What genetic traits are Mendelian

Veronika Lipphardt: Biology of the Jews

Veronika Lipphardt: Biology of the Jews. Jewish Scientists on "Race" and Heredity. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht (Göttingen) 2008. 360 pages. ISBN 978-3-525-36100-9. D: 39.90 EUR, A: 41.10 EUR, CH: 69.00 sFr.
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Veronika Lipphardt is a research associate at the Institute for History, Department of Modern and Contemporary History, and active in the BMBF project "Imagined Europeans - The Scientific Construction of Homo Europaeus" at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.

Theme and background

Veronika Lipphardtstheme is the examination of concepts of race and heredity by scientists with a Jewish background in the period 1900-1935. The title of her book “Biology of the Jews” shows this in two ways: on the one hand, describing concepts about a Jewish race and, on the other hand, writing about them by Jewish scientists. Lipphardt traces how “scientists with a Jewish background critically appropriate concepts of race and heredity, modify or reject them without foregoing biological concepts of diversity” (11). First, the book provides contributions to the scientific debate about the Jewish race; should clarify in a responsible manner. The aim of these efforts was to remove the essential argument from the anti-Semitic discourse - the “physical nature of the Jews” (13) - and to locate the debate in the only right place, namely in science. On the one hand, the biosciences offered to criticize the concept of race with their concepts of biological change and biological kinship; on the other hand, they confirmed existing race concepts with their concepts of strangeness and inferiority. Lipphardt asks about the concepts of science and social demarcation within the framework of the debate about a so-called Jewish race, within the framework of identity constructions and within the framework of institutional plans.

Are essential for Lipphardt the clarification of the Terms from 'Jewish scientist', biology, life sciences, race, racism, racial biology, anti-Semitism, as well as neolamarckism and neo-Darwinism. Since neither the religious affiliation nor an entry in the biographical lexicon of German-Jewish history, nor the persecution criteria of the National Socialist state can provide information about the definition of “Jewish scientist”, elects Lipphardt self-image as a criterion. On the practical research level, the scientists had to define who is and who is not Jewish; Secondly, this ascription had to enable a statement about one's own affiliation and, thirdly, this ascription was possibly also an external ascription by others, ie the work deals with those who professed or rejected Judaism, emphasized it or declared it a private matter, or with those who converted. The term biosciences - as a recent designation - encompasses the areas of anthropology, medicine and biology. Just as the term race was never clearly defined in its scientific application, many were aware of the questionable nature of its scientific legitimation and its socio-political implications long before 1933. For the debate about a Jewish race, the term was essential: the phrase 'biology of the Jews' was used by debaters with a Jewish background to reject the term race as too narrow as a biological explanation for the alleged otherness of the Jews; for debaters from a non-Jewish background, there was usually no doubt about the existence of a 'Jewish race'. Used the term anti-Semitism Lipphardt with the meaning of Shulamith Volkov as a socially widespread cultural code that was accepted in large parts of German and Austrian society after 1900. Even if Neo-Darwinian approaches have dominated Jewish scientists, Neo-Darwinism was by no means totally rejected, especially since it was for Lipphardt a wide range of neo-Darwinist positions existed. (For the purposes of this definition, the reviewer also uses the terms 'Jewish', 'Jude', 'Jüdin', 'Rasse' or 'racial' as constructions linked to place and time; the reviewer also uses gender language).

Lipphardtstheoretical-methodological approach is that of "Sideshadowing" (23) from Michael Bernsteinwho opposes fatalistic and teleological historiography and suggests considering the multitude of possible future developments when analyzing a historical situation. Accordingly, "sideshadowing" records various future options in the context of the analysis of historical events: probable, desirable, or avoidable, but given certain circumstances, these future options could not be realized. As an example for 'sideshadowing' leads Lipphardt Racial research in countries other than Germany and Austria, where research was also carried out with racist and political objectives and controversies regarding heredity, environmental influence and racial constancy took place; however, genocide did not occur in these countries.

Lipphardts Criticism of the existing research refers to the weighting and evaluation of the socio-political agenda of German-Jewish scientists, the neglect of the context of debate and the internal dynamics of science as well as the one-sided presentation of their anti-terminist stance and neolamarckist convictions. The opinions on the homogeneity and scope of the discourse on the “Jewish race” differ in science. Did Jewish scientists consciously oppose the discourse and its discriminatory tendencies or did they adopt biological evaluations and stereotypes? While John Efron and Mitchell Hart Emphasize, see, the positive and identity-creating function of the appropriative reinterpretation of a discriminatory discourse SanderGilman and Klaus Hödl the use of anti-Semitic stereotypes by Jewish scientists as an adjustment process, the ascription of pathological peculiarities to certain Jewish subgroups - that is, to others - should free themselves from this ascription. Further criticized Lipphardtthat with the focus on Zionists the supporters of integration would be ignored.

