Eugenics Nazi Germany Measuring Head
Eugenics Nazi Germany measuring bodies
Eugenics measuring heads
Although the public has shunned what happened in Nazi Germany (which included 'anthropometry’ – the measurement of humans, and eugenics) the school curriculum 'Opening Minds' instructs students in these. Students are to understand that physical differences can lead to a hierarchy of 'good/not so good'. Ultimately this can lead to judgements about people's differences - some people being better than others. Students are also asked to collect photos of babies which can be measured. They are then asked to discuss the findings of the measurement investigations and whether they back up Leonardo’s (da Vinci) proportions as in Vitruvian Man. (Are the babies 'good enough'?)
Where will it go from here?
Eugenics is back.
'Opening Minds' Science curriculum, teacher's notes:
Measuring humans in Nazi Germany:
Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer (16 July 1896, Wildeck, Hesse-Nassau – 8 August 1969, Münster, West Germany) was a German human biologist and eugenicist concerned primarily with "racial hygiene" and twin research. He was the director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics (Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Anthropologie, menschliche Erblehre, und Eugenik; KWIfA) in Berlin and the Institute for Genetic Biology and Racial Hygiene (Institut für Erbbiologie und Rassenhygiene).
Involvement in Nazi human experimentation
He received Heinrich Himmler's permission to work in Auschwitz from 1944 on. One of Verschuer's best known assistants was Josef Mengele, who, as one of the SS physicians at the Auschwitz death camp, later became known as the "Angel of Death".
Verschuer was never tried for war crimes despite many indications that he not only was fully cognisant of Mengele's work at Auschwitz, but even encouraged and collaborated with Mengele in some of his most grisly research. In a report to the German Research Council (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft; DFG) from 1944, Verschuer talked about Mengele's assistance in supplying the KWIfA with some "scientific materials" from Auschwitz