Eugenics and the Third Reich

Eugenics and the Third Reich

By Stephen B. Saetz, Marian Van Court, and Mark W. Henshaw

Original version published in The Eugenics Bulletin, Winter 1985

Paul Popenoe, one of the four most active figures in the early American eugenics movement, was asked in 1962 to account for the eclipse of the movement worldwide, and he replied: “The major factor in the decline of eugenics was undoubtedly Hitlerism” (letter of February 20, 1962 to Donald K. Pickens, in Pickens 1968: 99).

Ask almost anyone who has heard of eugenics which word comes to mind when “eugenics” is mentioned, and the answer will be “Nazis.” This association provides a field day for misinformation and sensationalism. The following assertion by historian Lucy Davidowicz perhaps encapsulates the entire series of conceptions surrounding this matter:

Almost as soon as the Nazis came to power, they began to apply their racial ideology and enact these racial notions into law. The first step came with the law on compulsory sterilization, enacted July 14, 1933 . . . Thereafter the German dictatorship embarked on a program to carry out a policy of racial eugenics or, if you will, racial biology. That program had two aspects: positive eugenics and negative eugenics. Positive eugenics was a program designed to increase the population of persons who were regarded as racially pure “Aryans” (and good Nazis as well). Negative eugenics was a program designed first to halt the procreation of persons or categories of persons who did not meet the standards of racial purity through sterilization and then eventually to kill them and to kill those who were regarded as the racial enemy – the Jews and the Gypsies (“Biomedical Ethics and the Shadow of Nazism. A Conference on the Proper Use of the Nazi Analog in Ethical Debate / April 8, 1976,” p. 3).

A number of prominent contemporary eugenicists have themselves accepted some or all of these conceptions, so pervasive have the latter become. For example, Carl J. Bajema has said:

Does eugenics include brutal racist evolutionary practices such as those of Nazi Germany? The tragic history of Nazi Germany indicates that racism and man’s attempts to influence his own genetic evolution are not necessarily mutually exclusive modes of behavior . . . Eugenics includes such policies as those of Nazi Germany if eugenics is defined as the social control of human genetic evolution (Bajema 1976: 5).

Many other such examples could be cited; clearly, the link with Third Reich is the greatest cross which contemporary eugenics has to bear. But is this association fully or partially justified, or is it merely a fabricated case of guilt by association? Historical data can put this question into proper prospective and show how dedicated the National Socialists really were towards eugenics.

The purported relationship between National Socialist policies and eugenics is generally supported through five lines of argument:

I. The attacks on European Jewry was carried out for eugenic reasons.
II. The National Socialist euthanasia program was motivated by eugenics.
III. The infamous Lebensborn represents a National Socialist stud farm designed to encourage the fittest mothers to breed.
IV. Himmler attempts to create a eugenic elite through SS selection and marriage criteria
V. The German negative eugenics laws were qualitatively different, and not just quantitatively different, from similar policies elsewhere in the world.

This essay will be devoted to a critical examination of these claims.


There are two questions to be addressed here. Firstly, did eugenics have anything to do with the motivation, advocacy, implementation, or justification of National Socialist policies towards the Jews, and secondly, if not, then what was the source?

Adolf Hitler’s fundamental view of the Jews had been formed in late adolescence in Vienna, and it consisted of the following basic beliefs: that the Jews constituted an unassimilable, ethnically alien State-within-a-State wherever they resided; that they lived a parasitical existence based upon the accumulation and manipulation of money for its own sake and even more as a source of power; that they were the creators and propagators of movements inimical to the spiritual and material welfare of European peoples, e.g., Bolshevism, Marxism, finance capitalism, Free Masonry, liberalism, egalitarianism, and Freudianism; that they acted as the bearers of the corrosion of national life, functioning as nihilistic agents of the dissolution of national and ethnic feeling and tradition and of all organic bonds, in the process setting various segments of the population against each other, e.g., capital and labor, in order to “divide and conquer”; that they were inherently venal, materialistic, and totally devoid of idealism; that they played a decisive role in manifestations of social degeneracy such as prostitution, usury, pornography, modern art, financial crimes, and the narcotics trade; and that they had been engaged in a 4,000-year-old conspiracy to dominate the world pursuant to their view of themselves as the Chosen People. (cf. generally Mein Kampf). In all this, Hitler was fully in the mainstream of European racial anti-Semitism which he had absorbed in Vienna.

