Dr. Mehler's Archives
Barry Mehler, 'Eliminating the Inferior: American and Nazi Sterilization Programs,' Science for the People (Nov-Dec 1987) pp. 14-18.
Note: This article is based on chapter five of Dr. Mehler's dissertation, 'A History of the American Eugenics Society,' (University of Illinois, 1988) which can be obtained from University Microfilm (Ann Arbor, MI).
The German sterilization program is apparently an excellent one,' remarked Frederick Osborn, secretary of the American Eugenics Society, in 1937. 'Taken altogether,' he continued, 'recent developments in Germany constitute perhaps the most important social experiment which has ever been tried.'(1)
Osborn's enthusiastic endorsement of Nazi eugenic sterilization - which mandated the sterilization of people with disabilities deemed heritable - contradicts more recent historical research into the American eugenics movement. By the 1930s, Mark Haller and Ken Ludmerer claim, a new breed of leadership had taken over the movement. 'Genuinely interested in mankind's genetic future,' they 'propounded a new eugenic creed which was scientifically and philosophically attuned to a changed America.'(2)
The eugenicists of the 1930s included socialists, communists, and progressives who saw sterilization as a humane way to prevent crippling disabilities that they believed to be genetic. Attitudes towards Nazi totalitarianism varied widely between 1933 and 1939. Many eugenicists were emphatically opposed to Nazi totalitarianism, while others were quite supportive of the Hitler government.(3)
Whether the social and philosophical objectives of sterilization advocates diverged into democratic and totalitarian camps during the 1930s or not, with regard to eugenic sterilization, the United States served as an example to the rest of the world. The first sterilization law was passed in Indiana in 1907. From that year until 1928, when the first European sterilization law was passed in the Swiss Canton de Vaud, Americans had enacted nearly thirty state sterilization laws.
Between 1928 and 1936, a number of European nations also passed sterilization laws, including Denmark (1929), Germany (1933), Sweden and Norway (1934), Finland and Danzig (1935), and Estonia (1936). All of these laws, according to Dr. Marie Kopp, who toured Germany studying the administration of Nazi Sterilization laws for the American Eugenics Society in 1935, were modeled and inspired by American efforts.(4)
Furthermore, the American and German eugenicists were particularly close in ideology. Germans and Americans regularly translated each others literature, and the German movement was closely followed in the American eugenics press.
In June of 1936, Heidelberg University planned a celebration in honor of its 550th anniversary. Harry Laughlin, the author of Eugenical Sterilization in the United States, was offered an honorary degree in recognition of his services to eugenics.(5) Laughlin wrote that he would be glad to accept 'not only as a personal honor, but as evidence of the common understanding of German and American scientists of the nature of eugenics as research in and the practical application of those fundamental biological and social principles which determine racial endowments and the racial health... of future generations.'(6)
The American and German eugenics movements were one in 'the identification of human beings as valuable, worthless, or of inferior value in supposedly hereditary terms.' As one authority has noted, this 'was the common denominator of all forms of Nazi racism.' Eugenics was synonymous with 'race hygiene,' and its most fundamental program was to purify the 'race' of 'low grade' and 'degenerate' groups. Thus, American and European eugenicists created a generic racism and sexism - the genetically inferior. Not surprisingly, the victims always turned out to be the traditional victims of racism - Jews, Blacks, women, and the poor.(7)
The Nazi Sterilization Law
The Nazi takeover enabled eugenicists to achieve long-sought goals, but at least until the outbreak of the war did not substantially alter those goals.(8) As Frederick Osborn remarked, 'Germany's rapidity of change with respect eugenics was possible only under a dictator.' But the eugenic legislation enacted by the Nazis had 'been on the docket for many years.'(9)
The Nazi sterilization law was promulgated on July 14, 1933. Within two months, the Eugenical News printed a major evaluation of the law, including its complete text in translation. The Nazi government was praised for being the 'first of the world's major nations to enact a modern sterilization law.' The German law 'reads almost like' Harry Laughlin's 'American model sterilization law,' and along with the American statutes was expected to 'constitute a milestone' (sic) in the movement to control human reproduction.
