Eugen Fischer (5 July 1874 – 9 July 1967) was a German professor of medicine, anthropology, and eugenics, and a member of the Nazi Party. He served as director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, and also served as rector of the Frederick William University of Berlin.
Eugen Fischer with photographs of indigenous African women, circa 1938.
|Died||9 July 1967 (aged 93)|
|Known for||Nazi eugenics|
|Political party||Nazi Party|
Fischer's ideas informed the Nuremberg Laws of 1935 which served to justify the Nazi Party's belief in German racial superiority. Adolf Hitler read Fischer's work while he was imprisoned in 1923 and he used Fischer's eugenical notions to support the ideal of a pure Aryan society in his manifesto, Mein Kampf (My Struggle).
Fischer was born in Karlsruhe, Grand Duchy of Baden, in 1874. He studied medicine, folkloristics, history, anatomy, and anthropology in Berlin, Freiburg and Munich. In 1918, he joined the Anatomical Institute in Freiburg in 1918, part of the University of Freiburg.
In 1927, Fischer became the director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics (KWI-A), a role for which he'd been recommended the prior year by Erwin Baur.
In 1933 Fischer signed the Loyalty Oath of German Professors to Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist State.
In 1933, Adolf Hitler appointed him rector of the Frederick William University of Berlin, now Humboldt University. Fischer retired from the university in 1942. Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer was a student of Fischer.
In 1906, Fischer conducted field research in German South West Africa (now Namibia). He studied the Basters, offspring of German or Boer men who had fathered children by the native women (Hottentots) in that area. His study concluded with a call to prevent a "mixed race" by the prohibition of "mixed marriage" such as those he had studied. It included unethical medical practices on the Herero and Namaqua people. He argued that while the existing Mischling descendants of the mixed marriages might be useful for Germany, he recommended that they should not continue to reproduce. His recommendations were followed and by 1912 interracial marriage was prohibited throughout the German colonies. As a precursor to his experiments on Jews in Nazi Germany, he collected bones and skulls for his studies, in part from medical experimentation on African prisoners of war in Namibia during the Herero and Namaqua Genocide.
His ideas expressed in this work, related to maintaining the purity of races, influenced future German legislation on race, including the Nuremberg laws.
In 1927, Fischer was a speaker at the 1927 World Population conference held in Geneva, Switzerland. The Conference was organized by the League of Nations and Margaret Sanger, the founder of The American Birth Control League which was later rechristened as Planned Parenthood.
In the years of 1937–1938 Fischer and his colleagues analysed 600 children in Nazi Germany descending from French-African soldiers who occupied western areas of Germany after First World War; the children were subsequently subjected to sterilization.
Fischer did not officially join the Nazi Party until 1940. However, he was influential with National Socialists early on. Adolf Hitler read his two-volume work, Principles of Human Heredity and Race Hygiene (first published in 1921 and co-written by Erwin Baur and Fritz Lenz) while incarcerated in 1923 and used its ideas in Mein Kampf. He also authored The Rehoboth Bastards and the Problem of Miscegenation among Humans (1913) (German: Die Rehobother Bastards und das Bastardierungsproblem beim Menschen), a field study which provided context for later racial debates, influenced German colonial legislation and provided scientific support for the Nuremberg laws.
Under the Nazi regime, Fischer developed the physiological specifications used to determine racial origins and developed the so-called Fischer–Saller scale. He and his team experimented on Gypsies and African-Germans, taking blood and measuring skulls to find scientific validation for his theories.
In 1944 Fischer intervened in an attempt to get his friend Martin Heidegger released from service in the Volkssturm militia. However, Heidegger had already been released from service when Fischer's letter arrived.:332-3
- Fischer, Eugen. 1899. "Beiträge zur Kenntniss der Nasenhöhle und des Thränennasenganges der Amphisbaeniden", Archiv für Mikroskopische Anatomie. 55:1, pp. 441–478.
- Fischer, Eugen. 1901. "Zur Kenntniss der Fontanella metopica und ihrer Bildungen". Zeitschrift für Morphologie und Anthropologie.4:1. pp. 17–30.
- Fischer, Eugen, Professor an der Universität Freiburg i. Br. 1906. "Die Variationen an Radius und Ulna des Menschen". Zeitschrift für Morphologie und Anthropologie. Vol. 9. No. 2.
- Fischer, Eugen. 1908. Der Patriziat Heinrichs III und Heinrichs IV. Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck). Fischer's PhD thesis.
1910 to 1919Edit
- Maass, Alfred. Durch Zentral-Sumatra. Berlin: Behr. 1910. Additional contributing authors: J.P. Kleiweg de Zwaan and E. Fischer.
- Fischer, Eugen. 1913.Die Rehobother Bastards und das Bastardierungsproblem beim Menschen: anthropologische und ethnographiesche Studien am Rehobother Bastardvolk in Deutsch-Südwest-Afrika, ausgeführt mit Unterstützung der Kgl. preuss, Akademie der Wissenschaften. Jena: G. Fischer.
- Gaupp, Ernst Wilhelm Theodor. Eugen Fischer (ed.) 1917. August Weismann: sein Leben und sein Werk. Jena: Verlag von Gustav Fischer.
