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Karl Astel
Born (1898-02-26)26 February 1898
Schweinfurt, German Empire
Died 3 April 1945(1945-04-03) (aged 47)
Cause of death Suicide
Nationality German
Alma mater University of Würzburg
Known for Rector of the University of Jena,
Anti-tobacco movement,
Nazi eugenics

Karl Astel (26 February 1898 – 3 April 1945) was an Alter Kämpfer, rector of the University of Jena, a racial scientist, and also involved in the German Nazi Eugenics program.[1][2][3]

He was born on 26 February 1898 in Schweinfurt.[4] After finishing the Gymnasium he fought in World War I in 1917 and 1918.[5] Astel took part at the Kapp Putsch and also the Beer Hall Putsch, as a member of the Freikorps Oberland.

Astel studied medicine in Würzburg and earned his PhD around 1930.[5] He was educated and then approved as a sports teacher in March 1926. Astel was employed by the Technical University Munich as a sports advisor.[5]

He was also involved in the anti-tobacco movement. After Karl Astel became rector of the University of Jena in 1939 he tried to form the ideal SS-university ("SS-Muster-Universität"). Astel and his like-minded comrades like Heinz Brücher, Gerhard Heberer, Victor Julius Franz, Johann von Leers and Lothar Stengel-von Rutkowski considered Ernst Haeckel as their forerunner.

On 3 April 1945, Karl Astel shot himself in a hospital (that was headed by the Rheumatologist Wolfgang Veil).


  • 1920s Freikorps member[2]
  • 1923 Involved in the Beer Hall Putsch
  • 1930 Joined the Nazi Party[2]
  • 1930s
    • German Society for Race Hygenie[2]
    • SA Reich Leadership Academy[2]
    • Worked in the RuSHA (Race and Resettlement Office of the SS)
    • Compiled a 'databank' on people to help with 'excluding'[3]
  • 1933 Thuringia Regional Bureau Race Affairs, Weimar[1]
  • 1934 Professor & Director, University Institute for Breeding Theory and Heredity Research[1] in Jena[2]
  • 1936 director Health and Welfare Issues, Thuringia[2]
  • 1934–1937 'in charge' of the Hereditary Health Supreme Court[1]
  • 1939 Rector, University of Jena[2]
  • 1945 Committed suicide in Jena


  • Twilight of the Races (Doom of the Races, cf. Götterdämmerung) and overcoming it by Spirit and Deed as the vital question for the White Nations,
    Zentralverlag der NSDAP. Franz Eher Nachfolger Verlag, Munich 1935 (German title: Rassendämmerung und ihre Meisterung durch Geist und Tat als Schicksalsfrage der weißen Völker.)
  • Different Reproduction. Examination of the Reproduction of 12.000 bureaucrats and clerks of the Thuringian public administration,
    together with Erna Weber, Lehmanns Verlag, Munich, 1939 (German title: Die unterschiedliche Fortpflanzung. Untersuchung über die Fortpflanzung von 12000 Beamten und Angestellten der Thüringischen Staatsverwaltung.)

See also[]

  • Nazi Eugenics
  • Anti-tobacco movement in Nazi Germany


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Günter Grau; Claudia Schoppmann; Patrick Camiller (1995). Hidden holocaust?: gay and lesbian persecution in Germany, 1933-45. Taylor & Francis. p. xvii. ISBN 978-1-884964-15-2. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Hans-Walter Schmuhl (2008). The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, 1927-1945: crossing boundaries. Springer. p. 122. ISBN 978-1-4020-6599-6. Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Michael Burleigh (2001). The Third Reich: a new history. Macmillan. p. 355. ISBN 978-0-8090-9326-7. Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  4. Uwe Hossfeld: Geschichte der biologischen Anthropologie in Deutschland, Page 231f
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Uwe Hossfeld: Geschichte der biologischen Anthropologie in Deutschland

External links[]

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