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 1880 and they divorced in 1898 (she committed suicide in 1942 in Switzerland). With his second wife Anita Nordenholz he had three children. They lived in Herrsching am Ammersee.

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 nazis gladly used them for their own purposes. in 1936 Ploetz was rewarded by Hitler with a university chair. In 1937 he joined the NSDAP. He died in 1940.

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)


Alfred Ploetz - Wikipedia

Plunkett, Adeline

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 26 Mar 2023