Monday, February 25, 2008

"Science Museum exhibit explores how
Nazi eugenics effort led to the holocaust"

Parents in Minnesota have a fabulous opportunity to give their children a real education this spring about a life and death topic that really matters!

"The lab coats, microscopes and medical instruments on display at the Science Museum of Minnesota are typically seen as noble symbols of knowledge, healing and rational inquiry.

In the case of a new exhibit, however, they are artifacts of science gone astray and medicine perverted to serve the goals of "racial hygiene," mass forced sterilization, segregation, euthanasia and ultimately genocide.

"Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race" is the story of the eugenics movement implemented by Nazi Germany in the 1930s and '40s. The exhibit, created by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., opens Wednesday in the downtown St. Paul museum.

Eugenics is the belief that the human species could be improved by discouraging or stopping reproduction by people with genetic defects or undesirable traits and encouraging reproduction among those believed to have desirable, inheritable traits. It was carried out to its most horrifying extremes in Nazi Germany.

But the exhibit, which includes artifacts, photos and video testimonials, shows that advocacy for eugenics predated the rise of Hitler and that many in the scientific and medical communities embraced its use.

The theory also was promoted and practiced in places beyond Germany, including the United States and Minnesota.

Susan Bachrach, the exhibit curator with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, said the exhibit was created to try to help understand how the Holocaust happened in the most educated society in the world.

It turned out scientists lent a helping hand.


The term eugenics, meaning "good birth," was first coined by English scientist Francis Galton in 1883. But the idea took root in early 20th century Germany, which at the time was the world leader in science and medicine."


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