As Starting point of the debate describes Lipphardt the situation of life science in the 19th century. In addition to the biologization of the social, biology was also subjected to historical development. The dispute over mechanisms, examples and analogies in the history of living beings was fierce around 1900; there was still no generally accepted explanation for the connection between evolution, reproduction, heredity, development and diversity. For the overall context, the terms “race” and “inheritance” were central, for which loud Lipphardt the 'Jewish race' served as a prominent example.


Lipphardts Book is divided into 4 large sections:

  1. The first section "Contextualizations" deals with the biologization of Jewish history and outlines the scientific debates around 1900, biological issues and anti-Semitism in the academic milieu,
  2. the second describes the scientific debates about the "biology of the Jews",
  3. the third traces the traces of the search for a Jewish identity and presents three biographies
  4. the fourth deals with scientific institutions for the "biology of the Jews".

I. Contextualizations

In the first section the “biologization of Jewish history” (39) is shown. She is for Lipphardt primarily not a result of anti-Semitic agitation, but part of a “biologization of the social” that took place at the end of the 19th century (39). Biology - as the key to solving social problems - became the leading science; Darwinism gained more and more social and cultural importance. Furthermore lays Lipphardt biological issues regarding diversity and heredity are: Charles Darwin, for which selection was considered essential but not decisive for evolution, as well as August Weismannwho explained evolutionary processes exclusively through selection and also assumed that only the germ cells contained hereditary genetic material. In this respect, the body cells and the external influences acting on them are irrelevant for heredity; It also followed from this that acquired traits were not inheritable. However, with the help of the Neolamarckist theory, the various hereditary phenomena could be classified in a continuum that spanned an arc between strict constancy on the one hand and modifiability on the other. It was not until the late 1920s that the supporters of neolamarckist ideas gave up opposition to selectionism. The venues for the debates were on the one hand university institutes, on the other hand also non-university research institutes. In Vienna, for example, JuliusTraders and Carl Landsteiner Developed socio-medical and practice-relevant innovations for the healthcare system, accompanied by open anti-Semitic attacks. He held the Vienna chair for anthropology from 1924 to 1927 Otto Reche who represented a racist and anti-Semitic anthropology. Minted in Freiburg Weismann and his students Eugene Fischer and Fritz Lenz the neo-Darwinist school. Fisherman contributed to physical anthropology with his Mendelian approach Rudolf Virchows and Felix von Luschans was replaced by a biological-genetic, racial hygiene anthropology and led to the development of new methods in the 1920s: twin research, blood group research, hereditary pathology and hereditary psychology, with psychiatry and racial hygiene having key functions. Last points Lipphardt towards anti-Semitism within the academic milieu. This anti-Semitic discrimination as well as internal disputes about the “essence of Judaism” (48) provided for Lipphardt The readiness to integrate is tested in two ways: the integration of the Eastern European Jewish migrants into the Jewish minority, as well as the integration of the Jewish minority into the Christian majority society. Representatives of acculturation and Zionism represented positive but opposing views of a community of Jews with or independent of German nationality. In contrast, advocates of assimilation distanced themselves from Judaism, often accompanied by ambivalent self-criticism. For Lipphardt This spectrum of integration paths developed in the 19th century as a result of the Enlightenment. As a result - after the adaptation to the Christian society and the restriction of the Jewish religion to the private sphere - the promise of civil rights should be connected. A promise that was not kept. The fact that the majority society did not recognize full integration led to a specific Jewish experience. "The cultural values ​​of emancipation, assimilation and education themselves became a new tradition that provided the basis for a new Jewish identity and (...) produced many variants." (49) In addition to conversion to Christianity, education - and so should studies medicine and natural sciences - promote acculturation and thus bring about social recognition in society. Last but not least, the “objective-neutral scientific ethos” (51) seemed to promise an appreciation of scientific and social achievements regardless of religion and origin. In fact, there was latent and open anti-Semitism in the universities, admission restrictions for studies and student connections led to their own social networks. In addition to these external difficulties, there was the debate about the biological otherness of the Jews. As early as 1890, associations for the defense against anti-Semitism had been founded, arguments against anti-Semitic attacks were primarily supposed to come from the life sciences. For Lipphardt this leads to the question of the connection between science and anti-Semitism. “Does the academic study of the Jews merely represent a defensive reaction to anti-Semitic agitation by political actors? Or do the scientific studies of Jews and their public reception promote racist anti-Semitism? "(52)

II: The scientific debate about the "biology of the Jews"

Attempts to describe Jews as a biological group began as early as the late 18th century and continue to this day. In the last 20 years of the 19th century, a framework was increasingly created in which Jews were defined as a supposedly biological, scientifically researchable group. The arc of the debate spanned from the definition of the Jews as a race with the assignment of negative characteristics (Ernest Renan, Paul Topinard) until the rejection of the existence of a uniform breed with a negative evaluation (Virchow). At the same time, research into the Jews offered the ideal project to Darwins Approach to be tested on humans: using a reproductively isolated group dispersed through migration to different geographical locations. In order to understand to what extent splinter groups had changed due to environmental influences, the archetypal type would have to be identified. The supposedly complete documentation of the history and statistics of the Jews was ideal for this. Lipphardt sees the debates in two chronologically ordered strands: 1900-1915 (1) and 1916-1933 (2).

