ID# 1871:
"German Eugenics in Practice," by Eliot Slater, Eugenics Review (vol. 27:4), ambivalent review of sterilization and marriage laws
Pages: (1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10|11)
Cold Spring Harbor, ERO, The Eugenics Review, 27

&quote;German Eugenics in Practice,&quote; by Eliot Slater, Eugenics Review (vol. 27:4), ambivalent review of sterilization and marriage laws

294 The Eugenics Review among the relatives obviously increases the chance of developing some sort of an abnormality, though for example the nephew of a schizophrenic is no more likely to develop schizophrenia for having a half-brother with a cleft palate. It is possible, however, that this is not the basis of this provision, but rather a belief in a general hereditary degenerative diathesis. This view receives support from the official use of such terms as "hereditary inferiority" and such ideas as constitutional asthenia with signs of degeneration. The policy with regard to selective breeding seems to have been settled in favour of attempting to keep abnormalities latent, rather than breeding them out. This is shown by the provision that those with a slight degree of "tainting" may marry normal persons but not those with a similar degree of tainting. They are treated in the same way, in fact, as quarter Jews. It will be seen that the function of these "Eheberatungsstellen" is a very important one, There is first the immediate and practical one of forbidding undesirable and encouraging desirable unions. A secondary duty will no doubt be notifying cases for sterilization. Thirdly, and of increasing importance with the passage of the years, will be the function of these clinics as record offices. The summary cards already referred to are kept in duplicate, one locally, the other forwarded to a central office in Berlin, and are definitely intended for statistical research. If the examinations and records are made even with only moderate care there will soon be provided a complete and fairly exhaustive record of the whole German people. Such records thrown open to research will provide material of quite incalculable value. The marriage loan is of the value of 600 marks ([british pound sign]48). It is given to those certified suitable by the marriage-advice bureaus, and no interest is demanded for the first year. The birth of a child automatically pays back 100 marks and gives another year of interest-free enjoyment of the remainder. It should be a considerable inducement to marriage and have a certain slight effect in promoting the birth of children. Much more effective in this way should be the German income-tax system. This is exceedingly complicated, but it may be roughly stated that there is a tax on single persons of about 15 per cent. Marriage reduces the amount of tax slightly, the birth of the first and subsequent children very considerably. For poor and middle-class people the possession of four children renders them almost tax-free. All reductions of income tax for children are, unlike in the English system, percentage reductions, so that better-off people get a correspondingly larger actual reduction in tax. From an eugenic point of view this is a much better system. The City As Godparent An interesting experiment has been introduced in the city of Berlin, the "Ehrenpatenschaft." Families with two or three children may, if they decide to have a third or fourth, go to a city office and declare their intention. If within the term of two years the child is born, the city will stand godparent. This implies a present of 30 marks (48s.) a month until the end of the first year and 20 marks (32s.) a month subsequently until the end of the fourteenth year. If the child himself or an elder brother or sister dies, the fund ceases, but may be continued again with the birth of an additional child. Only legitimate children may receive the gift. If twins or triplets are born, all are covered. The gift is independent of the financial position of the family. It is not a form of social support, but a gift of honour. For no official purpose, e.g. for calculation of income tax, is it to be reckoned as part of the income of the family. The family and the child bear the honourable titles of "Patenfamilie" and "Patenkind der Stadt Berlin." They receive precedence in applications for flats and dwellings, for jobs and posts of whatever kind where the influence of the city authorities can make itself felt. The city even pledges itself to use its influence on their behalf in other parts of Germany, should the family move. The family has to be of "high biological value," and the conditions for this seem to be a slightly [end]

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