Otto Schlaginhaufen

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Otto Schlaginhaufen, 1914

Otto Schlaginhaufen (born November 8, 1879 in St. Gallen , † November 14, 1973 in Kilchberg ) was a Swiss anthropologist , ethnologist and racial hygienist .


The son of a businessman graduated from the municipal high school in Bern and studied anthropology at the University of Zurich from 1899 to 1904 , a. a. with Rudolf Martin , and received his doctorate in 1905. From 1901 to 1905 he was an assistant at the Anthropological Institute at the University of Zurich and from 1905 to 1906 at the Rudolf Virchow Collection in Berlin . From 1906 to 1911 he worked in the anthropological department of the Royal Zoological and Anthropological-Ethnographic Museum in Dresden. In the spring of 1911 Schlaginhaufen became an associate professor, and in 1917 a full professor of anthropology and director of the Anthropological Institute at the University of Zurich. From 1907 to 1910 he traveled to the South Seas, among other things, first as a member of the German naval expedition to Neumecklenburg , then on behalf of the Dresden Museum in New Guinea, navigating the lower reaches of the Sepik (at that time Empress Augusta River) and with Rudolf Schlechter undertook an expedition to the Torricelli Mountains on the Finsch coast . Schlaginhaufen was Professor of Anthropology at the University of Zurich until 1950 and (until 1951) Director of the University's Anthropological Institute.

In 1921 he was co-founder of the Julius Klaus Foundation for Heredity Research, Social Anthropology and Racial Hygiene and from 1922 to 1968 its president. With funds from the foundation, he carried out a major eugenic project in which he and his staff anthropologically examined and assessed over 35,000 conscripts from 1927 to 1932. The aim was to create a racial typology for the Swiss population. He published the results between 1946 and 1959 under the title Anthropologia Helvetica . From 1924 he was editor of the bulletin of the Swiss Society for Anthropology and Ethnology and from 1925 of the archive of the Julius Klaus Foundation for Hereditary Research, Social Anthropology and Racial Hygiene . In 1937 he was elected a member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina .


  • Christoph Keller : The skull surveyor. Otto Schlaginhaufen - anthropologist and racial hygienist . Limmat, Zurich 1999, ISBN 3-85791-234-0 .
  • Christoph Keller: Schlaginhaufen, Otto. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
  • Erich Keller: The emergence of the race: From the slow disappearance of a phantom at the Anthropological Institute in Zurich , in: Historische Anthropologie 14 (2006). Pp. 49-67.
  • Urs Peter Weilenmann: The anthropologist Otto Schlaginhaufen, 1879–1973 . Juris, Zurich 1990, ISBN 3-260-05276-3 .
  • Schlaginhaufen, Otto. In: Heinrich Schnee (Ed.): German Colonial Lexicon. Quelle & Meyer, Leipzig 1920, Volume III, p. 294 f. ( online ).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Schlaginhaufen Otto , Matriculation Edition of the University of Zurich, accessed on December 7, 2015.
  2. Member entry of Otto Schlaginhaufen at the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina , accessed on June 21, 2016.