Organic Gardening Leaves a Nasty Taste in The Mouth
German organic gardening guru Alwin Seifert took tips from Dachau experiments
Now it emerges that at least some of Seifert’s useful tips in his bestselling book Gärtnern, Ackern-ohne Gift, (Gardening, Working the Soil without Poison) may have been gleaned from his observation of the experimental gardens set up on the grounds around Dachau concentration camp.
Tended by half-starved slave labourers, at least 400 of whom were killed, drowned in the carp pond or trampled into the mud of the latrine trenches, the Dachau gardens were established at the behest of Heinrich Himmler, Hitler’s security chief, and stretched to 211 blossoming hectares....
The Dachau complex was supposed to solve some riddles, such as why potatoes had become so vulnerable to pests and early decay, and to build a more or less scientific basis for an alternative “biological-dynamic lifestyle”....
Seifert joined the Nazi party in 1937. He even had the title Reichslandschaftsanwalt — advocate of the Reich’s Landscape. He became a professor at Munich technical university, head of the nature preservation league (a forerunner organisation to the Greens) and before his death in 1972, influenced a whole generation of organic garden planners throughout Germany and Europe.
The passion for organic gardening gripped Germany and has never let go. Whether it will survive the horrific images that emerge from Ms Seidl’s research, the imprisoned priests who were strapped to ploughs, the inmates killed for taking a bite of raw rhubarb, the overseer who received a cash bonus for shooting his 100th Jew among the gladioli, is another matter.