolled science to those viewers who don't actually watch documentaries all that much. For these reasons, we have chosen an extraordinarily complicated and lengthy process that will accompany the commentary of a renowned author with animated images.

Another aim has been to create a truly European film, a documentary that will be fully translatable into any language, that will not exhaust the viewer with subtitles, and that – although it was made in Prague – will speak equally powerfully to people in England, Germany, Poland or Russia.

Let us return to our original ruminations upon the timelessness of the abuse of science and learning. The primary difference between the Second World War and today is that we have moved to the opposite extreme of the socio-political spectrum: the former mass phenomenon in politics has today been replaced by an extreme individualism. People rob, hurt and kill each other individually. It is neither a period of mass murder nor one of mass education; propaganda does not have one dominant, Big-Brother-like channel.

Today's scientific research is much more advanced than it was in the middle of the last century. Today, the Nazis' laws, their biological truths and their methods strike us as monstrously ridiculous... Every day, new DNA discoveries increasingly disqualify the old criteria for the genetic characteristics of a "healthy" population. Nevertheless, genetic science has gained new possibilities for manipulation, new criteria for categorizing people as attractive and inferior. For now, these criteria are abused by the power of the market and not by the central control of a totalitarian empire... for now.

Let us not fool ourselves – since time immemorial, people of all levels of intelligence have been tempted to play God in our earthly laboratory. The scientists and academics who today serve corporations will one day again let themselves be roped in by a system that offers them greater career opportunities than the slow and laborious exploration of truly natural laws. Secular laws are created by vote. But the will of the majority cannot rely blindly on scientific maturity and most certainly not on ethical ripeness... This is our film's message. However, a synopsis is not the summary of one chapter that can be presented as a sample of the whole. This is the message of our entire project as such.

Pavel Štingl