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People with disabilities and heredity

Film | Digitized | Accession Number: 1994.121.1 | RG Number: RG-60.1174 | Film ID: 971

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    People with disabilities and heredity


    Nazi propaganda film -- Aufklaerungsfilm [Instructional film] -- depicting life on earth as a permanent struggle for food, reproduction, and survival between strong and weak animals. This analogy is extended to the sphere of human beings, in which the survival of the Aryan race is threatened by 'hereditary' phenomena like mental disabilities and criminality. Allowing those considered "unworthy of living" to live in "palaces" for the disabled and congenitally ill at the expense of the healthy living in shabby conditions perpetuates this sin against the laws of nature. Shows footage of extremely disabled people, with intertitles indicating the cost of feeding and housing them. Praises the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Ill Offspring [Gesetz zur Verhuetung erbkranken Nachwuchses] of January 1, 1934, that authorized sterilization as the first solution to this struggle. An appeal is made to hereditarily healthy Germans to reproduce in order to help the nation survive.

    The film draws heavily from a pseudoscientific understanding of Social Darwinism, propagated in Hitler's "Mein Kampf." The natural law of selection -- the struggle for existence and preservation of the species -- is a matter of genes. Only the fittest genetic material can survive and procreate, the imperfect must diminish. Hence, man should reinstitute the natural order of eat-or-get-eaten, so that the internally pure and strong race will survive in this worldwide and historical struggle between the races. This film is a short version of "Erbkrank" (1936). It was used as internal ideological education for Nazi party members, not for public screenings. It received the distinction "staatspolitisch und kulturell wertvoll" [state-politically and artistically valuable].
    Production:  1937
    Accessed at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Library of Congress
    Director: Werner Huettig
    Director: Herbert Gerdes
    Producer: NSDAP Reichsleitung, Rassenpolitisches Amt, Berlin

    Physical Details

    B&W / Color
    Black & White
    Image Quality
    Time Code
    03:19:48:00 to 03:38:05:00
    Film Format
    • Master
    • Master 971 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Master 971 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Master 971 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Master 971 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
    • Preservation
    • Preservation 971 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Preservation 971 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Preservation 971 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Preservation 971 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    You do not require further permission from the Museum to access this archival media.
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use. No copyright information is known.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Film Provenance
    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum purchased the films from the Library of Congress in October 1994.
    The film passed censorship on August 5, 1937. Length: 37 minutes
    Herbert Gerdes also wrote and produced "Suenden der Vaeter" [Sins of the fathers] (1935), "Abseits vom Wege" [Away from the Path] (1935) and "Erbkrank" [Hereditary Ill] (1936).
    See Film and Video departmental files for extensive documentation and a summary of the film. See Story 3303, Film ID 2505A and Story 3694, Film ID 2618 for duplicate footage of this film. See Story 3267 and 3268, Film ID 2501 for "Erbkrank" (a longer version of this film).
    Copied From
    16mm; b/w
    Film Source
    Library of Congress - Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division (MBRS)
    File Number
    Legacy Database File: 2554
    Source Archive Number: FAA 0851
    Record last modified:
    2024-02-21 07:30:49
    This page:

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