Anti-tobacco Movement in Nazi Germany - Association With Antisemitism and Racism

Association With Antisemitism and Racism

Apart from public health concerns, the Nazis were heavily influenced by ideology; specifically, the movement was influenced by concepts of racial hygiene and bodily purity. Nazi leaders believed that it was wrong for the master race to smoke and that tobacco consumption was equal to "racial degeneracy". The Nazis viewed tobacco as a "genetic poison". Racial hygienists opposed tobacco use, fearing that it would "corrupt" the "German germ plasm". Nazi anti-tobacco activists often tried to depict tobacco as a vice of the degenerate Negroes.

The Nazis claimed that the Jews were responsible for introducing tobacco and its harmful effects. The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Germany announced that smoking was an unhealthy vice spread by the Jews. Johann von Leers, editor of the Nordische Welt (Nordic World), during the opening ceremony of the Wissenschaftliches Institut zur Erforschung der Tabakgefahren in 1941, proclaimed that "Jewish capitalism" was responsible for the spread of tobacco use across Europe. He said that the first tobacco on German soil was brought by the Jews and that they controlled the tobacco industry in Amsterdam, the principal European entry point of Nicotiana.

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