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Anthropometer to measure the human body used in Nazi eugenics experiments

Object | Accession Number: 1990.255.1

Anthropometer used in Nazi eugenic experiments. This is an anthropological instrument consisting of four hollow graduated tubes that fit together to form a rigid rod. It is used to measure the human body, its parts, and functions to aid in the study of human evolution and variation. Such devices were traditionally used for "Vaterschaftsgutachten," [the determination of fatherhood in questionable cases]. They were also used, and misused by scientists in the Eugenics movement, and during the Third Reich, to measure racial differences for body parts, facial features, cranial sizes, eye, skin, and hair color, etc. Nazi researchers claimed that the results of such measurements could prove the racial superiority of Aryans and the inferiority of Jews, Roma, Blacks, and other mixed breeds.
Ths instrument is believed to have been originally in the holdings of the Kaiser Wilheim Institute until the Institute was taken over by the Institute for Human Genetics and Anthropology at the University of Freiburg in 1961. It is further believed to have been given to the Institute for Human Genetics by Dr. Eugen Fischer, former director of the Wilheim Institute from 1927 to 1942, who gave the Institute a number of items.

Tools and Equipment
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Ulrich Wolf
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Record last modified: 2018-10-24 14:08:06
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