'The new law is clean-cut, direct and 'model.' Its standards are social and genetical,' the Eugenical News article commented. 'It's application is entrusted to specialized courts and procedure. From a legal point of view nothing more could be desired.'(10)
Paul Popenoe, director of the Human Betterment Foundation, a member of the Board of Directors of the American Eugenics Society(11), and an enthusiastic supporter of the Hitler government, published an alternate translation of the full text of the German sterilization law in the Journal of Heredity in July 1934.(12)
While the law itself was excellent, Popenoe commented, 'the success of any such measure naturally depends on conservative, sympathetic and intelligent administration.' The Nazi government was doing its best to prevent criticism by gathering 'about it the recognized leaders of the eugenics movement,' and depending 'largely on their council in framing a policy which will direct the destinies of the German people, as Hitler remarks in Mein Kampf, 'for the next thousand years.'(13)
Daniel Kevles, historian of science at the California Institute of Technology, remarked that the German sterilization law 'went far beyond American statutes' in that it applied to all persons 'institutionalized or not, who suffered from allegedly hereditary disabilities.' While it is true that the German law was not restricted to institutionalized persons, this difference should not be exaggerated.(14)
The Virginia eugenic sterilization law was challenged in the Supreme Court on the grounds that it violated the principle of equal protection since it applied only to institutionalized persons. Oliver Wendell Holmes spoke directly to this concern in Buck v. Bell. Holmes pointed out that the Virginia compulsory sterilization law sought to sterilize all persons with hereditary defects, not just those institutionalized. It did not violate the equal protection clause because 'the law does all that is needed when it does all that it can.' The law, he said, clearly sought to bring all 'similarly situated so far and so fast as its means allow' under its jurisdiction.(15)
The Commonwealth of Virginia aimed to sterilize only those who could 'be safely discharged or paroled and become self-supporting with benefit to themselves and to society.' Carrie Buck was institutionalized only after she became pregnant. She was released immediately after she was sterilized. Her sister, Doris Buck, was brought to the state colony specifically to be sterilized and was released immediately after her sterilization. It was clear that the provision in the law to sterilize institutionalized persons was not meant to restrict the population, of those to be sterilized.(16)
American Support for Eugenics
The idea that, in the 1930s, American support for Nazi eugenics was limited to a fringe element discredited in the legitimate world of science is patently false.'(17) This does not mean that most American eugenicists supported the notion of Aryan supremacy or that American eugenicists supported Nazi extermination of Jews and others.(18) American eugenicists supported the pre-war Nazi eugenics program, which included massive educational programs in all schools in Germany, an emphasis on the importance of biology to the state, marriage loans to help young Aryan couples begin families, and sterilization laws.
Charles R. Stockard, president of the board of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (1935-1939) and a leading eugenicist, sounded the alarm for sterilization with as great an urgency as any Nazi. At a round-table discussion at the New York Academy of Medicine organized by the American Eugenics Society in 1937, Stockard said that the human race faced 'ultimate extermination' unless propagation of 'low grade and defective stocks' could be 'absolutely prevented.'(19)
Furthermore, support for Nazi eugenics was not confined to eugenic societies. A recent survey of high school biology texts from 1914 to 1949 reveals that over 90 percent included a discussion of eugenics.(20) In the mid-thirties, many of these texts commented explicitly and favorably on the German eugenics program.(21)
Eugenic ideology within the American Eugenics society was hammered out in discussions and publications of the society over the years. The sterilization issue was discussed on numerous occasions and was the subject of many articles papers, books, and conference round-table discussions. The integral role of eugenic sterilization in any thorough eugenics program was stressed in at least a dozen pamphlets that were published between 1923 and 1940, The most extensive exploration of the society's self-identity in these years, however, was Ellsworth Huntington's Tomorrows Children, a 137-page catechism published in 1935 which was an effort to synthesize the various position papers of the past decade.(22)
Although Ellsworth Huntington was credited as the author 'in conjunction with the Directors of the American Eugenics Society,' Tomorrow's Children may be seen to represent the collective view of eugenics worked out by the board of directors and the advisory council of the American Eugenics Society over a period of more than a decade of debate and discussion. 'This book,' Huntington wrote in the preface, '...is an outgrowth of the original report of the Committee on Program prepared under the direction of Professor Irving Fisher when the American Eugenics Society was founded.' It was arranged as a catechism because it was written to replace, A Eugenics Catechism, prepared by Leon Whitney in 1923. 'The authorship of Tomorrow's Children is composite,' Huntington proclaimed. The final version of the manuscript went through seven drafts and the galley proofs were distributed to all the members of the advisory council, 'so far as they could be reached.' The final catechism represented the consensus of the group: 'the author has done his best to represent the general sentiment of the group as a whole.' To make this entirely clear, the verso of the copyright page lists the entire one hundred and ten members of the board and advisory council of the society.(23)
What kind of numbers did the American eugenicists consider dysgenic? The Eugenics Society estimated that there were two million 'feebleminded' persons in the United States in need of institutional care and 150,000 epileptics (90,000 were actually institutionalized). Another 320,006 persons were institutionalized for insanity.
