Part A3.2g - Definition for 'race', Knaurs Konversations-Lexicon, p. 1295

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ZA UCT BC1556_A_A3_A3.2_A3.2g


Definition for 'race', Knaurs Konversations-Lexicon, p. 1295


  • 1934 (Creation)

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The Knaurs Konversations-Lexikon published in 1934 reflected the racist world view of the Nazi regime. This is manifest in the dictionary definition for race.

"Race, 1) In natural sciences, it is the term describing the subdivision of the system according to the type of the plants and animals. 2) In racial sciences of the human: a large group of people who are connected or distinguished from other groups, according to their hereditary common property regarding their natural physical and mental habitus. Characteristics of a race: height and shape of the body, shape of the skull and face, color of the eyes and skin, color and shape of the hair, discrepancies of the blood. Linné found the following division first and Blumenbach confirmed at the beginning of the 19th Century: there are five races: the Caucasian, Mongolian, Malayan, Indian and Nigger. Division according to Cuvier: white, yellow, black race. This theory is still used very often to distinguish mankind between Europeans, Mongolian, and Negroid. Gobineau stressed in his “Clinical trial regarding inequality of the human races” (1853) the importance of the mental element to distinguish the human races. He also gave a guideline for application to world history: The races are not only different according to their physical appearance but also according to their mental abilities. Additionally, they are of unequal value. Great nations of the history perished because of mixing the culture between the super-race with inferior races. The Aryan race bears the culture of mankind. Gobineau’s “The foundations of the 19th Century” had great influence on H.St. Chamberlain regarding the further interpretation of the Aryan spirit and to distinguish between truly inventive and merely civilizing cultural accomplishments. Both theories became elementary for National Socialism. The most important races according to Eugen Fischer are: in Europe 1) the Nordic race in Northern and Northwestern Europe and in Northern America: very tall body, long extremities, long and narrow skull, salient occiput, fair, blond hair, blue or grey eyes, fair skin; 2) the Mediterranean race in Mediterranean countries: vertically challenged, deep dark hair, dark eyes, brownish skin; 3) the Alpine race in the area of the alps and in the area from Southwestern and mid France all the way to the East to the Sudeten territory: they are of medium height, round skull, wide, plump face, medium brown hair and eye color; 4) the Dinaric race from Southern and partly mid Germany to the Austrian Balkan States up to the actual Balkans: very tall body height, short, high head, highly distinct hawk nose or aquiline nose, dark brown hair and eyes, Mongolian influence from the East and Arabic influence from the Southwest. In the Middle East: the middle eastern race: partly related to the Dinaric race, partly mixed with the oriental race which is vertically challenged, narrow, long skull, crooked nose, dark brown hair and eye color, fair skin. In Africa: negroid races (pygmies as the lower class with superior, sometimes rather tall nigger races), dark (brown or black) skin, short nose, bulging lips, frizzy hair. In Asia: Mongolian race: flat face, wide maxillary bones, eyes with the Mongolian crease, yellowish skin, Mongolian stain, firm hair, varying body height (short in Japan and Northern Asia). Redskins and Eskimos belong to the Mongolians, too. In Southern Malaysia they are mixed with the natives. In the Australian Pacific territory: Australian race: Melanasian and Tasmanian: wide face, low nose, wavy hair; Polynesian: with brighter skin and rather simple hair. Distinction in Europe according to Günther: 1) Nordic, 2) Western, 3) Dinarc, but also the Eastern and Eastern Baltic races. Furthermore, the Phalian (or Dalian) race in Germany. In Eastern Germany, Bohemia and Poland: the Sudeten race (short body height, medium to short head, dark hair, skin and eye color). The Nordic Race is particularly admired and other races want to mix with them."


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Translation by Hanna Hinrichs.

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  • German



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