10Thuringian State Office for Racial Affairs

Marienstraße 13/15

Black and white photograph of two people in white coats standing outside on cobblestones. They are holding and looking at long, folded sheets of paper with photographs and texts on them. The sheets are hung on a line in front of them.
Employees present family tree, around 1937.

During the Nazi era, the Thuringian State Office for Racial Affairs was housed in the two buildings facing the street, which are now part of the Bauhaus University. The National Socialist Dr Karl Astel, who had good contacts with Fritz Sauckel and Heinrich Himmler, was appointed president of the state office. Astel propagated the superiority of the "nordic race" and vehemently advocated sterilisation and the murder of the disabled ("euthanasia"). He was also a professor and, from 1939, even rector of the University of Jena. The "Institute for Human Hereditary Research and Racial Policy" which he founded there was incorporated into the State Office in 1936.
The office, which employed up to 52 people, organised training courses in racial studies and genetics (hereditary health) for doctors, lawyers and teachers. A travelling exhibition entitled "Thuringian Race" and a play called "Erbstrom" reached a wide audience. The office also systematically recorded the Thuringian population in terms of hereditary biology, using data from the health authorities. The state office drew up expert reports, which often led to the sterilisation of "hereditarily ill" people. The central basis for assessment was the so-called "Sippschaftstafeln". After the Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935, the state office also began categorising people as "aryans" or "non-aryans". Shortly before the American occupation, Karl Astel committed suicide in April 1945.