Tomorrow's Children clearly recognized that such defects are sometimes 'purely environmental in origin.' Nevertheless, such people are always in danger of reproducing defective children. After all, what kind of home influence can one expect where either parent is epileptic, feeble-minded, or insane?'
But no matter what the cause of such defects might be, 'even if all the criminals, epileptics and similar people were biologically desirable, their homes are rarely desirable places in which to bring up children.' Common prudence 'makes it advisable that even the doubtful cases should have no children.'(24) Furthermore, Tomorrow's Children estimated that about five million adults and six million children were 'subnormal in education' and suffered from 'lack of innate ability.' Another twenty million others failed to finish grammar school. Some of these, of course, could have finished with better health care or school programs designed to their needs. Nevertheless, there 'seems no escape from the conclusion that many of them inherit such a poor mental endowment that even this moderate degree of success is beyond their ability.'
But not all of these people should be sterilized, according to the American eugenicists. A thorough eugenics program would combine sterilization, segregation, and the vigorous promotion of birth control among the lower classes. Nevertheless, it is clear that the eugenicist advocated the sterilization of millions of American's right up until 1940.(25)
Eugenicists' Shared Goals
How does this compare with the goals of the Nazi eugenics program? In June 1933, Dr. Wilhelm Frick, Nazi minister of the interior who was hanged at Nuremberg for crimes against humanity, outlined the goals of the Nazi eugenics program. He estimated that there were about 500,000 carriers of 'serious physical and mental hereditary diseases' who needed to be sterilized as quickly as possible. Then there was a much larger number whose progeny is undesirable.' He estimated this larger group at approximately twenty percent of the German population.(26)
The Nazis actually sterilized 320,000 people between 1933 and 1939 (0.5 percent of the population) and perhaps two million by 1945. By the standards of the American Eugenics Society, this program was conservative. It is not at all surprising, then, that the American Eugenics Society praised the Nazi program in 1937.
After carefully studying its goals and operation, American eugenicists understood that the Nazi sterilization program reflected the goals and orientation of the American plan. That is precisely what Frederick Osborn meant when he said that 'a brief history of the origin and development of eugenic sterilization showed the originality of the United States, where all the first laws were initiated, and indicated a lack of thoroughness of our people in their failure to follow through.(27)
I don't think anyone who has written on the eugenics movement in the United States has made it clear that the American Eugenics Society, which represented the collective views of the mainstream of American eugenicists and was composed of some of the most prestigious American academics and progressives, actually envisioned the sterilization of millions of Americans.
In 1982, Yale psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton published an important article, 'Medicalized Killing in Auschwitz,' in which he examined the imagery of killing as a medical procedure. Lifton was interested in just how German physicians were able to rationalize their participation in mass murder.(28) This led Lifton to focus on 'the motivational principles around ideology, and the various psychological mechanisms that contributed to the killing.'
Lifton emphasized the importance of the belief that killing was a therapeutic imperative. German physicians propounded an ethic which placed the doctor's loyalty to the nation as 'cultivator of the genes' above his responsibility to the individual patient. As one Nazi SS doctor explained it, he participated in Auschwitz exterminations 'out of respect for human life.' Just as the physician 'would remove a purulent appendix from a diseased body,' so he was removing degenerates from the 'body of Europe.' The comparison of degenerate humans with cancer cells and disease is recurrent throughout European and American eugenic literature.
