A new bibliography addition from Robert Proctor

A new bibliography addition from Robert Proctor

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I recently finished Robert N. Proctor's book, Racial Hygiene: Medicine Under the Nazis. What was so disturbing is how the finest minds in science and medicine paved the way for barbarity, and that the Germans were inspired by the Americans for their “leadership in racial hygiene”.

A review quote from Harvard University Press:

“Robert Proctor demonstrates that the common picture of a passive scientific community coerced into cooperation with the Nazis fails to grasp the reality of what actually happened—namely, that many of the political initiatives of the Nazis arose from within the scientific community, and that medical scientists actively designed and administered key elements of National Socialist policy.”

And another poignant review quote from the Journal of Public Health Policy:

“It is easy to be simplistic about the Nazi period, to think of the German people as somehow different and capable of enormities that others would never be capable of committing. Not only is this facile, but Proctor's book, in adding complexity and subtlety to our understanding of the Nazi phenomenon, also clarifies our vision of what the opposition within Germany was, what was thought, what was attempted, and how it failed.”

Alex Ross on the precursors to Nazism

Alex Ross on the precursors to Nazism

Alex Ross published an April 2018 article in The New Yorker on the scholarly research into the international precursors of Nazism, titled “How American Racism Influenced Hitler”. I read the article at the same time that I was reading Robert Proctor's book, Racial Hygiene: Medicine Under The Nazis, and the tie-ins were stark. The article is deeply disturbing, and the comparisons to our current climate left me feeling distraught. It is my hope that projects like The Mischlinge Exposé can use personal stories to help make room for compassion.

Americans have an especially insatiable appetite for Nazi-themed books, films, television shows, documentaries, video games, and comic books. Stories of the Second World War console us with memories of the days before Vietnam, Cambodia, and Iraq, when the United States was the world’s good-hearted superpower, riding to the rescue of a Europe paralyzed by totalitarianism and appeasement. Yet an eerie continuity became visible in the postwar years, as German scientists were imported to America and began working for their former enemies; the resulting technologies of mass destruction exceeded Hitler’s darkest imaginings. The Nazis idolized many aspects of American society: the cult of sport, Hollywood production values, the mythology of the frontier. From boyhood on, Hitler devoured the Westerns of the popular German novelist Karl May. In 1928, Hitler remarked, approvingly, that white settlers in America had “gunned down the millions of redskins to a few hundred thousand.” When he spoke of Lebensraum, the German drive for “living space” in Eastern Europe, he often had America in mind.
— Alex Ross, The New Yorker

Miami Holocaust Memorial

Miami Holocaust Memorial

While on break in Miami for Passover, I visited the Holocaust Memorial and the emotional, and gut-wrenching sculpture by Kenneth Treister. I also had the honor of meeting survivor Henry F., who is 94 and going strong!

Murderers Among Us

Murderers Among Us

Scene from Wolfgang Staudte's 1946 film, Murderers Among Us

The above scene is from Wolfgang Staudte's 1946 film, Murderers Among Us, which was produced by the state-owned film studio of the GDR (East Germany), DEFA. The film was initially rejected by the British, French, and American studios due to its political nature, but the Soviets viewed film as a primary means of re-educating the German populace after twelve years of Nazi rule and made it the first of the films produced by DEFA.

The White Rose

The White Rose

Wednesay, Richard Hurowitz published a fantastic op-ed in the New York Times featuring a group of young German idealists who called themselves “The White Rose”:

Seventy-five years ago Thursday, a group of young German idealists, students who had dared to speak out against the Nazis, were executed by the regime they had defied. Like a flickering flame in the darkness, the White Rose, as its members called themselves, is an inspiring group that never lost its courage — and a frightening reminder of how rare such heroes are.… We are far from the darkness of fascism, but we do ourselves a service by remembering the sad but noble story of these beautiful souls on the anniversary of their tragic sacrifice.
— Richard Hurwitz, The New York Times