(1) At the turn of the century, the scientific preoccupation with the physical condition of Jews and Jews had fundamentally changed. Reasons for this are: HoustonChamberlains anti-Semitic monograph "The Foundations of the 19th Century", a book with record editions and another mass success of racist anti-Semitism after Arthur de Gobineau Work “On the inequality of human races”. Although Chamberlains As soon as he himself was scientifically controversial, science dealt with his theses. However, both works also triggered critical opposing positions. Another reason was the lack of clarity about the theoretical premises of the life sciences, i.e. debates about inheritance either in the sense Mendels, Darwins, Weismanns or Lamarcks. The previously highly controversial Zionism had grown into a strong movement, and racial hygiene, which is important for this debate, was recently established.

The first empirical studies, popular scientific articles and monographs appeared between 1900 and 1905. The main venues for the debates were the Political-anthropological review (PAR), with more popular scientific contributions, that Archive for Racial and Social Biology (ARGB), the mouthpiece of German Society for Racial Hygiene, and the Journal for Demography and Statistics of the Jews (ZDSJ). The debate established itself as a scientific forum until World War I. Topics for discussion were inbreeding, susceptibility to disease, immunity, and anthropometric research results. The debates brought together several lines of discussion from different disciplines and from different countries. The years 1910 to 1913 represented a high point in terms of the density of empirical investigations and the popularization of the topics. From 1912 at the latest, however, there were increasing signs of camp formation of two types: On the one hand, camp formation took place between those who had the influence of race Jews restricted or not allowed to apply at all and the others, who attributed an alleged peculiarity mainly to the factor of race. On the other hand, the two camps emerged as Jewish and non-Jewish. The three most famous debaters, Samuel Weissenberg, Maurice Fishberg and Elias Auerbachwho carried out empirical research on Jews themselves until 1913, spent most of their lives outside the German-speaking area. As a racial hygienist, the Zionist achieved Arthur Ruppin a high level of awareness; the Zionist Felix partner becomes known with his monograph "The Downfall of the Jews" (1911) and Ignaz Zollschan wrote the most famous book on the debate with his work "Das Rassenproblem" (1909). After the First World War, however, those who had spent their professional life in Germany shaped the debate: the Berliners Max Marcusewho published the most important contributions to 'Christian-Jewish mixed marriage' and the Brno Hugo Iltiswho did research on Mendel, engaged in adult education and strongly criticized racial hygiene. In addition to contributions on all subject areas, two further areas of debate can be identified: On the one hand, reports on own empirical studies, e.g. on a certain disease, on the other hand, commenting or criticizing other contributions with a certain theoretical perspective. Stressed as essential Lipphardt the fact that during this phase Jewish scientists who had carried out most of the empirical research had succeeded in removing at least a bit of the biological logic of Jews. So no textbook could use the Jews as an example of physical undesirable developments and illnesses.

