2002-12-15Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/7801
“Wir stehen nicht allein” - Schwedische Eugenik im Spiegel der deutschen nationalsozialistischen Rassenforschung
In the late 1990s, a heated debate developed in Sweden around forced sterilization between 1935 and 1975. For the early years, a parallel was drawn to the eugenic measures National Socialistic Germany. Historical research states however, that there was a clear re-orientation of state-financed eugenics from a race-based approach to a so-called reform eugenic program around 1936. The following article presents German sources from scientific journals and publications between 1935 and the early 1940s that comment on the Swedish development. This research aims at a better understanding of how the break-away from race-based concepts was perceived in Germany. Concerning state-financed eugenics in Sweden, the presented material underlines the turn away from both the orthodox line of race hygiene and National Socialists in Germany. Nevertheless, there exist parallels in the judicial principles of the sterilization laws. Under certain indications the state could interfere in both countries with the individual’s right to give birth. In 2000, a Swedish state commission came to the conclusion that only around 50 % of the 63.000 sterilizations between 1935 and 1975 were carried out on a voluntary basis. Consequently, even though the orientation of the eugenic program and the social policy differed considerably at the time it must be concluded that the social engineers of the early Swedish “People’s Home (Folkhem)” restricted the individual rights of some citizens. In this regard there is a close tie between the Swedish belief in a progressive regulation of society and German National Socialism.
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