Father of the Bride, or the Biologization of Social Animosity in Nazi Germany, 1937-1941

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Abstract

In 1937, to his great dismay, Nazi ethnologist Otto Reche discovered that his daughter's suitor came from a family 'hereditarily burdened' with mental diseases. A strong proponent of eugenics, Reche was determined to thwart the looming wedding. He turned to the highest authority on such matters, genetic-psychiatrist Ernst Rüdin, and asked him to furnish the evidence that the planned marriage was biologically undesirable. Reche's daughter, however, was resolute in her choice, and the familial dispute soon escalated to involve the highest echelons of the Nazi state. A detailed micro-historical reconstruction of the affair exposes the way in which racial-hygienic doctrine, class resentment, inter-generational conflict and personal animosity became interwoven in the daily lives- A nd loves-of Germans under the Nazi regime.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-289
Number of pages27
JournalGerman History
Volume38
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 29 May 2020

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