The “Science” of Race
This segment examines Nazi racial ideology, a cornerstone of German state policies from 1933 to 1945. The Nazis, supported by scientists and physicians, classified and ranked peoples and individuals according to a hierarchy of “superior” and “inferior” races. Germans and certain other Europeans were regarded as culturally and racially superior peoples who had created civilizations and empires. Jews were considered to be a separate race that was parasitical and criminal in nature and dedicated to attaining world domination by feeding off and weakening host nations. German race scientists and Nazi officials also designated Roma (Gypsies) and African Germans as “racial aliens” who had to be excluded from the “national community.”
After 1933, Nazi racism pervaded the society in Germany. It was taught in schools and penetrated the fields of anthropology, sociology, history, biology, and medicine. In 1935, the Nazi regime issued legislation prohibiting marriages between Germans and Jews, Roma, African Germans, and those diagnosed with mental illness or certain hereditary diseases.
Location: Opening Floor
Learn more about the themes covered on this floor of the exhibition