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Dr. Franz Boas, Debunker of Nazi Racial Theories, Dies in New York

December 23, 1942
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Funeral services were held today for Prof. Franz Boas, 84, one of the world’s leading authorities on anthropology, and in the last decade the most prominent debunker of the Nazi theory of “racial superiority,” who died here yesterday of a heart attack. The private services were held at the late professor’s home at Grantwood, New Jersey.

Dr. Boas, who had studied and written widely in all fields of anthro-pology devoted most of his researches during the past few years to the study of the “race question,” especially so after the rise of the Nazis in Germany. Discussing his efforts to disprove what he called “this Nordic nonsense,” Prof. Boas said upon his retirement from teaching in 1936 that “with the present condition of the world, I consider the race question a most important one. I will try to clean up some of the nonsense that is being spread about race those days. I think the question is particularly important for this country, too; as here also people are going crazy.

Dr. Boas’ works were among the first to be burned by the Nazis, although before 1933 he had been showered with honors by German universities, in several of which he taught before coming to the United States in 1886. He was born in Minden, Westphalia, in 1858 and studied in the universities of Heidelberg, Bonn and Kiel.

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