(2) In the second phase of the debate (1916-1933), fewer empirical contributions appeared; it was characterized by reflections and polemics about science and the ever widening gap between Jewish and non-Jewish scientists, with the former harboring increasing doubts about the scientific nature of race research. The empirical attention shifted from the Jews to the so-called mixed race. In this phase of the debate, the arguments emphasized less with biological than with cultural and psychological environmental concepts. Hans Ullmann worked, for example, with the constitutional approach, which assumed that physical characteristics could be modified by the environment. He relied on the migrant study of the renowned Franz Boaswho found that children of immigrants were physically adapting to the majority society. The apparent difference between West and East European Jews was explained as environmental, hereditary, at least biologically. Lenz used the topic of migration to argue against the notion of Lamarckian modification and also interpreted the adaptability of Jews disparagingly as innate parasitism. In 1926/27, topics such as the 'Jewish spirit' and mental illnesses were dealt with, triggered by the growing number of claims that Jews had established racial mental characteristics. Also supposedly Jewish blood should react differently to the Russian mediciners Manoiloff claimed. Founded in 1926 Rake the Society for blood group research and only invited non-Jewish colleagues to become members. He provoked a scandal after well-known Jewish serologists had already accomplished pioneering achievements in the field of blood group research. In addition to questions of the biological history of the Jews, those of eugenics were also discussed. Marcuse calls for mixed marriage as a counter-concept to the threatening demise of the Jewish people, albeit according to strict eugenic points of view, whereby for him in contrast to Shareholder the supposed race did not play a role. Rather, the choice of partner must be based on the individual's physical condition. Also Hans Friedenthal called for “eugenics without racial differences” (178). At the same time there were efforts to build a kind of 'Jewish eugenics'. So it was in the Society for Jewish Family Research criticized the previous choice of partner and called for modified welfare measures, which should above all have a reproductive effect. With eugenics as a strong biological argument, attempts were made to withdraw Jews from the narrative of an alien and inferior race. "In order to reject concepts of race as irrelevant to humans, eugenics could be cited as a kind of compensatory biologism, which enabled a researcher to maintain his professional identity as a life scientist and yet to marginalize or reject race as a biological category for humans." (179) Merely Paul Kammererwho did not comment on the debate about the 'Jewish race' but was a central figure in the closely related debate on neolamarckism, rejected eugenics because, in his opinion, the current knowledge about it was by no means sufficient to say what is healthy and what is unhealthy for the people. Tried with regard to the concept of race Marcuse to derive racial studies historically and to address the subjectivity of the researcher. While in the 19th century social behavior still determined culture, since then generative behavior has dominated - environment versus race. Established by means of eugenics Marcuse an alternative to the racial concepts and the warnings against mixed marriages. Few non-Jewish researchers agreed with him. Thinks so Peter Schneiderthat everyone would be racially biased just because of their race; the anthropologist and botanist Friedrich Merkenschlager considers racial science to be a “pseudo-science” (183). According to Lipphardt what is essential to the debate is that Marcuse no boundary line was drawn between Jewish and non-Jewish scientists, but instead two others: on the one hand between those striving for scientific enlightenment and those who clung to “racial mythology” (184); on the other hand, between healthy and unhealthy subjects, regardless of race.

In 1933 the debate was ended for political reasons, but until then there was vehemently opposition to the racial concepts of Hans Günther, Fritz Lenz and EugeneFisherman Position related. For Lipphardt It was not foreseeable that the gap between the two positions was widening: Even if the discussion was by no means particularly friendly, both sides took each other seriously. Growing anti-Semitism paired with theses about the alleged Jewish strangeness and the harmfulness of mixed marriage not only demanded opposing positions but also explained aloud Lipphardt also compensatory biologism, which Jewish authors developed as a defensive stance and which intensified after 1933. Looking back holds Lipphardt established that the research field of race research was by no means as uniform as is often assumed today, even if only the direction is changed Fisherman, Lenz, Rake, Günther and others after 1933. The less influential branch that challenged this direction could not be continued after 1933.

III: Traces of the Identity Search: The Challenge of Biology

Jewish bioscientists were confronted on the one hand with anti-Semitic prejudices but also with scientifically recognized derogatory assumptions about Jews. Their paradoxical situation: the desire to integrate into a scientific collective of thought through the acquisition of academic knowledge, but this biological body of knowledge about Jews stood in the way of full integration into the majority society. This section goes Lipphardt the question of "how the scientists met the challenge of an ascribed biological affiliation to Judaism and what effects the examination of this had on their social practices as well as research" (187). The academic attribution also applied to herself and to the private sphere. In contrast to the humanities, biology was neglected as a factor in Jewish identity designs, since processes of self-inquiry using scientific methods have so far been little investigated in the biosciences. Biological attributions hold two things: on the one hand the danger of defamation, on the other hand also certainty in order to compensate for the instability of religious and cultural affiliation. Biological affiliation could not be lost or changed. Defining Jewish identity on a biological basis meant the danger of confirming prejudices, but on the other hand it could also refute pejorative elements.