From the time he came to power to the end of his life, Hitler was convinced that world Jewry was to blame, first for agitation abroad for war against Germany, and then for the outbreak of war itself and its extension into a world war. He asserted that important Jewish organizations and prominent Jewish spokesmen had stated explicitly that they would not rest until the openly anti-Semitic National Socialist regime was destroyed, even if it required war to do it; and that powerful Jewish figures in politics, the press, radio, and films – particularly in the U.S., Britain, and France – were in the forefront of this agitation for war.

The policy of the German government prior to World War II had been to bring about complete social segregation, to deny Jews German citizenship, and to eliminate systematically Jewish influence in German life. Later in the prewar period – after November 1938 – punitive measures were instituted to force Jews to emigrate at a faster rate. By 1939, 400,00 of the 600,00 Jews of pre-1938 Germany had departed. From the outbreak of the war until mid-1941, various plans were devised to resettle the Jews within the German sphere of control, but these plans were abandoned for various reasons.

In his table talk for February 13, 1945, close to the end of the war, Hitler justified his opposition to the Jews in this way:

I have always been absolutely fair in my dealings with the Jews. On the eve of war, I gave them one final warning. I told them that, if they precipitated another war, they would not be spared and that I would exterminate the vermin throughout Europe, and this time once and for all. To this warning they retorted with a declaration of war and affirmed that wherever in the world there was a Jew, there, too, was an implacable enemy of National Socialist Germany. (Hitler 1961: 57).

Finally, in a retrospective attempt to justify his actions, he announced the following in his Political Testament, dictated on April 29,1945 the day before he committed suicide:

I have left no one in doubt that if the people of Europe are once more treated as mere blocks of shares in the hands of these international money and finance conspirators, then the sole responsibility for the massacre must be borne by the true culprits: Jewry. Nor have I left anyone in doubt that this time millions of European children of Aryan descent will starve to death, millions of men will die in battle, and hundreds of thousands of women and children will be burned or bombed to death in our cities without the true culprits being held to account, albeit more humanely (Hitler 1976: 346).

Paul Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda and Gauleiter (District Leader) of Berlin, echoed these same sentiments. On November 16, 1941, in a long editorial entitled “The Jews are to Blame!” in his prestigious weekly newspaper Das Reich, Goebbels wrote:

World Jewry, in starting this war, made an entirely wrong estimate of the forces at its disposal, and is now suffering the same gradual process of destruction which it had planned for us, which it would apply without hesitation were it to possess the power to do so. It is in line with their own law, “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” that the ruin of the Jews is now taking place . . .

The Jews are our destruction. They provoked and brought about this war. What they mean to achieve by it is to destroy the German state and nation . . . The treatment we give them does them no wrong. They have more than deserved it . . . (Remak 1969: 155, 156, 157).

What clearly and consistently emerges is that the motivation behind the National Socialist policies towards the Jews lay in Hitler’s conviction, shared by his associates, that the Jews were traitors to Germany and responsible for the origin, enlargement, and prolongation of World War II. Combine this with the fact that the Jews were responsible for a disproportionate share of the artistic and scientific output not only of Germany but of all Europe (Murray 2003: 275-293), and it becomes obvious that the Third Reich’s opposition to the Jewish people had nothing to do with eugenics, nor could it justified in terms which might be even pseudo-eugenic.


The German euthanasia program – which accounted for the deaths of perhaps as many as 80,000 people, largely institutionalized mental patients – has come to be confused with eugenics in the minds of many. The historian Joachim Remak, editor of The Nazi Years: A Documentary History, devoted his entire chapter on “eugenics” in the Third Reich to euthanasia. What are the facts?

In a secret order issued in September 1939, Adolf Hitler initiated a euthanasia program. The order was both simple and direct:

Reicheleiter Bouhler and Dr. Brandt, MD, are herewith given full responsibility to enlarge the powers of certain specified doctors so that they can grant those who are by all human standards incurably ill a merciful death, after the most critical assessment possible of their medical condition (Irving 1977: 21).

The rationale for the issuance of this order seems clear:

The ostensible occasion for this formal decision was related to war needs. About a quarter of a million hospital beds were required for Germany’s mental institutions; of Germany’s disproportionately large insane population (a result of centuries of lax and indiscriminate marriage laws) of some seven or eight hundred thousand people all told, about 10 percent were permanently institutionalized. Others were in and out of hospitals. They occupied bed space and the attention of skilled medical personnel which Hitler now urgently needed for the treatment of the casualties of his coming campaigns . . . . . . Hitler instructed Dr. Conti that in view of the war, a program for the painless killing of the incurably insane should be initiated; this would release badly needed hospital beds and nursing facilities for patients with a greater national priority (Irving 1977: 20-21).

