The thesis that spawned the movie

Thesis: “ Education, authoritarianism and eugenics: exploitation of labor and violence to deprived childhood in Brazil (1930-1945)”

Source: Sidney Aguilar Filho

PhD advisor: Ediógenes Aragão Santos

Unit: UNICAMP Faculty of Education

Field of Education: Philosophy and History of Education
Degree: Doctorate degree in Education
Ediógenes Aragon Santos (Advisor)
Circe Bittencourt
Lúcia Bruno
Macioniro Celeste Filho
Carmen Lúcia Soares


This text analyses some aspects of the Brazilian education between the years of 1930 and 1945 from reports on the life of fifty “orphan or abandoned boys” under the guard of the Juvenile Division of the Federal District. They were taken from “Educandário Romão Duarte Mattos”, and from “Irmandade de Misericórida” in Rio de Janeiro” to a private property in Campina do Monte Alegre-SP. The transfer of these children aged nine to eleven was backed by the Code of the Minor of 1927. For a decade, these children were subjected to precarious schooling, an education based on long working hours of farming and livestock without remuneration. They were subjected to imprisonment, corporal punishment and moral constraints on the farms of members of the “Ação Integralista Brasileira” (a fascist and autonomous Brazilian organization). They were also declared supporters of Nazism. The thesis argues that the “boys from “Romão Duarte” were victims of a policy of the Brazilian State that by stimulating eugenics education, as defined in Article 138 of Constitution of 1934, encouraged the segregation of children and adolescents. The documentation employed in the narrative made use of official and media content sources to complement records of oral testimony in the reconstruction of the period.