Science and Crime - The "Südostdeutches Institut" in Graz (1938-1945)

  • Christian Promitzer
Keywords: National Socialism, Second World War, science, denationalization, war crimes, Graz, Slovene Styria, Slovenes, Southeast Europe


The article deals with the National Socialist scientific institution "Südostdeutsches Institut" ('Institute on Southeast Germandom") in Graz in order to throw light on the connection between science and the Nazi crimes. Since 1938 the institute prepared the occupation of Slovene Styria; its scientific approach was application-oriented, and it worked also as an intelligence service. In the beginning its studies concentrated on demographic and ethnic issues of the border regions of the county of Styria, with its studies it later-on supported the Nazi policy of denationalization in Slovene Styria; its chief Helmut Carstanjen was responsible for essential elements of the criminal German national policy executed there. Since the German attack on Yugoslavia the institute also dealt with the wider space of Southeast Europe with special regard to the German minorities there. Due to fragmentary archival sources on the "Südostdeutsches Institut" the article methodologically is based on the analysis of its publications. Finally, it follows the carriers of individual members of the institute in the post-war period.