Deadly Medicine Exhibit
In the quest to produce a nation of superior Aryan beings in Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler turned to the concept of “racial hygiene,” or “eugenics.” From 1933 to 1945, Nazi Germany's government led by Adolf Hitler promoted a nationalism that combined territorial expansion with claims of biological superiority—an "Aryan master race"—and virulent antisemitism. Driven by a racist ideology legitimized by German scientists, the Nazis attempted to eliminate all of Europe's Jews, ultimately killing six million in the Holocaust. Many others also became victims of persecution and murder in the Nazis' campaign to cleanse German society of individuals viewed as threats to the "health" of the nation.
“Eugenics proponents argued that by keeping the ‘unfit’ alive to reproduce and multiply, modern medicine and costly welfare programs were interfering with natural selection, the concept Charles Darwin called the ‘survival of the fittest’ in the animal and plant world,” said Chief Curator of History Fritz Hamer.
This exhibit traces the journey of eugenics from its start as a scientific concept in the late 19th century to its deadly use by Nazi Germany as a justification for the sterilization and murder of millions of people. It contains historical photographs, artifacts and survivor testimony from the Holocaust, including explicit images of medical experimentation on children.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s traveling exhibition, Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race, examines how the Nazi leadership, in collaboration with individuals in professions traditionally charged with healing and the public good, used science to help legitimize persecution, murder and, ultimately, genocide.
This version of Deadly Medicine is based on the acclaimed exhibition of the same name that originally opened at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., in April 2004. Two other successful traveling versions of the exhibition have been on display in Canada and Germany. An online version of the exhibition is available here.
“Our starting point is not the individual, and we do not subscribe to the view that one should feed the
hungry, give drink to the thirsty, or clothe the naked. … Our objectives are entirely different: we
must have a healthy people in order to prevail in the world.”
Nazi Minister of Propaganda, 1938
Place: South Carolina State Museum
Open: Tuesday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sundays 1- 5 p.m., Mondays - Memorial Day through Labor Day
Viewer Discretion Advised. This exhibiton is not suitable for young children.