The Nazi Symbiosis: Human Genetics And Politics In The Third Reich

Paperback | April 4, 2013

bySheila Faith Weiss

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The Faustian bargain—in which an individual or group collaborates with an evil entity in order to obtain knowledge, power, or material gain—is perhaps best exemplified by the alliance between world-renowned human geneticists and the Nazi state. Under the swastika, German scientists descended into the moral abyss, perpetrating heinous medical crimes at Auschwitz and at euthanasia hospitals. But why did biomedical researchers accept such a bargain?

The Nazi Symbiosis offers a nuanced account of the myriad ways human heredity and Nazi politics reinforced each other before and during the Third Reich. Exploring the ethical and professional consequences for the scientists involved as well as the political ramifications for Nazi racial policies, Sheila Faith Weiss places genetics and eugenics in their larger international context. In questioning whether the motives that propelled German geneticists were different from the compromises that researchers from other countries and eras have faced, Weiss extends her argument into our modern moment, as we confront the promises and perils of genomic medicine today.

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The Faustian bargain—in which an individual or group collaborates with an evil entity in order to obtain knowledge, power, or material gain—is perhaps best exemplified by the alliance between world-renowned human geneticists and the Nazi state. Under the swastika, German scientists descended into the moral abyss, perpetrating heinous m...

Sheila Faith Weiss is professor of history at Clarkson University and author of Race Hygiene and National Efficiency: The Eugenics of Wilhelm Schallmayer.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:392 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:April 4, 2013Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022605571X

ISBN - 13:9780226055718

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Table of Contents

Introduction: An Old Legend and a New Legacy

Chapter One: Human Heredity and Eugenics Make Their International Debut

Chapter Two: The Devil’s Directors at Dahlem

Chapter Three: The Munich Pact

Chapter Four: The Politics of Professional Talk

Chapter Five: Politicized Pedagogy

Chapter Six: The International Human Genetics Community Faces Nazi Germany


Conclusion: The Road Not Taken Elsewhere: Was There Something Unique about Human Heredity during the Third Reich?

 

Acknowledgments

Archival Sources

Notes

Index

Editorial Reviews

“Sheila Faith Weiss shows how German geneticists enhanced their careers through research agendas that both advanced and benefited from the Nazi state’s criminal aims. A frightening study of the politics of genetic science under Hitler.”