AS MANY ABORTIONS AS POSSIBLE
Mike W. Perry
Everything they saw that day, from the vast fields of ripening
grain to the many children, spoke of fertility. It seemed nothing
could change the vitality of these people. As Martin and Karl drove
from village to village their faces grew increasingly grave.
In the evening they returned. Martin talked about all the children
he had seen and warned that, "someday they may give us a lot of
trouble" because they were "brought up in a much more rugged way than
our people." Alarm spread through the group until its leader spoke.
Obviously peeved, he pointed out that someone had suggested that
abortion and contraceptives should be illegal here. He went on, "If
any such idiot tried to put into practice such an order. . . he would
personally shoot him up. In view of the large families of the native
population, it could only suit us if girls and women there had as
many abortions as possible."
The date was 22 July 1942, the same day the Nazis began
transporting Warsaw Jews to the Treblinka death camp. The place
was the 'Werewolf' headquarters in the Soviet Ukraine. The group's
leader and abortion advocate was Adolf Hitler. The two men were
Martin Bormann, his secretary and Karl Brandt, his physician.
Operation Blue, the 1942 German offensive in East Europe, had been
underway for almost a month and already its success was assumed. At
Hitler's headquarters, thoughts turned to what should be done with
the occupied territories. Some wanted a lenient policy to gain
Ukrainian support in the war against the Soviet Union. Others wanted
to eliminate Slavs to make room for German settlers.
In the East
As Bormann hoped, that evening Hitler chose the second policy
and the next day he told Bormann to issue population control measures
for the occupied territories. Bormann developed an eight-paragraph
secret order that one historian termed "perhaps the most extreme
policy statement ever issued from the Fuhrerhauptquartier." It
included the following:
When girls and women in the Occupied Territories of the
East have abortions, we can only be in favor of it; in
any case we should not oppose it. The Fuhrer believes
that we should authorize the development of a thriving
trade in contraceptives. We are not interested in seeing
the non-German population multiply.
This was not the first such statement. On 25 November 1939, shortly
after the occupation of Poland, a Nazi SS organization called the
Reich Commission for Strengthening of Germandom (RKFDV) issued
All measures which have the tendency to limit the births
are to be tolerated or to be supported. Abortion in the
remaining area [of Poland] must be declared free from
punishment. The means for abortion and contraceptive
means may be offered publicly without police restriction.
Homosexuality is always to be declared legal. The
institutions and persons involved professionally in
abortion practices are not to be interfered with by
This policy was confirmed on 27 May 1941 at a Ministry of the
Interior conference in Berlin. There a group of experts recommended
population control measures for Poland that included authorization of
abortion whenever the mother requested it. On 19 October 1941, a
decree applied the measures to the Polish population. Hitler's 23
July 1942 decree extended it to other parts of Eastern Europe. Hitler
confirmed his order on August 5.
German experts developed plans to insure cooperation. On 27 April
1942 in Berlin, Professor Wetzel issued a memorandum that included
Every propaganda means, especially the press, radio, and
movies, as well as pamphlets, booklets, and lectures,
must be used to instill in the Russian population the
idea that it is harmful to have several children. We must
emphasize the expenses that children cause, the good
things that people could have had with the money spent on
them. We could also hint at the dangerous effect of child-
bearing on a woman's health.
Paralleling such propaganda, a large-scale campaign would
be launched in favor of contraceptive devices. A
contraceptive industry must be established. Neither the
circulation and sale of contraceptives nor abortions must
It will even be necessary to open special institutions
for abortion, and to train midwives and nurses for this
purpose. The population will practice abortion all the
more willingly if these institutions are competently
operated. The doctors must be able to help out there
being any question of this being a breach of their
professional ethics. Voluntary sterilization must also be
recommended by propaganda.
Local physicians were to be told that these abortions were for the
woman's benefit. A decree issued by Himmler in March 1943 stressed
The Russian physicians or the Russian Medical
Association, which must not be informed of this order,
are to be told in individual cases that the pregnancy is
being interrupted for reasons of social distress. It must
be explained in such a way that no conclusions to the
existence of a definite order may be drawn.
German authorities were careful to note, however, that as long as
births could be prevented, sexual behavior need not be restricted. A
1944 memorandum noted:
In order to round out his propaganda in a practical way
contraceptives should be quietly distributed (with the
Reich bearing the cost). There is no harm in leaving a
valve open to the natural desires of the persons of alien
blood as long as this will not interfere with cutting off
the flow of reproduction among these people of alien
In practice, German authorities went far beyond "leaving a valve
open" for sexual promiscuity. They deliberately flooded Eastern
Europe with pornography in order to destroy it culturally,
politically and spiritually. One historian describes the process this
The German Propaganda Office. . . was supposed to
organize or sponsor Polish burlesque shows and publish
cheap literature, strongly erotic in nature. . . . to
keep the masses on a low level and to divert their
interest from political aspirations. These projects for
degeneration and moral debasement were actually realized
in the larger Polish cities. . . . German success in this
effort was significant enough to become a target of the
Polish Underground. The latter used to dispatch some
special "punishing squads" which overran some of the ill-
famed Variety Theaters and took disciplinary measures
against the Polish collaborators in the programs.
