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The Nazi symbiosis : human genetics and politics in the Third Reich /
Sheila Faith Weiss.
imprint
Chicago : The University of Chicago Press, 2010.
description
383 p. : ill., ports. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0226891763 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780226891767 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Chicago : The University of Chicago Press, 2010.
isbn
0226891763 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780226891767 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
An old legend and a new legacy -- Human heredity and eugenics make their international debut -- The devil's directors at Dahlem -- The Munich pact -- The politics of professional talk -- Politicized pedagogy -- The international human genetics community faces Nazi Germany -- The road not taken elsewhere : was there something unique about human heredity during the Third Reich?
catalogue key
7368620
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 321-370) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2011-06-01:
A symbiosis is an interdependence of two organisms as each supports and often reinforces the other. Weiss (Clarkson Univ.) cleverly intertwines the development of genetics in Germany with the rise of the Nazis. Germany's early interest in eugenics (Rassenhygiene, or the more ominous-sounding "racial hygiene") had become increasingly popular since the late 19th century and was seen by many as a science committed to the improvement of the human race by better breeding. (By 1929, 23 US states had passed sterilization laws for cases of "mental defect.") The pseudo-science of eugenics was a welcome legitimization--perhaps even the foundation--of the racially driven Nazi Party. The Third Reich lavished support on eugenics through such organizations as the Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes, which placed themselves at the disposal of the Nazis. The Faustian bargain, as Weiss describes the new relationship, is the center of this excellent book. As Nazi policy became more radical during the late 1930s, eugenics leaders became more political, and the search for an improved society degenerated into euthanasia, forced sterilization, and experiments to produce blue-eyed twins. Weiss has written an excellent, if dense, book about the cost of such a Faustian bargain. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. A. P. Krammer Texas A&M University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"[A] detailed account of genetics research and its ethical ramifications under the Third Reich."
"Informative and compelling, The Nazi Symbiosis combines insightful analysis with the most up-to-date research on biomedicine in the Third Reich. Sheila Faith Weiss lays bare the notorious 'Faustian bargain' existing between German human geneticists and National Socialist officials in the construction of the deadly Nazi biocratic state. We now have the long-awaited comprehensive overview of one of the darkest chapters in the history of science."
"Informative and compelling, The Nazi Symbiosis combines insightful analysis with the most up-to-date research on biomedicine in the Third Reich. Sheila Faith Weiss lays bare the notorious 'Faustian bargain' existing between German human geneticists and National Socialist officials in the construction of the deadly Nazi biocratic state. We now have the long-awaited comprehensive overview of one of the darkest chapters in the history of science."Hans-WalterSchmuhl, University of Bielefeld
"Informative and compelling,The Nazi Symbiosiscombines insightful analysis with the most up-to-date research on biomedicine in the Third Reich. Sheila Faith Weiss lays bare the notorious 'Faustian bargain' existing between German human geneticists and National Socialist officials in the construction of the deadly Nazi biocratic state. We now have the long-awaited comprehensive overview of one of the darkest chapters in the history of science."Hans-WalterSchmuhl, University of Bielefeld
"More than sixty years after the liberation of Auschwitz, we finally have an accessible, compelling, and nuanced analysis of the special relationship between the Nazi state and the German human genetics community. As Sheila Faith Weiss persuasively argues in this stunning series of case studies of the production of genetic knowledge and eugenic policy and the dissemination of such knowledge to both the international community and to college preparatory students in Nazi Germany, both Nazi officials and German medical scientists stood to gain from what she identifies as the 'Faustian bargain.' As the reference to Faust suggests, the devil is in the details. Weiss uses never-before-analyzed student 'exit examinations' to explicate eugenics and eugenic knowledge even before the Nazi rise to power. In so doing, she offers a convincing explanation for the powerful and tragic symbiosis of genetic science and the State during National Socialism." Susan E. Lederer, University of WisconsinMadison
"Sheila Faith Weiss shows how German geneticists enhanced their careers through research agendas that both advanced and benefited from the Nazi state's criminal aims. A frightening study of the politics of genetic science under Hitler."
