Sterilizing the  "Rhineland Bastards" (1937)


In the name of racial purification, the Nazis forcibly sterilized close to 400 ethnically and racially "mixed " children in 1937. The fathers of these children - Black African, Arab, and Vietnamese colonial soldiers in the French army - belonged to Allied forces occupying sections of western Germany along the Rhine river after World War I.



Picture: Jewish Museum, Berlin


The Gestapo coordinated the secret, illegal action. (The 1933 sterilization law covered only individuals with specific "genetic diseases.") The police drafted public health officials and academic experts to locate the children, examine them for their racial background, and hand them over in designated hospitals. Some of the children were examined at geneticist Otmar von Verschuer's institute for Heraditary Biology and Racial Hygiene in Frankfurt. Anthropologist Eugen Fischer and especially his assistant Wolfgang Abel were significantly involved in the examinations.    



Picture: Jewish Museum, Berlin


A slide used in lectures on genetics at the State Academy for Race and Health in Dresden, circa 1936. The Caption reads: " Mulatte child of a German woman and Negro of the French Rhineland garrison troopes, among her German classmates." (Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.).



Picture: Jewish Museum, Berlin


Plates from a 1937 scholarly article by Wolfgang Abel, who studied the Mischlinge offspring of Maroccan-German and Vietnamese-German parents. Abel concluded that the so-called bastards ("hybrids") were physically and mental´ly "degenerate": "Ot is the mixing of European with Negroid and Mongoloid races wherein lies the primary reason for the poor condition of the Rhineland bastards found in our population." (aus: Zeitschrift für Morphologie und Anthropologie, 1939, Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christin Soenckenberg, Frankfurt a.M.)



Wolfgang Abel, ”Bastarde am Rhein”, in: Neues Volk. Blätter des Rassenpolitischen Amtes der NSDAP,
Leipzig, 2 (1934)


In April, 1933 Hermann Göring asked the heads of the government of the Rhineland to provide statistics about age and the amount of colored occupying troops who had chrildren with German women. In the governmental district Cologne so-called "Rheinlandbastarde [Rhineland crossbreeds]" were found.

The so-called "Sonderkommission 3 [special commission 3]" from the Prinz-Albert-Straße, the headquarter of the state police of (Gestapo) in Berlin, received the order to sterilize all children of French and American occupying soldiers from the time of the Rhineland occupation they had with German women (the so-called "Rhineland crossbreeds").

The development initiated ended in 1937 with the sterilization of those children. They were sterilized in Cologne, for instance in the Protestant hospital in Cologne-Weyertal.

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The Reich Ministry of the Interior which had investigated for many years systematically in small companies and in cooperation with local authorities, welfare associations like the German charity, now provided the necessary documents which included every chosen child. After this top secret procedure was done several hundred youngsters were sterilised by force. Until today noone has received compensation. They are not officially stated as victims of the National Socialism.


Bechhaus-Gerst, Marianne, Afrikanische Kriegsgefangene und
   Besatzungssoldaten in Wahn

"Besondere Kennzeichen Neger" - Schwarze im NS-Staat. Ein
   Ausstellungsprojekt des NS-Dokumentationszentrums Köln

• Huck, Jürgen 1971. Die Garnison. (Unser Porz. Beiträge zur
  Geschichte von Amt und Stadt Porz, Heft 11.). Porz, Rh.: Verlag
  des Heimatvereins.

• Pommerin, Reiner 1979. „Sterilisierung der Rheinlandbastarde.“
  Das Schicksal einer farbigen deutschen Minderheit. Düsseldorf:
  Droste Verlag.