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  • The Ungemach experiment, a eugenics history

    A film by Vincent Gaullier and Jean-Jacques Lonni

    ©Jean-Jacques Lonni – Lookatsciences

    In 1924, an idyllic house and garden complex known as “Ungemach” is inaugurated in Strasbourg. It welcomes couples whose lifelong project was to found a large family. What the tenants does not know is that they are participating in a great eugenics experiment: only “healthy and fertile strain” are selected. This experiment was a subject of fascination the world over. It received the approval of the authorities – at once national and local, political and scientific. Armed with this legitimacy, the system of selection was to last up until the late 1980s! To understand the evolution of this kind of project, it is important to revisit the history of eugenics. This leads us to England, where the concept was created in the 1880s. Then to the United States or Switzerland where, from the 1920s, large-scale sterilisation policies to eradicate sanitary and social “defects” were undertaken… Well before Nazi Germany. Some of which continued well after the horrors of the final solution. The micro-history of the Ungemach village joins that of the wider history of eugenics.  

    Librement adapté de Destins de l’eugénisme, Paul-André Rosental (Editions Seuil – Collection La Librairie du XXIe Siècle)

    Fiche technique

    Authors & directors: Vincent Gaullier & Jean-Jacques Lonni

    Music: Francesco Pastacaldi

    Editing: Mona-Lise Lanfant, with Mathilde Renard

    Production: Look at Sciences and Sancho&Co

    With France Télévision and Histoire TV

     theCNC Création visuelle et sonore, Strasbourg Eurométropole and Région Grand Est – en partenariat avec le CNC. Avec l’aide au développement et à la production de la Procirep – Société de Producteurs et de l’Angoa Et de la Région Nouvelle Aquitaine.

    voir l'intégralité de la fiche
    Producers : Vincent Gaullier and Laurent Dené

    Photography: Christophe Neuville

    2nd camera: Grégory Rodriguez

    Sound: Xavier Griette, Grégory Pernet and Vincent Gaullier

    Sound editing and mix: Raphaël Girardot