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Ein Beitrag zur Tätowierungsfrage (A Contribution to the Matter of Tattooing) by SS-Untersturmführer Erich Wagner is a very rare, very controversial, heavily illustrated 77 year old Nazi book.
Erich Wagner (born 1912 at Komotau, Sudetenland) studied medicine at the Universities of Graz, Innsbruck, Munich and Kiel. In September 1939 he joined the Waffen-SS and after time at a SS-Junkerschule he received his license to practice medicine at age 27.
Dr. Erich Wagner was Lagerarzt or camp doctor at Konzentrationslager Buchenwald (KLB or Concentration Camp Buchenwald) from November 1939 through January 1941 during the tenure of SS-Standartenführer and Camp Commandant Karl Otto Koch and his wife Ilse Koch. While there, Wagner used 800 inmates with tattoos as the basis for his study on the the background, motivation and meaning of tattoos, and in research to try to determine the connection between tattoos and criminality.
Witnesses (among them SS-Hauptsturmführer Müller of the KL Buchenwald Pathology Department), testified after the war that they had noticed that the inmates SS-Doctor Wagner studied for his doctoral thesis were routinely "selected according to the magnificence of their tattoo markings, and sent to the hospital. Soon afterward the finest skin specimens would appear in the Pathology Section, where they were prepared, and for years exhibited to SS visitors as particular treasures."
The rare book offered for sale on this USMBOOKS web page is an original Third Reich published example of the June 1940 Doctoral Thesis of SS-Untersturmführer Dr. Erich Wagner as delivered to Professor Dr. Friedrich Timm of the Medical Faculty at the Institute of Forensic Medicine and Scientific Criminology of the University of Jena. It received high praise and in September 1941 Wagner was officially promoted to Doctor of Medicine.
After serving at Buchenwald Concentration Camp (which was the mother camp of Dora-Mittelbau where Nazi V2 rockets were built by prisoners), Dr. Wagner became a Waffen-SS troop doctor and in 1944 he was promoted to SS-Sturmbannführer. He was captured near the end of the war and was an American POW until 1948. Wagner escaped from custody and disappeared. He practiced medicine in the clinic of his wife in Lahr (Schwarzwald) under a pseudonym until 1958, when his real identity was discovered. He was arrested by West German police for the crime of murder, but he committed suicide in March 1959 while in German pre-trial custody in Offenburg.
Chapters in this 6 x 8-¼ inch, 68 page book Ein Beitrag zur Tätowierungsfrage, cover the history of tattoos, pain and complications, techniques, forced tattoos, tattoos and society, tattoos and profession, tattoos and age, tattoos and criminality, the motive for tattoos, psychology of tattoos, theatrical and freak tattoos, school-time tattoos, jail tattoos, military and French Foreign Legion tattoos, non-criminal tattoos, methods and pictures, etc., etc.
There is information on Jews with tattoos (shown left), about which Wagner's conclusion was that less than 3% of Jewish inmates at Buchenwald had tattoos, and those who did were mostly uneducated laborers. The chapter about tattoos on and/or featuring genitalia goes into considerable detail about the tattooed images and text concerning male genitalia on the skin of prisoners.
In the appendix of his book (right) is an example of the questionnaire that inmates who were part of Wagner's tattoo study were required to fill out. Aside from name, date and city of birth, there were questions about education levels, race (Jew, Aryan, Gypsy, etc.), citizenship (German, Pole, Czech, etc.), criminal background, as well as questions about tattoos. How many, where on the body, one-color or multi-color, applied with template or freehand, primitive or artistic, when did the subject get the tattoos (in the military service, while in school, voluntary, drunk or sober), who did the tattoo (a professional, a man or woman), did the subject pay for the tattoos, did the subject regret the tattoos (if yes, why)?, etc. The book also contains charts showing age and year statistics for tattooed prisoners.
Inside the back cover of the book is an original full-page hand-drawn map in blue pencil showing exactly how to get to the Abbeanum (a building) very near the Nazi Kreisleitung building at the University of Jena where this doctoral dissertation was delivered by SS-Untersturmführer Erich Wagner in June 1940. H.I. Frank who owned this book and drew the map inside the back cover was someone very closely connected to Dr. Wagner.
CONDITION: very few actual examples of Dr. Erich Wagner's 77 year old Doctoral Dissertation exist outside of collections in large European university libraries. Few are ever offered for sale in any condition. The example of Ein Beitrag zur Tätowierungsfrage offered here is in very good used condition with the following exception:
page 3/4 and pages 19 to 34 (18 of the total of 60 pages of text) have been replaced with professionally made copies of very old thermofax copies of those 18 pages. The thermofax copies were probably made at the university in Jena many, many years ago, and as is typical, lightened in contrast with the passage of time.
The new professionally made permanent laser copies of the original thermofax copies have had the contrast between paper and text restored, with about 98% of the text on those 18 pages being easily readable. THE REST OF THE 60 PAGES OF TEXT (42 pages) ARE ORIGINAL TO THE DISSERTATION BOOK, AS ARE THE BOOK'S COVERS AND THE ORIGINAL EIGHT PAGES OF PICTURES OF TATTOOS THAT ILLUMINATE THE TEXT.
this photo is for reference only!
Have a look at other rare SS and concentration camp material for sale on USMBOOKS.com. We are happy to combine shipping to save you money!
This ultra rare 1940 SS-Untersturmführer Dr. Wagner tattoo study is **SOLD**
USM book #898
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VERY RARE 1940 NAZI BOOK ON THE STUDY OF TATTOOS BY INFAMOUS BUCHENWALD CONCENTRATION CAMP SS DOCTOR ERICH WAGNER
EIN BEITRAG ZUR TÄTOWIERUNGSFRAGE
THE HEAVILY ILLUSTRATED 1940 UNIVERSITY OF JENA DOCTORAL DISSERTATION ON TATTOOS BY SS-UNTERSTURMFÜHRER ERICH WAGNER,
OF RESERVES IN