"Sheila Faith Weiss shows how German geneticists enhanced their careers through research agendas that both advanced and benefited from the Nazi state's criminal aims. A frightening study of the politics of genetic science under Hitler."Norman J. W. Goda, Braman Professor of Holocaust Studies, University of Florida
"Sheila Weiss modestly writes that she wants to provide a synthetic account of human genetics in this period that will be accessible to undergraduates as well as interested scholars beyond specialists' circles. In fact she has done more than that, adding to basic knowledge of the topic and establishing the broader relevance of this case for a more general understanding of politics and science. . . . [T]his is a fine overview of human genetics in Nazi Germany that should circulate widely."
"[T]his book will appeal to graduate students and professional historians who study Nazi Germany or the history of science."
"This well-written study helps elucidate the relationship between science and politics in the Third Reich and has enough details to satisfy scholars. At the same time, it provides an insightful narrative that a lay audience will find accessible and that will serve as a useful learning aid for students."
"Weiss cleverly intertwines the development of genetics in Germany with the rise of the Nazis. . . . Highly recommended."
“Weiss cleverly intertwines the development of genetics in Germany with the rise of the Nazis. . . . Highly recommended.”- Choice
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, June 2011
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
'The Nazi Symbiosis' offers a nuanced account of the myriad ways human heredity & Nazi politics reinforced each other before & during the Third Reich. It questions whether the motives of German geneticists were much different from the compromises that are faced by researchers from other countries & eras.
Main Description
The Faustian bargainin which an individual or group collaborates with an evil entity in order to obtain knowledge, power, or material gainis perhaps best exemplified by the alliance between world-renowned human geneticists and the Nazi state. Under the swastika, German scientists descended into the moral abyss, perpetrating heinous medical crimes at Auschwitz and at euthanasia hospitals. But why did biomedical researchers accept such a bargain? The Nazi Symbiosis offers a nuanced account of the myriad ways human heredity and Nazi politics reinforced each other before and during the Third Reich. Exploring the ethical and professional consequences for the scientists involved as well as the political ramifications for Nazi racial policies, Sheila Faith Weiss places genetics and eugenics in their larger international context. In questioning whether the motives that propelled German geneticists were different from the compromises that researchers from other countries and eras face, Weiss extends her argument into our modern moment, as we confront the promises and perils of genomic medicine today.
Main Description
The Faustian bargainin which an individual or group collaborates with an evil entity in order to obtain knowledge, power, or material gainis perhaps best exemplified by the alliance between world-renowned human geneticists and the Nazi state. Under the swastika, German scientists descended into the moral abyss, perpetrating heinous medical crimes at Auschwitz and at euthanasia hospitals. But why did biomedical researchers accept such a bargain? The Nazi Symbiosisoffers a nuanced account of the myriad ways human heredity and Nazi politics reinforced each other before and during the Third Reich. Exploring the ethical and professional consequences for the scientists involved as well as the political ramifications for Nazi racial policies, Sheila Faith Weiss places genetics and eugenics in their larger international context. In questioning whether the motives that propelled German geneticists were different from the compromises that researchers from other countries and eras face, Weiss extends her argument into our modern moment, as we confront the promises and perils of genomic medicine today.
Table of Contents
Introduction: An Old Legend and a New Legacyp. 1
Human Heredity and Eugenics Make Their International Debutp. 20
The Devil's Directors at Dahlemp. 69
The Munich Pactp. 121
The Politics of Professional Talkp. 184
Politicized Pedagogyp. 219
The International Human Genetics Community Faces Nazi Germanyp. 265
Conclusion: The Road Not Taken Elsewhere: Was There Something Unique about Human Heredity during the Third Reich?p. 302
Acknowledgmentsp. 313
Archival Sourcesp. 319
Notesp. 321
Indexp. 371
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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