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Eugen Fischer

Eugen Fischer (1874-1967) was a prominent eugenics advocate in Germany, acting as director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics between 1929 and 1942. He founded the Society for Race Hygiene in Freiburg in 1908, worked as a judge for Berlin’s Hereditary Health Court, and worked with Charles Davenport on bastard studied at the International Federation of Eugenics Organizations (IFEO).

Fischer is also known for authoring a study of mixed children, generally of descent from Dutch men and Hottentot women, known as Mischlinge, in 1913 (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, n.d.). These children came from German-run African states. Fischer predicted that these mixed children would “bring about the demise of European culture” (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, n.d.). Fischer was largely concerned with “racial purity”, and taught courses to many German doctors on such subjects (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, n.d.).

Fischer’s textbook, Principles of Human Heredity and Race Hygiene was largely influential in Germany – particular on Adolph Hitler, who read the book while in prison. Hitler’s later policies of racial hygiene allowed for the involuntary sterilization of the mentally ill, the alcoholics, and the “feeble-minded” in Germany (DNA Learning Center, n.d.).

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