Ploetz, Alfred

BORN 22 Mar 1860, Swinemünde (now Swinoujscie, Poland) - DIED 20 Mar 1940, Herrsching am Ammersee, Bayern
GRAVE LOCATION Herrsching am Ammersee, Bayern: Friedhof, Mitterweg (near the chapel)

Alfred Ploetz introduced the concept of 'racial hygiene' in 1895 in his "Grundlinien einer Rassenhygiene". As an extension to the work of Charles Darwin (Ploetz was a 'Social Darwinist') he proposed the technocratical selection of intelligent and solidary people to reach a better and more just world. He suggested that a panel of doctors should decide if a new-born child would live or die (by a small dose of morphine; healthy parents would have another child without problems). On 22 Jun 1905 he founded a society for racial hygiene in Berlin which had 350 members (mostly professors) until the First World War.

His first wife was a sister of Ernst Rüdin, Pauline. He married her in 1980 and they divorced in 1898. With his second wife Anita Nordenholz he had three children.

One of his students, Fritz Lenz (1887-1976), wrote about Ploetz's ideas and Adolf Hitler used them after reading "Menschliche Erblichkeitslehre and Rassenhygiene" (a book by Lenz and two others) in "Mein Kampf". Ploetz himself considered his ideas as utopian, but the nazi's gladly used them for their own fatal purposes. Later Ploetz was rewarded by Hitler with a university chair.

Related persons
• was a friend of Wedekind, Frank


The grave of Alfred Ploetz at the cemetery in Herrsching, Bavaria.
Picture by Androom (26 Aug 2003)


Poell, Alfred

Published: 1 Jan 2006
Last update: 12 Dec 2009