Hidden History: The Swiss Eugenics Laws

Au Nom de de l’Ordre Morale (In the Name of Morale Order)

Directed by Bruno Joucea and Romain Russo (2015)

French with English subtitles

Film Review

This is a French documentary about the post-World War II Swiss eugenics program. Switzerland was forced to end the program in 1981, after signing the European Convention on Human Rights. Under the program, tens of thousands of victims were imprisoned, lost custody of their children, or underwent forced sterilization for “immoral” behavior inconsistent with Swiss national values.

Those imprisoned (many teenagers who became pregnant out of wedlock) were classified as “administrative prisoners.” Imprisoned alongside convicted criminals, by 1967 they made up half the prison population. Unlike their fellow inmates, they had no set release date.

Children removed from their families were institutionalized in 40 Catholic orphanages, where they were half starved and physically tortured by nuns and sexually abused by priests.

Between 15,000 and 20,000 were still alive when this film was released in 2015. In 2014, they successfully organized a national referendum calling for an official investigation and the right to access their personal records.

The documentary features the heart breaking stories of two women imprisoned for teen pregnancies during the 1960s and two men and one woman removed from their biological parents.

The last forced sterilization occurred in 1977.

2 thoughts on “Hidden History: The Swiss Eugenics Laws

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