Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racial La

"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.

Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racial La

Postby admin » Tue Apr 03, 2018 5:41 am

Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racial Laws and Men of Jewish Descent in the German Military
by Bryan Mark Rigg
© 2002 by the University Press of Kansas





To my pillars of strength
Grandmother, Edna Davidson
Aunt, Mary Rigg-Dalbey
Mother, Marilee Rigg
Daughter, Sophia Rigg
Wife, Stephanie Rigg

Knowledge is better than ignorance; history better than myth.

-- Ian Kershaw, The Nazi Dictatorship

Table of Contents:

• Inside and Back Cover
• Preface
• Acknowledgments
• List of Abbreviations
• List of SS and Wehrmacht Ranks
• Introduction
• 1 Who Is a Jew?
• Photo Gallery
• 2 Who Is a Mischling?
• 3 Assimilation and the Jewish Experience in the German Armed Forces
• Photo Gallery
• 4 Racial Policy and the Nuremberg Laws, 1933-1939
• 5 The Policy toward Mischlinge Tightens, 1940-1943
• 6 Turning Point and Forced Labor, 1943-1944
• Photo Gallery 7 Exemptions from the Racial Laws Granted by Hitler
• 8 The Process of Obtaining an Exemption
• Photo Gallery
• 9 What Did Mischlinge Know about the Holocaust?
• Conclusion
• Notes
• Bibliography
• Index

The Waffen-SS soldier Gunter Lowy lost his entire family at Minsk, with the exception of his mother, who escaped to Switzerland. Lowy knew about the concentration camps at Draney and Auschwitz and that people were being gassed. He claimed he continued to serve to survive. [58] However, while in the Waffen-SS, he does not remember any of his comrades talking about the Holocaust. [59] Lowy firmly believed that his Waffen-SS comrades did not know about the Holocaust. However, he added, had his comrades known he was a Jew, they would have "hung me up on the first tree."

-- Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racial Laws and Men of Jewish Descent in the German Military, by Bryan Mark Rigg
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Re: Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racia

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Inside Cover

On the murderous road to "racial purity" Hitler encountered unexpected detours, due largely to his crazed views and inconsistent policies regarding Jewish identity. After centuries of Jewish assimilation and intermarriage in German society, eliminating Jews from the rest of the population was more difficult than he had anticipated. As Bryan Rigg shows in this provocative new study, nowhere was the heinous process of racial cleansing more fraught with contradiction and confusion than in the German military.

Contrary to conventional views, Rigg reveals that a startlingly large number of German military men were classified by the Nazis as Jews or "partial-Jews" (Mischlinge), in the wake of racial laws first enacted in the mid 1930s. He demonstrates that the number was much higher than previously thought -- perhaps as many as 150,000 men -- including decorated veterans and high-ranking officers, even generals and admirals.

As Rigg fully documents for the first time, a great many of these men did not consider themselves Jewish and had embraced military life as devoted patriots eager to serve a revived German nation. In turn, they had been fully absorbed into the German armed forces, which prior to Hitler had given little thought to the "race" of these men but which now was forced to examine the ancestry of its soldiers.

Investigation and removal of Mischlinge from the military, however, was marred by the highly inconsistent application of Nazi law. Numerous "exemptions" were made in order to allow soldiers to stay within the ranks or to spare a soldier's parent, spouse, or other relative from incarceration or worse. (Hitler's own signature can be found on many of these exemption orders.) But as the war dragged on, Nazi politics came to trump military logic, even in the face of the Wehrmacht's growing manpower needs, closing legal loopholes and making it virtually impossible for these soldiers to escape the fate of millions of other victims of the Third Reich.

Based on deep and wide-ranging research in archival and secondary sources, as well as extensive interviews with more than four hundred Mischlinge and their relatives, Rigg's study breaks new ground in a crowded field and presents yet another angle on the extremely flawed, dishonest, demeaning, and tragic essence of Hitler's rule.


Bryan Mark Rigg received his B.A. with honors in history from Yale University in 1996. Yale awarded him the Henry Fellowship for graduate study at Cambridge University, where he received his M.A. in 1997 and Ph.D. in 2002. Currently professor of history at American Military University, he has served as a volunteer in the Israeli Army and as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. His research for this book has been featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and London Daily Telegraph.

The thousands of pages of documents and oral testimonies (8mm and VHS video) the author collected for this study are now housed in the Bryan Mark Rigg Collection at the Bundesarchiv-Militararchiv in Freiburg, Germany. To find out more about this collection or to contact Dr. Rigg, please email him at Bryan.Rigg@aya.yale.edu

Back Cover

"An unexplored and confounding chapter in the history of the Holocaust."
-- Warren Hoge, New York Times

"Startling and unexpected, Rigg's study conclusively demosntrates the degree of flexibility in German policy toward the Mischlinge, the extent of Hitler's involvement, and, most important, that not all who served in the armed forces were anti-Semitic, even as their service aided the killing process... An invaluable ocntribution."
-- Michael Berenbau, author of The World Must Know: The History of the Holocaust

"An impressively researched work with important implications for hotly debated questions. Rigg tells some exquisitely poignant stories of individual human experiences that complicate our poicture of state and society in the Third Reich."
-- Nathan A. Stoltzfus, author of Resistance of the Heart: Intermarriage and the Rosenstrasse Protest in Nazi Germany

"By helping us better understand Nazi racial policy at the margins -- i.e., its impact on certain members of the German military -- Rigg's study clarifies the central problems of Nazi Jewish policies overall."
-- Norman Naimark, author of Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe

"With the skill of a master detective, Bryan Rigg reveals the surprising and largely unknown story of Germans of Jewish origins in the Nazi military. His work contributes to our understanding of the complexity of faith and identity in the Third Reich."
-- Paula E. Hyman, author of Gender and Assimilation in Modern Jewish History

"A major piece of scholarship. Rigg has uncovered personal stories and private archives that literally nobody knew existed. His book is an important contribution to German history."
-- Jonathan Steinberg, author of All or Nothing: The Axis and the Holocaust, 1941-1943

"An outstanding book that adds a great deal to our understanding of the German military, of the place of Jews and people of Jewish descent in the Nazi state, and of the Holocaust."
-- Geoffrey P. Megargee, author of Inside Hitler's High Command

"An original, groundbreaking, and significant work."
-- James S. Corum, author of The Roots of Blitzkrieg and The Luftwaffe
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Re: Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racia

Postby admin » Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:00 am


Writing the history of Jews and men of Jewish descent who served in the Wehrmacht has a history of its own. The story opens in a Berlin movie theater and follows the trajectory of an idea that became a nine-year obsession leading me from an undergraduate thesis at Yale University to a doctoral dissertation at Cambridge University to this book that you, the reader, now hold in your hand. It started in 1992 when I was at the Goethe Institute in Berlin to learn the language and research my family's background. One of my teachers recommended viewing Europa Europa (Ich war Hitlerjunge Salomon) as a way to improve my German. This film is about the Jew Shlomo Perel, who falsified his identity and served in the Wehrmacht from 1941 to 1942 and studied at a Hitler Youth boarding school from 1942 to 1945. At the movie theater, I sat next to an elderly gentleman who helped translate the dialogue for me. Afterward, I asked him what he thought. He told me that the film was close to his own story and asked if I wanted to talk over a drink.

Over a few glasses of beer, Peter Millies told me of his experiences during World War II. He was a quarter-Jew who was drafted into the Wehrmacht in 1941 and spent three years on the Russian front. After the war, he was taken prisoner by the Russians and did not return to Germany until 1950. Our conversation led me to wonder if there were others like Perel and Millies who served in the German armed forces during World War II.

When I returned to Yale University to begin my sophomore year, I started to look into the subject, despite being discouraged by professors about its feasibility. I believed that if I could find twenty men like Perel and Millies, I would have enough material to write an interesting senior essay.

By my junior year, I had identified only seven living persons of Jewish descent who had served in the Wehrmacht. However, I knew more existed and that locating them meant a fight against time because these elderly veterans were dying by the thousands every day. Therefore, with funding from Yale, I took a year off between my junior and senior years and lived in Germany. I bought a laptop computer, a small printer, a video camera, and a large backpack. I videotaped every interviewee, and sometimes my backpack weighed over one hundred pounds. My goals for the year were to find thirty German veterans of Jewish descent, to look for supporting documents in German archives, and to become fluent in German.

In the first month alone, I documented the experiences of over thirty men. My research benefited from the snowball effect: most of those I met entrusted me with the names of friends and family members who had also served in the Wehrmacht under similar circumstances. I traveled throughout Western Europe, primarily Germany and Austria, interviewing men and collecting documents from their personal collections.

During the fall and winter of 1994, I lived in Berlin and studied at a language institute there. Because many interviewees lived in Berlin, I scheduled meetings there on weekdays and also frequented the Deutsche Dienststelle archive in Berlin, which houses most of the files of German navy personnel. On weekends, I would travel to other cities to interview the veterans I had contacted during the week. To make the interviewing process more efficient, I frequently biked to meetings. Sometimes biking was the only way to get to a person's home. I biked over one hundred miles round-trip to reach Alexander Stahlberg, Field Marshal von Manstein's adjutant, who lived in a castle in the small town of Gartow. One month after my visit, Stahlberg died. During the winter, spring, and summer of 1995, I lived in Freiburg to be near the military archive there. I continued to take German classes during the week at the Goethe Institute and traveled every weekend to interview veterans and collect documents. These men also gave me important information about what to look for in the archives. By September 1995, when I returned to Yale, I had documented hundreds. Many of these veterans had been high-ranking officers (colonel or higher) in the Wehrmacht.

After graduating from Yale, I did my grad uate work at Cambridge University. During 1996 and 1997, I spent many weeks in Germany interviewing veterans and collecting more documents. I also returned to several of the German archives.

Besides a few hundred documents in the Bundesarchiv in Berlin and the Institut fur Zeitgeschichte in Munich, the archives do not have much that is classified as pertaining to Jews or Mischlinge in the Wehrmacht. But by interviewing eyewitnesses, I uncovered thousands of pages of invaluable primary source material. The bulk of this study's documents came from interviewees. Many still have their letters, diaries, and even official government documents bearing the signatures of Goring, Keitel, and Hitler.

Most interviewees signed consent forms that allowed me to research their personnel files in the archives. Between 1994 and 1998, I conducted 430 interviews. An average interview lasted around ninety minutes. The questions were divided into three parts: I would first ask them about their backgrounds, then discuss their time in the Wehrmacht, and then ask them about their motivation for serving in the Wehrmacht and their knowledge of the Holocaust. Most of these interviews gave me keys to archives that opened doors to thousands of documents about Mischlinge. To the best of my knowledge, no one had examined these documents before. Interviews with these people filled in many of the gaps that the documents left. Fortunately, most veterans were now ready to talk, and many of them said things that had never been expressed before.

During the interviews, they returned to a forgotten and repressed landscape, intermixing anecdotes of the past with knowledge gained after the fact. They would get very excited about their past and talk endlessly about their youth. Often an eighty-year-old man would appear to revert to his twenty-year-old self and recount his thoughts and feelings about the Third Reich as if he were still there. Many times, his wife or children (or both) were surprised by what they heard from their husband or father.

Many have chosen to forget their pasts, because soldiers of countries that lost a war rarely have as many listeners, or at least sympathetic ones, as soldiers of victorious countries. This is especially true in the case of Nazi Germany. But when presented with a young and interested student, most opened their homes and their hearts.

I believe the majority of my interviewees were honest. Most did not feel threatened by a person about the same age as their grandchildren, who wanted to understand what a Mischling's life was like. They struggled to explain, sometimes for the first time, their humiliating and painful past, knowing well that today's society would not fully understand their situation. Their testimonies seem to undermine stereotypes about the Wehrmacht, Nazi persecution, and moral conduct, and their stories bear witness to a horrific and obscure history.

In this work I necessarily refer to and analyze a number of terms ("Mischling," "Mischlinge," "half-Jew," and "quarter-Jew") that are Nazi in origin and originally designed to denigrate and discriminate against all individuals who Hitler so classified. Let me emphatically state here what I hope is eminently apparent throughout the rest of my book: these terms and the intent that lay behind them (but not the individuals who were so labeled) were part of a mind set and genocidal plan that the civilized world must never forget and forever condemn.
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Re: Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racia

Postby admin » Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:00 am


I am indebted to so many people and organizations that listing and thanking them all for the different ways they helped me would fill hundreds of pages. My heartfelt thanks go to all of the people who helped me these past nine years, particularly the 430 interviewees. I thank especially Professors Paula Hyman, General William Odom, Jeffrey Sammons, and Henry Turner of Yale University for their guidance throughout my undergraduate years.

Thanks to all those who read the prepublication manuscript and gave me invaluable feedback: Andy Baggs, American Military University; Michael Berenbaum, Jewish University; Mark Bernheim, Miami (Ohio ) University; Michael Briggs, University Press of Kansas (his professionalism and advice have been greatly appreciated); Leslie Brisman, Yale University; Lawrence Burian, J.D.; Peter Cahn (Hochschule fur Musik in Frankfurt); Chris Clark, Cambridge University; James S. Corum, School of Advanced Airpower Studies at Maxwell Air Force Base; Leo Daugherty; Hans-Joachim Fliedner, director of Kulturamt Stadt Offenburg; John Fout, Bard University; Vigor Froehmke, J.D.; Joachim Gaehde, Brandeis University; William Godsey, Institute for Economic and Social History, University of Vienna; retired USMC major Bruce Gudmundsson, Marine Corps Command and Staff College; Paula Hyman, Yale University; Eberhard Jackel, Stuttgart University; Dr. Stan Leavy, Yale Medical School; Geoffrey Megargee, Holocaust Museum; Manfred Messerschmidt, Freiburg University; Georg Meyer (German Military Research Center, Freiburg); Archive Director Gunther Montfort, Bundesarchiv/Militararchiv (he knows how much I have appreciated his help); Kevin Murphy, J.D.; Norman Naimark, Stanford University; retired captain Horst von Oppenfeld (Stauffenberg's adjutant); Patricia von Papen-Bodek (Ph.D. from Columbia University); Heinz Puppe, Texas A&M University; Dr. Fritz Redlich, Yale Medical School; Alex Romain, J.D.; Jeffrey Sammons, Yale University; former chancellor Helmut Schmidt (Die Zeit); Hans Schmitt, University of Virginia; Baron Niklas Schrenck von Notzing, Schrenck von Notzing Archive; Freiderich Schuler, Portland State University; Dennis Showalter, Colorado College; Frank Snowden, Yale University; Jonathan Steinberg, Penn University; Laura Sudhaus; Nathan Stoltzfus, Florida State University; Steven Welch, Melbourne University; Charles White, American Military University; and Lothar Zeidler, Rutgers University.

