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People with disabilities and heredity

Film | Accession Number: 2001.359.1 | RG Number: RG-60.3303 | Film ID: 2505A

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 Bundesarchiv Filmarchiv
Record last modified: 2021-06-03 12:51:29
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