The American Eugenics Society's catechism of 1935 saw eugenics as 'racial preventive medicine' and degenerates as an insidious disease' affecting the body of society in the same way that cancer affects the human body. 'Just as opiates lessen the pain of cancer, so religion, philanthropy, and education, at great expense to society, restrain some of the hereditary weaklings from doing harm. Nevertheless, crime and dependency keep on increasing because new defectives are born, just as new cancer cells remorselessly penetrate into sound tissue.'(29)
In modern times, the catechism went on, 'we treat cancer by means of the surgeon's knife.' Our present methods of treating defectives leaves 'great numbers of them to produce new offspring and create new cancers in the body politic.' One might think of the American Eugenics Society as 'a Society for the Control of Social Cancer,' the catechism concluded. Sterilization, therefore, had to be seen as an integral part of preventive medicine. Since religion, philanthropy, and modern medicine would not permit the weak to die of hunger and pestilence, 'sterilization seems to be the best protective.'(30)
Compare this view with that expressed by Konrad Lorenz, Nobel Laureate in Medicine:(31)
'There is a close analogy between a human body invaded by a cancer and a nation afflicted with subpopulations whose inborn defects cause them to become social liabilities. Just as in cancer the best treatment is to eradicate the parasitic growth as quickly as possible, the eugenic defense against the dysgenic social effects of afflicted subpopulations is of necessity limited to equally drastic measures.... When these inferior elements are not effectively eliminated from a (healthy) population, then - just as when the cells of a malignant rumor are allowed to proliferate throughout a human body - they destroy the host body as well as themselves.'(32)
With Paul Popenoe and Frederick Osborn as the editorial committee of the Eugenical News after 1945, it was not likely that American eugenicists would ever be informed of the intimate relationship between German eugenic leaders and the extermination of millions of innocent people. After the war, the revelations of the Holocaust made many American eugenic leaders defensive about their earlier positions. A successful effort was made to separate 'humane socialist' eugenics from the 'inhuman racist practices' of the Nazis.
In June 1946, the Eugenical News printed its only article on post-war German eugenics.(33) The article depicted eugenics as a casualty of the war. 'With the collapse of Germany, all of the six scientific journals which were devoted to heredity and eugenics ceased publication.' There followed short notes on what had become of individuals 'who were particularly well known in the United States for their scientific work in connection with eugenics and human heredity.' The list included many of those who took a leading role in the German sterilization, euthanasia, and extermination programs.
For example, among those listed was Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer. The Eugenical News had carried a stream of articles on his work in the pre-war period. At the onset of the war he was head of the Department of Anthropology, Human Genetics, and Eugenics of the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institute in Berlin. From this important post he helped to set up a laboratory for human experimentation at Auschwitz. His student, Josef Mengele, was put in charge of this research.
From Auschwitz, Mengele regularly selected 'fresh research materials' which were 'processed' for shipment directly from Auschwitz to Berlin. These 'materials' included the skeletons and organs of Jews and gypsies selected by Mengele. No exploration of the gruesome fruits of European eugenics was ever published in any American eugenics journal. Instead, Osborn and Popenoe set out to combat the association of eugenics with racism.(34)
1. Frederick Osborn, 'Summary of the Proceedings' of the Conference on Eugenics in Relation to Nursing, Feb. 24,193 7, American Eugenics Society Papers, BK 6.
2. Barry Mehler and Galand Allen, 'Sources in the Study of Eugenics No. I,' Mendel Newsletter, Vol. 14, June 1977, pp. 11-13; Mark H. Haller, Eugenics: Herediterian Attitudes in American Thought. New Jersey: Rutgers, 1963, pp. 117, 174; Kenneth Ludmerer, Genetics and American Society: A Historical Appraisal. Baltimore, 1972, p. 174. Both Ludmerer and Haller based their notion of a 'new eugenics' on conversations and correspondence with Frederick Osborn. Ludmerer distinguishes between eugenicists who favored the Nazi program and 'American geneticists of standing' who criticized it. As will be seen from this article, such a distinction will not stand scrutiny.
