Articles and Commentary

Germany Grapples with Its African Genocide

Posted by Sheldon Rubenfeld on December 29, 2016

The New York Times today published a good article about Germany’s treatment of native Africans in the first part of the twentieth century and labels it the “twentieth century’s first genocide.” ( The article omits any mention of Dr. Eugen Fischer who did the original field research on the offspring of German men and native African women. He recommended that the descendants of these mixed marriages should not be permitted to reproduce, leading to a ban in 1912 of interracial marriages in German colonies. In 1921 Fischer, Erwin Baur, and Fritz Lenz published “Menschliche Erblichkeitslehre und Rassenhygiene,” an influential text book about eugenics and genetics that Hitler read while imprisoned in 1924 in Landsberg. In 1927 Fischer became the founding Director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics. More importantly, his eugenic ideas influenced Nazi public health policies on sterilization, marriage, and euthanasia.

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