Eugenics and the Jews

Raphael Falk

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780195373141
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Eugenics and the Jews

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  • Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing



This article discusses the role that eugenics plays in Jewish life, especially in shaping how Jews confronted the world, and engages Jewish and non-Jewish researchers alike. It discusses the socioeconomic conditions in which Jews lived as it had specific eugenic consequences. It also describes the breeding problems that occupy an important role in Jewish life. The rationale of eugenics in Jewish life depends on the extent to which social, political, religious, or cultural distinctiveness is considered to reflect biological racial factors. This article further draws comparison between old and new eugenics and states that new eugenics depends on screening healthy carriers, prenatal diagnosis, and selective determination of affected fetuses. It ends with the discussion of the importance of Jewish tradition in the continuation of Jewish culture and mentions that reproduction and eugenics has played a significant role in core Jewish practices and debates.

Keywords: eugenics; Jewish life; socioeconomic conditions; racial factors; breeding problems

Article.  6578 words. 

Subjects: History ; Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing

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