The Jewish historian Gitta Sereny, who discusses it at length, characterizes the euthanasia program as having been undertaken for “starkly economic” reasons (Sereny 1983: 50).

It is sometimes contended that those at whom this order was directed composed a large segment of those considered unfit from a eugenic standpoint; in the quotation by Davidowicz cited in the introduction to this paper, she claims that euthanasia was somehow the extension of eugenic sterilization: “Negative eugenics was a program designed first to halt the procreation of persons . . . and then events to kill them [sic] . . .” Yet neither common sense nor the historical record provide any support for this notion. The interest of negative eugenics in cases of genetic defect is that they not reproduce, a purpose fully accomplished by sterilization or segregation. What eugenic purpose could possibly have been served by putting to death institutionalized patients who had no possibility of procreation whatsoever? The answer, obviously, is none. The National Socialist’s rationale behind euthanasia was pragmatic, not eugenic.


One of the most sensational accusations made against the Third Reich is that it attempted a sort of positive eugenics program by the establishment of a “stud farm” institution known as Lebensborn (Spring of Life), where selected unmarried women of Nordic phenotype were supposedly mated with SS men, and the illegitimate offspring of these unions raised by the institution. Whether such an endeavor could ever legitimately be called a type of positive eugenics or not is irrelevant, since Lebensborn was nothing of the kind. To quote John Toland, the respected author of the most comprehensive biography of Hitler in the English language:

. . . To promote (his) racial policy (Himmler) established Lebensborn (Spring of Life), an SS maternity organization whose main function was to assist racially sound unwed mothers and their children. Thousands of children in the occupied territories were kidnapped and raised in special SS installations . . . Lurid postwar accounts describe Lebensborn as “stud farms” where SS men and suitable young women were mated to breed a master race. While Himmler’s program did nothing to discourage illegitimacy, there is no evidence that he sponsored illicit sexual liaisons nor is there any proof that the kidnapping of children was done on a large scale. The fact that there were only 700 employees in the Lebensborn homes casts doubts on such claims (Toland 1977: 1046n).

Eleuel (1974: 217,221) also exposes the “stud farm” myth:

Fantastic rumors surrounded the Lebensborn or “Fount of Life” association, not only during the Third Reich but even more so after its downfall. SS brothel or stud-farm, or a cross between the two–such were the sensational constructions placed upon it by each according to his particular flight of fancy. The truth . . . was far simpler and less lurid. Lebensborn was in fact a rather bourgeois institution founded in conformity with a conservative sexual code, serving to keep up an appearance of middle-class respectability and run in accordance with an almost monastic set of regulations.

. . . (M)en were strictly forbidden to visit the home except on special occasions. Male guests might then be invited to sip a cup of coffee, but any more intimate form of hospitality was taboo. The Lebensborn motto – “Every mother of good blood is our sacred trust” was puritanically followed to the letter.


The National Socialist attempt to create a genetic elite from which would come the future leadership corpus of the Reich was centered upon the SS. The program was initiated by Himmler in April 1929, four years before Hitler’s accession to power, when he submitted to him and to the current chief of the SA a draft of regulations according to which no one was to be allowed to enter the SS who did not meet the strictest criteria, which were almost exclusively racial and aimed at selecting for Nordic phenotypes (Hoehne 1971: 59).

Applicants for the SS had to submit photographs, and Himmler would peer at them through a magnifying glass until he was convinced that the applicants possessed “good blood” (Hoehne 1971 : 60).

Hitler held out to the World War I generation of soldiers the prospect of the formation of a racial aristocracy, an ideological elite. In the late 1930s, he ordered the RuSHA (Race and Settlement Main Office) to compose new and more stringent criteria for SS candidates. SS Captain Professor Bruno K. Schultz, a physical anthropologist, transmitted a set of criteria to the RuSHA Racial Commission, before which all prospective SS members had to appear for their final examinations (Hoehne 1971: 166).

