The Notion of Racial Diversity in German Academia and National-Socialist Legislation, Part 1


What follows below are the translations of several excerpts from rare books and essays on race published by prominent German legal scholars, biologists, and medical doctors who were also high ranking members of the National Socialist Party in before and during World War II. The focus of the translated passages is on verbal, legal and sociological analyses of race. It is not TOO’s, or for that matter my intent, to whitewash National Socialism or glorify the works of its academic or military spokesman. The fact that after the NS seizure of power the number of NS  party members skyrocketed from the modest 800,000 to 8 million members by 1943, a number which also included a large number of world-known German scientists and academics, proves time and again that opportunism and intellectual duplicity among scholars is nothing new. Dominant ideas, however bizarre, or dangerous they may ultimately sound, as long as they are shielded by the ruling class and its police, will always attract cheerleaders among herds of glory-hungry academics, limelight searchers, and a host of circumstantial sycophants. Many of them will quickly disavow their beliefs when different cultural or ideological trends start lurking on the political horizon.

The great danger, however, lies in the fact that dominant political ideas invariably have an impact on the definition of natural science — and never the other way around. Hence it is a waste of time today trying to convince the political adversary on racial differences by inundating him/her with empirical data, especially if dominant ideas espoused by elites are hostile in advance to any discussion about race. Facts are seldom important—what counts is the interpretation of facts.

The sole intent of these essays is to point out significant semantic and conceptual errors arising today with the usage of former German political and legal concepts related to the issue of race which, while common in higher education and politics in NS Germany, often turned after World War II into demonic misnomers. Following Donald Trump’s election to US presidency, accompanied by the ongoing language distortions in the media and higher education, aka “fake news”, and in light of the mass arrival of non-White migrants to the US and EU, as well as the increased racialization of political discourse, some parallels in intellectual climate between Weimar and NS Germany and the EU and the US today can be drawn.

The beauty and the tragedy of the German language is that as the richest European language it is highly amenable to all sorts of legal and conceptual escapades. Its word formation allows the speaker the luxury of crafting countless compound nouns, each with a specific meaning, often sounding odd and heavy-handed in the ears of a foreign speaker. It is no accident that many Germans continue to consider their language the language of “thinkers and poets” (Denker und Dichter). Many former German words, from the field of legislation to the study of race, when translated into English, have an awkward resonance, let alone that their original meaning today is frequently being distorted. For instance, the widespread derogatory word “Nazi”, was never in the official usage in NS Germany. The word “Nazi” had been coined by the Soviets in the 1930s, obtaining thereafter an infamous popularity all over the world. Imagine a scholarly journal in the USA using a similar derogatory word, such as “commie”, when describing the communist epoch in the Soviet Union!

German compound nouns with a specific meaning, such as Race Studies or Race Theories (“Rassenkunde”, “Rassenlehre”), or genetic endowment (“Erbanlage”) with dozens of their verbal derivatives, when translated into English, often elicit a different, if not a scary meaning. Many words from the field of social science, carrying today a negative connotation, are falsely attributed to the NS jargon. For instance, a popular mainstream media word today, ‘totalitarianism’, was nonexistent in social science in Europe until 1945. In NS Germany, in the study of politics, the word “total state” (totaler Staat) was used instead (cf. Carl Schmitt, here), although its original meaning in the German language differed significantly from its meaning today. A Jewish author Hannah Arendt, shortly after World War II, popularized the term ‘totalitarianism’ in her exhaustive description of National-Socialism and Communism — as if Liberalism was miraculously destined to forever remain immune to totalitarian temptations. Moreover, the word ‘race’, both in the USA and EU today, has practically disappeared from student curriculum and political discourse, after being replaced by a tame, generic and imprecise word ‘ethnic’.

The best-known German racial scholars, even before the NS take over, were Hans F. Günther and Ludwig F. Clauss (see here, here), who in turn influenced the works of the authors whose texts are below. It must be pointed out, however, that the works of Clauss and Günther seldom focused on biological aspects of race. Both thinkers delved, quite in line with the old German scholarly tradition of “learnedness” (Gelehrtheit), into a broader perspective, covering linguistics, ancient Semitic languages, history, study of the old Greek and Latin, all the way to their research of modern political thought and its interrelation with the study of race.

I was trying not to take the translated passages out of their larger context. I am only adding the subtitles and the sources in bold letters, without my comments.

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I. Worldview Defines Racial (Un)Awareness

First and foremost, each decline of a clear and cohesive stance in a worldview leads to a proclivity toward biological damage and paralysis in instinctual security. Thus, for instance, a people whose worldview is healthy, with a corresponding lifestyle, is immune to racial defilement. It simply ignores it. A people with a sickly worldview is basically inclined to make compromises, allowing tacitly the spreading of race mixing. As a result, it will tolerate the decomposition of its national body. Upon entering, however, the last stage of its life, it will begin propagating race mixing as a “cultural ideal” („Kulturideal” — emphasis in the text).  We have already witnessed various stages of this racial decomposition model among peoples. Its primary cause was always the decomposition of a worldview. Conversely, in the struggle against race mixing, the ultimate goal must consist in the immunization of the national body by means of a worldview safeguarded by the racial laws of life. (Dr. Ferdinand Rossner, “Rasse als Lebensgesetz” (Race as a Law of Life), in Rassenpolitik im Kriege, ed. by Dr. Walter Kopp, (Hannover: Verlag M. & H. Schaper 1941), 70.