3. Graham, 'Science and Values: The Eugenics Movements in Germany and Russia,' AHR, Vol. 82, no. 5, 1977, pp. 1113-64 (1136-1137). See also Paul Weindling, 'Weimar Eugenics: The Kaser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics in Social Context,' Annals of Science, Vol. 42, 1985, pages 303 318. Philip Reilly, in an otherwise excellent study of involuntary Sterilization in America, also misinterprets Weimar eugenics. See Reilly, 'Involuntary Sterilization of Institutionalized Persons in the United States: 1899-1942,' Ph.D. Thesis. Yale: 1981, pp.75-81. Carl Bajema, in the introduction to his benchmark collection, Eugenics: Then and Now (Stroudsburg, 1976) confronts the problem head on. 'Does eugenics include brutal racist evolutionary practices such as those of Nazi Germany?' Bajema's answer is an emphatic no. He reminds us that Francis Galton employed two criteria for a true eugenics program. First, the policy must be humane, and second it must be effective. It was clear to Bajema that 'the inhuman racist practices of Nazi Germany fail both criteria and cannot be called eugenic' (p. 5). The attempt to Separate eugenics from the negative associations of the Nazi regime began in the mid-thirties.
4. Marie E. Kopp, 'Eugenic Sterilization Laws in Europe,' American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vol. 34, Sept. 1937, p. 499. The Eugenical News reported the full texts of a number of these foreign laws and published numerous reports on the progress of eugenics worldwide. The German law is much more comprehensive than all other similar laws and bills, and incorporate more safeguards than any other bill.
5. Harry Laughlin was Director of the Eugenics Record Office, which was affiliated With the Carnegie Institution's Department of Genetics at Cold Spring Harbor in New York.
6. Randy Bird and Garland Allen, 'Archival Sources in the History of Eugenics,' Journal of the History of Biology, 'Vol. 14, no. 2, Fall 1981, p. 351. The most popular German eugenics text, Menschliche Erblichkeitslehre, was translated into English and widely read in the United States. Many American eugenics texts, including Madison Grant's Classic, The Passing of the Great Race, were translated into German.
7. Giesela Bock, 'Racism and Sexism in Nazi Germany,' Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Vol. 8, no. 3, Spring 1983. Reprinted in Renate Bridenthal et. al., When Biology Became Destiny:Women in Weimar and Nazi Germany (New York, 1984), p. 276.
8. Recent work on the German eugenics program supports this view. Giesela Bock writes that by, the end of World War I, 'sterilization was widely and passionately recommended as a solution to urgent social problems' (G. Bock, op. cit., p. 274). Paul Weindling notes that the emphasis on negative eugenics 'pre-dated the Third Reich.' He quotes the geneticist Richard Goldschmidt, who complained that the Nazis 'took over our entire plan of eugenic measures.' The legislation which the Nazis promulgated in July 1933 had been developed and lobbied for during the Weimar years. Weindling concludes that 'authoritarian politics provided favorable circumstances for eugenicist to exert influence on social policy in the planning of sterilization legislation.' See Paul Weindling, 'Race, Blood and Politics,' Times Higher Education, July 19, 1985; 'Weimar Eugenics,' Annals of Science, vol. 42, 1985, pp. 304, 318.
9. Marie E.. Kopp, 'A Eugenic Program in Operation,' paper presented at the Conference on Eugenics in Relation to Nursing, Feb. 24, 1937, American Eugenics Society Papers, BK 6. There was a sterilization bill before the Prussian Legislature as early as 1903, and one before the Saxon Legislature in 1923. Bills were introduced to the Reichstag in 1907 and 1925. Quote is from Frederick Osborn, Summary of the Procedings, op. cit.
10. 'Eugenical Sterilization in Germany.' Eugenical News, vol. 18, no. 5, September/October 1933, pp. 89-95. Quote is from page 90.
11. Popenoe joined the American Eugenics Socicty in 1923. He was an active member of the society right up until the early sixties.
12. Popenoe, 'The German Sterilization Law,' Journal of Heredity, vol. 25, no. 7, july, 1934, pp. 257- 260. Popenoe not only praised the sterilization law, he also praised Hitler, who 'bases his hopes of national regeneration soundly on the application of biological principles to human society.' Popenoe also defended the Nazis privately. See Popenoe to L.C. Dunn, January 22, 1934, LCD Papers, quoted in Ludmerer, op. cit. p. 117.
13. Praise for the Nazi law can also be found in C.P. Blacker's Voluntary Sterilization (London 1934), pp. 90-94. See also Leon Whitney, The Case for Sterilization (New York 1934); Gosney and Popenoe, Sterilization for Human Betterment (New York 1929); and J.H. Landman, Human Sterilization (New York 1932).