The Poles also fought back in their schools. In his 1944 _Story of
a Secret State_, Jan Karski gives a moving quotation from a
graduation speech at an underground school:
My dear young people, ours is a very difficult task. You
know that the enemy is striving to destroy the Polish
nation by demoralizing and degrading Polish youth. We,
the old professors, have devoted our lives to the
instruction and improvement of that youth. We are meeting
the challenge for your sake, and for Poland. The struggle
is not easy. We have suffered many defeats. We are
defeated whenever we see one of you entering a German
movie or theater, reading a dirty book, or patronizing
one of their gambling houses.
Encouraging promiscuity was an integral part of Nazi plans though
success was not always assured. Referring to Erich Koch, Reich
Commissar for the Ukraine, one historian noted:
Even after Stalingrad, Koch, as always conscious of the
ultimate goal of Germanization, told a group of visiting
journalists that Ukrainian fertility remained a grave
danger. . . . The newsman who reported the statement to
Goebbels [Propaganda Minister]. . . . seriously doubted
whether, in view of the high morals of the population,
the attainment of 'degeneration by promiscuity' could
Given the long history of European anti-Semitism, it is hardly
surprising that the Nazis were not the first to attempt to limit the
Jewish birth rate. Like the first stage in Nazi attacks on the Slavs,
early attempts concentrated on the family and the Jewish birth rate.
A Jewish historian described those measures:
Frederick William I had initiated the prohibitions
which confronted Jewish young people-who mostly came from
large families-with the choice of never marrying and
setting up home, or of emigrating. Frederick the Great
developed these restrictions and made them more stringent
still, and other states very soon learned from them and
followed suit. In the countries of the Bohemian monarchy
for example there was the Familiants Law, renewed in
1797, i.e. more than fifteen years after the so-called
Patents of Tolerance. According to this law Jewish
families in Bohemia, Moravia and Austria-Silesia were not
allowed to exceed a given number. Thus a Jew could only
marry whenever a number became free for him through the
death of another married Jew. A similar law was
introduced in Bavaria after the Napoleonic War.
During the 1800s this type of kind of attack slowly came to an end.
Ironically, it was replaced by a far more dangerous problem for the
Jewish community, high rates of assimilation coupled with a low birth
rate. In 1880 the German population as a whole had 41 births per 1000
population, but the Jews had only 32 births. By 1910 the general
birth rate had dropped to 33 but the Jewish birth rate had fallen
even more, to just over 16. Far too few babies were being born to
maintain the Jewish population. As a result even before the rise of
Nazism, Germany's Jews were dying out. In Prussia alone in a typical
year between 1911 and 1925, Jewish deaths exceeded births by over
37,000. In a few generations Germany would have had no more Jews to
After they took power, the Nazi leaders made it clear that a slow
decline in the Jewish population was not enough. Government
incentives to have more children (such as housing loan rebates) did
not apply to Jews. On the other hand, attempts to lower the birth
rate of the 'unfit' applied with particular force to Jews. The
government would raise no objection to a Jew who wanted to be
sterilized under the 1933 sterilization law and a 10 November 1938
court decision in Luneberg formally legalized abortion on demand for
all Jewish women.
After 1939 German military successes created a new problem. The
occupied regions of Eastern Europe contained roughly twelve million
Jews with a birth rate far higher than that of the more educated
German Jews. As with the Slavs, Nazi leaders split over how to handle
the situation. Some wanted to exterminate all Jews outright. Others
felt their labor could be exploited for the war effort as long as
Jewish births were prevented.
Heinrich Himmler, head of the Nazi SS, was one of those who thought
sterilization might offer an answer. In January 1941 he asked Viktor
Brack to investigate its possibilities. Brack had played a key
role in creating the euthanasia program that Germany was using at
that time to eliminate the disabled, retarded and mentally ill. In
March Brack suggested that X-rays clinics be setup at his euthanasia
centers. He felt that his centers could cheaply sterilize three to
four thousand Jews a day, freeing some two to three million Jews for
work. The technique had only one problem, a dose of X-rays
powerful enough to sterilize also left the victims with easily
visible burns. There was no way to conceal the sterilization.
That brings up an interesting point. Parallels between Nazi
population control measures and similar modern movements are often
explained away by stressing whatever differences exist between the
two. But in at least one case, a prominent Allied leader expressed a
great liking for what the Nazis had done:
Subjects to do with breeding and race seem, indeed, to
have held a certain fascination for the President. . . .