After a theoretical excursus on the concept of identity constructions Lipphardt based on some scholars, the wide range of ideas about Jewish affiliations. The spectrum ranges from religious to secular to biological designs. Mentioned in the field of the relationship between religion and biology Lipphardt the rabbi Ludwig Pickwho warned of the dangers of Darwinian selection theory because it violates ethical principles and could have catastrophic consequences for humanity. Social medicine and social hygiene, which were mostly shaped by doctors with a Jewish background, became the preferred target of selectionist eugenicists, as social medical measures allegedly distort natural selection - a reproach that was made against religious Judaism by non-Jewish people in particular. Leads to the relationship between culture and biology Lipphardt the doctors August of Aquarius and Paul Ehrlich who did not participate in the debate about the Jewish race, but were involved in the field of Jewish educational institutions. Despite anti-Semitic resistance, both were professionally successful and represented the ideals of emancipation: adaptation and higher development through education. Another focus is on social practices. The establishment of networks or private institutes to enable the career hindered by anti-Semitism means for Lipphardt on the one hand the pursuit of scientific excellence, on the other hand belonging to - however defined - Judaism. Marriage, marriage barriers and so-called mixed marriage as further social practices were the research areas of the sexologist Marcusewho was married to a non-Jewish woman and included his own social environment in his research. A next area deals with scientific personalities who only wanted to understand the Jewish identity in biological terms and who set an example for representing biologism without racism. On the one hand, here is the sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld mentioned who as a trailer Darwins and Haeckels nevertheless took a stand against any racial science and theory. The anthropologist Hans Friedenthal avoided the use of the term 'Jewish race' until 1924, which from that moment onwards clearly declined to exist. In the context of his preoccupation with the relationship between apes and human races between 1900 and 1914, in 1908 he described a certain expression of a human face as physiologically and aesthetically advantageous (almond-shaped eyes allow a wider range of expression by being opened wide; broad to bulging lips facilitate food intake; a the nose is bent downwards to allow air to flow more easily into the airways). Friedenthal hereby emphasizes the supposedly Jewish characteristics as physiologically and aesthetically advantageous. Also in his monograph on hair, in which he compared different races of humans, under the drawing of the European race - in the first place - “European. Jewess ”(203). Also Siegmund Freud approaches Judaism biologically, albeit metaphorically. His understanding of Judaism is neither religious nor national nor Zionist. He tries to include Lamarckism in his psychoanalytic approach and thinks that the emergence of neuroses in certain phases of life represent a recapitulation of phylogenetic stages of human evolution. For the neurologist Arthur Stern there was an innate inclination and aptitude for science; and the cyberneticist Norbert Wiener combined a cultural-historical and a biological explanation - the ideal of the childless Christian scholar stands in contrast to the large family of Jewish scholars. Since biology and genealogy had converged around 1900, the creation of family trees with the inclusion of biological characteristics became common. The Jewish ophthalmologist Arthur Czellitzer believed that heredity research would never label a person whose family tree is unknown as healthy. For Lipphardt If the pedigrees and family files were possibly a relief in dealing with the National Socialist harassment, conveyed a feeling of togetherness without having to accept the racial affiliation ascribed from outside.

The three case studies over Elias Auerbach, Julius Tandler and Otto Lubarsch should show different answers to the biological external attributions of Jewish identity.

The medic Elias Auerbach saw themselves as belonging to the “Jewish people” as a community of fate, but rejected the concept of a “Jewish race” as a cause for derogatory properties, but understood Jews as a “blood unit” (220). The allegedly typical symptoms of illness are the result of an "abnormal professional structure" (220), which Zionism can work against. For Lipphardt demonstrate Auerbachs Texts on how his religious understanding of Judaism changed under the influence of science and Zionism to a secular, national and biological understanding of a collective community.

In contrast to Auerbach stood the anatomist Julius Tandler critical of race research and racial theories, although he assumed physical and psychological differences between the white, black and yellow races. As a Jew and Social Democrat, he was exposed to violent anti-Semitic attacks as part of his work as a professor of anatomy; shaped as a politician Traders the establishment and development of the Viennese welfare and welfare system, in the context of which he also considered eugenic measures such as marriage counseling or forced sterilization to be necessary. Despite the fact that he converted to Catholicism at the age of 30, it defined itself - in a political sense - as a Jew and understood its membership of Judaism not in religious or biological terms, but in cultural and historical terms and as solidarity with a community of fate threatened from outside. In an unpublished manuscript he takes a position on the demand for information on racial affiliation in the Austrian census. In his polemics, however, he involuntarily anticipated what would become reality years later by citing the then completely absurd division of "½ Semite", "½ Aryans" or "¾ Aryans" and "¼ Jew" (228).

With Otto Lubarsch draws Lipphardt the dilemma of a scientist who did not see himself as a Jew and had to explain how he left the supposed Jewish "racial predispositions" (231) behind. Lipphardt shows that he "biologically substantiated his aversion to Judaism and used biohistorical narratives from hereditary research" (231). Lubarsch was baptized in 1870 and was a co-founder of the anti-Semitic Pan-German Association, in which there was heated argument about the admission of Jews. His resentments were directed primarily against the Eastern Jews. He assumed the existence of a Jewish race, whose predominantly negative characteristics were subject to the laws of inheritance. In spite of Lubarschs Distance from Judaism, membership of the German-Jewish bourgeoisie was extended from his family to him.