Thanks to the mathematicians and statisticians who gave me helpful advice for the chapter on assimilation: (USMC) Lt. Edmund Clayton, Ph.D. in physics from Louisiana State University; instructor Sybille Clayton, Louisiana State University; Monnie McGee, Hunter College; and Stan Stephenson, Southwest Texas State University.

Special thanks to the Mischlinge who read this work for their invaluable comments and criticism: Fredrich Baruch, Gerhard Bier, Dr. Robert Braun, Klaus Florey, Werner Goldberg, Michael Gunther, Dr. Rudolf Hardy, Michael Hauck, Helmut Kruger, Otto Luderitz, Ernst Ludwig, Emil Lux, Hanns Rehfeld, Richard Riess, Udo Ruhl, Peter Schliesser,].D., Captain Helmut Schmoeckel (commander of U-Boat 802), and Dr. Hans Weil (Yale University).

Several others throughout the years helped me tremendously in various ways: Paul Barby, Martin Bloch, Piers Brendon (Churchill Archives, Cambridge University), Dr. Kelly D. Brownell (Yale University), Marlies Flesch-Thebesius, Dean Hugh Flick Jr. (Yale University), John Francken, Dr. Jurgen Gronau, Dean Susan Hauser (Yale University), Barbara Jacoby, Toni Klein, Ramsay MacMullen (Yale University), Beate Meyer, Dan Nyhus, Marilee Rigg, Mary Rigg-Dalbey (Yale Nursing School), Colonel Martin Senekowitsch (Bundesministerium fur Landesverteidigung: Abteilung Ausblidung), Barry Smith, Henry Soussan, Dr. Howard Spiro (Yale Medical School), Georg Sudhaus, John Weitz, and Dr. Kwan-sa You. Thanks to all of you.

Thanks to the theologians and rabbis who provided helpful insight and advice concerning the chapter titled "Who Is aJew?": Guy Carter, the Jesuit College of New Jersey; Rabbi Zalman Corlin, Ohr Somayach Yeshiva; Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl, Beth Tzedec Congregation; Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb, Ohr Somayach Yeshiva; Rabbi Avraham Laber, Congregation Beth Tephilah; Sheila Rabin, the Jesuit College of New Jersey; Regina Schneider, Walter Bader Realschule; and Wolfgang Schneider, Stadtisches Stiftsgymnasium.

I was deeply impressed with the staffs at the archives and libraries throughout the world where I worked. Those who helped me the most these past nine years are David Lowe at the Cambridge University Library, the entire staff at the Marine Corps University Library, the entire staff at the Yale University Library, Director Peter Tamm of the Institut fur Schiffahrts-und Marinegeschichte, Dr. Milton Gustafson at the U.S. National Archives in Washington, D.C., Torsten Zarwel in the Bundesarchiv in Berlin, Bernd Gericke and Peter Gerhardt in the Deutsche Dienststelle in Berlin, Ronald Meentz in the Bundesarchiv in Aachen, and Oberarchivrat Gunther Montfort and Director Manfred Kehrig in the Bundesarchiv/Militararchiv in Freiburg.

I wish I could mention by name the countless others who assisted and supported me. Hundreds of people fed me and gave me money to support this research. Scholarships enabled me to conduct this research: Richter scholarships from Silliman College at Yale University, the Horowitz Scholarship from Yale's Hillel Foundation, the Dean's Discretionary Scholarship for Senior Projects awarded by Dean Judith Hackman and Dean Richard Brodhead of Yale University, the Marshall-Allison Scholarship awarded twice by the Margaret Laughlin Marshall-John M. S. Allison Fellowship Committee of the Department of the History of Art at Yale University, the several scholarships awarded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Henry Fellowship for study at Cambridge University, the Darwin College travel grant, the Claussen Stiftung, and the Zeit Stiftung. For their guidance I also thank my examiners, Richard Evans (Cambridge University) and Mac Knox (London School of Economics).

Finally, I thank my patient wife, Stephanie, for five years of valuable counsel and editing.

Because of the extreme sensitivity of this material, I consulted many people from diverse backgrounds. I realized early on that the more constructive criticism I could gather, the better this work would be. I hope that I have produced a well-documented work that reveals a dark chapter of the Third Reich and a facet of Hitler's activities that has not been fully documented until now. I hope that this work honors the experiences that so many shared with me. Any mistakes in this manuscript are mine alone. The majority of the people mentioned in this work had a chance to read what I wrote about them before I published this book. Any mistakes in representing their histories are mine alone. I have done all the translations except where I note that I used a translation from another author. Any mistakes in translations are mine alone.
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Re: Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racia

Postby admin » Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:01 am


AWOL: Absent Without Leave
DAK: (Deutsches Afrika-Korps) German African Corps
EKII: (Eisernes Kreuz Zweiter Klasse) Iron Cross Second Class
EKI: (Eisernes Kreuz Erster Klasse) Iron Cross First Class
Gestapo: (Geheime Staatspolizei) Secret State Police
KdF: (Kanzlei des Fuhrers) The Fuhrer's chancellery (not to be confused with the same abbreviation used for Kraft durch Freude of the German Labor Front)
NCO: Noncommissioned officer
NSDAP: (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter-Partei) the Nazi Party
OKH: (Oberkommando des Heeres) army high command
OKL: (Oberkommando der Luftwaffe) air force high command
OKM: (Oberkommando der Marine) navy high command
OKW: (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht) armed forces high command
OT: (Organization Todt) forced labor camps
POWs: prisoners of war
RMI: (Reichsministerium des Innern) Reich Ministry of the Interior
SA: Sturmabteilung storm detachment, a Nazi Party paramilitary formation
SD: (Sicherheitsdienst) security and intelligence service of the SS
SPD: Social Democratic Party of Germany
SS: (Schutzstaffel) the most feared organization of the Third Reich: the Gestapo, SD, and the Waffen-SS were all part of the SS
Waffen-SS: Armed forces of the SS  


SS and Waffen-SS / Wehrmacht / U.S. Army Equivalent

SS-Mann / Soldat/Funker /Kanonier /Flieger/ Schutze/Matrose / Ordinary
Sturmmann Obersoldat/Oberschutze/Oberfusilier / Private (Senior)
Rottenfuhrer / Gefreiter / Private First Class
N/A / Obergefreiter / Acting Corporal
N/A Stabsgefreiter/Hauptgefreiter / Administrative Corporal
Unterscharfuhrer / Unteroffiziera/Maat / Corporal
Scharfuhrer / Unterfeldwebel/Obermaat / Sergeant
N/A / Offiziersanwarter / Officer Candidate
N/A / Fahnrich/Fahnrich z. S. / Officer Candidate
Oberscharfuhrer / Feldwebel/Wachtmeister/Bootsmann / Staff Sergeant
Hauptscharfuhrer / Oberfeldwebel / Technical Sergeant
N/A / Oberfahnrich/ Oberfahnrich z. S. / Senior Officer Candidate
Sturmscharfuhrer / Stabsfeldwebel / Master Sergeant
Untersturmfuhrer / Leutnant/Leutnant z. S. / Second Lieutenant
Obersturmfuhrer / Oberleutnant/ Oberleutnant z. S. / First Lieutenant
Hauptsturmfuhrer / Hauptmann/Kapitanleutnant / Captain
Sturmbannfuhrer / Major/Korvettenkapitan / Major
Obersturmbannfuhrer / Oberstleutnant/Fregattenkapitan / Lieutenant Colonel
Standartenfuhrer / Oberst/Kapitan. z. S. / Colonel
Oberfuhrer / N/A / N/A
Brigadefuhrer / Generalmajor/Konteradmiral / Brigadier General
Gruppenfuhrer / Generalleutnant/Vizeadmiral / Major General

Obergruppenfuhrer / General der Inf. usw./Admiral / Lieutenant General
Oberst-Gruppenfuhrer / Generaloberst/Generaladmiral / General
Reichsfuhrer / Generalfeldmarschall (field marshal)/Grossadmiral / Five Star General (general of the army)
Source: These ranks have been tabulated according to the Handbook on German Military Forces, ed. United States War Department Technical Manual (Washington, D.C., 1945), pp. 16-17; Hilde Kammer and Elisabet Bartsch, eds., Nationalsozialismus. Begriffe aus der Zeit der Gewaltherrschaft 1933-1945 (Hamburg, 1992), pp. 204-5.

a Unteroffizier, although translated as corporal, was in reality more like a U.S. Army staff sergeant or a U.S. Marine Corps sergeant. This rank marked the beginning of a professional soldier for an enlisted man.

"List of active officers, who are either Mischlinge or married to Mischlinge, whom the Fuhrer has declared of German blood." Page 1 of 5 is shown here. Note the far right Blutsanteile (blood percentage).
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Re: Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racia

Postby admin » Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:01 am


One approaches the study of the Holocaust with a profound sense of humility, respect, and responsibility. The subject itself encompasses a tragedy so enormous that we have yet to fully grasp its terrible meaning, although the contributions of countless books and articles that have preceded the present work have brought us ever closer to that goal. However, numerous areas relating to the Holocaust and the Nazi era in general remain largely unexamined or poorly understood. This book represents a close study of one such area, and while it does not presume to offer the final word, the hope is that it will provide readers with a new way of looking at one of the central issues in the history of the Third Reich and Holocaust, namely, Jewish identity.

More specifically, this book explores the historical phenomenon of Jews and men of partial Jewish descent, called "Jewish Mischlinge" [1] (singular of Mischlinge is Mischling), who fought in the German armed forces during World War II. It discusses how it was possible for Jews and Mischlinge, also called "half-" and "quarter-Jews," to have served in the Wehrmacht. [2] Many historians assume the Wehrmacht automatically excluded anyone of Jewish ancestry from serving between 1933 and 1945. Others believe that a small number may have fought in the Wehrmacht, but reject the ideas that this happened on a large scale and that any of them played a significant military role. All three of these assumptions are wrong. Many professors and historians initially doubted that this study would uncover anything historically significant. This assumption is also wrong. This book demonstrates that tens of thousands of men of Jewish descent served in the Wehrmacht during Hitler's rule. Although the exact number of Mischlinge who fought for Germany during World War II cannot be determined, they probably numbered more than 150,000. [3] That is both startling and important for what it tells us about how Jewish identity was viewed, constructed, and contested by German citizens, Nazi leaders, military commanders, and the Jewish community within German borders, and for what it tells us about how these perceptions saved some while condemning others to the death camps.

Even more startling, this study demonstrates that Hitler played a direct role in permitting Mischlinge to serve in the Wehrmacht. He even allowed some to become high-ranking officers. Generals, admirals, navy ship captains, fighter pilots, and many ordinary soldiers served with Hitler's personal approval. Possible reasons why Hitler allowed their service are also explored. Furthermore, this book examines what Hitler might have done with them had Germany won the war. To show the development of Mischling policy, most chapters are organized chronologically.

First, because the question "Who is a Jew?" is central to this study, several possible answers to it are discussed. Some call a person with any Jewish ancestry a Jew. Others, primarily Orthodox Jews, claim that anyone of Jewish descent who served in the Wehrmacht could not have been Jewish at all. Both extreme views are wrong. This section also discusses the Nazi definition of a Jew.

Second, the Nazi term Mischlinge is explored. It is impossible to understand how and why Mischlinge served in the Wehrmacht without understanding the several categories and particularities of this group. The term meant something very different before the Nazis used it to describe people of partial Jewish descent. After the war, the term was largely left out of works of scholarship because of its derogatory connotations. Moreover, there seemed to be little interest in researching the plight of the Mischlinge until recently. To understand the history of Mischlinge in the Wehrmacht, one must look at how the Nazis defined this term and how the Mischlinge themselves reacted to it.

Third, an overview of Jewish assimilation in Germany and Austria is presented to establish the probable number of Mischlinge during the Third Reich. [4] Students of this history often forget that the majority of German Jews had fully integrated into society and did not live as a separate ethnic group. The existence of hundreds of thousands of Christian Germans with Jewish ancestry, resulting from generations of intermarriage, is also often overlooked. These Mischlinge especially did not perceive themselves as a minority until Hitler classified them as such.

Fourth, the history of German and Austrian Jews who served in their countries' armed forces for over a century is discussed briefly. Since military service provided an effective path to social acceptance, many Jewish families had strong military traditions. Jews often shed their Jewishness as quickly as the surrounding society allowed. These people felt fully assimilated into German and Austrian society and had served their countries honorably.

Fifth, the regulations for Jews and Mischlinge in the Wehrmacht from 1933 until 1945 are explained in detail. The Wehrmacht' s policies dealing with Mischlinge were complicated and perplexing. Mischling policy developed in spurts with tangential exploration and backtracking. Yet, it resulted in tens of thousands of Mischlinge wearing the Wehrmacht's uniform. This section provides a fine case study of a polycratic regime in action. In Mischling matters, there were competing views, personal power rivalries, and different agendas on the part of the civil service, Wehrmacht, SS, the Party, and the Fuhrer. This section also deals with what the Nazis planned to do with Mischlinge had Germany won the war. Some have claimed Mischlinge never had to fear extermination because the Nazis did not concern themselves with them as they did the Jews. Yet, the Nazis had planned to ostracize, sterilize, and ultimately exterminate half-Jews. After the Nazis finished annihilating the Jews, half-Jews would have been next.