[Franklin] Roosevelt felt it in order to talk, jokingly,
of dealing with Puerto Rico's excessive birth rate by
employing, in his own words, "The methods which Hitler
used effectively." He said to Charles Taussig and William
Hassett, as the former recorded it, "that it is all very
simple and painless. You have people pass through a
narrow passage and then there is a burrr of an electrical
apparatus. They stay there for twenty seconds and from
then on they are sterile."
At the same time that x-ray sterilization was being explored,
attempts were also being made to discover a sterilizing drug. One
made from a South American plant name, Caladium Seguinum, reached the
point were one Munich physician claimed:
If we were to succeed on the basis of these researches,
in producing as soon as possible a drug that would within
a relatively short time, imperceptibly bring about
sterilization in man, we should have a new and extremely
effective weapon at our disposal.
Neither method proved effective. Hitler then ordered Himmler to
begin killing the Jews. Rudolf Hoss, commandant of Auschwitz,
described what happened this way:
In the summer of 1941, I cannot remember the exact date,
I was suddenly summoned to the Reichsfuhrer SS . . .
Contrary to his usual custom, Himmler received me without
his adjutant being present and said in effect: "The
Fuhrer has ordered that the Jewish question be solved
once and for all and that we, the SS are to implement
But killing millions of Jews would take time. In the meantime, Nazi
authorities concentrated on lowering the birth rate in the Jewish
ghettos. The following events are typical.
On 1 December 1941, Karl Jager, commander of Eistazkommando 3
reported on Lithuanian Jews and noted:
I am of the opinion that the male working Jews should be
sterilized immediately to prevent reproduction. Should
any Jewess nevertheless become pregnant, she is to be
In the Shavli ghetto, the diary of E. Yerushalmi has this entry for
13 July 1942:
In accordance with the Order of the Security Police,
births are permitted in the ghetto only up to August 15,
1942. After this date it is forbidden to give birth to
Jewish children either in the hospitals or in the homes
of the pregnant women.
It is pointed out, at the same time, that it is permitted
to interrupt pregnancies by means of abortions. A great
responsibility rests on the pregnant women. If they do
not comply with this order, there is a danger that they
will be executed, together with their families.
Population control policies continued even inside concentration
camps. At Ravensbruck, Jewish women who became pregnant were sent to
the gas chambers. Non-Jewish women received abortions. Of course,
sterilization and abortion were merely stop gap measures. In the end,
all European Jews were to die. In the greatest secrecy, the Nazis
also began to plan for death camps large enough to exterminate some
32 million Slavs.
In the summer of 1932, almost a year before the Nazis took power in
Germany, a conference took place at the party headquarters in Munich.
It discussed Eastern Europe and assumed Germany would someday conquer
Agricultural experts pointed out that controlling Eastern Europe
would make Germany self-sufficient in food but warned that the
region's "tremendous biological fertility" must be offset by a
well-planned depopulation policy. Speaking to the assembled experts
Hitler warned, "what we have discussed here must remain
Not all Nazi insiders remained silent. Hermann Rauschning, a
prominent early Nazi, defected in the mid- thirties and warned of
Hitler's plans. In _The Voice of Destruction_, he described a 1934
conversation with Hitler about the Slavs.
"We are obliged to depopulate," he went on
emphatically, ". . . We shall have to develop a technique
of depopulation. . . . And by remove I don't necessarily
mean destroy; I shall simply take systematic measures to
dam their great natural fertility. . . . There are many
ways, systematical and comparatively painless, or any
rate bloodless, of causing undesirable races to die out."
". . . . The French complained after the war that there
were twenty million Germans too many. We accept the
criticism. We favor the planned control of population
movements. But our friends will have to excuse us if we
subtract the twenty millions elsewhere. . . . By doing
this gradually and without bloodshed, we demonstrate our
In a speech to the Labor Front on 12 September 1936, Hitler brought
up Germany's land needs when he said:
How Germany has to work to wrest a few square
kilometers from the ocean and from the swamps while
others are swimming in a superfluity of land!
If I had the Ural Mountains with their incalculable
store of treasures in raw minerals, Siberia with its vast
forests, and the Ukraine with its tremendous wheat
fields, Germany and the National Socialist leadership
would swim in plenty!
The next day the _New York Times_ made the following comment about
There was no expression of a wish to acquire these
resources (Russian) and there was distinctly no threat.
Yet when the cheers that greeted this passage had died
away one was conscious that a thought had been cast into
the pool of German mentality and that the ripples created
by it might spread far indeed.
