Braund, J. & Sutton, D.G. (2008). The case of Heinrich Wilhelm Poll (1877-1939): A German-Jewish geneticist, eugenicist, twin researcher, and victim of the Nazis. Journal of the History of Biology, 41(1), 1-35.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/441
This paper uses a reconstruction of the life and career of Heinrich Poll as a window into developments and professional relationships in the biological sciences in Germany in the period from the beginning of the twentieth century to the Nazi seizure of power in 1933. Poll's intellectual work involved an early transition from morphometric physical anthropology to comparative evolutionary studies, and also found expression in twin research - a field in which he was an acknowledged early pioneer. His advocacy of eugenics led to participation in state-sponsored committees convened to advise on social policy, one of which debated sterilisation and made recommendations that led eventually to the establishment of the notorious Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics. However, his status as a prominent geneticist and, in particular, as a eugenicist had an ironic and ultimately tragic dimension. Heinrich Poll was of Jewish birth, and this resulted in his career being destroyed by an application of the population policies he had helped put in place.
This is the author's final version of an article published in the Journal of the History of Biology, (c) Springer. The orginial version is available at www.springerlink.com.