Sixth, official exemptions from racial discrimination which Hitler personally granted to Mischlinge are investigated. Some historians have noted that Hitler gave a limited number of such exemptions to important people of Jewish descent. Most failed to acknowledge that Hitler granted as many as several thousand such exemptions to members of the armed forces ranging from generals to privates and that he paid far more than cursory attention to them. Hitler's role in personally deciding on their cases showed how obsessed he was with racial policy.

Finally, the question "Who knew about the Holocaust?" is examined because some Mischlinge in the Wehrmacht found themselves in a unique position from which to observe Hitler's racial persecution. Many knew about isolated atrocities such as shootings and deportations, and most had experienced Nazi persecution, but the majority did .not know about the systematic extermination of millions of Jews. [5] One would think that they should have known what was happening to their Jewish relatives and what ultimately would have happened to them had Hitler won or prolonged the war, but the evidence in this study proves that most were unaware of the scope of the Holocaust.

Until now, Nazi policies toward Mischling Wehrmacht personnel have not yet been fully explored. Jeremy Noakes's essay about Mischlinge in the 1989 Leo Baeck Yearbook, while only briefly mentioning Wehrmacht policy, provides the foundation for this book. Ursula Buttner wrote a social history of Mischlinge in her 1988 book, Die Not der Juden teilen, based on the experiences of several families. Werner Cohn wrote an essay about the Paulus Bund, a self-help organization formed by Mischlinge, in the 1988 Leo Baeck Yearbook. Aleksandar-Sasa Vuletic also wrote about the Paulus Bund in his book Christen Judischer Herkunft im Dritten Reich. Verfolgung und Organisierte Selbsthilfe, 1933-1939, published in 1999. Nathan Stoltzfus dedicated a chapter to Mischlinge titled "Hitler's Army" in his 1996 book, Resistance of the Heart: Intermarriage and the Rosenstrasse Protest in Nazi Germany. Steven Welch wrote a short essay about eight half-Jewish Wehrmacht deserters in the 1999 Leo Baeck Yearbook. Beate Meyer's book Judische ischlinge: Rassenpolitik und Verfolgungserfahrung, 1933-1945, published in 1999, does a good job of exploring the different aspects of Mischling life, but devotes only a short subchapter to Mischlinge in the armed forces. H. G. Adler's book on the deportation of German Jews, Raul Hilberg's work on the Holocaust, Manfred Messerschmidt's book on the Wehrmacht, Rolf Vogel's book Ein Stiick von uns, and Saul Friedlander's history titled Nazi Germany and the Jews mention Mischlinge in passing. None of these works thoroughly documents the history of Mischlinge or Jews in the Wehrmacht. Noakes's essay and Meyer's book focus more on Mischlinge in the Wehrmacht than the other works; however, both dedicate only a few pages to this subject.

This book provides an in-depth look at Jews and Mischlinge in the Wehrmacht, especially high-ranking Mischling officers whom Hitler granted, after reviewing applications from them, some form of clemency. Moreover, the significance of Hitler's personal involvement with Mischlinge and policy affecting them supports his personal involvement in the Holocaust -- an aspect of Mischling history not closely analyzed. This book provides new insight into the minority group of the Mischlinge torn between their Christian German culture and the Jewish heritage some of whom did not even know they shared. Although this group was large, it has been overlooked, primarily because the extremely polarized discussion of Hitler's anti-Semitism left little room for Mischlinge in the middle. Through this discussion of Mischlinge and their experiences in the Wehrmacht, some of the conflicting loyalties that many Germans felt during the Third Reich are brought to light. Also, by studying the history of Mischlinge in the Wehrmacht, one comes to learn about Nazi racial policy as a whole. Understanding the racial state at the margins clarifies the central problems of Nazi Jewish policy. This study is about the nature and presence of Jewish identity in the armed forces of the Nazi state and, by implication, about the nature and presence of Jewish identity within the entire state itself. In the end, this study shows just how flawed, dishonest, corrupt, bankrupt, and tragic were the racial theories and policies of Hitler and the Nazis. [6]
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Re: Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racia

Postby admin » Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:05 am

Chapter 1: Who Is a Jew?

The question "Who is a Jew?" has sparked heated debate throughout the ages. Even today in Israel, the intensity of the preoccupation with this question is, according to law professor Asher Maoz of Tel-Aviv University, "second only to Israel's preoccupation with problems of security and peace. This is unsurprising as many regard both subjects as matters of national survival." [1]

The Term "Jew"

The word "Jew" derives from the name of the tribe of Judah, named after one of the twelve sons of Israel (Jacob). The Jews descend from Aramean nomads who crossed the Euphrates into the land of Canaan under Abraham's leadership around 1850 B.C.E. [2] They were called the Ivrim (Hebrews). [3] Many today call Abraham the "first Jew" [4] and the first monotheist. [5] Some focus on the collective experiences of Jews during their bondage as slaves in Egypt and their eventual exodus out of Egypt that led to their becoming a nation. Others emphasize that God's chosen people officially became a nation of Jews when Moses received God's laws (the Torah [6]) on Mount Sinai around 1200 B.C.E. soon after they left Egypt. [7] This is when the people of Israel entered into a covenant (B'rit) with God, and the Torah was the "sacred writ of that covenant." [8]

In biblical times, a child "inherited" his Jewishness from his father. According to one common interpretation, in the Book of Leviticus, a "half-caste Danite" [9] man who had a Jewish mother but an Egyptian father was rejected as not "belonging." [10] This example illustrates that at the time, Jewishness depended on descent through the father, contrary to today's practice. For example, Joseph's children are considered Jews, though their mother Asenath was the daughter of an Egyptian priest of On, [11] and Moses' children, though their mother Zipporah was a Cushite from present-day Ethiopia. [12] Before the giving of the Torah, Jewishness was a function of one's lineage, beliefs, and customs. For example, circumcision was an identifying factor for Abraham and his descendants. To join the Hebrews, one just had to adopt their culture; no formal procedure of conversion was required. In this sense, all of the Israelites prior to Sinai were Jewish. Only after Sinai was a formal procedure of conversion necessary. [13]

Present-day Definitions of a Jew

Today, observant Jews look to the Tanach (Jewish bible)14 and Talmud (the oral Torah) [15] to define Jewishness. According to rabbinical law (Halakah) [16] today, a Jew is a person born of a Jewish mother or one who properly converts to Judaism. [17] Orthodox rabbi and professor Jacob Schochet of Humber College commented, "The father's status is altogether irrelevant." [18] The father does, however, play an important role in deciding whether a male child is of the priestly cast or not (i.e., a Cohen or a Levi). [19]

Why do observant Jews follow the law of maternal descent? Most observant Jews simply say that is how God set it up. When asked why God did it this way, some suggest that this law probably was adopted because a child's mother could almost always be identified in biblical times. This humane law also may have served to protect children fathered by foreign soldiers in wartime by accepting them into Jewish society. Moreover, most Jews consider a child born of a Jewish mother Jewish regardless of the parents' future actions. For example, most Jews would consider a child Jewish even if the parents baptized the child at birth. The child's Jewishness is its birthright, which its parents cannot take away. [20]

According to Halakah, once a person is born Jewish or properly converts to Judaism, that status remains forever. [21] One might think that a Jew would no longer be Jewish if he professed another religion, but this is not the case. [22] Orthodox rabbi Dovid Gottlieb remarked, "Once a Jew, always a Jew." [23] For example, most consider that political philosopher Karl Marx, poet and writer Heinrich Heine, and composer and conductor Felix Mendelssohn- Bartholdy were all Jews, although they all converted to Christianity. [24] Shlomo Perel, a Jew who served in the Wehrmacht (under the assumed name of Josef Perjell), wrote, "It's hard to be a Jew, but it's even harder to try not to be one [if you were born one]," [25] The satirist Kurt Tucholsky, in Swedish exile in 1935, echoed Perel when he wrote, "I left Judaism in 1911," but then added, "I know that this is in fact impossible." [26]

For many Jews, however, religion plays little or no role in defining their Jewishness. They believe Jewishness means first and foremost an ethnic allegiance (i.e., belonging to the Jewish people). They also hold certain ideals very dear to their hearts, such as education, family values, and charity. Religious beliefs are secondary. Many in the world who consider themselves Jews in every respect would deny that they have any religion at all. [27]

Most Jews consider themselves part of a unique family. Every day, observant Jews say the Shema, the holiest Jewish prayer which comes from Deuteronomy 6:4. It reads, "Hear, O Israel! Adonai is our God. Adonai, the one and only." [28] This prayer is a declaration to a nation, the people of Israel. Nicholas De Lange writes, "To be a Jew is thus to acknowledge an attachment to an historic experience. To become a Jew is essentially to join a people." [29] Moses Hess, an early advocate of Zionism, said in 1862, "Jewry is above all a nationality; its history goes back several thousand years and marches hand-in-hand with the history of mankind." [30]

The Jews are not a "race"; [31] there are no genetic features that all Jews, and only Jews, share. Furthermore, because non-Jews have always been able to convert to Judaism, common physical traits could hardly be expected. Because Jews have spread throughout the world, they have taken on different ethnicities, cultures, and traditions. Nevertheless, they all have some attachment to Israel, and those who have remained observant share a spiritual allegiance to the Torah. In modern times, tensions sometimes arise when groups from the Diaspora immigrate to Israel. Israeli officials who have to define whether the people entering Israel are Jews sometimes have trouble addressing this delicate issue. Recently the arrival of destitute Ethiopian Jews (Falashas) [32] in Israel sparked debate about who is a "kosher Jew." [33] The government airlifted these persecuted people to Israel and gave them Israeli citizenship, homes, food, and education, but that did not automatically confirm their status as Jews. After discussing Ethiopians' cultural and religious differences, Israel's supreme court concurred with the chief Rabbinate's judgment that Ethiopian Jews" were doubtful Jews requiring a restrictive conversion (giyur lechumra) [34] in order to qualify for [Jewish] marriage [author's italics]." [35] Many religious leaders questioned these Ethiopians' Jewishness, maintaining that these African Jews only observed a form of "crypto- Judaism." [36] Many Russian Jews are also looked upon as "doubtful Jews." Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, tens of thousands of Russian Jews have immigrated to Israel. Most have fled persecution and poverty in Russia. They view Israel as a land of hope where they can live a free and self-determined existence. However, the Rabbinate views some of these Russians' Jewishness skeptically, maintaining that many of these people have either falsely claimed to be Jewish to escape the poverty in Russia, have an imperfect understanding of what it means to be Jewish, or only have Jewish fathers. [37]

The variations in cultural values and historic legacy among certain Jews can create confusion regarding how Jewish or Israeli they are perceived as being. Although the Israeli government uses a definition similar to the Halakic one to recognize a Jew -- that is, one must be born of a Jewish mother or convert to Judaism and not belong to another religion (called the "Law of Return") -- the nation of Israel is strongly split over the issue. [38] For example, in 1998, two Russian-Israeli soldiers died in combat while stationed in Lebanon. The Rabbinate refused them aJewish burial in a military graveyard because they had only Jewish fathers. They were not considered Jews. [39] One would think that dying while serving in the Israeli army would prove that one felt Jewish and believed in the state of Israel, but the Rabbinate does not hold such actions and convictions sufficient to declare someone Halakically Jewish. The Rabbinate views Jewishness as a formal definition of status as opposed to one of self-perception or commitment to Israel or the Jewish people. A person could consider himself Jewish, be a dedicated Israeli citizen, and even an Israeli war hero, but not formally be considered Jewish. So for many, differences in religious belief, cultural background, ethnic makeup, and self-perception make the answers to the question "Who is a Jew?" complex and unresolved.

Strong differences also exist between the Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform movements within Judaism. [40] For example, the Orthodox and Conservative movements adhere to the Halakic law of maternal descent or conversion for one to be a Jew. [41] Most Reform Jews believe paternal descent is also enough to be a Jew. While Conservative Judaism "affirms the divinity of Halacha but questions its immutability," Reform Judaism "denies the authority of both principles." [42] Orthodox Judaism believes these two movements are not Halakically sound. The ideological differences between these three movements have caused heated debate. In Israel, the Orthodox passionately fight to keep Reform and Conservative organizations from establishing themselves. For example, for many Orthodox Jews, Jews in the Reform and Conservative movements, especially gentiles by birth who have converted into those movements, are not really Jews. [43] The "Ministry of Religions" in Israel does not recognize people as Jewish who convert under non-Orthodox auspices. In fact, the ministry had been keeping lists provided by informers overseas or in Israel that registered some ten thousand immigrants whose Judaism was called into question. Although these people were not denied entrance into Israel under the Law of Return, many rabbis would not perform marriage ceremonies or Jewish burials for them. [44] In other words, for Orthodox Jews, if a Reform or Conservative Jew does not have a Jewish mother or an Orthodox conversion, then he or she is "not Jewish, period." [45] One of the Orthodox Jewish movement's objectives is to" de-legitimize the non-orthodox streams." [46]These schisms cause many to worry about Israel's future. The conflict jeopardizes the entire social fabric of Israel and the unity of the nation. Different groups threaten one another and Israel with "boycotts, financial blackmail and sanctions." [47] Orthodox Rabbi Schochet wrote, "Self-interest, arrogance and narcissism (on the individual and organizational levels) within our own people threaten to achieve what our worst enemies could not." [48] With all the controversy surrounding the questions "Who is a Jew?" and "What is Jewish?" one can see the difficulties this study encountered when discussing issues of people's Jewishness. Quite often, to discuss Mischlinge and their Wehrmacht service, readers must first acknowledge their own prejudices and beliefs. The definition of Jewishness and "Who is a Jew" strongly influences how one reads this history. Ironically, the current problems in Israel often came up during this research, and that is why they are addressed in such detail.