Within Nazi ideology, the positive idea of 'lebensraum,' the
pursuit of German 'living space' in the East, balanced the negative
one for the destruction of Jews. In September 1942, Hitler looked at
Germany's military conquests and commented:
Our gains in the west may add a measure of charm to our
possessions and constitute a contribution to our general
security, but our Eastern conquests are infinitely more
precious, for they are the foundation of our very
Within Germany itself, Hitler had long advocated government- funded
birth control to weed out the 'unfit.' In his 1924 Mein Kampf, Hitler
wrote that one of the seven major responsibilities of government was,
"to maintain the practice of modern birth control. No diseased or
weak person should be allowed to have children."
On subjects such as eugenics, sterilization, and abortion, Nazi
ideology had much in common with the leftist birth control and
sex-reform groups of the era (British and American as well as
German). As Anita Grossman notes, "The stress on eugenics and race
hygiene was typical of the sex- reform groups and suggests a complex
ambivalent relationship between right-wing nationalist population
policy and leftist sex reform."
Grossman points out that during 1931 the Hamburg RV (a sex-reform
group closely associated with the Social Democratic Party) held a
series of lectures on subjects such as "Introduction to Population
Politics," "Race Theory, Eugenics, and Sterilization," and "The
Elimination of Unfit Life." (The latter refers to legalized killing
of retarded, senile and mentally-ill people.)
Once in power, Hitler quickly acted to reduce the birth rates of
the genetically 'unfit' (including, of course, the Jews).
Sterilization came first with the Law for the Prevention of Progeny
with Hereditary Diseases issued on 14 July 1933.34 During the Nazi
regime between 320,000 and 350,000 people would be sterilized with at
least 100 people, mostly women, dying during the procedure.
Abortion came next. In September of 1934 Hitler told Dr. Wagner,
Reich Physicians' Leader, that "pregnancies could be terminated in
the case of hereditary ill women, or women who had become pregnant by
a hereditary ill partner." Formal legalization came a year later
on 26 June 1935 with an amendment legalizing abortion up to
viability. It was signed by Hitler and included the following two
If, by virtue of the law, a Hereditary Health Court has
decided upon the sterilisation of a woman who is pregnant
at the time the operation is carried out, the pregnancy
may be terminated, with the consent of the woman
concerned, unless the foetus is already capable of
independent life, or unless the termination of the
pregnancy entails a serious danger to either the life or
health of the woman herself.
The foetus is to be regarded as being incapable of
independent life if the termination takes place before
the completion of the sixth month of pregnancy.
Ironically, harsh as they were, the Nazi programs were far less
harsh than those advocated by birth control groups in Western
democracies. The reason was simple. The fighting and deaths of World
War I had resulted in a German 'birth dearth' of some 3-4 million.
Coming twenty years after the end of that war, Germany entered World
War II underpopulated and desperately short of young men. Whatever
the Nazis might claim, they could not afford to be choosy about their
births. Strange as it sounds, Hitler was more tolerant of human
imperfection than many American, British and German birth controllers
and more optimistic about the ability of environment to alter
hereditary. Hitler reflected this greater tolerance in a conversation
on the evening of 29 August 1942 at which he said:
Have things changed much to-day, I wonder? I am not
sure, and many of the things I see around me incline me
to the opinion that they have not. I was shown a
questionnaire drawn up by the Ministry of the Interior,
which it was proposed to put to people whom it was deemed
desirable to sterilise. At least three-quarters of the
questions asked would have defeated by own good mother.
One I recall was: "why does a ship made of steel float in
the water?" If this system had been introduced before my
birth, I am pretty sure I should never have been born at
As a result, Nazi eugenics stressed quantity as much as quality and
was actually less discriminatory than the eugenics advocated by
affluent, educated American birth controllers. This relatively
greater tolerance upset American birth control groups who had
initially been excited by what was happening in Germany. For
instance, in 1940, Woodbridge Morris, General Director of the Birth
Control Federation of America, criticized Germany noting, "We, too,
recognize the problem of race building, but our concern is with the
quality of our people, not with their quantity alone."
Because of the need for soldiers and workers, within Germany,
'negative eugenic' programs were paralleled by positive programs
encouraging births among the 'fit.' Laws limited access to birth
control and tightened the punishment for abortion among the racially
wanted. As Germany conquered other countries, similar positive
programs were developed for 'racially valuable' groups in Nordic and
Baltic regions. Groups who were not considered Germanic were
targeted with only negative programs.
The positive programs at home, along with the need to keep secret
why Germany was so eager to help Slavs and other minorities limit
births, created confusion about Nazi policy. That confusion led to
Hitler's remark about "shooting up" anyone who tried to ban abortions
in the Ukraine. For instance, in the Spring of 1942, SS Reichsfuhrer
Himmler had to get the chief of German police in Poland, SS-General
Krueger, to intervene so the courts would no longer punished Poles
for having abortions. Similar court behavior in Byelorussia led
SS-General Berger to remark that some administrators, "have no idea
what the German Eastern policy really means."
