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September 01, 1989 - Image 16

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-09-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

(OPINION

NICOLETTI Sc NATUZZI

I

M

P

O

T

R

E

D

LEATHER
0.4,F

Study Can't Hide
Taint Of Eugenics

BARRY MEHLER

Special to The Jewish News

A

few weeks ago the
Jewish Telegraphic
Agency carried a
story, "Twins researchers
deny neo-Nazi link." The
story was a follow-up on the
many stories that have ap-
peared in numerous Jewish
newspapers about a con-
ference at the University of
Minnesota on the use of Nazi
concentration camp data. JTA.
presented my charges that
the Minnesota Twins Study
was funded by a major neo-
Nazi organization and was
promoting a new eugenics.
Nancy Segal, assistant
director for the Minnesota
Twins Study and a panelist at
the conference, was called to
task by Robert Proctor and
Benno Muller-Hill, promi-
nent scholars and Holocaust
experts. They protested the
fact that the Minnesota pro-
ject receives more than half
its funding from the Pioneer
Fund, a neo-Nazi organiza-
tion formed in 1937 to "im-
prove the character of the
American people" by en-
couraging the breeding of
those descended from "white
persons who settled in the
original thirteen states prior
to the adoption of the Con-
stitution," according to its
original certificate of
incorporation.
The founders of the Pioneer
Fund were great admirers of
the Nazi eugenics programs.
In 1936, founder Harry
Laughlin, the author of
Eugenical Sterilization in the
United States, was offered an
honorary doctorate from Hei-
delberg University. Laughlin
wrote that he would be glad
to accept "not only as a per-
sonal honor, but as evidence
of the common understanding
of German and American
scientists of the nature of
eugenics as research in and
the practical application of
those fundamental biological
and social principles which
determine racial endowments
and the racial health . . . of
future generations. In 1937,
the same year as the founding
of the Pioneer Fund, founder
Frederick Osborn praised the
Nazi sterilization program.
The Nazi sterilization pro-
gram, he wrote, "is apparent-
ly an excellent one . . . Taken
altogether recent develop-

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Barry Mehler is on the faculty
of Ferris State University in
Big Rapids, Mich.

ments in Germany constitute
perhaps the most important
social experiment which has
ever been tried."
The first two proposals set
for for 1937 were a) "grants to
encourage high fertility by
junior flying officers of
especially superior heredity"
and b) "the eugenical educa-
tion of the American people
by moving picture films on
eugenical subjects." Two Nazi
films had been procured and

That the interest
of the Pioneer
Fund Is ideological
rather than
scholarly was
clearly indicated in
a number of grants
made in the '70s
and '80s.

a machine secured for their
use. The films had English
subtitles and were called "Ap-
plied Eugenics in Present
Day Germany"
Harry Weyher, now presi-
dent of the Pioneer Fund,
refuted the charges to the
JTA. He stated that although
the fund was incorporated in
1937, it did not make its first
grant until 1961. He also
noted that "it is highly
unlikely that two such promi-
nent men (Osborn and
Laughlin) could have sup-
ported Hitler without having
become publicly known dur-
ing the war.
In fact, the minutes of the
Pioneer Fund, which are in
the public record as part of
the archives of the Universi-
ty of Missouri at Kirksville,
clearly state that the board of
directors approved $2,500 on
March 22, 1937, to study the
feasibility of a breeding pro-
gram that resembled the Nazi
Lebensborn. In July, another
$10,000 was appropriated for
this project. While I don't
have complete records of the
Pioneer funds actual ex-
penses for 1937, a letter dated
February 19, 1937, from
Draper's lawyer and the
fund's treasurer indicates
that $50,000 was intended for
the human breeding project.
As to Weyher's comments
about Osborn and Laughlin,
my accusations do not arise
from hearsay evidence. The
statements quoted above were
public statements and are a
part of the public record. Any
researcher who has the time
and inclination can verify the

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