Jewish Law (Halakah) and Mischlinge

Mischlinge were confused by these religious definitions. Some did not know what Halakah meant before it was explained to them during the interviews conducted for this study. Helmut Kruger complained that he is tired of some Jews trying to make him into a Jew. He struggled for twelve years to convince the Nazis he was not Jewish but rather a loyal German patriot. He survived the Nazi onslaught but never convinced them that he was fully "Aryan." [49] Even now, observant Jews asked about his case unwaveringly state that Kruger is Halakically Jewish because he had a Jewish mother. Kruger insists that he had nothing to do with his mother's Jewishness. He was born German and raised as a Christian. Kruger dislikes being called a Jew, not because he is anti-Semitic but because he does not feel Jewish. Halakah means nothing to him. He added, "Should I be called a Nazi because my uncle, Hermann Kruger, was an Ortsgruppenleiter [50] of the NSDAP? [51] The answer is no just as much as it's no that I'm a Jew." [52] Some rabbis claim that people like Kruger demonstrate Jewish self-hatred; they renounce their Jewishness because they are afraid to admit who they are. Kruger believes that he is just Helmut Kruger, born a German not by choice but by chance to a German-Jewish mother who, like many Jews, assimilated and shed her Jewishness to integrate fully into the dominant society. Kruger's opinion is common among Mischlinge. The vast majority do not know how to describe their own Jewish heritage and are confused when observant Jews tell them they are Jewish. Some feel Jewish in their own way, not because they have Jewish mothers but because the Nazis persecuted them for being partially Jewish. Their Jewish identity was born of persecution rather than religious or cultural heritage.

Eastern Jews versus German Jews

Examining the tragic conflict between German Jews and Eastern Jews (Ostjuden) before Hitler came to power helps explain the Misehlinge's confusion over what it meant to be Jewish. Prior to the rise of Nazism, many German Jews had unfortunately discriminated against Ostjuden. Many felt that the poor, culturally backward, and "dirty" Ostjuden gave the typically well-educated and cultured German Jeckes [53] a bad name. [54] Although many German Jews had contempt for the Ostjuden, some did help the Ostjuden philanthropically. They felt compassion for these Jews who left the East because of Communism, pogroms, and economic strife. Unfortunately, such German Jews who did help Ostjuden were a minority. Many German Jews felt that the Ostjuden lived in anachronistic ghettos and only learned "Polish Talmudic barbarism" in comparison to refined German Bildung (education). [55] For German Jews, these "ghetto-Jews" from the East followed an irrational and superstitious religion of the Jewish mystics that no longer could function properly in a world based on a religion of reason and knowledge. Most Ostjuden felt that their heretical daitsch (German) brothers had left Yiddischkeit (Judaism) by shaving off their beards, adapting modern ways, and not keeping the Sabbath holy. [56] Many of them denounced the Reform movement which had been started in Germany. [57] In Austria, the situation was no different than in Germany. For example, many Viennese Jews also did not welcome Ostjuden and showed contempt for the "bearded, caftan-clad people." [58]

Thus, many German Jews and Mischlinge thought Hitler based his anti-Semitic tirades on Ostjuden who had emigrated from the "land of Bolshevism." The Nazis reinforced this preconception when they issued decrees against Ostjuden in 1933 [59] and later when they forced eighteen thousand of them to leave the Reich in 1938. [60] Wolf Zuelzer, a 75 percent Jew, explained that German Jews maintained their prejudice against Ostjuden because of their cultural isolation and" primitive" lifestyle. Zuelzer wrote that "for the majority of German Jews, the Orthodox Ostjuden dressed in his caftan, fur hat and ritual side-locks was a frightening apparition from the Dark Ages." [61] At the beginning of the twentieth century, "[m]any of the local Jewish communities in Germany refused to allow Eastern Jews to vote in community elections on the grounds that they were not German nationals."  [62] Dr. Max Naumann, a Jew and a retired World War I army major and founder of the militant right-wing organization of National German Jews, wrote Hitler on 20 March 1935 that he and his followers had fought to keep Ostjuden out of Germany. Naumann felt that these "hordes of half-Asian Jews" were "dangerous guests" in Germany and must be "ruthlessly expelled."  [63]

Naumann wanted Hitler forcibly to remove the Ostjuden from Germany.  [64] He strove for Nazi acceptance by displaying his organization's adherence to what he thought was Hitler's Weltanschauung. [65] Naumann hoped to gain Hitler's approval of his organization. He failed to recognize how impossible that was. Naumann's organization was not alone. The Deutsche Vortrupp (German Vanguard), a group of university students led by Hans Joachim Schoeps, believed that what lay at the center of Nazism was the regeneration of German society, "not racialism and race hatred." Schoeps and his group wanted to take part in supporting the Nazis in rebuilding Germany. They wanted the Nazis to see that they, as nationalistic German Jews, were a part of the German nation. They admitted that problems did exist between Jews and Aryans, but not surprisingly, they "blamed the Ostjuden for it." [66] The Nazis would dissolve Naumann's and Schoeps's organizations in 1935. [67] Many German Jews saw the Ostjuden as a grave danger to their social standing who, if allowed to stay in Germany, would only intensify anti-Semitic feelings. In several public statements during the I920s and 1930s, liberal German Jews labeled Ostjuden "inferior" and asked for state assistance to combat their immigration. [68] Many Germans, including Jews, thought Hitler would stop the immigration of Ostjuden, which dramatically increased after World War I, and approved of such a policy. [69] By the I920s, some estimates claim that well over one-hundred thousand foreign Jews, mostly Polish, lived in Germany. [70] Many German Jews probably felt that the large number of Ostjuden, who would work for cheaper wages, threatened their jobs. Perhaps some German Jews also reacted as they did because Ostjuden represented a part of themselves they wanted to deny. All German Jews knew that at one time in history they or their ancestors looked like the Ostjuden they were condemning. [71] That fact embarrassed most, and many responded to Ostjuden with disdain and arrogance. Ostjuden simply represented all that many German Jews had fought to distance themselves from.

Robert Braun recalled that his Jewish father, Dr. R. Leopold Braun, was an anti-Semite who did not like Ostjuden. [72] Many German Jews and Mischlinge felt that since their families had lived in Germany for several generations, they should be treated differently from Ostjuden. For example, retired Lieutenant Colonel Albert Benary, a half-Jew and a well-known military writer, [73] wrote to the Nazi government on 25 September 1933 in response to the Arierparagraph [74] (racial laws that persecuted "non-Aryans [Nichtarier]" in the civil service). [75] He felt outraged that a battle-tested officer, whose family had lived in Germany for more than a century, should be excluded from "building the new Germany at the very moment of its fulfilment." Benary requested that he and his family be recognized as German citizens who through their contact with German Blut und Boden [76] had become German. [77] He repeated his plea on r6 October 1933:

My family doesn't come out of the Eastern ghettos. They came from the West through North Africa and Spain to Germany and certainly picked up non-Jewish blood along the way. However, my family's not ashamed of its Jewish blood. We can trace our Jewish origins back to the priestly cast of the Jewish people, and our family's motto, battle-cry if you will, comes from the book of Maccabees: [78] "If our hour comes, then let us die chivalrously for our brothers' sake, to preserve our honor." I believe this motto resonates in the National-Socialist heart as well. ... I believe I have the right to ask not to be treated as a second-class German. [79]

Benary failed to understand Nazi intentions. The Nazis did not care how honorably his ancestors or he had behaved or what class or region his Jewish family had come from. For them, he was a non-Aryan. Although the fact that the Nazis treated him like a "second-class German" should have made him more aware of the drastic changes happening in Germany, he did not yet understand that while Hitler maintained power, his ancestry excluded him from Aryan society. Perhaps out of a sense of loyalty to a fellow officer, the chief of the Reichswehr's [80] ministerial office, Colonel Walter van Reichenau, wrote on Benary's behalf saying that his noteworthy service to the fatherland should allow him to remain at his post. Apparently, despite Reichenau's help, Benary continued to experience difficulties. [81] The majority of Nazis did not sympathize with Benary and paid little attention to what Western and Eastern Jews thought of each other or what a German half-Jew thought he was entitled to.

How Hitler and the Nazis Identified Jews

Hitler's anti-Semitism matured into a "murderous East European anti-Semitism" [82] while he lived in Vienna before World War I [83] and from his experiences after the Great War when revolution swept through Germany.  [84] When Hitler started writing and talking about the Jews in the early 1920s, he directed much of his hatred toward Eastern Jews and Jewish Communists. [85] He believed the Jews killed Christ and were the vermin of the world. He also hated Communists and felt that Communism was a Jewish movement. He was present in Munich when Kurt Eisner, whom Hitler called "the international Jew," [86] led his Socialist revolution from 1918 to 1919. [87] Hitler felt that "Judeo-Bolsheviks" like Eisner were responsible for and had profited from Germany's defeat in World War I. [88] After half-Jew Count Anton Arco-Valley assassinated Eisner in February 1919, the Red Terror only intensified in Munich as the Reds tried to gain more power, under the leadership of people such as the Russian Jew Eugen Levine, whom Rosa Luxemburg had sent to Munich from Berlin. [89] As a witness to this chaos in Bavaria, Hitler described it as being a "rule by the Jews." [90] So, since Hitler felt that Communism was a Jewish movement and inherently dangerous, he directed his hatred toward the Jews.

Later, Hitler hated all Jews regardless of origin or political orientation. Hitler's government officially designated a Jew in 1935 as anyone who was more than" 50 percent Jewish." [91] However, how did Hitler describe Jews or Judaism? Even Hitler acknowledged some positive traits about Jews:

In hardly any people in the world is the instinct of self-preservation developed more strongly than in the so called" chosen." ... What people, finally, has gone through greater upheavals than this one -- and nevertheless issued from the mightiest catastrophes of mankind unchanged? What an infinitely tough will to live and preserve the species speaks from these facts. [92]

The praise Hitler gives the Jews is astonishing. Hitler acknowledged the Jews' ability to persevere against heavy odds. Recognizing this fact, one can understand what monumental task Hitler knew he had undertaken to get rid of Jews. Hitler's quote implies that he wanted to create a transhistorical, unbeatable race by destroying the one that already existed. Hitler had once said, "There cannot be two chosen people. We are the people of God. Does that not explain it all?" [93] Hitler thought the" Aryan race" should replace the "Jewish race." He overestimated the power of the Jews. Hitler's statement here displayed a strange admiration he had for the Jews and what he thought they represented.

Yet Hitler's attitude toward Jews changed throughout his life. During his youth, his attitude toward Jews seemed ambiguous. For instance, Hitler said during his Vienna days that the Jews made up the first civilized nation because they discovered monotheism. [94] Hitler often praised the respected Jew Gustav Mahler, whose productions of Wagner's Tristan and Isolde and The Flying Dutchman were performed in the Imperial Opera House of Vienna. [95] Yet, during this same time, Hitler was prone to sudden anti-Semitic rages. [96]

After World War I, Hitler's anti-Semitism seemed to blossom. He frequently spoke out against Jews in his speeches and placed them at the center of his Party platform. For example, on 6 April 1920, Hitler claimed that in getting rid of the Jew, Germans were justified in allying themselves even with Satan. [97] Hitler alleged that Jews were evil, the counter-ideal of Aryans, of which the Germans were the nucleus. As a result, a Jew by definition behaved differently from an Aryan. Hitler also believed Jews were obsessed with sex. "With satanic joy in his face," wrote Hitler, "the black-haired youth lurks in wait for the unsuspecting girl whom he defiles with his blood, thus stealing her from her people .... Just as he himself systematically ruins women and girls, he does not shrink from" destroying the "blood" of others. [98] Hitler's morbid sexual ravings illustrate how strongly he believed that Jews destroyed society through racial defilement. After the loss of World War I and the humiliating Versailles treaty, Hitler used the "Jew-enemy" as political bait for the disgruntled German masses. The Jews remained the focal point of his drive to power and ultimately of the enactment of most of his racial policy. He said that if the Nazis did not have them as an enemy, they would have to invent one: "It is essential to have a tangible enemy, not merely an abstract one." [99] Defining that Jew enemy would be one of Hitler's most difficult tasks. Until the 1930s, German society generally understood Jewishness as being a religion, although there had been several movements in certain universities to define Jewishness as a race. Before Hitler, German social and political conventions allowed and encouraged Jews to shed their Jewishness by converting to Christianity. When Hitler came into power, Jewishness officially became a "race."

Similar to Halakah, Nazi doctrine said Jewishness was inherited. However, Hitler argued that a Jewish father passed as much Jewishness to a child as a Jewish mother. [100] Nazi scientists tried to classify Jews according to their phenotypical traits by projecting onto them big ears, large noses, short bodies, flat feet, hairiness, and dirtiness. [101] Julius Streicher, the editor of the notoriously anti-Semitic and vulgar newspaper Der Sturmer, claimed that the shape of Jewish blood cells and Aryan blood cells differed, but that experts were unable to describe that difference because the "wicked Jew had prevented scientific research in this field." [102] Streicher did not specify how "the Jews" had prevented this research. Dr. Bruno Kurt Schultz, chief of Prague's Nazi Racial Office, argued that half-Jews inherited twenty-four Jewish chromosomes and twenty-four Aryan chromosomes. However, he did not explain how to tell Jewish and Aryan chromosomes apart. [103]

These prejudices inherent in phrenology and other pseudo-scientific research had their detrimental effects on Jews and Mischlinge. On 24 November 1936, a certain Herr Volkmann of Munich's Nazi Party Court recommended that the Main Office for Racial Research not certify Aryan descent for Nazi Party member Dr. Heinrich Neumann because he looked Jewish. His family tree did not reveal any Jewish descent, but Neumann's appearance was enough to declare him Jewish. [104] Half-Jew Rudolf Sachs remembered that SA [105] Brownshirts beat up a high school classmate because he had a large nose. His classmate protested and claimed that "he wasn't Jewish." As they brutally punched him, they answered that "a person with such a big nose can only be a Jew." [106] Other SA men mistook a Gestapo [107] agent for a Jew in a Kassel public swimming pool and brutally beat him. [108] Reich's minister of the interior, Dr. Wilhelm Frick, claimed that officials could have ancestry investigated when a person's name sounded Jewish. [109] Normally, however, the Nazis had to rely on church or local court records rather than appearance or the sound of a name to define Jewishness. [110]

As hard as he tried, Hitler could not disconnect Jewishness from the Jewish religion. [111] For the Nazis, Jews who had converted to Christianity remained Jewish, [112] but most Christians who had converted to Judaism were considered racially 100 percent Jewish. [113] Nazis called these converts Geltungsjuden, [114] meaning they were full Jews by legal fiction. For instance, on 3 July 1942, the minister of justice said of a Christian who in 1920 had married a Jew, converted to Judaism, been circumcised, and later raised his son as a Jew: "Anyone who so attaches himself to Judaism has removed himself from the German Volk [115] and will be treated as a Jew." [116]

Interestingly, Reichsleiter [117] Martin Bormann, head of the Parteikanzlei and Hitler's personal secretary, issued a circular that stated that Hitler did not require all Aryans to be Christians. In 1943, Hitler declared that "Germans who were Muslims could remain Nazi Party members. Faith is a matter of private conscience." [118] However, the Nazis saw the Jewish religion as irredeemably evil and a constant source of danger.