In summary means Lipphardtthat the more scientists recognized the natural sciences as a worldview, the more a biological determination of the Jewish applied. "Correspondingly, this form of identification, which from today's point of view is irritating, absurd and in individual cases repulsive, was not a form of identity search typical for Jews, but typical for bioscientists." (239) Furthermore, sees Lipphardt a borderline between the years of birth. (1) Those born in 1855, whose study phase lay in a liberal period, at best metaphorically associated biology with Jewish identity. (2) Those who completed their university studies in the 1890s when anti-Semitism was noticeable in the academic milieu and Darwinism in the Weissmannian way of reading brought their bioscientific expertise to the table as a counterpart to anti-Semitism.(3) Students who get to know the prevailing racial and hereditary biological concepts as a scientific standard in their training hardly had an opportunity to take an opposing position. The “biological self” (241) of the presented scientists expresses itself for Lipphardt in family trees and family structures, it could be reproduced daily, could possibly also serve as a guideline for the choice of partner, or influence the upbringing practices. This biological self, as an assembly of self-techniques, not only served to discipline and control one's own and family body, but also to control how others define their own self. For Lubarsch the biological opposition to the national self-attribution - Jewish origins could not be reconciled with Germanness; Auerbachs Hope for integration was directed towards the acceptance of a Jewish state as a sovereign state, within which the concept of a 'Jewish race' made sense. Traders considered racial ascriptions to be absurd, the good life meant liberal and social democratic ideals of humanity and cosmopolitanism.

IV. W.academic institutions for the "biology of the Jews"

Anti-Semitism, which was biologically underpinned at the end of the 1920s, prompted some bioscientists with a Jewish background to counter the racial biological claims not only with individual criticism but also with scientific institutions. However, questions of Jewish biology were discussed in existing institutions long before 1933, mainly in those dealing with related topics such as hygiene. Examples are mentioned here: the College for the Science of Judaism (1870), the Academy of Science of Judaism (1912), Society of Jewish Doctors and Natural Scientists for Medical-Biological Interests in Palestine (1912), Society for the Protection of the Health of the Jews (1926 in Poland). Lipphardt compares three different founding drafts for scientific institutes, those of Ignaz Zollschan, Franz Weidenreich and Wilhelm Nussbaum. All three knew each other and shared their plans. Lipphardt are interested in five areas. First: questions regarding the content, the staff, the location and the form of organization; second: questions about motivation as well as significance for one's own life plans, provision of funds, public, third: questions about the delimitation from other fields of science; fourth: questions of previous institutionalization pressure or reason for attempting implementation; and fifth, group identity issues.

Ignaz Zollschan, who was one of the most active opponents of racial theories between 1933 and 1945, endeavored with the support of Franz Boas in the US to finance a Anthropological Research Center in New York. After this Zollschan had planned a position for himself in this institute and this led to irritation, after 1933 he tried to realize his plans in Jerusalem. In terms of content, the institute should deal with the investigation of the variability of the human body, the proof of this variability in so-called pure lineages is equivalent to the collapse of the racial principle, since this presupposes permanence. In addition to a head office, there should be branches in different countries. There Zollschan but was not successful in Jerusalem or in the Anglo-American area, it concentrated on the establishment of the branches and began in Vienna in March 1934 with the Society for the Sociology and Anthropology of the Jews (257). With regard to the interest of Boas at Nussbaums Plans for Working group for Jewish genetic research and eugenics (later Working group for Jewish genetic research and inheritance) (278), pointed Zollschan Boas at the risk that the results of a biologically oriented research approach could possibly play into the hands of National Socialism. Zollschans The desire for an own institute or the establishment of an international commission could not be realized.

Franz Weidenreich, one of the most renowned German anthropologists with a Jewish background, despite intensive efforts, succeeded neither in Germany nor abroad in setting up an institute. Represented on the evolution of human anatomy Willow Empire a functional-morphological approach, i.e. foot shapes or the human skull change according to their changing function. As a Neolamarckist insisted Willow Empire on the inheritance of acquired traits, stood with his considerations on the variability of human groups Darwins It was close to considerations and granted selection a certain but not a central role in the evolutionary process. Since 1926 he has dealt with the so-called race problem and examined the inhabitants of an alpine valley, who had been isolated for centuries, for their so-called racial composition. Instead of a homogeneous group, he found many so-called mixed types and concluded that the residents could be assigned to at least three different races. Weidenreichs Studies were positively received; he agreed with Eugene Fischer, the newly appointed director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics (KWI AMEUE) to participate in the large-scale project for the racial anthropological recording of the German population with a partial study on the Jews from Speyer, Worms and Frankfurt. Willow Empire In 1928 planned the anthropological investigation, especially of Jewish citizens, within the framework of its own institute. In view of the growing anti-Semitism, the liberal Frankfurt bourgeoisie, the newly founded university and the Senckenberg Society the need to provide funding for it. The Frankfurt institute was supposed to represent a kind of counter-institute to the KWI AMEUE. Fisherman interested in Willow empire Project has after Lipphardt several reasons. First had Fisherman Interested in investigating German Jews and knew that it would be much easier for a Jewish anthropologist to get hold of test subjects. Second could be Fisherman by integrating Willow empire Project in the large project control over its approach and activities and also through its acceptance of the funds of the German emergency communityWeidenreichs Expect subordination to the overall approach. Third, knew Fisherman of Willow empire Acquaintance with Boas and hoped that this would reduce America's skepticism towards German racial anthropology. After this Willow Empire Didn't have enough money available for his research, he tried to win over Jewish circles for his project in the USA, especially in New York, and emphasized that it would be a political as well as anthropological interest to tackle the increasing “racial nonsense” back "(264). From 1931 criticized Willow Empire racial anthropology - and above all the claims about the 'Jewish race' - very sharply and declared races to be an "empty, biologically completely incomprehensible concept" (267). The political situation prompted Willow Empire Leaving Germany and in April 1934 he received a professorship in Chicago. He kept his plans to found the institute and put in an exposé for Scientific institute for research into the Jewish question in front. There, in contrast to 1931, he speaks of a 'Jewish biological community', of an undoubtedly recognizable 'Jewish type'. Lipphardt interpreted Willow empire Change also as an adaptation to the widespread opinion in America of the physical inequality of different races. A negative letter from Boas made clear Willow Empire the - for him new - skepticism towards such a project initiated by the Jews. According to the opinion, Jews cannot face the so-called race problem with an open mind. Lipphardt cited one of Willow Empire Memorandum written after the war in which he also made science responsible for the crimes of the National Socialist regime.