Hitler's Own View
Within Germany, the Nazis claimed their programs were for the
"protection of motherhood." Their real purpose, however, was to
increase the German population and thus strengthen the country's
military and economic power. The idea of individual rights were as
irrelevant here as anywhere else in the Nazi dictatorship. Hitler
believed rights belong only to those strong enough to defend them.
The weak or small and powerless had no 'inalienable' right to life.
In Mein Kampf he wrote of those with incurable diseases:
If the power to fight for one's own health is no longer
present, the right to live in this world of struggle
ends. The world belongs only to the forceful 'whole' man
and not to the weak 'half' man.
Because of this crude Social Darwinianism, Hitler felt abortions by
the 'racially valuable' were acceptable for social problems or to
prevent family embarrassment. On 5 November 1941, Hitler told several
people that he felt the penal system made a mistake exposing young
men from "respectable families" to "living communally with creatures
who are utterly rotten."
To prove his point, Hitler told of a young man who had been in the
prison with him after the failed 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. Earlier this
young man had "fruitful relations with a girl" and "advised her to go
to an abortionist. For that he was given a sentence of eight months."
Hitler felt the "disgrace" that the family "could never outlive" was
far too harsh. According to Hitler, such a "nice boy" should simply
get a "sound licking."
Hitler ideas about sex were also quite liberal. He felt that
homosexuality was a private, personal matter and no concern of
society. It was Ernst Rohm, a homosexual, who "more than any other
one man, was responsible for launching Hitler . . . into German
politics." One historian noted:
Hitler knew all about Rohm's tendencies but insisted
that they were his own affair. When Rohm took on his job
as Chief of Staff of the SA, Hitler, who was still
officially head of the SA, issued a parting order that
the SA was "not a girls' finishing school, but a tough
fighting formation." Complaints about people's private
habits he rejected "indignantly and on principle" as
"supposition" and "entirely private matters." 
Germany During the War
During the war Nazis brought millions of foreigners to Germany to
work in factories and on farms. Many of these so- called 'guest
workers' were women who became pregnant. In their home countries
abortions were legal and encouraged by the Nazi occupation. Within
Germany, however, abortion was generally illegal except for Jews and
those with what were thought to be hereditary diseases.
In the spring and summer of 1943 and under great secrecy, German
authorities legalized abortion on demand up to viability for these
women. The fact that these women were typically sent to
university clinics or schools of midwifery and used to train students
suggests that in the future the authorities intended to make abortion
more widely available. Of course, even here racial thinking
intervened. Women who appeared to be "of German or related blood" and
who made "a good racial impression" could be denied an abortion.
Abortion legalization occurred in the opposite order as the
territories, first for female Eastern workers and later for Polish
women. A captured Nazi document describes the steps:
The Reich Leader of Public Health [Conti], in a
directive of 11 March 1943, decreed that pregnancy of
female Eastern workers may be interrupted at will. The
Reich Leader SS [Himmler], with regard hereto, on 9 June
1943, issued a decree of implementation proceedings and
extended this decree as of 1 August 1943 also to
interruptions of pregnancy for female Poles.
As in the occupied territories, the campaign was backed by
propaganda stressing the disadvantages of having children. Emphasis
was placed on separating the working mother from her child soon after
birth to make motherhood less rewarding.
Extending legalized abortion inside Germany created controversies
within German medicine. A secret police report dated 25 October 1943
described objections to the new abortion policy by physicians.
Some physicians (mostly Catholic) protested "that the decree was
not in accordance with the moral obligation of a physician to
preserve life" and stressed that medicine did not permit making
distinctions based on nationality.
On the other hand, many "politically sound" physicians, while
recognizing "racial. . . considerations" still felt the policy was a
"very dangerous experiment." They pointed out that "if the decree
becomes known. . . encouragement will be given to. . . abortions" by
Germans themselves. The latter indicates that, whatever the law,
abortion was available for Germany's healthy blond Aryans.
Bringing to Justice
Hitler clung to his plan for 'living space' in the East until his
suicide in a Berlin bunker with Russian soldiers only a few blocks
away. On 29 April 1945 in his last message to the chief of the German
general staff, Keitel, he stressed, "the aim must still be to win
territory in the East for the German people."
After the war, the Nuremberg Trials brought to justice many of
those involved in Nazi crimes against humanity. Because SS
Reichfuhrer Heinrich Himmler committed suicide, no one involved in
RKFDV's population control program was tried when the International
Military Tribunal judged top Nazi leaders.
