In Search of “Aryan Blood”
Serology in Interwar and National Socialist Germany
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Central European University Press
Title Page, Copyright
List of Figures
I received support and assistance from many in writing this manuscript. For their guidance and advice, I want to thank Richard A. Steigmann-Gall, Shelley O. Baranowski, Elizabeth M. Smith, and Alison Fletcher. Marius Turda and Paul Weindling provided both invaluable judgment and sharing of information. I am indebted to both Marius and...
In Nazi Germany, basic civil rights—and ultimately the right to live— depended on whether one had "German blood." Meticulous racial categorization of individuals as either "German-blooded" or "non-German-blooded" relied primarily upon documentation, such as birth and baptismal certificates. Labeling was compulsory, as everyone...
I. The Emergence of Blood Science
Since its primitive beginnings in early modern Europe, racial anthropology traditionally relied upon physiognomic traits to determine an individual's race. Physiognomic traits meant bodily characteristics, which often included measurements of one's nose, various dimensions of the skull, and/ or the pigmentation of the hair, skin, and eyes...
II. Seroanthropology in the early 1920s: Blood, Race, and Eugenics
The Hirszfelds' research in Salonika was a remarkable anthropological study for its time. Not only did it propose a new method of racially screening populations, but it had surveyed an especially large subject group (8,000 people), which was crucial if the work was to receive a positive reception in the medical community. In addition, the implications...
III. Organizing Seroanthropology: the Establishment of the German Institute for Blood Group Research
By the mid-1920s there were enough blood type surveys to suggest that some affiliation might exist between blood and other physical characteristics. Völkisch physicians tended to interpret type B blood as a marker of Eastern descent and, though there had been findings to indicate otherwise, they further linked this type to other...
IV. Seroanthropology at its Height: Distinguishing Those with "Pure blood "
Despite funding setbacks, the German Institute for Blood Group Research was able to pursue its research, albeit on a much less extensive scale than originally proposed. Although its directors welcomed analyses of non-German subjects, they were particularly interested in determining the serological makeup of what they termed...
V. The Jew as Examiner and Examined
Jews, or individuals of "Jewish descent," figured prominently in both the development and advancement of blood science. Karl Landsteiner launched the discipline of serology with his discovery of the blood types in 1900. In 1906 German bacteriologist August von Wassermann developed a blood test for the diagnosis of syphilis that...
VI. Blood as Metaphor and science in the Nuremberg Race Laws
Hitler's eugenic and racial beliefs attracted right-wing political and medical ideologues long before his appointment as chancellor in 1933. In 1930 German race theorist Fritz Lenz lauded him as the first politician "of truly great import, who has taken racial hygiene as a serious element of state policy...
VII. The Pedagogy and Practice of Seroanthropology During World War II
Throughout the 1930s, the Third Reich focused primarily on stabilizing domestic matters in preparation for war. During this time, racial segregation in Germany continued to escalate; by 1939, more than 400 additional decrees, regulations, and amendments had consigned Jews and other "non- Aryan" groups to the outer fringes of...
While scientific studies of blood and race were not utilized by the Nazis in enforcing the identification and separation of different racial types, blood rhetoric remained politically useful. German race ideologues were able to exploit the flexible notion of blood defilement, which could function in either a clinical or sexual context. As advancements...
Index of Names