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"Nueva Germania", or New Germany, was the name given to an Aryan colony started off Paraguay in 1886. It crumbled dismally after only a few years and is a testament to the worrisome aspects of eugenics.

The founders of the colony were Elizabeth Nietzsche, sister of Friedrich Nietzsche, and her famous anti-Semite husband Bernhard Forster. Forster had been described as a rabid Jew-hater, and it was no surprise to those who knew him that he would endeavour to meddle with the gene pool in such a way. Elizabeth and her husband were greatly influenced by Richard Wagner, the ultra-nationalistic and anti-Semetic German composer. They wanted to create a utopia where the influences of decadance and cosmopolitanism (what they considered to be "Jewish" attributes) would crumble to make way for the perfect society. This society, of course, would be based on people with blonde hair and blue eyes: the Aryan ideal.

The Forsters chose families and individuals with pure Saxon blood lines from Germany. What Forster failed to tell the volunteers was that the isolated island off Paraguay which was to become their home was not his- they would, in effect, be squatting on the territory- and that they would be living in the most primitive of habitats. The experiment continued regardless.

Until, of course, Forster's apparent suicide in June 1889. The colony then limped along for a few years but fell apart, despite Elizabeth's determination that the Aryan community would prosper. She returned to Europe to care for her then half-mad brother.

Today, according to "the Vogue book of blondes" by Kathy Phillips, a version of the colony still exists in Paraguay. Many of the inhabitants have blonde hair and blue eyes but are predominantly poor, inbred and diseased. Hardly the race of super men and women Nietzsche and Forster first envisaged for their New Germany...

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