14. Daniel Kevles, In the Name of Eugenics, p. 116.
15. Buck v. Bell, Supreme Court Reporter 47, St. Paul, 1928, p. 585.
16. See 'An Act to provide for the sexual sterilization of inmates of State institutions in certain cases,' Acts of the General Assembly of the State of Virginia (Richmond, 1924), pp. .569-571. Carrie Buck had lived with the Dobbs family in Charlottesville, Virginia until she was seventeen years old. She had completed the sixth grade in school'and had a congenial relationship with the family. The Dobbs sought her commitment on January 23, 1924, after they discovered that Carrie was pregnant. During the the hearings to establish Carrie's eligibility for Sterilization, Arthur Estabrook, the eugenics expert from the Eugenics Record Office sent to testify in the case, was asked if Carrie was incabable of self support. He was specifically asked, 'Would she land in the poorhouse?' He answered, no, 'she would probably land in the lower-class area in the neighborhood in which she lives.' Estabrook went on to explain that she 'is incapable of taking care of herself in the manner in which society expects her to.' Quoted from Dudziak, 'Oliver Wendell Holmes as a Eugenic Reformer,' Iowa Law Review, vol. 71, no. 3, March 1980, p. 850.
17. Frederick Osborn, Conference on Eugenics in Relation to Nursing: Summary of the Proceedings. American Eugenics Society, Papers, Feb. 2 4, 1937. See also, Eugeniral News, 18:5, September /October 1933; 19:2, March/April 1934; 19:4, Ju;y/August 1934, 19:6, November/December 1934; 20:1, January/February, 1935, 21:6, November/December 1916; 21:4, July/August 1936; 22:4. July/August, 1937; 23:6, November/December 1938.
18. Although clearly some eugenicists, such as Madison Grant and Charles Goethe, did support such views.
19. Charles R. Stockard, remarks made during the general discussion at the 'Round Table Conference on Eugenics in Relation to Medicine' at the New York Academy of Medicine, April 21, 1937. American Eugenics Society Papers, BK 6.
20. Steven Selden, 'Confronting Tacit Social Values and and Explicit Political Ideology in the Science Curriculum: The Response and Responsibility, of Today's Educator,' to be published in Alex Molnar (ed.), The Social Responsibility of Educators. Alexandria, VA: Association for the Supervision of Curriculum Development, in press. See also the author's review of college texts, 'Education Policy and Biological Science: Genetics, Eugenics, and the College Textbook c. 1908-1931,' Teachers College Record (Teachers College, Columbia University), vol. 87, no. 1, Fall 1985, pp. 35-51.
21. As late as 1948, Michael Guyer's popular text, Animal Biology, was still advocating a vigorous program of positive and negative eugenics. 'In many, family strains,' Guyer warns, 'the seeds of derangement and disability have become so firmly established that they menace the remainder of the population.'
22. The first formal act of the society, at its first annual meeting was the issuance of the President's Report, which re-examined and refined the 'Eugenics Catechism' of 1923. The next year, the society published 'The American Eugenics Society,' a sixteen-page pamphlet which again examined the broard purpose of the society, and its progrm. 'Organized Eugenics' appeared a few years later, followed by 'American Eugenics' in 1936, which represented a roundtable discussion of issues. In 1938. 'Practical Eugenics' was published. 'The Development of Eugenic Policies' was published in 1939, along with 'A Eugenics Program for the United States.' These are only examples of pamphlets produced by the society. Committees of the society, also produced pamphlets, and all of the pamphlets were distributed to the advisory members for comment. See Ellsworth Hungtington, Tomorrow's Children: The Goal of Eugenics, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1935.