Thus, Nazi policy treated converts to Judaism the same way Halakah treats them: as full Jews capable of passing this Jewishness on to their children. However, Jewish converts to Christianity still remained Jewish for the Nazis. For instance, the Nazis sent the philosopher Edith Stein to Auschwitz although she had converted to Christianity. She was sent to the gas chambers. [119] As Martin Gilbert wrote, "[T]ens of thousands of German- Jews were not Jews at all in their own eyes." [120]

In conclusion, one must not ignore the importance of Halakah, especially when looking at the history of Jews and Mischlinge who served in the German armed forces during World War II. Such definitions strongly affect the way some view this history today. According to the Halakic definition, the statement that "thousands of Jews served in the Wehrmacht" is correct. This is especially the case, since 60 percent of the half-Jews and 30 percent of the quarter-Jews documented in this study were Halakically Jewish. [121] However, a discussion of this history must use Nazi definitions concerning Jewishness because ultimately only what the Nazis believed counted. Most of the people in this study would not describe themselves as Jews or partial Jews, but Hitler's racial theories and policies did. Thus, when Jewishness is discussed in this study, it is according to the Nazi racial laws, not Halakic definitions.

Hitler's Genehmigung (exemption) for the Gefreiter Wilhelm von Gwinner, a quarter-Jew (last rank lieutenant). It reads: "I approve Private First Class Wilhelm v. Gwinner in 3rd Panzerjager Company, Section 32, to be allowed to be promoted to ranks of authority during the war according to the exemption clause of §15 (2) of the military law. After the war, I will decide whether to declare Wilhelm von Gwinner of German blood according to his performance as a soldier. Fuhrerhauptquartier, 5 March 1941. Signed: Adolf Hitler."

An official German blood certificate for half-Jew Walter H. Hollaender (last rank Colonel). It reads: "Certificate of classification of Captain Walter H. Hollaender, Infantry Regiment 46, born on 15 October 1905 in Verden in accordance with the first supplementary decree to the Reich citizenship law from 14 November 1935 (RG Bl. I S. 1333): German blooded. Signed: Kurt Meyer."

Feine Krauter und ausgewahlte Bitter-Orangen bilden die Grundlage fur seine Geschmacksfulle und wohltuende Bekommlichkeit.
In der Lizenz der Carl Mampe GmbH Berlin, Vertrieb in Berlin: Mampe Yertrieb 12099 Berlin
31 % vol 1,0 l
Many half-Jews, especially those living in Berlin, called themselves Mampe, a term derived from the name of a popular cocktail in Berlin at the time; it is a well-known brand of brandy (Krauterlikor), which is half sweet and half bitter.

Quarter-Jew Fritz Binder in 1994 (last rank second lieutenant)

ca. 1941. According to Binder, Hitler declared him an Ehrenarier (Honorary Aryan) in 1945. (Military awards: EKII, Assault Badge, Wound Badge, and Eastern Campaign Medal 1941-1942.)

Reichs-Sport-Medal Document, 1941. Age 21 as soldier. Signature missing below: "I declare to be of German or racially equivalent blood ...
Half-Jew Dieter Bergmann (last rank Unteroffizier).

Half-Jew Wilhelm Droscher in the early 1970s and ca. 1942

he became a first lieutenant and received Hitler's Genehmigung. After the war, he became a very influential politician in the SPD. (Military awards: German-Cross in Gold, EKI, EKII, Close Combat Badge First Class, Silver Wound Badge, and Eastern Campaign Medal 1941-1942.)

Half-Jew and Unterarzt Robert Braun.

Half-Jew Colonel Walter H. Hollaender, decorated with the Ritterkreuz and German- Cross in Gold; he received Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserklarung. (Military awards: Ritterkreuz, German-Cross in Gold, EKI, EKII, Wound Badge, Assault Badge, and Close Combat Badge.)

Quarter-Jew Jurgen Krackow (last rank second lieutenant); he received Hitler's Genehmigung. (Military awards: EKI, EKII, Golden Wound Badge, and Panzer Assault Badge in Silver.)

Half-Jew Helmut Kruger (last rank Gefreiter). (Military awards: EKII and Wound Badge.)

Quarter-Jew Admiral Bernhard Rogge wearing the Ritterkreuz and oak leaves; he received Hitler's Deutsch blutigkeitserkldrung. (Military awards: oak leaves to Ritterkreuz, Ritterkreuz, samurai sword from the emperor of Japan, EKI, and EKII.)

Half-Jew Karl-Arnd Techel (last rank Unteroffizier). (Military awards: EKI, EKII, Paratroop Assault Badge, and Wound Badge.)

Half-Jew and field-marshal Erhard Milch (left) with General Wolfram von Richthofen. Hitler declared Milch Aryan. He was awarded the Ritterkreuz for his performance during the campaign in Norway in 1940.

Half-Jew Herbert Lefevre (last rank Hauptgefreiter); he received Hitler's Genehmigung and was a Nazi Party member.

Quarter-Jew and Nazi Party member Franz Mendelssohn (last rank Marine-Oberbaurat). A direct descendant of the famous German-Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, Franz Mendelssohn helped build torpedo boats and U-boats.
At his daughter's wedding: Marine-Baurat Muller-Thode, Eva-Irene Mendelssohn, Werner Muller-Thode, Marine-Oberbaurat Franz Mendelssohn.

At his desk in 1940. (Military awards: War Service Cross Second Class.)

Half-Jew Helmuth Kopp (last rank Gefreiter) (second from right, front column). (Military awards: He should have received the Wound Badge, but was afraid to report his wounds because he thought the authorities might discover that he was a half-Jew when they reviewed his army file.)

Half-Jew Helmuth Kopp next to the grave of his Jewish mother, Helene.

Quarter-Jew Rolf von Sydow (last rank Obergefreiter). Sydow was eventually promoted to lieutenant, but he was demoted soon thereafter because the authorities found out he had lied about his ancestry -- a grave offense in the Wehrmacht. The photograph in which he is smiling was taken after he had become a Fahnenjunker and was on his way to becoming an officer.

[i]The second photograph was taken after his demotion and subsequent time in jail. (Military awards: EKII and Panzer Assault Badge in Silver.)
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Re: Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racia

Postby admin » Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:18 pm

Part 1 of 2

Chapter 2: Who Is a Mischling?

Many have spent the years since 1945 trying to forget about the days when they were labeled as Mischlinge by Hitler. However, being labeled Mischlinge and treated like second-class citizens by the Nazis made an indelible impression on them that has greatly influenced the way they view this history, their society, and themselves. Although most Mischlinge would prefer not to use this term to define themselves, they have to use it to describe their personal histories and the development of their identities. In many ways, this term gives meaning to their experience, pain, behavior, and personalities. The following anecdote is telling:

In 1937, five-year-old Erwin Fuchs, a half-Jew, boarded a streetcar with his older brother. Both boys had been informed that Jews were no longer allowed to sit in public transportation, so they remained standing. A woman sitting near the boys made a little room for Erwin on her seat and said, "Here's half a seat for you, little one." Doubtful, little Erwin looked up at his brother and asked, "Which side of me is Jewish, the right or left?" [1]

The Term Mischling

The word Mischling means "half-caste, mongrel or hybrid." [2] Everyone originates from mixed backgrounds. Ironically, Hitler conceded that "we all suffer from the illness of mixed, spoiled blood." [3] The term Mischling, however, is primarily used to describe animals of mixed breeds. In keeping with the idea of a Mischling as a mixture of different "races," this term apparently was first applied to people with one black and one white parent in Germany's African colonies. Some Germans at the time called these children the "Rehoboth bastards." [4] In the 1920s, when French colonial soldiers had affairs with women in German territories they occupied, [5] the children who resulted were called Mischlinge. Hitler believed that the Jews brought these French blacks to Germany to destroy the "White Race." [6] The offspring of these unions, the so-called Rhineland Bastards, would be sterilized during Hitler's rule. There were at least two hundred who the Nazis subjected to this horrible treatment. [7]

In 1933, General Helmut Wilberg defined a Mischling as the offspring of a black person and a Spaniard. [8] To Wilberg's great surprise, the 1935 Nuremberg Laws labeled Wilberg a Mischling because he had a Jewish mother. Wilberg felt horrified that this label now applied to him. Most Germans agreed that blacks and whites were different enough to declare their offspring Mischlinge, but not everyone saw the difference between German Christians and Jews, much less than that between German Christians of non-Jewish descent and those with one or two Jewish grandparents. The German author Carl Zuckmayer, a half-Jew, wrote, "The term Mischling is total nonsense when applied to people with the same culture, language and skin color. A raving lunatic must have thought of this." [9] The Nazi term Mischling conveyed a strong negative image and encouraged Aryans to shun those classified as such.

Two years after seizing power, the Nazis implemented laws to separate Mischlinge from Aryans. In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws created two new "racial" categories: the half-Jew (Jewish Mischling first degree), and the quarter-Jew (Jewish Mischling second degree). A half-Jew had two Jewish grandparents; a quarter-Jew had one. Since Nazi racial policy declared anyone of the Jewish religion a full Jew regardless of ancestry, most Mischlinge were by definition Christians. [10] These laws implied that anyone with less than 25 percent Jewish "blood" would be considered German. [11] Those in the SS and the Party had to prove pure Aryan ancestry back to I800 to remain in their positions. [12] SS officers had to take their ancestry back to I750. [13] Officially though, only those with 25 percent or more of so-called Jewish blood would be handled as second-class citizens. Most affected by the Nuremberg Laws did not argue against these new stipulations. They did not foresee what they would mean for their lives, nor did they see any chance of opposing them in this authoritarian state. As half-Jew Hans-Geert Falkenberg said, "These laws were nonsense and weren't discussed by anybody in Germany. Don't forget that!" [14]

Mischlinge, according to Hitler, were the products of "unholy unions." Hitler claimed that Mischlinge "are the sad products of the irresistibly spreading contamination of our sexual life; the vices of the parents are revealed in the sickness of the children .... Blood sin and desecration of the race are the original sin in this world and the end of humanity which surrenders to it." [15] Hitler also said that Mischlinge were "bastards ... monstrosities halfway between man and ape." [16]

The 1935 Nuremberg Laws defined the categories of Mischlinge according to the religion of a person's grandparents. Left without a reliable "scientific" method for physically identifying Mischlinge, Nazi officials had to turn to church archives [17] or local court records for evidence of a person's" race." Birth certificates kept in churches and synagogues identified every baby born in Germany as either Christian or Jewish. To prove the purity of one's Aryan ancestry, one had to produce birth, baptismal, or marriage certificates (or a combination of these documents) for all of one's grandparents. Conversion to Christianity at any stage more recent than a great-grandparent did not remove the stain of Jewish blood. The Nazis detested assimilation. Hitler cynically described this process: "If worst came to worst, a splash of baptismal water could always save the business and the Jew at the same time." [18] Frick declared on 4 October 1936 that "the ability to camouflage ancestry by changing religions will completely disappear." [19] After the advent of Nazi rule in 1933, the process of assimilation came to a halt, but the results of that assimilation, namely Mischlinge, confounded many Nazis.

Nazis were confused about Mischlinge, since they were both Jewish and German. Adolf Eichmann, SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer [20] and chief of the Jewish Evacuation Office of the Gestapo, acknowledged that the unclear racial position of Mischlinge temporarily protected them. [21] For the Nazis, Mischlinge were also half or three-quarters German, and thus 50 percent or 75 percent valuable. Probably frustrated by all the confusion surrounding Jews and Mischlinge, Hermann Goring, [22] head of the Luftwaffe and second in command after Hitler, was rumored to have said, "I'll decide who's a Jew! (Wer Jude ist, bestimme ich)." [23] Goring allowed several Mischlinge to serve in his Luftwaffe, three of whom eventually became generals. [24] However, Goring could only protect so many Mischlinge, usually those whom he knew personally or who had come to his attention through a contact. Once he decided that the person in question was "not Jewish," he still had to get Hitler's approval for most of them. If they wanted their racial status officially changed, only Hitler could truly decide "who was a Jew" or not. [25]

Most Mischlinge soon discovered that the Nazis took away their rights. For example, the Nazis denied Mischlinge citizenship in practice. [26] Mischlinge could not hold positions of authority. Mischlinge and Jews could be severely punished for sleeping with an Aryan, a crime called Rassenschande (race defilement), [27] which was loosely interpreted by the Nazis and affected people in many ways. Werner Eisner, a half-Jew and severely wounded Wehrmacht veteran, was deported to Auschwitz because he had slept with an Aryan. [28] But a person did not have to have sexual intercourse with an Aryan to commit Rassenschande. Dr. Hans Serelman, a German Jew, was sent to a concentration camp in October 1935 because he gave blood to a non-Jew to save that person's life. His crime was Rassenschande. [29] Dieter Bergmann's Aryan father, Ernst, a convinced Nazi, experienced difficulties with the authorities because he lived in the same house with his Mischling son. One night, after discussing their situation, Dieter sardonically told his father that just as long as they did not sleep together, the Nazis had no grounds to separate them. [30]

The fear of committing Rassenschande did not prevent most Mischlinge from having relations with Aryans. In a joint interview in 1996, Robert Braun, a half-Jew, and his wife, Margot, were asked whether they had been scared about the consequences if caught sleeping together. Margot, whom Robert had married after the war, looked confused. Suddenly, Robert looked up with a smirk. He had kept information about Rassenschande secret from his wife for five decades. She had had no idea of the punishments they could have incurred as a result of this most natural of behaviors for lovers. When asked why he did not tell her, Robert said, "Well, I think it's quite obvious why I didn't." We all laughed; however, the punishment back then could often be deadly. [31] At other times, the punishment for Rassenschande was mild. For example, Rudolf Sachs and his Aryan girlfriend, Traute Siedler, when caught having a relationship, were just forced to sign declarations that they would stop seeing each other. They were told that there would be no second chances. [32] Sachs thought that the SS implied that they would be deported if again found guilty of Rassenschande. They made sure they were not caught again.

