Karl Astel (26 February 1898 – 3 April 1945) was an Alter Kämpfer, rector of the University of Jena, a racial scientist, and also involved in the Nazi Eugenics program.
He was born on 26 February 1898 in Schweinfurt. After finishing the Gymnasium he fought in World War I in 1917 and 1918. Astel took part at the Kapp Putsch and also the Beer Hall Putsch, as a member of the Freikorps Oberland.
Astel studied medicine in Würzburg and earned his PhD around 1930. He was educated and then approved as a sports teacher in March 1926. Astel was employed by the Technical University Munich as a sports advisor.
He was also involved in the anti-tobacco movement. After Karl Astel became rector of the University of Jena in 1939 he tried to form the ideal SS-university ("SS-Muster-Universität"). Astel and his like-minded comrades like Heinz Brücher, Gerhard Heberer, Victor Julius Franz, Johann von Leers and Lothar Stengel-von Rutkowski considered Ernst Haeckel as their forerunner.
On 3 April 1945, Karl Astel shot himself in a hospital (that was headed by the Rheumatologist Wolfgang Veil).
- 1920s Freikorps member
- 1923 Involved in the Beer Hall Putsch
- 1930 Joined the Nazi Party
- German Society for Race Hygenie
- SA Reich Leadership Academy
- Worked in the RuSHA (Race and Resettlement Office of the SS)
- Compiled a 'databank' on people to help with 'excluding'
- 1933 Thuringia Regional Bureau Race Affairs, Weimar
- 1934 Professor & Director, University Institute for Breeding Theory and Heredity Research in Jena
- 1936 director Health and Welfare Issues, Thuringia
- 1934–1937 'in charge' of the Hereditary Health Supreme Court
- 1939 Rector, University of Jena
- 1945 Committed suicide in Jena