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1939

World War II begins in Europe, when Germany invades Poland.

In Germany, sterilisation of the mentally retarded was replaced by a euthanasia law. Now patients in mental hospitals could simply be killed on eugenics grounds. Victims of this program, both adults and children, were given lethal injections or gassed; in the occupied territories, they were shot by the same Einsatzgruppen that were killing Jews and gypsies. By 1941, when protests against the policy of gassing patients had become so great that orders were given by Hitler to stop, some 70,000 had been killed. However, killing by other means continued, and even took place after the end of the war.

Due to scientific criticism, the Carnegie Institution withdrew funding from the Eugenics Record Office and closed it down in 1939. However, it was only the liberation of the concentration camps, and the discovery of the work of men like Mengele, that finally discredited the ‘old’ eugenics movement.

Nevertheless, much legislation remained on the statute books. Laws against miscegenation in various American states were finally overturned by a federal Supreme Court ruling as late as 1967. In Sweden, eugenic sterilisations continued until 1976. In total, some 62,000 Swedes were sterilised over the 40 years of the programme, an unenviable per capita world record.

Julian Huxley’s brother, Aldous, wrote Brave New World with the eugenics of the 1930s in mind, but his novel has a fair claim to become the prophesy of the 21st century. For eugenics went underground with the importation of the Nazi Scientists after WW II. As we note, eugenics was formerly supported in Germany by Rockefeller et al funding – but the outcry of the people after the war made it imperative to take this work deep underground. It is now supported on site and in secret.

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