The Nazis banned most Mischlinge from many popular activities, including certain university studies, specific civilian and military occupations, and places of Christian worship. Most could not enter Nazi organizations such as the Party and SA. At universities, several could not study medicine or law unless they had had distinguished military careers. The Wehrmacht drafted many, but they often could not become NCOs [33] or officers without an exemption. Gerhard Fecht wrote, "I was a quarter-Jew and was allowed to finish high school. Yet, I couldn't study in the University. I had to serve in the army, but I could never become an Unteroffizier; [34] I was generally inferior to everyone else." [35]

Fecht struggled with the limitations enforced on Mischlinge. Opportunities open to most Aryans were closed to many of them, and they felt excluded and disgraced. Not only were Mischlinge sometimes excluded from certain billets and ranks in the armed forces and from studying certain subjects in the universities, but they were excluded from some churches. For instance, the Evangelische Landeskirche officially announced that "racially Jewish Christians have no place and no rights" as members in the Protestant Church. [36]

Various officials predicted a bleak future for Mischlinge if the government enforced "racial" restrictions on them. The desk officer for racial law in the Reich Ministry of the Interior (RMI), Dr. Bernhard Losener, stated on 30 October 1933 that Mischlinge suffered a double psychological blow, first by being associated with the Jews and second by being driven out of the German society to which they felt completely bonded. [37] Erwin Goldmann, the leader of the Stuttgart organization for non-Aryan Christians, went further, arguing in November 1934 that" Mischlinge suffer emotionally more than the 100 percent Jews who had voluntarily separated themselves from the German Volk." [38] Losener warned on 10 November 1935 that persecuting them would make them dangerous because their "German blood" would make them formidable enemies. [39] Losener argued that "half-Jews as enemies should be taken more seriously than Jews" because they had intelligence, the benefits of a good upbringing, and both Jewish and German attributes. [40] Losener further warned that "a dangerous situation will develop in that half-Jews will no longer feel united with Jews and be pushed in between the races [of Jews and Aryans]''' If this happened, Losener argued, they would become "pariahs" and "desperados." [41] He felt that this estrangement could force some to feel so desperate that they would turn against the government with a vengeance.

All these predictions, however, underestimated the loyalty of most Mischlinge to Germany. Few were willing to risk their lives to resist the regime, although many thought about doing it at some point. Some took part in the White Rose and 20 July 1944 resistance groups. [42] However, most did not have the opportunity to resist, and most did not participate in the few groups that existed. They tried to avoid calling attention to themselves, aware that any transgression would be judged most severely. For example, after being denounced to the Gestapo for anti-Hitler activities, half-Jew and ex-soldier Erik Blumenfeld was sent to Auschwitz. [43]

Losener believed that most half-Jews felt German and had rejected Judaism. He also warned that separating Mischlinge from the Volk not only could turn them into enemies, but also might drive many to suicide. If the government labeled them as Jews, Losener warned, the suicide rate would rise significantly. [44] Losener accurately observed that many Mischlinge did not want to be associated with Jews. After the Nuremberg Laws, most felt shocked to think that anyone might identify them with Jews, particularly Ostjuden. Mischling families had lived in Germany for generations, and most had lost all contact with their Jewish heritage. They had helped develop German society, fought in her wars, and furthered her culture. Some had not known of their Jewish heritage until Hitler came to power. Suddenly, they had to accept that they were categorized with so-called enemies of society. Half-Jew Hans Pollak learned of his Jewish ancestry in 1935. He had read about Jews in school and the press and felt upset to be associated with them. [45] This distaste at being identified with Jews sometimes resurfaces in the present. Hans Herder said that finding out he had a Jewish grandfather was his worst experience during the Third Reich. "I tell you honestly, I don't like Jews," he said in 1996. "I just don't like Jews. That's correct. I would never do anything to a Jew, I must also tell you that, because the Jew is also a human being .... When I get to know a Jew, then he's no longer a Jew, but a mensch like you and me." [46] As Robert Braun, a half-Jew and Unterarzt [47] in the medical corps put it, "Generally, Mischlinge are very anti-Semitic." [48] Half-Jew Joachim Gaehde described this more graphically: "I had a feeling that most of the Mischlinge felt more German than Jewish and venture to say some, not me, would have gladly joined the SS had they not been tainted by Jewish blood." [49] Most felt Aryan and did everything they could to disassociate themselves from Jews and to be viewed as faithful Germans.

Moreover, when the Nazis stereotyped how Jews looked and behaved, the Nazis affected not only society's perception of Jews, but also the way Jews and Mischlinge perceived themselves. Consequently, many agonized over aspects of their appearance and behavior that seemed to fit the Jewish stereotype. Half-Jew Dieter Bergmann hoped his blond hair and blue eyes would counterbalance his big nose. He remembers constantly -- whether in the bathroom, lying in bed, or studying -- pushing his nose back and up to make it look less "Jewish." [50] The "nose problem" became so serious for half-Jew Hartmut Ostendorff (birth name Link) that he had plastic surgery in the 1930S so his nose would look less Jewish. [51]

The following anecdote illustrates a typical episode of how the Nazi view of physical Jewishness could affect society's perception of people. When Marine-Oberbaurat [52] Franz Mendelssohn, a quarter-Jew, attended a party, he entered the foyer with a nobleman who was short, fat, and unkempt but nonetheless Aryan. Without asking, the maitre d'hotel introduced the fat man as Mendelssohn, and Mendelssohn, who was six feet, three inches tall, slender, and handsome, as the nobleman. When the men clarified who they were, it not only embarrassed those around, but it also deeply troubled Mendelssohn. [53]

The Nazis' description of Jews being sexual perverts also affected Mischlinge and how they viewed their own sexual development. As a teenager, quarter-Jew Rolf von Sydow felt greatly troubled by the fact that descriptions of Jews and Mischlinge in biology textbooks as being sexual perverts seemed to describe him, too. He felt that masturbation and the sexual fantasies of a typical teenage male were a sign of his Jewish depravity. He wrote, ''I'm inferior. No one can ever know." [54] Nazi propaganda had convinced this perfectly normal teenager that sexual acts and thoughts were peculiar to Jews and therefore vile.

Mischlinge who were homosexuals suffered even more because they were persecuted for being both Jewish and "sexual degenerates." Most Mischling homosexuals documented in this study were successful in hiding their sexual orientation, but not their ancestry. Since homosexuality was illegal in the Third Reich, when a Mischling was found guilty of this crime, he often was judged quite harshly. For example, half-Jew Hauptgefreiter [55] Herbert Lefevre had received Hitler's Genehmigung [56] and served in the Kriegsmarine [57] as a cook. He was also a member of the SA and Party. In 1944, the court found him guilty of homosexuality and sentenced him to death. He had misused his position as a cook by giving extra food to fellow sailors in return for sexual favors. Amazingly, Oberbereichsleiter Werner Blankenburg in the Kanzlei des Fuhrers (KdF) [58] wrote the court on 24 March 1944 on Lefevre's behalf. He had known Lefevre since 1928 and wrote that Lefevre was an outstanding individual who had learned of his ancestry after 1933. Hitler had awarded him a "special exemption (Sondergenehmigung)" to remain in the Wehrmacht. During his acquaintance with Lefevre, Blankenburg never noticed that Lefevre was a homosexual. To support the assumption that he was heterosexual, Blankenburg wrote that Lefevre had applied for permission to marry a woman in Hamburg. It is impressive that such a high-ranking official in the KdF was willing to write a letter of support for a person who was not only gay but also a Mischling. However, even with such support, the evidence was unquestionable concerning Lefevre's sexual persuasion. Marinestabsrichter (naval judge) Dr. August Berges ruled that as a half-Jew, Lefevre should have taken advantage of the opportunity he had to prove himself as a worthy member of the Wehrmacht. Instead of seizing this opportunity, his true "Jewish heritage of criminal instincts (judischen Erbteils verbrecherische Instinkte)" had revealed itself. His Party membership and Hitler's Genehmigung did not excuse his dastardly behavior as a sailor. The court reasoned Lefevre should have been more conscious of his duties and obligations to the German government because of his privileged status. The court showed no mercy. He was hanged on 6 July 1944. The authorities noted that it took him seven minutes to die. [59]

Mischlinge's Views of Themselves and the Racial Laws

When Mischlinge were forced to deal with their Jewish background after 1933, some went through a stage of denial; they could not believe they were associated with such an unpopular minority. Further, many had difficulties defining Jewishness. After 1935, despite all the racial laws and anti-Jewish propaganda, Mischlinge were extremely unsure how to view themselves. For instance, on 5 November 1941, Heinz Gerlach wrote Minister of Education Bernhard Rust [60] about his Jewish mother's Aryan attributes to mitigate her situation and thereby help his own case: "I don't believe that my mother is 100 percent racially Jewish, because none of our relatives or acquaintances can believe it! There is nothing even the slightest bit Jewish about my mother. She consciously avoided Jews because she found them distasteful." [61] Twenty-two-year-old Gerlach lived in a world where the rules of social interaction had radically changed; he could no longer be sure of things he had taken for granted all his life. By Halakah, Gerlach was a Jew, but he felt completely Aryan and German. The Nazis considered him a half-Jew. His case typified the confusion of most Mischlinge about what it meant to be called Jewish. Rolf von Sydow wrote after watching the Nazi film Jud Suss: [62] "[T]his film doesn't characterize me at all. I'm not a Jew. I don't go to the synagogue .... 1don't betray other people .... I don't look Jewish. I'm a German. I'm from the aristocracy .... I'm better than the others .... I hate my grandparents because they're guilty. I hate my friends because they're Aryans. I hate the world. I hate myself." [63]

Most Mischlinge, like Sydow, agonized over what the Nazis described as Jewish. Feelings of shame, inferiority, and self-hatred were all manifestations of being labeled "Jewish" by the Nazis. Most did not feel an emotional attachment to Judaism, and the Judaism the Nazis described horrified them. They quickly learned to behave in a manner that would prove to their fellow Germans that they were not Jewish but Aryan. Some started to hate that side of themselves that was Jewish and became somewhat anti-Semitic to prove it. For example, half-Jew Unteroffizier Hans Muhlbacher was described by one of his superiors as being a "product of Nazi education" and that he fully identified with Nazi philosophy especially concerning the "Jewish enemy." However, his superior added that while Muhlbacher tenaciously adhered to his Germanness, he still had "racial problems." [64]

Although German Jews and Mischlinge were not regarded as 100 percent German according to Nazi laws, most still thought of themselves as Germans. They could not fully redefine themselves according to Nazi ideology. Jewish professor of Romance literature Viktor Klemperer of the Technical University in Dresden wrote on 10 January 1939 that the differences and friction between Jews and Aryans were" not even half as big as that between Protestants and Catholics ... or between Eastprussians and Southern Bavarians .... The German Jews were always a part of the German Volk. ... They feel at home within German life .... They are and will remain German."  [65] For the Mischlinge, the concept of being half-German was just as foreign as "being half-Jewish or trying to explain to someone why you're half-circumcised." [66] Another claimed, "There was no such thing as being half-Catholic or half-Protestant, and the Nazi laws made just as little sense as these categories did." [67]

Many Mischlinge simply were passionate Germans. In 1940, Unteroffizier Dieter Bergmann wrote to his Jewish grandmother, Elly Landsberg nee Mockrauer:

Don't you realize how much I'm with my whole being rooted in Germany. My life would be very sad without my homeland, without the wonderful German art, without the belief in Germany's powerful past and the powerful future that awaits Germany. Do you think that I can tear that all out of my heart? ... Don't I also have an obligation to my parents, to my brother who showed his love to our Fatherland by dying a hero's death on the [battlefield]? [68]

Bergmann wrote this letter in defense of his grandmother attacking him for being a "Nazi." He had passionately performed his military duty and felt loyal to Germany. His grandmother felt scared for his future and believed Bergmann was not living in reality. However, Bergmann hoped that his army service and behavior would prove his Germanness: "Someday, I want to be a German amongst Germans and no longer a second-class citizen only because my wonderful mother is Jewish." [69] The Mischlinge's tragedy was that they could not accept that they were no longer 100 percent German. For Hitler, they were separate from the Volk. However, they believed that they were and would remain German regardless of what Hitler said or did. This conviction explains why most remained in Germany during the increasing severity of Nazi laws beginning in 1933, and then subsequent to the end of the war, in 1945. As Klemperer wrote on 30 May 1942, ''I'm German and I'm waiting for the Germans to return once again; they have disappeared somewhere." [70]

Regardless of how illogical the racial laws seemed, the majority of Mischlinge felt obligated to honor the very laws that infringed upon their natural rights. They, like most Germans of this time period, had been raised to be law-abiding citizens. The great German-Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn wrote in his work Jerusalem, "The man who does not believe in laws must obey them, once they have received official sanction." [71] Mendelssohn might have changed his mind had he witnessed what would happen to his descendants during Nazi rule. [72] But his conviction about law typified how most viewed Nazi laws. Anything official had to be obeyed.

