ID# 2311:
"The German Sterilization Law," by Paul Popenoe, Journal of Heredity (vol. 25)
Date:
1934
Pages: (1|2|3|4)
Source:
Cold Spring Harbor, ,
View this image in our new website.
&quote;The German Sterilization Law,&quote; by Paul Popenoe, <i>Journal of Heredity</i> (vol. 25)

260 The Journal of Heredity institutions for the mentally deficient, homes and asylums for the blind, deaf, and other defectives, and the inmates of all prisons. Naturally, not all of these will be sterilized, though all will be examined with that in view. The first reports from hospitals for mental diseases indicate that about one-third of the inmates are being certified for sterilization. The regulations governing the administration of the sterilization law provide among other things that no one shall be sterilized who because of age or other reasons is not capable of reproduction, or when such an operation would endanger his life. It is further provided that anyone who is in an institution need not be sterilized so long as he remains there. This provision is a particular aid to the Roman Catholics, who have been combating the sterilization law. Although Hitler himself is a Roman Catholic, that church, as everyone knows, has been the source of a large part of his opposition, and it has taken a strong stand against sterilization in Germany. In order to avoid difficulties, the government came to a more or less official understanding with the representatives of the Vatican, under which (1) no Roman Catholic judge shall be asked to sit on a sterilization court, (2) no Roman Catholic surgeon shall be asked to perform an operation for eugenic sterilization, and (3) no Roman Catholic, otherwise liable to sterilization, shall be sterilized so long as he remains in an institution, at the expense of his family or at the expense of the church. In pursuance of this policy, the church was invited to establish additional institutions, in which its defective members might be taken care of. Hitler is surrounded by men who at least sympathize with the eugenics program. The various private associations in the field of eugenic education have been reorganized as governmental agencies. The Minister of the Interior has established a commission of experts on population policy, which is elaborating further measures to be adopted. These will doubtless include far-reaching provision for equalizing the economic burdens of the family. Dr,. G[umlaut over 'u']tt, in charge of public health measures in the Reich, is also an ardent eugenist. Among other changes, Dr. Fritz Lenz of Munich was called to the University of Berlin, where a full professorship of eugenics was established for him. He also took over the direction of the eugenic section of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, at Berlin. This was originally a private endowment, established largely through the activities of Dr. Hermann Muckermann, the eminent Roman Catholic eugenist. As a former Jesuit, and a devoted adherent of the Roman church, Dr. Muckermann evidently could not work successfully with the Nazi regime. The policy of the present German government is therefore to gather about it the recognized leaders of the eugenics movement, and to depend largely upon their counsel in framing a policy which will direct the destinies of the German people, as Hitler remarks in [italics]Mein Kampf[end italics], "for the next thousand years." Whether this policy will be carried through successfully, of course remains to be seen. At best, mistakes will be inevitable. But the Nazis seem, as this scientific leadership becomes more and more prominent in their councils, to be avoiding the misplaced emphasis of their earlier pronouncements on questions of race, and to be proceeding toward a policy that will accord with the best thought of eugenists in all civilized countries. In any case, the present German government has given the first example in modern times of an administration based frankly and determinedly on the principles of eugenics. It has thus posed the question in a way that no other people can ignore. [end]

Copyright 1999-2004: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; American Philosophical Society; Truman State University; Rockefeller Archive Center/Rockefeller University; University of Albany, State University of New York; National Park Service, Statue of Liberty National Monument; University College, London; International Center of Photography; Archiv zur Geschichte der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Berlin-Dahlem; and Special Collections, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
The images and text in this Archive are solely for educational and scholarly uses. The materials may be used in digital or print form in reports, research, and other projects that are not offered for sale. Materials in this archive may not be used in digital or print form by organizations or commercial concerns, except with express permission.