Between October 1947 and March 1948, however, the U.S. Military
Tribunal at Nuremberg did try the leadership of the RKFDV in its Case
8. Among the charges was one that "protection of the law was denied
to the unborn children of the Russian and Polish women in Nazi
Germany. Abortions were encouraged and even forced on these
The defense argued that abortions had not been coerced. While this
was true in general, among the Nazi documents was one that said:
It is known that racially inferior offspring of Eastern
workers and Poles is to be avoided if at all possible.
Although pregnancy interruptions ought to be carried out
on a voluntary basis only, pressure is to be applied in
each of these cases.
One defendant was SS Lieutenant General Richard Hildebrandt, Chief
of the RKFDV's Race and Settlement Main Office in Berlin. Under
direct examination by his attorney, he protested that, "Up to now
nobody had the idea to see in this interruption of pregnancy a crime
against humanity." His protest had no effect. In this area like many
others the Nuremberg Trials broke new ground and he was given a
Other sentences ranged from a life sentence given Ulrich Griefelt,
the chief executive officer of the RKFDV, to the ten years given
Fritz Schwalm, the officer responsible for racial examinations to
determine if a woman had an abortion.
Sometimes justice was a long time being served. In Jerusalem during
December of 1961, Adolf Eichmann was convicted of four counts of
crimes "against the Jewish people." One count was "directing that
births be banned and pregnancies interrupted among Jewish women" at
the Theresienstadt concentration camp.
After the war, worldwide condemnation of Nazi behavior led to the
definition of a new crime under international law, the crime of
genocide. Article II of the "Convention on the Prevention and
Punishment of the Crime of Genocide" defines genocide as "acts
committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national,
ethnical [ethnic], racial, or religious group."
Based on the Nazi experience, Article II further defines as a
genocidal act "imposing measures intended to prevent births within
the group." Nazi policies in Eastern Europe provide the
historical context for that part of the Convention. Any nation,
organization or individual using similar tactics is guilty of
genocide under international law. Even more important, any individual
participating in such activities can be tried for 'crimes against
humanity' even if such actions were legal in the country where they
occurred. In the United States the Genocide Treaty applies with
particular force. Now that it has been ratified by the Senate, the
treaty carries the same legal authority as the Constitution and
overrides as other laws and court decisions. Anyone participating in
such activity can be prosecuted for genocide.
Nazi population policy can be summarized in the following way:
o Medical and legal policies on contraceptives, abortion,
and child-rearing were designed to reduce the birthrate
of unwanted groups. Contraceptives were freely available
and often supplied without charge. Abortion was made
legal, safe, and conveniently available through special
clinics or local physicians. Mothers were expected to
work and were deliberately separated from their children
at an early age to make motherhood less meaningful.
o For non-Jews, population control appeared voluntary, but
coercion was always present at least to the extent that
avoiding birth was made easier than childbearing. For
those living under difficult conditions, that is enough
to constitute coercion. For Jews sterilization and
abortions were often forced.
o The media cooperated by stressing the personal
disadvantages of having children and telling how
childbirth could be avoided by birth control and
abortion. Pornography and sex without children (including
homosexuality) were promoted to weaken the family,
distract from political resistance, and destroy spiritual
o Much like the Holocaust, the real purpose of these
policies-reducing the population of unwanted groups-was
kept a closely guarded secret. This sometimes lead to
conflict between those who set up the policies and those
who carried them out without knowing their purpose. After
the war, Nazi population policies in Eastern Europe led
to the recognition of a new crime under international
law, the crime of genocide.
 Alexander Dallin, German Rule in Russia, 1941-1945 (London, 1957),
141f. Clarissa Henry and Marc Hillel, _Of Pure Blood_, Trans. Eric
Mossbacher (New York, 1976), 148. Ihor Kamenetsky, "German
Lebensraum Policy in Eastern Europe During World War II" (Ph.D.
dissertation, Univ. of Ill., 1957) (Ann Arbor, MI: University
Microfilm, # 25,236), 172-73, Ihor Kamenetsky, _Secret Nazi Plans for
Eastern Europe_ (New York, 1961), 143, Joachim C. Fest, _Hitler_ (New
York, 1975), 683-84.
 Nora Levin, The Holocaust (New York, 1973), 232-33.
 Jochen von Lang with Claus Sibyll, _The Secretary_, Trans.
Christa Armstrong and Peter White, (New York, 1979), 209-11,
David Irving, Hitler's War (New York, 1977), 402-03
Robert L. Koehl, _RKFDV: German Resettlement and Population Policy
1939-1945_ (Cambridge, 1957), 227.
For a book-length treatment see: Dallin, _German Rule_.
 Dallin, _German Rule_, 141.
 Leon Poliakov, _Harvest of Hate_ (Syracuse, NY, 1954), 272-74.
_Nuremberg_: NO-1878. Dallin, _German Rule_, 457.