Wilhelm Nussbaum was the only one able to realize his plans for the establishment of the institute: the Working group for Jewish genetic research and eugenics (later Working group for Jewish genetic research and inheritance) from 1933-1935; a Hereditary biology consultation in the Jewish hospital and in his practice in Berlin 1934; the Society for Jewish Hereditary Research and Preservation 1934/35, but with only one session. With regard to his scientific views, he agreed Lenz and Fisherman agreed that the Jews are not a race of their own but a 'mixture of races', but with regard to the current situation the question arose as to whether the Jewish population in Germany should be viewed as biologically isolable or integrable. Selection and inheritance, the Walnut not regarded as exclusive opposites, became the starting point of his research, which included anthropological family census, census, twin survey and hereditary family trees of the Jewish population and in 1933 with the establishment of the institute Working group for Jewish genetic research and eugenics was put into practice. The approval of the Ministry of the Interior for the institute was based on the fact that Walnut On the other hand, the Ministry of the Interior hoped to obtain information about the German-Jewish population that the state could only have raised against massive resistance. Finally wanted Walnut include the entire Jewish population in his research. Criticism of his project was directed either at the issue of regulatory approval or at the financial impracticability. Franz Weidenreich and Stefanie Oppenheim, the Walnut wanted to induce scientific collaboration, remained cautious and warned against starting the work without official approval. Support from non-scientific sources, e.g. from theologians such as rabbis Leo Baeck and Joachim Prince, should Walnut bring greater acceptance of his institute. Walnut In response to a request to rabbis to provide him with anthropometric and hereditary biology information about himself and the community, he received replies that were partly positive and partly negative. Lipphardt describes in detail Nussbaums Data collection: due to the numbering, all data collected - photographs, psychobiograms, twin questionnaires, sibling questionnaires, questionnaires about births (including stillbirths), menstruation and a psychological questionnaire for children. It began as early as the late summer of 1934 Walnut with the evaluation of the data and came to the following results: There is a high degree of kinship between the German Jews and the Central European population. Instead of environmental influences, Nussbaum took on marriages and a certain creativity. In order to find out whether there really are inherited characteristics of the Jewish population, he attached great importance to twin research and brought his results on the International Congress of Anthropology and Ethnology 1934 in London. The genealogical surveys - a sub-project - achieved a particularly high response. According to an appeal published in Jewish magazines in April 1934, by July 1934 250 families had submitted their family trees dating back to 1700 and 500 families their family trees dating back to 1800. As a result, it expanded Walnut his activities spread beyond Berlin, the establishment of branches in other cities was planned, hereditary biology was to be taught in Jewish schools. Furthermore corresponded Walnut with Dutch and Polish Jewish communities to exchange demographic data. Overall, the reactions of the German-Jewish audience were striking Nussbaums Mixed activities. The one already mentioned Hereditary biology consultation - approved by the Medical Association in October 1934 - was a counseling center in which Jews were supposed to get eugenic advice before marriage, procreation, adoption of a child, but also before choosing a career or changing a career. She was in the Jewish hospital as well as later in Nussbaums own practice set up. Finally, in November 1934, despite great reservations on the part of the prospective members, the constituent meeting of the Society for Jewish Hereditary Research and Preservationto which the Reich Ministry of the Interior had no objection as long as it was a private matter. Nussbaums The idea was to put a stop to the possible extinction of the German Jewish population through marriage bans, health certificates, and marriage loans for healthy Jews. In conclusion, undertakes Lipphardt a classification of Nussbaums Research, after all, he founded an institution in National Socialist Germany that examined 1,100 Jews hereditary, anthropological, medical and genealogical, thus providing the political regime with data that it would hardly have obtained in such a short time. However, there is no evidence that Walnut Would have passed on data about his subjects to the Gestapo or to another government agency or to other colleagues. His most important concern was to help the Jews who were under pressure in Germany. Lipphardt finds Nussbaums The view of the consequences of the National Socialist legislation for Jews is remarkable, on the one hand the laws lead to reproductive isolation, forced inbreeding and thus to degeneration, on the other hand he saw this as an opportunity to awaken understanding for eugenics. For Lipphardt tried Walnut Staying very close to the German bioscientific and anthropological discourses, he contradicted those individual elements of the German racial doctrine that stood in the way of the integration of the Jewish population. With this scientific closeness, he also identifies himself as a student of the bioscientific think tank of the late Weimar Republic.