Note: A popular German word ‘Weltanschauung’ (worldview) is often translated synonymously by the word ‘ideology’. This is false. German NS authorities used the term ‘Weltanschauung’ (worldview) exclusively for National-Socialism, a compound noun carrying a largely literary and philosophical meaning radically different from the word ‘ideology’. The term ‘ideology’ was attributed by German scholars and NS authorities to Communism.

II. Racial Self-Conscious vs. Other Races

A very serious situation arises from the fact that other peoples and states, especially the non-Aryan nations, felt that the dignity and honor of their nations had been defamed and offended after the passing of the German Race Legislation and its separation from foreign races. I cannot enumerate all those peoples and countries with whom, on these grounds, serious arguments had occurred.  Suffice it to say, for instance, that the entire world in the Far East stood for a long time under the impression that a German man, with his new national-socialist belief, was slanted to portray all of them as non-Aryans. Being depicted as non-Aryans, he was, therefore, likely to regard them on the whole as an inferior rabble. Hence it follows: The Germans discern all of us as inferior, second-class humans, while projecting themselves as the real culture-bearers. Suffice it to say, understandably, that such a belief among proud, self-conscious and sincere national peoples, as is Japan for example, was likely to provoke endless commotion and hatred against such a Nazi-Germany. Similar occurrences we had somewhat experienced in the area of India, as well among the peoples of the Middle East. (Prof. Dr. Walter Gross (Head of the Racial-Policy Office of the NSDP), “Der deutsche Rassengedanke und die Welt (German Racial Thought and the World), (Berlin: Juncker und Dünnhaupt, 1939), p. 24.

What were we supposed to do in regard to this propensity of German racial thought being generally subject to defamation by diverse people?  We could do nothing other than place German racial thought, calmly and at our own advantage, into its proper form, making it clear that the essence of racial insight does not consist in the evaluation or devaluation of other human groups of this world, but rather by using a natural science appraisal —  in a sober manner, I should add, and  without using any other appraisals  —  of  different human groups living in this world. Example: “You are of a different racial kind in your relationship to us” contains no more, or no less a value judgment than a scientific observation of a man walking through the forest and talking to himself: “These are not just trees in the forest, but these trees are spruces, pine trees, birch trees, and over there, there are oak trees.” There is no insult and no value judgment in it. No tree can ever say that it downgrades other trees. This only means a statement of the fact, just as when we make a statement that specific peoples and ethnic groups on this Earth are racially related to us, with some being totally foreign to us. (Ibid, p.26-27).

A genuine idea, a righteous insight, as well as good will to do good for its own people, can be eventually reconciled with the interests of other peoples and in some way have them united.  But no conciliation is possible with the systems of thought of international brand, because these systems, at their final intellectual stage, are neither genuine nor honorable.  These systems are based on horrendous lies, that is, the lie of the equality of people. (Ibid. p. 30)

III.    On the Jewish Question

If we wish to understand the past Jewish influence on the legislation, then we need to know first what specific features characterize the Jews. We need to be aware of the Jewish racial makeup, just as we need to know what this racial makeup means from the perspective of the teaching on the racial-soul [Rassenseelenkunde]. We are never going to solve the Jewish question through rabid “anti-Semitism,” as has been shown to us by Jewish history, not just in Germany, but by the world history as well. The solution to the Jewish question is solely and exclusively possible with a satisfactory fulfilment of the race idea by each race.  We shall never fulfill the race idea unless we make the distinction between race and the people ( Rasse und Volk — italics in the text). There is no such thing as the German race, and there is no such thing as the Jewish race.  There is the German people, and there is also the Jewish people. It must also be taken into account that the German people has obtained its intrinsic traits from the Nordic race, which is its binding element.  The binding element of the Jewish people, however, is not the European race, but a non-European, Oriental race. Given that each race has its intrinsic style, the German people and the Jewish people, due to their different racial makeup, need to make a fundamental distinction from each other. Oftentimes this is not acknowledged. Frequently, only the distinction in a body appearance [Erscheinungsbild;  i.e., ‘phenotype’ in English] is taken into account, forgetting that each race possesses, based on its own intrinsic style, its own scale of values.  We must be careful not to impose the scale of values of the German people on another people with a completely different racial makeup.  Such views lead to adverse effects. National-Socialism is not anti-Semitic; it is a-Semitic”  [bold in the text]. (Prof. Dr. Falk Ruttke, F. Wilhelm  Univestität, Berlin, “Judentum in Recht” (Jews in the Legislation) in Rasse, Recht und Volk (Race, Law and the People), (Berlin: F. Lehmanns Verlag, 1937), p. 12.

To be continued

Sunic’s latest book, Titans are in Town ( Arktos, 2017), prefaced by Kevin MacDonald, consists of a separate novella and essays on ancient myths.

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