A new exhibit is opening at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie, Illinois. The name of the exhibit is "Deadly Medicine: Creating The Master Race". What comes to mind immediately is the Nazi eugenics program. But on further thought, our own eugenic history comes to mind as well.
The exhibit takes visitors on a chronological journey, from the origins of the eugenic movement, to how that theory was used to foster racism and discrimination and eventually torture and murder.
Long before the Nazi Holocaust, in the United States Margaret Sanger was laying the groundwork for a eugenics movement that ultimately became Planned Parenthood. In fact, the influence of Margaret Sanger's International Planned Parenthood Federation on our world, is so complete, that its' slogans and values are dominating moral standards throughout the world today.
Ms. Sanger's rational for limiting the number of children for the poorer classes of people is pure eugenics. She would have liked to require parents to apply for licenses to have babies, in order to control the number of children they might have. She also advocated sterilization for the poor.
Unlike Adolf Hitler's violent approach through the death camps, Margaret Sanger successfully encouraged, what she would call, peaceful and sanitary methods of racial purification. She advocated payment for the privilege of sterilization. She devoted her entire life to what she called her "cause", the international birth control movement. She fought Christian traditions in her successful effort that struck down laws forbidding the distribution of contraceptive devices and information. As we all know contraception led to abortion.
In 1942 Margaret founded Planned Parenthood of America and established the Margaret Sanger Research Bureau, which financed the development of the Pill. She also financed and engineered the immigration of Germany's Dr. Ernst Graefenberg, one of the pioneers of the IUD (intrauterine device).
Margaret Sanger's theory of racial superiority was that social economic situations in life are determined by one thing; man's inherent ability to survive. This ability has a wide spectrum, ranging from the very fit to the absolutely unfit, to survive. In 1936 Margaret Sanger participated in the round table discussions of the American Eugenics Society.
Now back to our new exhibit. Susan Bachrach is the curator for the exhibit in Skokie. She said, "It was very surprising to me, to see how much widespread support there was for this idea of eugenics. Today we like to say eugenics was some kind of pseudo-science. But we shouldn't say that, when looking at it in the context of time. It's very important to realize that this wasn't just something on the fringes. It was taken seriously". She continues, "When it comes to eugenics there's a huge whitewash that continues to go on. The United States was very strong in the eugenics movement, and that can be seen in state sterilization laws".
Just as Margaret Sanger extolled the principles of eugenics in America, so too in Germany, Karl Vinding and Alfred Hoche wrote, "Authorization of the Destruction of Life not Worthy of Life, a book defending the principles of eugenics".
In 1938 Joseph Goebbels said, "Our starting point is not the individual, and we do not subscribe to the view that one should feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty or clothe the naked. Our objectives are entirely different. We must have a healthy people in order to prevail in the world." Germany's involvement with eugenics begins after World War I. Margaret Sanger was born in 1883 and died in 1966. Her influence has left a world-wide footprint, which does not lessen the footprint that Nazi Germany left on the world. Together, they've enshrined the principles of eugenics world-wide.