A History of Eugenics

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USHMM, Washington DC

These 20-minute lectures feature renowned scholars from Holocaust studies and beyond. In the lectures, scholars discuss primary sources that illuminate topics using photographs, propaganda, diaries, short films, and artwork drawn from the Museum’s vast collection and other sources. This page will be updated as more lectures are produced.

This video covers the history of eugenics, or “racial hygiene,” in Germany and the United States throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The discussion between Dr. Patricia Heberer Rice and Dr. Lutz Kaelber explores several sources that display how eugenic practices paved the way for sterilization, and in the case of Nazi Germany, murder, of those deemed “unfit” to reproduce. Ultimately, Dr. Heberer Rice and Dr. Kaelber expose the racism, antisemitism, and ableism that underpinned the eugenic practices that took place before, during, and after World War II.

You can link to the video here.

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