This article describes the relationship between Polish geneticist Stanisław Skowron's views on eugenics during the interwar period, his experiences in Nazi concentration camps during World War II, and his response to Trofim D. Lysenko's ban on genetic research in Soviet-allied states after 1948. Skowron was educated at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow and received funding from the Rockefeller Foundation to study in the United States, Italy, Denmark, and Great Britain from 1924 to 1926. His exposure to research being conducted outside of Poland made him an important figure in Polish genetics. During this time Skowron also began to believe that an understanding of biological principles of heredity could play an important role in improving Polish society and became a supporter of eugenics. In 1939 he was arrested along with other faculty members at the Jagiellonian and sent to Sachsenhausen and Dachau. In 1947 he published the first book updating Polish biologists on recent developments in genetics; however, after learning of the outcome of the 1948 session of the Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Moscow, Skowron emerged as one of the most vocal advocates for Michurinism. I argue that Skowron's conversion to Lysenkoism was motivated by more than fear or opportunism, and is better understood as the product of his need to rationalize his own support for a theory he could not possibly have believed was correct.
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