Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 508962
Title Back-breeding the aurochs: the Heck brothers, National Socialism and imagined geographies for nonhuman Lebensraum
Author(s) Driessen, C.P.G.; Lorimer, J.
Source In: Hitler’s Geographies: The Spatialities of the Third Reich / Giaccaria, P., Minca, C., The University of Chicago Press - ISBN 9780226274423 - p. 138 - 159.
Department(s) Cultural Geography
Publication type Peer reviewed book chapter
Publication year 2016
Abstract This chapter investigates the bio-geographical imaginations behind the animal 'back-breeding' programs carried out by Lutz and Heinz Heck - two influential German zoologists who ran Berlin and Munich zoos. Partly with close connections to and patronage from the National Socialist elite, the Heck brothers sought to resurrect the wild cow (aurochs) and horse (tarpan) by breeding out the degeneration they associated with domestication. These back-bred animals were released during the war to roam the expanding territory of the Third Reich, and figured in propaganda films and newspaper articles legitimating that expansion. Drawing on archive material, this chapter situates these back-breeding initiatives in relation to the emerging field of geopolitics. It traces how the project to recreate extinct primordial wildlife functioned as part of discourses and practices of nature conservation that emphasized the ideal Germanic character of the European landscape and required ethnic cleansing as a form of ecological restoration. The chapter describes how back breeding of primordial wildlife was part of a legitimation of the violent Eastern expansion, emanating from a particular combination of mythological, geographic and ecological imaginations, not merely aiming for industrial and agricultural autarky but also to extend the Nazi governance of landscape conservation.
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