All three successful or unsuccessful plans have in common: (1) Founding of institutes with several branches, whereby the localization was planned before 1933 in the German Reich, but afterwards outside. (2) The increasingly threatening situation for the Jewish population from 1933 onwards increased the need for institutions that could meet the challenge of racial biology. The establishment of private institutes also offered an opportunity to escape anti-Semitic discrimination. (3) The staff of the institutes should either be Jewish or racially persecuted. (4) The subject of research was Jews. Differences relate to professional age: During Zollschan and Willow Empire planned their institutes as the end of a professional life Walnut his career still ahead of him. He belonged to the younger generation of students, whose studies no longer had neolamarckist, but Darwinist and eugenic content. The interest of the Jewish population abroad in the research topic was obviously misjudged: especially Zollschan and Willow Empire were unaware of anti-Semitism in France, England and the USA. An institute financed by Jewish sponsors, at which Jewish scientists study Jewish biology in order to counter the National Socialist racial theory, would hardly have been regarded as objective research.

Discussion and conclusion

Lipphardt shows the efforts of Jewish science to counter a race concept that defines Jews as inferior with biological counter-discourses. The spectrum ranged from the total rejection of any racial concept to the definition of the 'Jewish race' as inferior. Participation in the debate was, however, linked to the acceptance of certain statements made by the Jewish population. First, the attribution of certain physical and physical characteristics, illnesses or immunities. Second, because of their kinship with other groups, Jews were assigned a certain place in the biological order of human beings. Third, statements about Jews as examples of heredity meant so-called 'racial purity' and 'racial mixture'.In contrast to most bioscientists with a Jewish background, those with a non-Jewish background tried to keep Jews under the biological logic of an immutable race. In order to withdraw Jews from biological logic without leaving the framework of biology, Jewish bioscientists chose the path of eugenics. This also enabled the connection to international discussions. Quoted for not commenting on the question of a so-called Jewish race Lipphardt an allegation by the conservative botanist Friedrich Merkenschlagerwho was dismissed from service in the Reich in 1933 because he had opposed the racial doctrine advocated by National Socialism. "It is easier to practice sympathy from afar, with constant readiness to withdraw, without the courage to confess and to express antipathy with the cold method of silence, than to open up, go and call things by their name." (309) Lipphardt sees no tragic misjudgment in the race research of Jewish bioscientists, even if the vocabulary is called racist from today's point of view, the “authors (...) did not borrow from actors who back then were considered racist, but rather a scientific terminology, the Not was considered racist ”(314). Show this Willow Empire and Walnutfor whom the ultimate consequences of the Nazi racial policy could not be foreseen. After 1933 (in Austria until 1938) non-Jewish scientists saw no need to do any further research on the 'Biology of the Jews'.

The strength of Lipphardts It is work to illuminate the same discussions from and with different perspectives. The need to deal with the history of the debate about the 'biology of the Jews' is shown by recent studies which, for example, claim a genetic predisposition of the 'Ashkenazi Jews' to particular intelligence and at the same time hereditary mental illness. The question of the so-called 'Jewish background' cannot be answered with one answer and the discussion is not over. “There is no timeless, true 'core' of biology that was merely instrumentalized by contemporary political interests.” (316) Concludes with this in mind Lipphardt with the demand for careful reflection on the stories that scientific experts tell us.

Review by
Dr. Aurelia Weikert
Social anthropologist and political scientist. Lecturing and writing on the subjects of population policy, bioethics, eugenics, women's health, reproductive and genetic technologies, body politics. Lecturer at the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna. Employee at Learning Together - Birligte Ögrenelim, counseling, educational and psychotherapy center for women, children and families
Homepage www.aurelia-weikert.at
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Suggested citation
Aurelia Weikert. Review of November 2nd, 2009 to: Veronika Lipphardt: Biology of the Jews. Jewish Scientists on "Race" and Heredity. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht (Göttingen) 2008. ISBN 978-3-525-36100-9. In: socialnet reviews, ISSN 2190-9245, https://www.socialnet.de/rezensions/7738.php, date of access May 21, 2021.

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