The Biological State

Black-and-white photograph of Eugen Fischer at the institute
From 1927 to 1942, Eugen Fischer (1874-1967) was the director of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut for Anthropology, Human Genetics and Eugenics in Berlin, which was in line with the anti-Semitic politics of the National Socialists
© Archiv zur Geschichte der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Berlin
"Our starting point is not the individual, and we do not subscribe to the view that one should feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, or clothe the naked [...]. Our objectives are entirely different: We must have a healthy people in order to prevail in the world."
Joseph Goebbels, Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda at a 1938 National Socialist Party event

During the Third Reich, eugenics was applied on a large scale as policy, with the help of many physicians and scientists. The collection of data on persons considered "less valuable" ("minderwertig") was greatly extended, and through the 1933 Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Persons, some 400,000 people-the majority on the basis of diagnoses of mental retardation and illness-were forcibly sterilized. The "Blood Protection" Law, implemented in 1935 as a public health measure, criminalized marriage or sexual relations between Jews and non-Jewish Germans, and was applied to Roma and Sinti and other "racial foreigners."

In 1936, the Reich Central Office for Combating Homosexuality and Abortion was established to prevent acts that lowered the birth rate. Commenting on German developments, the New York Times (September 15, 1935) reported: "'Perfect Man' Aim of Nazi Eugenists."

Deadly Medicine
Creating the
Master Race

13 March to 19 July 2009
Jewish Museum Berlin

Logo of the Unites States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.