A publishing sensation in Germany, Murderous Science is a devastating indictment of the role German scientists played in Nazi atrocities. It reveals how prominent scholars and physicians--many of whom were active in the international eugenics movement--not only acquiesced to anti-Semitic laws and extermination camps, but provided a scientific foundation for Hitler's racist policies, advised on the laws that were passed to implement these policies, helped administrate the Final Solution as well as euthanasia programs aimed at the mentally ill, and in extreme cases, such as Dr. Mengele at Auschwitz, personally murdered inmates "in the interests of science."
A major figure in this sordid tale is Professor Eugen Fischer, an anatomist and a world renowned advocate of eugenics--the use of genetics to "improve mankind"--whose work on interracial marriage in South West Africa inspired Hitler's racial theories in Mein Kampf. Professor Fischer later headed the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, which supervised the forced sterilization of hundreds of thousands of people, the "mercy killing" of 70,000 mentally ill, and finally the mass murder of millions of Jews. Another prominent figure, the psychiatrist Dr. Ritter, whose research was funded by the Reich, claimed that 90% of the Gypsies he studied were of "mixed blood" and that they should be consigned to labor camps. As a result, over 20,000 Gypsies died at Auschwitz. There was also Professor Hirt, an anatomist at the University of Strasbourg, who requested and received over one hundred skeletons of "typical Jews" for his studies in anatomy...Professor Schneider, a psychiatrist who recorded the physiological characteristics of mentally ill patients, murdered them, then studied their brain tissue and structure...and Professor Clauberg, who advised Himmler that "an appropriately trained doctor" could sterilize several hundred Jewish women per day.
Benno Müller-Hill carefully examines the thinking and motivation of all these scientists, and he includes a transcript of the conversations he held with many of the participants. The result is a gripping chronicle of one of the most shocking episodes in 20th-century science.