German text in Kamenetsky, _Secret Nazi Plans_, 197-99.
 For more on RKFDV see: Koehl, _RKFDV_, Kamenetsky, _Secret Nazi
Plans_, Michael R. Marrus, _The Unwanted: European Refugees in the
Twentieth Century_ (New York, 1985), 219-227. Anna Bramwel, _Blood and
Soil_ (Abbotsbrooke, England, 1985), 146f.
 Kamenetsky, "German Lebensraum," 171.
 Raul Hilberg, _The Destruction of European Jews_ (Chicago, 1961), 642.
 Dallin, German Rule, 457.
 Poliakov, _Harvest of Hate_, 272-74.
 _Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals_
[Called _NMT_ below] (Washington, 1949-54) V:109. Russian
physicians were familiar with changing abortion laws. In November
1920 Lenin legalized abortion on demand. In 1936, as war tensions grew,
Stalin had abortion declared illegal. see Edward H. Carr.
_Socialism in One Country_, 1924-26, 3 vols. (London, 1958), I:28-29,
33. Richard Stites, _The Women's Liberation Movement in Russia_
(Princeton, 1975), 264-65, 355, 385-88, 403-05.
 _NMT_ , IV:1122. _Nuremberg_: NO-5311.
 Kamenetsky, Secret Nazi Plans, 114.
 Jan Karski, _Story of a Secret State_ (Boston: Houghton Mifflin
Co., 1944), 307. See also p. 243.
 Dallin, _German Rule_, 458. The cooperation of a "newsman" is not
surprising. Unlike the churches or the military, very few members of the
German news media belonged to the anti-Nazi resistance
 Graupe, Heinz Moshe. _The Rise of Modern Judaism, An Intellectual
History of German Jewry 1650-1942_. Huntington, NY: Robert E. Krieger
Publishing Co., 1978, 92. Frederick the Great was also hostile to
 Wallace R. Deuel, _People Under Hitler_, (New York: Harcourt,
Brace and Company, 1942), 189-190. The figures in the next paragraph
come from the same source.
 Robert N. Proctor, _Racial Hygiene_ (Cambridge: Harvard University
Press, 1988), 123. See also: Gitta Sereny, _Into That Darkness_, (New
York: McGraw Hill, 1974), 62.
 Leon Poliakov, _Harvest of Hate_, (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse
University Press, 1954), 192.
 Gerald Reitlinger, _The Final Solution_, 2nd ed. (New York: Thomas
Yoseloff, 1961), 188-189. See also: Nira Feldman, "Concentration and
Extermination Camps," _Holocaust_, (Jerusalem: Keter Publ. House, 1974),
88. Originally published in the _Encyclopedia Judaica_.
 Christopher Thorne, _Allies of a Kind_ (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1978), 158-159.
 Eugen Kogon, _The Theory and Practice of Hell_, (New York: Berkley
Books, n.d.), trans. by Heinz Norden, 168.
 Yad Vashem, _Documents of the Holocaust_, (Jerusalem: Ktav
Publishing House, 1981), 350. From R. Hoss, _Commandant of Auschwitz-The
Autobiography of Rudolf Hoss_, (London, 1961), 206-208.
 Yad Vashem, _Documents of the Holocaust_, (Jerusalem, 1981), 401.
 _Documents of the Holocaust_, 451.
 Nira Feldman, ``Concentration and Extermination Camps,'' in
_Holocaust_, (Jerusalem, 1974), 84-85.
 Hermann Rauschning, _The Voice of Destruction_ (New York, 1940),
34-38. Joseph B. Schechtman, _European Population Transfers, 1939-1945_
(New York, 1946), 266, 296.
For Nazi agriculture policy see: _Blood and Soil_, 63f. In the
early twenties Hitler had been undecided as to whether Germany should
ally itself with Britain and take land from Russia or ally itself with
Russia and build up its world trade. For a discussion of how Hitler's
ideas developed see: Eberhard Jackel, _Hitler's Weltanschauung_ Trans.
Herbert Arnold, (Middletown, CN: Wesleyan University Press, 1972), 32f.
Secrecy was needed, not to protect the basic idea that Germany intended
to conquer the countries to its east, as Hitler had published a pamphlet
on that subject as early as 1926 and in the second volume of _Mein
Kampf_. The secrecy was to conceal the fact that Hitler's plans were
real and not, as some thought, mere political posturing. Also in his
public statements of the twenties Hitler appeared to ignore the fact
that Eastern Europe was already populated (_Weltanschauung_, 42f).
During the thirties, "depopulation" policies would be developed and
those had to remain secret even after the war began and the territiories
were taken. One author thinks Alfred Rosenberg developed the
details of this policy. See: Louis Leo Snyder, _Hitlerism, The Iron
Fist in Germany_ (New York: Mohawk Press, 1932), 145.
