Did the Nazis ban IQ tests?

And did they recognize Jews as more intelligent?

Given the hostility of modern-day Leftists towards IQ tests, it is interesting that the Nazis too seem to have been opposed to them. I have been on an email list that discusses the matter -- a list including some of the authorities on the history of IQ testing. No-one as yet however has found any documentation of a formal ban by the Nazis. It seems that the tests were frowned on by the Nazis rather than banned outright -- which is also broadly true of today's Left of course. And there was certainly some acceptance of the greater intelligence of Jews in prewar Germany.

Some interesting points have come up in the discussion however and I thought the email below from Volkmar Weiss, a most erudite psychologist from the former East Germany, made some very unusual points:

"On my desk I have: Lenz, Fritz: Menschliche Auslese und Rassenhygiene (Eugenik) [Human Selection and Race-hygeine (Eugenics)]. Third edition. Muenchen: J. F. Lehmanns Verlag 1931. It is a famous book, at least for people who can understand German. It is said that Adolf Hitler read this book -- or at least the first edition -- during his imprisonment at Landsberg, where he wrote Mein Kampf. The publisher, J. F. Lehmann, sent a copy of all the books he published to Hitler. Therefore, the story may be true, Hitler was very erudite.

In this book by Lenz you can find many pages on the above-average social status and intelligence of Jews. Also the sentence on page 417: "Den einseitigen Antisemitismus des Nationalsozialismus wird man natuerlich bedauern. Es scheint leider, dass die politischen Massen solche Anti-Gefuehle brauchen, um zur Aktivitaet zu kommen." [One naturally regrets the one-sided antisemitism of National Socialism. Regrettably, it appears that the political masses need such antagonisms in order to be moved to activity].

In 1933 and 1934 Hitler personally did nothing to instigate the hatred against the Jews. He was and could never be sure whether not one of his grandfathers was a Jew. Maybe he considered seriously to assimilate as many Jews as possible. But the voelkisch wing of the Nazis prevented such a development and instigated a rising wave of persecution. There was no law about who was a Jew and who not. In 1935 therefore Hitler was forced to proclaim the Nuremberg laws, which said that quarter-Jews were Germans.

In 1936 or 37, maybe in the Zeitschrift fuer Psychologie [Journal of Psychology], an article was published on "Jewish intelligence tests". I myself have read this article. I am sure, Hans Eysenck was always aware of this article, too. But I have thousands of references and reprints and it would need hours to locate the source again.

There were "Eignungspruefungen", also for the entrance eximation into the SS, which could be understood as minimal IQ tests, but no fully-fledged IQ-tests.

In the German army (Wehrmacht), even in World War Two, there fought hundreds or even thousands of Jews. Hitler had the the right to declare Jews to Aryans and Germans and used this right in many cases. I myself had a letter to Heinrich Himmler in my hands (in the Bundesarchiv Berlin), in which Himmler was asked what should be happen with two SS-men who were Jews. Himmlers handwriting: The question will be answered after the war. With Hamlet I would like to say: There are more things in heaven and earth ...

Note that the above is just a part of an informal email discussion. I have no doubt that Volkmar would be able to refine and document his points more fully given time. From my reading in Mein Kampf and elsewhere, I agree with Volkmar's judgment that Hitler was quite erudite by the standards of his day and I am sure that the presence of Jews in the SS is very little-known


1 comment:

  1. There appears to have been no law in Nazi Germany prohibiting IQ testing. Reportedly, the few scientific journals in the domain of psychology within Germany
    published research based on use of IQ tests up until early 1939 or so. Orders for the initial publication of the Raven Standard Progressive Matrices were received
    from Germany soon after the 1938 initial publication. Some academic psychologists who were putative Nazi Party members did vigorously criticize the Simon-Binet test, for example. But at the apex of the Nazi Party there appears to have been no awareness of IQ testing and, interestingly, no awareness of the successes of
    the American Army Alpha /Beta tests during World War I. A cumbersome testing/assessment program was initiated in 1935 when the military draft reappeared
    in Germany. Since Jews were prohibited from serving in the military, the notion that intelligence testing in the Wehrmacht would have been abolished because of
    high Jewish IQ is just historically irrelevant. Psychology had little presence in Germany universities and where it existed, psychometry had even less presence.
    An exception may have been the University of Berlin? A Professor Max Simoneit headed the development of military personnel allocation testing under the
    Wehmacht draft. While the American specialist in military allocation testing, Robert Yerkes, contended that Simoneit's program contained "hidden in plain sight"
    element of IQ testing---i.e., subtests that could be extracted to yield rough IQ scores, there is scant indication that any recourse to IQ calibration was ever
    attempted. The Simoneit program was so cumbersome and descriptive that it lacked predictive efficacy. About mid 1940, General Keitel ordered it disbanded
    for want of evidence of efficacy. The "ban" on IQ testing in Germany was just a defacto consequence of several features of history---including that Germany
    just never produced a Francis Galton, a Karl Pearson, nor a Charles Spearman. With nations, as with individuals---some's got it; some , ain't.


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