23. The Board consisted of Guy Irving Burch, Population Reference Bureau; Henry P. Fairchild, New York University; Irving I. Fisher, Yale University; Willystine Goodsell, Columbia University; C.C. Little, American society for the Control of Cancer; Frederick- Osborn, Secretary, of the AES; H.F. Perkins. University of Vermont, Paul Popenoe, Human Betterment Foundation; and Milton Wintermitz, Yale University. Among the advisory council were some some of America's most liberal and highly respected religious, political, medical, and academic names. They included Robert L. Dickinson. probably the most highly respected gynecologist in America at the time, the Reverend Harry Fosdick, whose Riverside Church in New York had over 3000 members, and his brother Raymond Fosdick, at the time the newly, appointed president of the Rockefeller Foundation and the General Education Board. Among the biologists were E.M. East, William Wheeler, and Sewall Wright. Among the psychologists were E.L. Throndike, Lewis Terman, and Robert Yerkes. The list includes an all-star cast from other fields as well, the majority of whom were quite active in the society.
24. Tomorrow's Children, op. cit., pp. 41-42.
25. Ibid., pp. 44, 56.
26. An address by Dr. Frick, Reischminister for the Interior, before the First Meeting of the Expert Counil for Population and Race-Politics, held in Berlin, June 28, 1933. Eugenical News, vol. 19, no. 2, March/April 1934, p. 34. This larger group was not necessarily to be sterilized. Various programs of education, segregation, marriage restrictions, and coercion could be used. This was the American view as well.
27. F. Osborn, Circular Letter, February 24, 1937, Scrapbook, American Eugenics Society Papers, BK 6. For the German sterilization statistics, see G. Bock, 'Racism and Sexism,' in When Biology Became Destiny op. cit., p. 279. Bock notes that in the u.S., only 11,000 persons were sterilized between 1907 and 1930. She also notes that 80 men and 400 women died as a result of the surgery. More detailed statistics can also be found in Hans Harmsen, 'The German Sterilization Act of 1933,' Eugenics Review, vol. 46, no. 4, 1955, pp. 227-232.
28. Robert J. Lifton, 'Medicalized Killing in Auschwitz,' Psychiatry, vol. 45, November 1982, pp. 282, 285. Also see Lifton's recent full-length study, The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide, (New York, 1986), pp. 23-45; 'Doctors of Death,' Time, June 25, 1979, p. 58. Leo Alexander, an investigator at the War Crimes Trials, wrote in 'Medical Science Under Dictatorship,' (New England Journal of Medicine, July 14, 1949, p. 42) that doctors served as executioners for the Third Reich in numberous capacities. 'It all started,' he arged, 'with the acceptance of the attitude, basic in the euthanasia movement, that there is such a thing as life not worthy to be lived.' For an extraordinary article on the contemporary use of these same psychological mechanisms, see Richard Goldstein and Patrick Breslin, 'Technicians of Torture: How Physicians Become Agents of State Terror,' in The Sciences, a publication of the New York Academy of Medicine, March/April 1986. The article examines torture in South and Central America in the 1980s.
29. Tomorrow's Children, op. cit., 45.
30. Ibid., pp. 45-46, 51.
31. Lorenz received the prize in 1973 for his work in ethology. His enthusiastic approval of Nazi eugenics has long been recognized. See Theodora H. Kalikow, 'Konrad Lorenz's Ethological Theory: Explanation and Ideology, 1938-1943,' Journal of the History of Biology, vol. 16, no. 1, Spring 1983, pp. 39-73.
32. Quoted from Chase, op. cit., p. 349
33. 'Eugenics in Germany in 1946,' Eugenical News, vol. 21, no. 2, June 1946, p. 21.
34. For a complete description of Mengele's work at Auschwitz and his relationship to Verschuer, see R. Lifton, The Nazi Doctors, op. cit., pp. 2, 337-383; Benno Muller-hill, Todliche Wissenschaft: Die Ausorderung von Juden, Zigeunern und Geisteskraken, 1933-1945, (Hamburg, 1985), pp. 71-85, 120-30, 157-64. A de-nazification tribunal laer referred to Verschuer's activitis under the Nazi regime as 'misdemeanors,' and fined him 600 Marks. He continued his illustrious career and retired as chairman of the Department of Genetics in 1974.
35. Humphreys was head of the Department of Psychology, editor of the Psychological Bulletin and the american Journal of Psychology, and the second-highest administrator in the National Science Foundation.
36. Lloyd Humphreys, 'Intelligence and Public Policy.' Paper presented at the symposium 'Intelligence, Measurement and Public Policy,' held in honor of Humphreys's retirement from the University of Illinois, April 30-May 2, 1985. The University of Illinois Press is publishing the proceedings of the conference.