1920 to 1929Edit
- Schwalbe, G. and Eugen Fischer (eds.). Anthropologie. Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1923.
- Fischer, E. and H.F.K. Günther. Deutsche Köpfe nordischer Rasse: 50 Abbildungen mit Geleitwarten. Munich: J.F. Lehmann. 1927.
1940 to 1949Edit
- Fischer, Eugen and Gerhard Kittel. Das antike Weltjudentum : Tatsachen, Texte, Bilder. Hamburg: Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, 1943.
1950 to 1959Edit
- Sarkar, Sasanka Sekher; Eugen Fischer and Keith Arthur, The Aboriginal Races of India, Calcutta: Bookland. 1954.
- Fischer, Eugen. Begegnungen mit Toten: aus den Erinnerungen eines Anatomen. Freiburg: H.F. Schulz. 1959.
- Anderson, Ingrid L. (2016-05-26). Ethics and Suffering since the Holocaust: Making Ethics "First Philosophy" in Levinas, Wiesel and Rubenstein. Routledge. ISBN 9781317298359.
- Max-Planck-Gesellschaft - Archive. "Fischer, Eugen". Archived from the original on 2014-08-19.
- "Eugen Fischer".
- Eugen Fischer (1921). "Bitte des anatomischen Instituts Freiburg i.B."
- Schmul 2003, p. 25.
- Lasalle, Ferdinand. "Rektoratsreden im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert – Online-Bibliographie - Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Berlin". www.historische-kommission-muenchen-editionen.de. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
- Michael H. Kater (2011). "The Nazi Symbiosis: Human Genetics and Politics in the Third Reich". Bulletin of the History of Medicine. 85: 515–516. doi:10.1353/bhm.2011.0067.
- Randall Hansen; Desmond King (2013). Sterilized by the State: Eugenics, Race, and the Population Scare in Twentieth-Century. Cambridge University Press. p. 328. ISBN 1107434599.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-12-09. Retrieved 2014-01-19.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- Holocaust Encyclopedia, p. 420
- Friedlander 1997, p. 11
- http://www.ezakwantu.com/Gallery%20Herero%20and%20Namaqua%20Genocide.htmMedical[permanent dead link] experimentation in Africa
- Lusane, Clarence (2002-12-13). "Hitler's black victims: The historical experiences of Afro-Germans, European Blacks, Africans, and African Americans in the Nazi era". ISBN 9780415932950.
- Bioethics: an anthology Helga Kuhse, Peter Singer page 232 Wiley-Blackwell 2006
- "Human biodiversity: genes, race, and history", Jonathan M. Marks. Transaction Publishers, 1995. p. 88. ISBN 0202020339, 9780202020334.
- A. E. Samaan (2013). From a Race of Masters to a Master Race: 1948 To 1848. A.E. Samaan. p. 539. ISBN 1626600007.
- Holocaust Encyclopedia p. 420.
- "Repatriation of Skulls from Namibia University of Freiburg hands over human remains in ceremony". 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-04-03.
- Namibia Press Agency (7 March 2014). "NAMPA: WHK skulls repatriated to Namibia 07 March 2014". Retrieved 19 April 2018 – via YouTube.
- "Germany to send back 35 skulls". newera.com.na. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
- Safranski, Rüdiger (1999). Martin Heidegger: Between Good and Evil. Cambridge (MAss): Harvard University Press.
- Das Antike Weltjudentum - Forschungen zur Judenfrage. 1944.
- Baumel, Judith Tydor (2001). The Holocaust Encyclopedia. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-08432-3.
- Black, Edwin (2004). War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race. Thunder's Mouth Press. ISBN 1-56858-321-4.
- Fangerau H.; Müller I. (2002). "Das Standardwerk der Rassenhygiene von Erwin Baur, Eugen Fischer und Fritz Lenz im Urteil der Psychiatrie und Neurologie 1921-1940". Der Nervenarzt. 73 (11): 1039–1046. doi:10.1007/s00115-002-1421-1. PMID 12430045.
- Mendes-Flohr, Paul R. (1995). The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History. Oxford University Press US. ISBN 0-19-507453-X.
- Schmuhl, Hans-Walter. "The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human heredity and Eugenics, 1927-1945", Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science vol. 259, Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen, 2003
- Weindling P. (1985). "Weimar eugenics: The kaiser wilhelm institute for anthropology, human heredity and eugenics in social context". Annals of Science. 42 (3): 303–318. doi:10.1080/00033798500200221. PMID 11620696.
- Friedlander, Henry. 1997. The origins of Nazi genocide: from euthanasia to the Final Solution. University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-2208-6 ISBN 0807846759.
- Book Review of The Rehoboth Bastards in Nature (1913)
- 2004 Newspaper Article regarding The Rehoboth Bastards
- The Rehoboth Bastards (Photo Album)
- Herero and Namaqua Genocide - Galerie Ezakwantu
- Lusane, Clarence (2002-12-13). "Hitler's black victims: The historical experiences of Afro-Germans, European Blacks, Africans, and African Americans in the Nazi era". ISBN 978-0-415-93295-0.
- Detailed overview of Eugen Fischer with references