Title: Eugenics on the periphery: or why a ‘Belarusian eugenic project’ did not come true (1918-44)


Zamoiski, Andrei

Date issued/created:


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Acta Poloniae Historica T. 114 (2016) ; Social Sciences and Politics in Early Twentieth Century East-Central Europe


Gilley, Christopher : Ed. ; Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences ; Polish National Historical Committee


Instytut Historii Polskiej Akademii Nauk

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p. 59-84 ; 23 cm

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The interwar period was characterized by the active development of national eugenics projects in Europe. A number of factors contributed to the interest in eugenics and the desire to implement them: the making of new states and consolidation of nations in East Central Europe, the need to overcome the legacy of the Great War and deal with social problems (for example, venereal diseases and prostitution), and the development of scientific and international academic contacts. Belarusian debates on eugenics took place mostly on the periphery of the more developed discourses – those in Russia, Poland, and, later on, in Germany. The Russian scholars in the larger university centres contributed to the development of the Soviet eugenics project, which gained the support of the Soviet authorities. In the first decade of their rule, the Bolsheviks were not against debates on eugenics about how to improve the ‘nature of man’. The Soviet eugenics project, which focused on studying problems of heredity, genetics, and genealogy, was stopped when the authorities placed rigid ideological controls over science. In Soviet Belarus, no academic circle appeared that engaged in the debates on eugenics. The development of the eugenics movement in Poland was closely linked to the formation of the newly established Polish state. After the Great War, the Polish eugenics movement made attempts to integrate itself into the public life of the country. Polish medical doctors contributed to the development of the eugenics movement. During the Second World War, a group of Belarusian nationalists tried to formulate a basis for a Belarusian racial eugenics project, following the main ideas of Nazi ‘racial hygiene’.


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Acta Poloniae Historica



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Article : original article



Resource Identifier:

oai:rcin.org.pl:62657 ; 2450-8462 ; 10.12775/APH.2016.114.03


IH PAN, sygn. A.295/114 Podr. ; IH PAN, sygn. A.296/114 ; click here to follow the link




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Copyright-protected material. [CC BY-ND 4.0] May be used within the scope specified in Creative Commons Attribution BY-ND 4.0 license, full text available at: ; -

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Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences

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Library of the Institute of History PAS

Projects co-financed by:

Programme Innovative Economy, 2010-2014, Priority Axis 2. R&D infrastructure ; European Union. European Regional Development Fund





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