 Rauschning, _The Voice_, 137-8. See also: Adolf Hitler, _My New
Order_, Ed. Raoul de Roussy de Sales, (New York: Reynal & Hitchcock,
1941), 619. It was Georges Clemenceau, the French premier, who talked of
"twenty million Germans too many."
 Hitler, _My New Order_, 400. See also: Adolf Hitler, _Hitler's
Table Talk_, 1941-44 Transl. Norman Cameron and R. H. Stevens (London:
Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1953), 261-262.
 Hitler, _My New Order_, 401.
 Hitler, _Hitler's Table Talk_, 1941-44, 697.
Kamenetsky,_Secret Nazi Plans_, 80.
 Louis L. Snyder ed., _Hitler's Third Reich: A Documentary History_
(Chicago, 1981), 46. Adolf Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, Trans. Ralph Manheim
(Boston, 1943), 255, 402-05.
 Anita Grossman, "`Satisfaction is Domestic Happiness': Mass
Working Class Sex Reform Organizations in the Weimar Republic" in
Michael Dobkowski and Isidor Wallimann, Ed. _Towards the Holocaust: The
Social and Economic Collapse of the Weimar Republic_ (Westport, CN,
1983), 271. For parallels with the American birth control movement see:
M W. Perry, "How Planned Parenthood Got Its Name." _International Review
of Natural Family Planning_ X:3 (Fall 1986): 234-42. For a political
analysis of those parallels see: M. W. Perry, ``The Sound of the
Machine.'' _The Freeman_. July 1988, 257-262.
 Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wipperman, _The Racial State:
Germany_ 1933-1945 (Cambridge, 1991), 136.
 Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wipperman, _The Racial State:
Germany 1933-1945_ (Cambridge, 1991), 138. Other estimates run as high
as 400,000. See: Robert Proctor, _Racial Hygiene_ (Cambridge: Harvard
University Press, 1988), 108.
 Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wipperman, _The Racial State:
Germany 1933-1945_ (Cambridge, 1991), 140. Oddly, the book's index makes
no mention of this lengthy and detailed discussion of abortion
legalization even though it includes a mere passing reference to
abortion as a valid cause for divorce on page 253.
 Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wipperman, _The Racial State:
Germany_ 1933-1945 (Cambridge, 1991), 140-141.
 Adolf Hitler, _Hitler's Table Talk, 1941-44_ Transl. Norman
Cameron and R. H. Stevens (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1953),
 _Birth Control Review_, XXIV:3 (January, 1940), 38. In 1942 this
organization became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
 Kamenetsky, "German Lebensraum," 175. _NMT_, IV:1077-79.
_Nuremberg_: NO-1803, NO-3520.
 Kamenetsky, "German Lebensraum," 173. From Himmler's File #1302,
Folder H. 11; _Nuremberg_: NO-3134.
 Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, 257.
 _Hitler's Table Talk, 1941-44_, Trans. Norman Cameron and R.
H. Stevens (London, n.d.), 112-13.
 Heinz Hohne, _The Order of the Death's Head, The Story of Hitler's
S.S._ Trans. Richard Barry, (New York: 1966, 1967), 17.
 Hohne, _The Order_, 81.
 Robert N. Proctor, _Racial Hygiene_ (Cambridge: Harvard University
Press, 1988), 123, 366.
 Robert N. Proctor, _Racial Hygiene_ (Cambridge: Harvard University
Press, 1988), 123.
 _NMT_, IV:1082. _Nuremberg_: 1753-PS, NO-3250 (Eastern workers),
NO-1384 (Polish women).
 _NMT_, IV:1122-27. _Nuremberg_: NO-5311.
 _NMT_, IV:1081-84. _Nuremberg_: NO-3512.
 _NMT_, IV:1077.
 _NMT_, V:112. A German military report of 13 July 1943 referred to
"an intensification of countermeasures" against Ukrainians including the
"forcible abortion of pregnant women." In William Manchester, The Arms
of Krupp (New York, 1964, 1965, 1968), 486. Some forced abortions were
probably to punish women who became pregnant to avoid forced labor in
Germany. See Dallin, _German Rule_, 435, 458.
 _NMT_, IV:1076, 1081, 1090.
 Hannah Arendt, _Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of
Evil_, (New York: Viking Press, 1963), 222-23.
 Nehemiah Robinson. _The Genocide Convention, A Commentary_ (New
York, 1960), 57. Leo Kuper, _The Prevention of Genocide_ (New Haven,
1985), 241f. For the origin of the term "genocide" see Raphael Lemkin,
Axis Rule in Occupied Europe (Washington, 1944), 79f.
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Author's Note: Research for this article began during graduate
study in biomedical history at the University of
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