Some tried to change their racial status by denying their Jewish relatives. As early as 1935, Dr. Achim Gercke, appointed in 1933 to the RMI as an expert for racial research, [73] wrote that families with Jewish ancestry had done everything within their power to prove that a parent or grandparent was not a Jew but an Aryan. They denied the existence of Jewish relatives to free their children from the laws and, thus, to allow them to become "full-blooded Germans." [74] The Nazis knew that many would deny their Jewish past or claim an Aryan lover as the parent of their children instead of their Jewish spouse to protect themselves and loved ones. For example, on 26 July 1944, Himmler's office sent SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer [75] Yolk material the Parteikanzlei had compiled on Mischlinge. Among other things, this report discussed the problem of women inventing Aryan lovers to change their children's racial status. The protocol stated that "it has been established through experience that every mother is willing to commit perjury when it's a question of the German ancestry of her child." [76] Field Marshal and State Secretary of Aviation Erhard Alfred Richard Oskar [77] Milch's "Aryanization" was the most famous case of a Mischling falsifying a father. In 1933, Frau Clara Milch went to her son-in-law, Fritz Heinrich Hermann, police president of Hagen and later SS general, and gave him an affidavit stating that her deceased uncle, Carl Brauer, rather than her Jewish husband, Anton Milch, had fathered her six children. After SA Colonel Theo Croneiss denounced Milch to Goring, Goring took Milch's mother's affidavit to Hitler. [78] In 1935, Hitler accepted the mother's testimony and instructed Goring to have Dr. Kurt Meyer, head of the Reich Office for Genealogy Research, [79] complete the paperwork. On 7 August 1935, Goring wrote Meyer to change Milch's father in his documents and issue him papers certifying his pure Aryan descent. [80] After the war, according to one of Goring's interrogators, John E. Dolibois, Goring was proud that he had helped "the half-Jew Milch" remain in "his Luftwaffe." [81] Ironically, many have suspected that Milch's mother was Jewish, since her maiden name was Rosenau. [82] Robert Wistrich claims that she was indeed a Jew; however, he does not give his evidence for this. [83] No documents have been presented that prove Milch's mother was Jewish. If Wistrich is correct, then Milch was 100 percent Jewish and not a half-Jew, making his position back then more precarious. In Milch's case, the Nazis did not object to incest, but Jewish ancestry was indeed a problem. Milch became a powerful field marshal, who according to historian James Corum, "ran the Luftwaffe and was its most powerful figure per personnel and planning issues, production and even strategy." [84] In addition, Milch had close contact with many of the Nazi elite, entertaining the likes of Himmler, Goebbels, He6, and Blomberg at his home. [85] Milch's mother sacrificed her reputation as well as her husband's to protect her children. Without her lie, Milch might have lost his career and, along with it, his ability to protect his youngest daughter, Helga, who had Down syndrome, from Hitler's euthanasia program. [86] Moreover, Milch's mother's affidavit allowed her daughter to remain married to her husband, an SS general. Milch's mother's actions typified how thousands of Aryan mothers attempted, some successfully, most unsuccessfully, to erase their children's racial stigma.

However, once a mother successfully changed the racial status of her children through perjury, this act could have deadly consequences for her sons. After his military discharge on 30 October 1940, Klaus Menge had his mother swear that an Aryan lover was his father instead of her Jewish husband. The courts accepted her claims and Klaus happily returned to the army on 26 April 1941. A few months later, on 24 September 194I, he died in battle. [87]

Wise to the trick, the courts did not always believe women's claims about their children's fathers. When Wolfgang Spier's mother claimed that he and his sister Ruth came from her Aryan lover, the Nazis sent the children to a racial institute in Hamburg (Racial Biological Institute of the Hanseatic University) [88] for testing. After the scientists measured and photographed their heads, noses, ears, and bodies, the institute concluded that Ruth definitely descended from an Aryan, but that Wolfgang descended from the Jew (Julius). [89] Spier thus had to remain a half-Jew.

Often, to prove that they had been fathered by an Aryan, most had to attack their mothers' and grandmothers' characters by claiming they had had several affairs. [90] Joachim Lowen [91] said, "My own brother [Heinz] went to the Gestapo and claimed that our mother was a slut and had been a prostitute. The Gestapo reviewed our case and declared us deutschblutig (of German blood)." This ordeal destroyed Lowen's mother. Heinz died on the Russian front in the ranks of the Waffen-SS as an Oberscharfuhrer, [92] and Joachim served the entire war in a Panzer company as an Unteroffizier. Although the brothers both knew they had a Jewish father, they felt it necessary to deny him to live a better life. [93] One half-Jewish soldier claimed his parents were not really his parents because, after his birth, they had mistaken him for their child in the hospital -- they had taken the wrong child. Later, he changed his story and claimed that his mother had just been promiscuous. [94] Beate Meyer researched forty-two cases in Hamburg where half-Jews changed their status by proving the Jewish father was not really the father. [95] Most often, as Meyer notes, those who made such claims also were careful to claim that the Aryan father was a distant relative, a tenant, a coworker, or boss who also happened to be dead. Such people could not be brought to court to testify. Often, the authorities used racial tests to verify a Mischling's Aryan father. [96] Jurgen Grun, [97] whose mother died before 1933 and who was raised by his half-Jewish father, claimed to a Nazi court that he had not been fathered by the half-Jew, but by a childhood friend of his mother's, an Aryan who had died in World War 1. After the court investigated the matter and an institute racially tested him, the authorities declared him Aryan. Two years later, while fighting at the outskirts of Moscow in 1941, his commander called him into his tent and informed him that his father, the fallen soldier, had turned out to be a full-Jew. Grun, now registered as a half-Jew, was discharged. [98]

Officials often warned each other that such lying about a Jewish father was common for Mischlinge. On 30 July 1942, Oberbereichsleiter Werner Blankenburg in the KdF wrote Commander Richard Frey, who worked in the General Wehrmacht Domestic Office, [99] that Joachim Leftin had tried to enter the Wehrmacht by denying his Jewish father. Blankenburg explained that this was not true. Leftin did know his father. He further expressed his disbelief with Leftin's German mother, who had converted to Judaism on 28 March 1934 after Hitler had already been in power for over a year. Consequently, Blankenburg wrote that Leftin's letter "is typical Jewish insolence (typisch judische Frechheit)." [100] Blankenburg warned Frey that Mischlinge typically denied their Jewish fathers and instead claimed that their true fathers were "German blooded" men. He wrote that such statements from Mischlinge must be handled "with the utmost caution." [101]

Although some denied their ancestors, they still could not escape the fact that they descended from Jews, whether it became public knowledge or not. Quarter-Jew Admiral Bernhard Rogge said that "one could curse one's birth and ancestry; however, one cannot make it not to have happened. One can never step out of his family tree, no matter how much one wants to .... He may keep it a secret, may hate it, may feel ashamed because of it; however in his secrecy, his shame, his hate, he will in his disgust have to recognize it." [102] Rogge knew that no matter how much one lied about or doctored his ancestry, he would always remain who he was. Any Deutschblutigkeitserkldrung (German blood certificates) [103] from Hitler or official Aryan certificates from courts would not alter the truth no matter how much one wished it to. Many successfully hid their ancestry, but sometimes living as an Aryan required them to do and say things that caused them emotional and psychological distress.

Those Mischlinge who had Aryan-sounding names had an easier time hiding their ancestry than those with Jewish-sounding names. The family name affected the way a Mischling viewed himself as well as how others viewed him. Those named Cohn, Mendelssohn, or Levy had a much more difficult time escaping the stigma of being Jewish than those named Bergmann, von Sydow, or Gerlach.

Mischlinge who had contact with Jewish relatives or observed some Jewish practices in their own homes understood Nazi persecution better, or at least knew where it was coming from, because they felt somewhat Jewish. From this study, half-Jews with Jewish fathers were more likely to feel a connection with Judaism than those with Jewish mothers, who by Halakah were Jews. This fact shows that Halakah in many respects was out of step with social reality -- namely, that a father's religious convictions influenced a child's upbringing more than the mother's did. Perhaps this was because of the generally patriarchal nature of most German households. This is corroborated by the fact that most in this study who were circumcised had Jewish fathers. [104] Wolfgang Behrendt claimed that "my father loved his Judaism .... I learned my Hebrew prayers from my father .... My heart is Jewish -- that's for sure. It'll never leave me .... Wonderful -- Jews, that's my world." [105] The only contact some had with Judaism was through their parents. As a result, many of those who learned about Judaism from a parent feel attached to Judaism. They describe this attachment as private -- something they have a hard time sharing with others. But this attachment is real and lives strongly with them today.

Social Rejection of Mischlinge

Often friends, lovers, and even both the Jewish and Aryan sides of their families rejected Mischlinge. [106] Half-Jew Wilhelm Droscher wrote in his diary in 1938 that he did not want anyone to know about his ancestry except his girlfriend (Ruth). "I wonder if anybody can tell how this weighs on my poor, tortured heart. Only she can know, later, but when? When? When?" [107] When Droscher finally got up the courage to tell Ruth, she left him. [108] Such experiences made many hesitate to date or engage in intimate contact with Aryan women. [109] The racial laws forced Mischlinge to change their lifestyles dramatically, causing many to live without confidence.

Divorces often ensued because of so-called racial reasons. Some Aryans lacked the courage to stand by their Jewish spouses during hard times. Some Jews, mostly women, selflessly asked their Aryan spouses for a divorce, knowing that such action would benefit their spouse and children tremendously. Nazi officials had no trouble convincing many Aryans to file for divorce from their Jewish or Mischling spouses. While the Nazis told those Aryans that divorcing their Jewish spouses would help them, the opposite proved true. The Jewish partner lost the protection of the "privileged mixed marriage" [110] and in most cases was subsequently deported, especially after 1941. [111] For example, Robert Braun's mother divorced his father, who was immediately sent to a concentration camp at Drancy, France. She had left her husband because she was scared, and the Gestapo convinced her that she and her husband would be better off if she did. [112] Also, some Aryan men "pro forma divorced their Jewish wives" so they could keep their jobs and support themselves and families. [113]

Some Jewish spouses decided to commit suicide. They reasoned that their existence only caused their Aryan partners to lose their jobs and distressed their children. Many felt guilty for bringing this "burden" upon their families. They reasoned that their deaths would simply be "best for the family." [114]

Several Aryan parents forsook their half-Jewish children. Ex-Oberschutze Peter Scholz visited his father Julius after the Wehrmacht had discharged him for racial reasons. His parents had been divorced for several years. Scholz hoped that his wealthy father, although a miser and anti-Semite, [115] could find him a job, an increasingly difficult task for Mischlinge. During their conversation, they started arguing. Scholz called his father a coward for not having fought in World War I. Enraged, his father stood up and yelled, "Get out, you Jew! Out, you dirty Jew." [116]

Max Scheffler worried that he would lose his business if he remained married to a Jew. He said that his greatest mistake in his life was marrying a Jew, which left him three Jewish sons to support. In 1937, he divorced his Jewish wife, Helena Weiss. The sons (Gunther, Hubertus, and Karl-Heinz) did everything they could to protect their mother. They felt army service would be the best method. [117]Although two were later discharged, Unteroffizier Gunther Scheffler remained with his unit during the whole war and earned the Iron Crosses Second (EKII) and First Class (EKI). [118] He hoped that as long as one of them served in the Wehrmacht, the Gestapo would leave their mother alone. Helena survived the war. Max became a Nazi and ignored his sons throughout the Third Reich. [119] Some Aryan parents even refused to protect their Mischling children, "leading to the children's deportations from the Jewish Hospital in Berlin." [120]

Even more amazing, some Jewish grandparents rejected their half-Jewish grandchildren. Helmuth Kopp remembered how, on the few occasions he saw him during the 1920s and early 1930s, his Jewish grandfather, Louis Kaulbars, hit him with a whip and called him goy. [121] Although he had a Jewish mother, his grandfather did not consider him Jewish. One day his grandmother protested this treatment, telling her husband, "That's our daughter Helene's child!" The grandfather replied, "No, that's Wilhelm's goy!" "My soul was damaged," Kopp said in 1995. He later added, "The situation was pure meshuga (madness)." When his mother died on 18 November 1925, Kopp moved in with his Jewish aunt and uncle, who forced him to go to an Orthodox school. He often got into trouble when he brought sausage and butter to school for his lunch. His aunt, Sarah Moses nee Kaulbars, also forced him to have a traditional, although belated bris [122] at the age of twelve. After the operation, he had to walk with a cane for six weeks. Years later, Kopp escaped this environment and entered the Wehrmacht in 1941. [123]

Sometimes Mischlinge were raised Jewish, but when they decided to take on other beliefs, their Jewish relatives rejected them. Alfred Butow, who was raised Jewish by his Jewish mother and grandfather, later converted to Christianity. After he did this, his grandfather told him that from then on, Alfred was dead for him.124 With convictions such as Kopp's and Butow's grandfathers displayed, it was not surprising that some Orthodox Jews welcomed the Nuremberg Laws because they prevented intermarriage. [125] When Mischlinge were forced to deal with the racial laws, they soon found that they had few people to rely on for support. Whichever side of the family they turned to, whether Aryan or Jewish, many encountered painful episodes of rejection. For example, Hanns Rehfeld wrote:

[quote]I have been discriminated against in my life for three things I could do nothing about. First, my Jewish relatives discriminated against me because I had a Christian mother (Schickse). [126] Secondly, the Germans discriminated against me because I had a Jewish father. And [after the war], when I worked in the foreign service for many years, people discriminated against me because I was a German (i.e., I must be a Nazi). [127]

Rehfeld remembers that when his father, Martin, died in 1940 in a Breslau [128] prison run by the Gestapo, [129] he and his siblings did not have any means to support themselves. Their Jewish relatives refused to help them and told them to go to the Germans, but when they went to the Germans, they were told to go to the Jews. Rehfeld's Jewish grandmother, Nathalie nee Schey, had a gravestone made for his father. On the stone was written, "Here rests my dear son." There was no mention of husband or father. Rehfeld concluded, "My Jewish relatives never recognized the marriage of my parents."  [130] Rehfeld's experience typified the experiences of many Mischlinge. They felt alone in a world that progressively became more hostile to them from all sides.

