Racial Science in Hitler's New Europe, 1938-1945


Racial Science in Hitler's New Europe, 1938-1945

Edited by Anton Weiss-Wendt and Rory Yeomans

Critical Studies in the History of Anthropology Series

416 pages


July 2013


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April 2020


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July 2013


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About the Book

In Racial Science in Hitler’s New Europe, 1938–1945, international scholars examine the theories of race that informed the legal, political, and social policies aimed against ethnic minorities in Nazi-dominated Europe. The essays explicate how racial science, preexisting racist sentiments, and pseudoscientific theories of race that were preeminent in interwar Europe ultimately facilitated Nazi racial designs for a “New Europe.”

The volume examines racial theories in a number of European nation-states in order to understand racial thinking at large, the origins of the Holocaust, and the history of ethnic discrimination in each of those countries. The essays, by uncovering neglected layers of complexity, diversity, and nuance, demonstrate how local discourse on race paralleled Nazi racial theory but had unique nationalist intellectual traditions of racial thought.

 Written by rising scholars who are new to English-language audiences, this work examines the scientific foundations that central, eastern, northern, and southern European countries laid for ethnic discrimination, the attempted annihilation of Jews, and the elimination of other so-called inferior peoples.

Author Bio

Anton Weiss-Wendt is the head of the research department at the Center for the Study of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities in Oslo, Norway. He is the author of Murder without Hatred: Estonians and the Holocaust. Rory Yeomans is the senior international research analyst at the International Directorate of the UK Ministry of Justice. He is the author of Visions of Annihilation: The Ustasha Regime and the Cultural Politics of Fascism, 1941–1945.


"This is an impressive work that provides important new insights for historians of eugenics/racial hygiene, racial anthropology, the Second World War and the Holocaust."—Bradley W. Hart, European History Quarterly

"An important text for Holocaust scholars."—C. Pinto, CHOICE

"[Racial Science in Hitler's New Europe, 1938-1945 is] a refreshing, cohesive, and compelling contribution to the scholarship on racial policy inside Hitler's Europe."—Michael McConnell, H-German

"These essays provide a wealth of information about eugenics and scientific racism in areas that have been underexplored in the past. The book not only sheds light on Nazi racial ideology and policies, but also on the way that scientists and government officials in other parts of Europe responded to Nazi racial ideology and eugenics in the brief period of German ascendancy in Europe."—Richard Weikart, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences

"This is an important book that makes a significant and original contribution to the development of the historical literature in this field."—Lisa Pine, Social History of Medicine

Table of Contents

Series Editors' Introduction
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: The Holocaust and Historiographical Debates on Racial Science
Anton Weiss-Wendt and Rory Yeomans
1. Defining "(Un)Wanted Population Addition": Anthropology, Racist Ideology, and Mass Murder in the Occupied Eas
Isabel Heinemann
2. Preserving the "Master Race": SS Reproductive and Family Policies during the Second World War
Amy Carney
3. Germanic Brothers: The Dutch and the Germanization of the Occupied East
Geraldien von Frijtag Drabbe Künzel
4. Pure-Blooded Vikings and Peasants: Norwegians in the Racial Ideology of the SS
Terje Emberland
5. "Nordic-Germanic" Dreams and National Realities: A Case Study of the Danish Region of Sønderjylland, 1933-1945
Steffen Werther
6. Eugenics into Science: The Nazi Period in Austria, 1938-1945
Thomas Mayer
7. Biological Racism and Antisemitism as Intellectual Constructions in Italian Fascism: The Case of Telesio Interlandi and La difesa della razza
Elisabetta Cassina Wolff
8. Eradicating "Undesired Elements": National Regeneration and the Ustasha Regime's Program to Purify the Nation, 1941-1945
Rory Yeomans
9. "If Our Race Did Not Exist, It Would Have to Be Created": Racial Science in Hungary, 1940-1944
Marius Turda
10. In the Shadow of Ethnic Nationalism: Racial Science in Romania
Vladimir Solonari
11. Building Hitler's "New Europe": Ethnography and Racial Research in Nazi-Occupied Estonia
Anton Weiss-Wendt
12. In Pursuit of Biological Purity: Eugenics and Racial Paradigms in Nazi-Occupied Latvia, 1941-1945
Björn M. Felder
13. The Eternal Voice of the Blood: Racial Science and Nazi Ethics
Wolfgang Bialas

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