Schultz divided his criteria into three parts: racial phenotype, physical condition, and “general bearing.” He aimed his set of values to favor the Nordic type. He listed five racial groupings: “pure Nordic,” “predominantly Nordic or Falic, ” “harmonious cross-breed with slight Alpine, Dinaric or Mediterranean characteristics,” “bastards of predominantly East Baltic or Alpine origin,” and “bastards of extra-European origin.” Only those in the first three categories were eligible to join the SS. Schultz also composed a list of nine categories of physical proportion as a guide for the physical examination of SS candidates (Hoehne 1971: 166). Candidates achieving ratings of 6-9 were passed; categories 4 and 5 were only passed after proving “Nordic qualities” in their behavior; while ratings 1-3 were failed (Knoebel 1965: 26). But no mention was made of intellectual or educational attainments. As Knoebel (1965: 27-29) states: “No moral and intellectual achievement was required to qualify” although alcoholics were rejected or expelled.

On December 31, 1931 Himmler issued a marriage law for SS men which stated that they could marry “solely if the necessary conditions of race and healthy stock were fulfilled” and only after approval by him or by RuSHA. The SS man and his fiancée had to fill out a RuSHA questionnaire, take a comprehensive physical examination administered by an SS doctor, provide photographs of themselves in bathing suits taken from three angles, and submit proof of Aryan ancestry back to 1800 (for officers, back to 1750). RuSHA would determine if both prospective spouses deserved to be entered into the SS clan book; in the case of SS leaders, Himmler would make the decision personally (Hoehne 1971: 168-169, 177).

Jochen van Lang (1979: 440-444) has reproduced the actual SS medical examination form as it stood in late 1939. It was designed to be employed for both male and female applicants. The examination was divided into five sections: “Permission for Disclosure,” “Past History of Family,” “Past Medical Treatment,” “Personal History,” and “General Findings of Examination.” Under “Past History of Family,” the only category of interest here is “precise data on chronic diseases, i.e., endocrine disturbances, allergies, alcoholism.” Family members included children, parents, siblings, children of siblings, and grandparents. Under “Personal History,” there was a question about “Mental development (schooling, career training, delinquency if any),” on which the candidate had only to secure a rating of “normal” (average), and two questions on “Character development” and “Noteworthy special giftedness.” Section 5 was the most detailed and significant, including a whole series of anthropometric and somatotypic measurements, as well as points on “Bearing and stride,” coloration of skin and eyes, coloration and texture of hair, and presence or absence of the Mongolian fold (inner epicanthic eyefold).

Himmler expected his newborn biological elite to have large families, and did virtually everything in his power in the way of propaganda and indoctrination to assure such a result. In 1936 he decreed that SS men should marry between the ages of 25 and 30 (Smith 1975: 234). In the former, and in the latter as well, he was to be bitterly disappointed. The SS birth rate differed little from that of the population of the Reich as a whole. Knoebel (1965: 68-69) states:

The ideal image of an SS family as portrayed in the SS Leithefte [SS Manuals] consisted of a rather young couple surrounded by a large number of children . . . Yet the image was a fraud and statistics for 1937, for example, belie this picture.

As of the end of 1939, instead of Himmler’s heavily-emphasized average of 4 children, the 115,650 married SS men under officer rank had an average number of children per family of only 1.41. Even his broad hints that illegitimacy was fully acceptable for SS men if the women involved were of “good blood” availed practically nothing: of 12,081 children of married SS leaders between 20 and 50 years of age, only 135 were illegitimate (Hoehne 1971: 178-179). A caveat to be entered here is that these sets of figures could not, in many cases, have represented completed fertility. Of course, one must remember that the Armed SS (i.e., combat troops), which composed the vast bulk of SS membership by 1941, sustained battle losses far in excess of those of other branches of the German fighting forces, many units being virtually decimated, which obviously had serious effects on the overall SS birth rate.

What, then, can be validly stated about this entire program from the standpoint of positive eugenics? Himmler undoubtedly saw it in positive eugenic terms. Several selection criteria fit into the framework of positive eugenics: freedom from hereditary defects, “noteworthy special giftedness” (a rather indefinite phrase), and good health. In addition, as noted, alcoholics were expelled. However, if one looks at the overall aims and criteria employed, one sees that they were largely racial, as Himmler intended. It is valid, then, to conclude that his program was intended to be positive eugenics to some extent, but that the bulk of it can not be so characterized.


