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Hitler's MonstersA Supernatural History of the Third Reich$
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Eric Kurlander

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300189452

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300189452.001.0001

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Monstrous Science

Monstrous Science

Racial Resettlement, Human Experiments, and the Holocaust

(p.231) 8 Monstrous Science
Hitler's Monsters

Eric Kurlander

Yale University Press

This chapter illustrates the ways in which science and the supernatural intersected in the Third Reich's approach to anti-Semitism, human experimentation, and ethnic cleansing. Certainly, the Nazi resettlement project was based on broader European colonial premises and practical military-economic necessities. The ideology that guided these policies, however, was fuelled by supernatural conceptions of race and space. Similarly, not all aspects of Nazi eugenics were motivated by border science. However, Nazi attempts to sterilize and murder millions went beyond any prevailing understanding of eugenics in natural scientific circles within the United States, Britain, or Sweden. If the process of genocide was conducted in a highly technocratic fashion, its foundations lay in a conception of the Jews as supernatural monsters. Only by associating Jews with vampiric, parasitic, almost superhuman opponents locked in a centuries-old conspiracy to destroy the Aryan race could the Nazis lay the conceptual groundwork for murdering so many innocent civilians in so monstrous a fashion.

Keywords:   anti-Semitism, human experimentation, ethnic cleansing, racial resettlement, Holocaust, Nazi eugenics, genocide, Jews, supernatural monsters

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