Adolf Hitler did intend that a large-scale negative eugenics program become an integral part of his future State. He expressed himself forthrightly on this point in Volume II of Mein Kampf, written in prison in 1924:

The ethno-nationalist State has to make up for what is today neglected in this field in all directions . . . It has to take care that only the healthy beget children; that there is only one disgrace: to be sick and to bring children into the world despite one’s own deficiencies; but one highest honor: to renounce this . . . Hereby the State has to appear as the guardian of a thousand years’ future, in the face of which the wish and the egoism of the individual appears as nothing and has to submit. It has to put the most modern medical means at the service of this knowledge. It has to declare unfit for propagation everybody who is visibly ill and has inherited a disease and it has to carry this out in practice . . .

He who is not physically and mentally healthy and worthy must not perpetuate his misery in the body of his child. Here the ethno-nationalist State has to achieve the most enormous work of education . . . By education it has to teach the individual that it is not a disgrace but only a regrettable misfortune to be sick and weakly, but that it is a crime and therefore at the same time a disgrace to dishonor this misfortune by one’s egoism by burdening it again upon an innocent being; that in the face of this it gives proof of a nobility of the highest mind and of most admirable humaneness if the innocently sick, by renouncing his own child, gives his love and tenderness to an unknown poor young descendant of his nationality, whose health promises that one day he will become a vigorous member of a powerful community . . . (Hitler 1941: 606-610).

In 1925, eight years before Hitler came to power, a eugenic sterilization draft law was submitted, but failed to pass. Between 1927 and 1933 a small number of sterilizations were performed on a consensual basis under an amendment to the German Criminal Code of 1927 which provided for the explicit consent of the Court of Chancery if costs were borne by public authorities (Harmsen 1955: 227). In 1932 the last pre-National Socialist government was about to introduce a eugenic sterilization law to be implemented on a voluntary basis.

When Hitler came to power on January 30, 1933, one of his first priorities was the introduction of a comprehensive, compulsory eugenic sterilization law. But it is well to remember that at this time the 18-member Reich Cabinet consisted of only 8 National Socialists, including Hitler as Chancellor, and 10 nationalist conservatives. Furthermore, Hitler not only had a conservative Vice-Chancellor, Franz van Papen, but had over him the venerated President of the Reich, Field Marshall Paul van Hindenburg, who could have removed him at any time until his death in 1934. Thus, it is apparent that during this period Hitler was subject to several checks upon his power.

On July 14, 1933 the Act for Averting Descendants Afflicted with Hereditary Disease was enacted. Anthony Smith states that it “could well have been initiated without the help of the Nazis because the idea had been actively promoted for several decades” (Smith 1975: 220). The act provided for the compulsory sterilization of all those in and outside institutions who were afflicted with specific hereditary conditions. Another purpose of the law was to reduce expenditures for the care of afflicted persons, on the presumption that after sterilization, many institutionalized cases could be released. (To provide some idea of the extent of institutionalization in Germany by this point, the entire German nation increased in population by 50% from 1870 to 1936, while in the same period the number of cases with hereditary pathologies increased by 450%.) (Santoro 1938: 126)

Under the law, the application for sterilization could be made by the patient, his lawyer (if the Court of Chancery approved), or a local public health officer. If the person was institutionalized or hospitalized, the institutional director could make the application. Hereditary Health Courts, which were annexed to District Courts, issued the preliminary judgments. Appeals could be made against their decisions within two weeks, and these appeals went before Hereditary Health Courts annexed to Provincial Courts of Appeal (Harmsen 1955: 228). The court of final resort was the Eugenic Supreme Court in Charlottenburg, a suburb of Berlin. An additional statute provided for the compulsory sterilization of those committing sexual crimes. The Reich government also announced that it was undertaking a census of genetically defective stocks so that thorough data could be secured on prospective sterilization cases (“Eugenical Sterilization in Germany,” pp. 89, 90). The preamble to the law laid stress on the expenses incurred by the State for the maintenance of “asocial, degenerate, and incurably diseased persons.” The State was spending more than one billion marks per year for that purpose, while at the same time Germany was suffering a severe economic depression (Santoro 1938: 126).

It is interesting to note that some cases which fell into one of the categories liable for sterilization were, on the grounds of “social proof,” never in fact sterilized. This occurred when it could be demonstrated that a person with, for example, a hereditary physical malformation, was self-supporting, or made some contribution to the nation. As a case in point, Harmsen (1955: 229) was able to demonstrate in 1935 that persons with congenital dislocation of the hip were in general quite talented and socially valuable; the result was that many applications for sterilizations in these cases were rejected, and many were not even put at all.

So how many sterilizations were actually carried out in Germany in the years 1933-1945? No precise figure can be given, since most of the records were lost during the war (Harmsen 1955: 227). Franz Guertner, Minister of Justice at the time, stated that 62,463 were sterilized in 1934 and 71,760 in 1935. After 1936, however, there was a significant decrease in the number of cases referred to the Hereditary Health Courts. Fritz Lenz, Germany’s leading eugenicist, estimated a maximum of 350,000, but Harmsen surmised a figure of between 200,000 and 250,000. Harmsen added that his estimate “exceeds by far the total number of sterilizations in all other countries of the world since the enactment in 1907 of the first sterilization law in the American state of Indiana” (Harmsen 1955: 227).

It should be recognized that eugenic sterilization laws were far from unique to National Socialist Germany. Indeed, it was the United States which pioneered them. By 1931, 30 of the 48 states had passed such a law at one time or another, and they were still on the statute books in 27, even if not always enforced (Haller 1984: 137). These laws were unique ventures observed closely by foreign eugenicists. Besides Germany, the non-American jurisdictions enacting such laws were:

1928 – The Swiss Canton of Vaud (Kemp 1947: 182)
1928 – The Canadian province of Alberta (Wullen 1937: 272)
1929 – Denmark (Kemp 1947: 182)
1932 – The Mexican State of Veracruz (Mendoza 1933)
1933 – The Canadian province of British Columbia (Wullen 1937: 272-273)
1934 – Norway (Kemp 1947: 182)
1935 – Finland (Kemp 1947:182)
1937 – Iceland (Stefansson 1939: 127-129)
1937 – Estonia (Kemp 147: 182) in 1937

The charge has sometimes been made that Germany’s sterilization program was used for political purposes; after the war, the case records in certain instances gave the impression that the law had been abused to punish political enemies of the regime. Harmsen investigated the matter:

. . . I asked my students of the School of Public Health in Hamburg to examine the documents on the carrying out of the Hereditary Health Law in representative urban and rural zones. The results obtained by these public health officers have been collected in a series of papers. In all these investigations there was no evidence that any reasons other than eugenic ones influenced the handling of the proceedings. The improper political misuse mentioned above seems to have occurred only to a very insignificant extent . . . (Harmsen 1955: 228).

Our verdict on the German eugenic sterilization program, then, is that it was not qualitatively different from those in other nations. It did differ in a quantitative sense, a result of the fact that when the German totalitarian State decided on definite objectives, it did not generally carry them out slowly or by half-measures. But it should by now be evident that there was nothing unusual or perverse about the criteria or implementation of the German sterilization law.


The major conclusion to be drawn from the historical evidence presented in this paper is completely at variance with popular assumptions. Put simply, there was no barbaric abuse of eugenics in National Socialist Germany. Again:

  • The persecution of Jewry throughout occupied Europe had nothing to do with eugenics; Hitler opposed the Jews because he held them responsible for World War II.
  • The German euthanasia program was instituted for economic reasons which bore no relation to eugenics.
  • The notion of the Lebensborn as a “stud farm” is pure fiction.
  • While a few of the criteria for SS membership and marriage were eugenic, most were not, and the aim of increasing the SS birthrate to a level consistent with positive eugenics was never fulfilled.
  • Finally, the German sterilization program could in no sense be characterized as perverse, savage, or unusual for its time.

Therefore in response to the question posed in the introduction to this paper as to whether the main source of the opprobrium eugenics has suffered is merely “guilt by association,” the answer must be an unequivocal Yes. Only through ignorance or willful obfuscation of the historical record can eugenics be condemned on the basis of the actions of the Germans around the time of the second world war.

In view of the evidence presented, the reader might well wonder, “How did the false association between eugenics and atrocities committed in the third Reich ever come into being? And how has it managed to sustain itself all this time?” The explanatory factors are many, but the three most obvious causes are, firstly, the general confusion, uncritical attitudes, and misinformation which abound concerning this period; secondly, sensationalism, which found an ideal subject in Hitler; and thirdly, the actions Marxists and other enemies of eugenics who have a vested interest in promoting the idea of biological egalitarianism.

It is incumbent upon us to reverse the present dysgenic trend by devising and implementing positive and negative eugenics programs; these programs must be considered on their own merits, apart from sensational and false popular associations with exterminations, euthanasia, and so-called “stud farms.” What the eminent Jewish political philosopher Leo Stress has dubbed the reductio ad Hitlerum argument has done nothing more than obscure the real issues, and postpone the day of reckoning when the most pressing problem confronting humanity must be faced.


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