Tragically, as some Mischlinge were pushed further into the "Jewish camp" by being rejected by German organizations, they discovered that most Jewish organizations did not want anything to do with them either. Many Mischlinge may have been rejected because of their hostility to Jews. In periods of persecution, Jewish communal institutions felt that their resources should be used to help Jews, not those who resented their Jewish ancestry and were trying to escape the stigma of Jewishness. Others were probably rejected not because they were embarrassed of their Jewish past, but because they were not viewed as Jewish enough to warrant assistance. Losener in RMI wrote on 10 November 1935 that, almost without exception, the Jewish community denied "half-Jews any help." [131] For example, when Rehfeld and his siblings asked Jewish organizations to help them emigrate, they rejected them because they were Mischlinge. [132] Losener wrote that many "half-Jews have already decided to avoid dealing with the Jewish communities." [133] This was probably because they either did not feel Jewish or had already had negative experiences with Jewish organizations (or both). Mischlinge felt caught in the middle in more ways than one. For the Nazis, they were products of sexual sins, and for religious Jews, one of their parents had broken a sacred covenant not to marry outside the Jewish community. Either way, they were shunned by both ends of the social spectrum in Nazi Germany. Frau Olga Muhlbacher, an Austrian Jew, wrote in her diary in 1943, "It's a proven fact that Jews always thought it to be the biggest disgrace to marry a 'Christian,' although this totally baffles the Gestapo agent." [134] Because many religious Jews abhorred intermarriage and ostracized those who practiced it, many young Mischlinge did not know about their Jewish heritage. Since many Jewish grandparents had rejected their father or mother when they married a non-Jew, many Mischlinge grew up outside the Jewish communities. [135] So Mischlinge forced to look to Jews for help simply felt confused and helpless.

When the youthful Hannah Klewansky went to the Gestapo office on the November morning after Reichskristallnacht [136] in 1938 to inquire where the Nazis had taken her Jewish father Eugen, a sign informed her that the Jewish Community Center was processing such inquiries. She went there and waited in a long line of anxious people looking for loved ones. When her turn arrived, the Jewish secretary got out her family's file. "Is your father Christian?" Hannah answered that yes, he was a converted Jew. Then the official asked if she was Jewish. She answered that her mother was not Jewish and that she herself had been raised Christian. The secretary then sent Hannah away saying, "We don't deal with your kind." Hannah then boldly returned to the Gestapo to ask how she could locate her father. The officer took her to a back room where two SS men were playing cards. The officer asked the men if they liked what they saw and left. They raped her. [137]

Young Mischlinge, as Hannah's traumatic story illustrates, did not know where to seek help. This feeling of helplessness was strongly enforced when they had to deal with relatives who were convinced Nazis. Dieter Bergmann's aunt, Valerie von B. nee Bergmann, a Party member, told him one day in 1941, "My dear boy, I think people like you must be exterminated if our fatherland is to remain pure and victorious against the Marxist-Jewish conspiracy. Sorry, my dear boy. You know I love you." [138] When Hans-Geert Falkenberg had dinner with his godmother, Dora Rogoszinsky nee Elmer, in March 1940, she asked him about his grandmother and he replied, "Haven't you heard? ... She's been deported with the Jews froin Stettin to the East." When she asked why he had not told her, he simply said because she was a Nazi. "Geert, naturally I believe that the Jews are Germany's misfortune, but that has nothing to do with Grandma." Geert claims that such was the German schizophrenia back then. [139] Beate Meyer notes that such situations in families caused severe problems. [140]

This feeling of helplessness stemmed largely from suddenly being forced to come to terms with their "new" identity. In general, they had problems adjusting to the situation in which they suddenly found themselves. Graf Wolf von Bredow wrote his wife about their son's desire to get Hitler's approval to become an officer: "If I were in his place, I would say to the Nazi officials handling the case, 'Do what you like. I couldn't care less. I know who I am and that's enough. Period. Finito. "' [141] Many parents of Mischlinge were bewildered by their children's frustrations. Bredow's twenty-four-year-old son, Achim, could not have said what his father wanted him to because the son was still discovering who he was. Even teenagers growing up in stable environments have enough trouble making the transition to adulthood. It was not surprising that the identity crisis many young Mischlinge suffered was a highly amplified version of standard growing pains. Half-Jew Heinz Puppe wrote in 1997, "Individuals have the desire, the need, to belong, belong to an identifying group of some sort, family, ethnic group, a country, a school, etc. The problem is that anyone not belonging to my group becomes 'them.' ... Being branded as a Mischling by Globke [142] and associates has been that I don't feel I belong anywhere." [143] The alienation the Nazis forced Mischlinge to experience was painful, especially since most, until Hitler became chancellor, were accepted by mainstream German society. Many still feel a sense of loss -- a permanent estrangement.
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Re: Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racia

Postby admin » Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:18 pm

Part 2 of 2

The Struggle to Be Aryan

Many Mischlinge, despite their troubles and feelings of abnormality, tried to be considered as Aryans and labeled as normal. They knew that the Nazis scrutinized Mischlinge to determine whether the Aryan or the Jewish side dominated. [144] Consequently, most fought a constant battle to prove that their Aryan side had completely eclipsed their Jewish side. Since Nazi ideology declared Mischlinge inferior, they strove to be better than the Aryans around them, hoping they might be accepted back into society. Young Mischlinge tried hard to excel, particularly in athletics. Hans-Geert Falkenberg's teachers from school taught that Mischlinge and Jews were inferior. In response, he "compensated .... I was the best long-distance runner, the best boxer, the best swimmer, the best goalie, whatever they wanted. Not because I was a natural athlete; only to prove that everything they taught was absolute nonsense .... I've not lost this drive to be the best even until now." [145] Rolf von Sydow did the same in school and sports, but doubted his success. "Sometimes I'm scared," he wrote, "because I know that I'm not supposed to be so good. However, if I'm so good, then they must make an exception for me." [146] In December 1940, Sydow faced an Aryan opponent in a boxing match and beat him into a "bloody pulp." He wanted to prove that he was not a coward as the Nazis described Mischlinge and Jews. Sydow explained that during his boxing match he reasoned, "The harder I hit, the less likely it is that anyone might think I'm a Mischling. Because Mischlinge are cowards. They're worse than full Jews." [147] These Mischlinge internalized Nazi standards even as they tried to fight them.

Their desire for acceptance took on a new twist when they entered the Wehrmacht. Many believed that the armed forces gave them an opportunity to prove their" Aryanhood." For example, Helmut Kruger wrote that as a soldier, he always had Nazi opinions ringing in his ears, such as their description of Jews as flat-footed cowards. "By some dumb logic, I felt I had to prove them wrong, so at the beginning of the war, I volunteered for reconnaissance missions." Kruger's officers awarded him the EKII for his bravery.  [148] Jurgen Krackow remembered telling his father in 1943 that "being good isn't enough. I have to be sharper, tougher, faster, braver ... than all the others." [149] Krackow tried even harder after Lieutenant Wierhyn-Pesch accused him of choosing the Panzer corps because the infantry had previously rejected him for having Jewish flat feet. [150] Later, Hitler granted him the Genehmigung and his commanders decorated him several times for his successes as a tank officer. He did all he could to prove his loyalty to Germany by showing his bravery in battle. He won the EKII, the EKI, and the Golden Wound Badge. [151] His brother, Reinhard, claimed that he was a brave soldier only because he was a Mischling fearing to be called a "cowardly Jew (feiger Jude)." [152]

Most believed their meritorious service would convince their comrades and society to accept them as "normal." Half-Jew Wilhelm Droscher wrote in 1940 that he wanted to serve on the front to prove that he was "a great guy (Kerf)" and worthy German. He would prove his desire to be a "worthy German" by receiving Hitler's Genehmigung, being promoted to first lieutenant and receiving both Iron Crosses and the German-Cross in Gold. [153] Many did more than required, and thus one can safely assume that several died premature or unnecessary deaths attempting to prove their worthiness. Out of 1,671 Jewish and Mischling soldiers documented in this study, 7 Jews, 80 half-Jews, and 76 quarter-Jews died in battle. Some 244 received the Iron Cross, [154] I the German-Cross in Silver, [155] 19 the German-Cross in Gold, [156] and 15 the Knight's Cross (Ritterkreuz) of the Iron Cross,157 one of Germany's highest military honors.

To receive the Ritterkreuz, one had to perform valorous and significant acts during battle. For example, according to the famous fighter-ace and later Bundeswehr General Johannes Steinhoff, three fellow pilots were partial Jews and won the Ritterkreuz. They were Captain Siegfried Simsch (95 kills), First Lieutenant Oskar "Ossi" Romm (92 kills), and Feldwebel Rudolf Schmidt (51 kills). Keeping in mind that well-known American fighter-aces had only 20 kills, the accomplishments of men such as Simsch, Romm, and Schmidt are quite impressive. [158]

Field Marshal Walther Model, commander of the Ninth Army in 1943, recommended half-Jew Lieutenant Colonel Walter Hollaender [159] for the Ritterkreuz on 14 July 1943. Hollaender had successfully led his Storm (Sturm) Regiment 195 south of Orel near Dmitrowski on 5-6 July six kilometers into a heavily defended enemy position. This event occurred during the Battle of Kursk, also called Citadel (Zitadelle). Personally fighting in the front lines, Hollaender and his men broke the enemy's resistance. His regiment destroyed twenty-one enemy tanks and several enemy positions. Model claimed that through Hollaender's actions, he secured the Ninth Army's left flank and cut off lines of supplies and replacements for the Soviets. Hollaender was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 20 July 1943. [160]

Quarter-Jew Admiral Bernhard Rogge even received the oak leaves [161] to his Ritterkreuz for his activities as a surface raider captain where he sank and captured almost two dozen enemy ships. Rogge may have even had a significant impact on the manner in which Japan conducted its invasion of the British possessions in Asia in 1942. Before sinking the U.K. steamship Automedon on 11 November 1940, Rogge and his men were able to capture "highly confidential" documents drawn up by the war cabinet for the British "Commander-in-Chief, Far East." These documents detailed the British military strength in the Far East, including the number of Royal Air Force units, the number and type of ships, an assessment of Australia and New Zealand's military roles, copious notes on the Singapore fortifications, and an assessment of the feasibility of Japan entering the war. Rogge turned these documents over to the Japanese, [162] who awarded him a samurai sword for his contribution to their success. Besides Rogge, only Reichsmarschall Goring and Field Marshal Rommel received swords from the Japanese emperor. [163]

Men who received the Ritterkreuz played significant strategic roles during the war. They shot down many enemy airplanes, destroyed numerous enemy tanks, sank several enemy ships, and killed hundreds of men in action to earn this medal, of which most were very proud. Although the vast majority of Mischlinge in uniform were simple soldiers, there were some whose contributions to the war effort made it into the history books.

Many behaved the same way as Aryans: out of loyalty to Germany, belief in the Nazi government, because they were scared to act otherwise, for opportunistic reasons, or, most commonly, out of a mixture of all four. Heinz Gerlach wrote on 11 May 1941 to Minister Rust, "My parents have raised me as a true German and to love the Fuhrer and Fatherland." [164] This study has documented four full Jews, fifteen half-Jews, and seven quarter-Jews who were Party members. [165] Others were not Party members, but nonetheless believed in the Nazi ideology and even voted for Hitler. [166] The Jew and Wehrmacht soldier Shlomo Perel said, "To survive, I must disguise, to be someone else. A Nazi ... and so, I began to be a German soldier. ... And I began to react as I was taught by the Nazis. Like a Nazi, and true, I was one [sic]" [167] One day, when Hitler arrived at the Berlin Opera House, half-Jew Dieter Bergmann rushed up to see him in person, got caught up in the enthusiasm, greeted him with the characteristic outstretched arm, and yelled "Heil Hitler." [168] First Lieutenant Heinz Dieckmann, a 75 percent Jew, [169] said that back then, "I was a small Nazi .... I was fascinated with Hitler. I found him wonderful. ... Today, we only see the devil, but back then, we did not see it." Dieckmann claimed that the ideology had made them blind and that they could not discern good from evil. [170] Although Peter Schliesser had been expelled from school, called a Jew, and beaten up, he generally believed in Hitler's ideals and felt impressed by what Hitler had done "in pulling Germany out of the recession and virtually eliminating poverty." [171] However, his fascination with Hitler quickly ended when the Nazis deported his Jewish father, Otto, an Austrian World War I decorated first lieutenant, to Auschwitz in August 1944 and Peter himself two months later to an OT (Organization Todt) [172] forced labor camp at Weissenfels, Saxony. [173] Moreover, many became good actors and played "Nazi." Half-Jew Hans Muhlbacher wrote, "To survive [the Nazi Reich] and not be a victim of denouncers it was necessary to save yourself and fly into a second 'I.' The first, the real 'I' could only exist secretly or when speaking with reliable friends." [174] Muhlbacher convinced many around him that he was a committed Nazi. [175] But these men just described may have been rare cases.

For a time, the Wehrmacht offered many Mischlinge and some Jews a way to prove their patriotism and escape discrimination, and most accepted military duty without reservation. When the Wehrmacht drafted them, most felt that they belonged and were somewhat in control of their lives. Half-Jew Hans Meissinger said that being a soldier "gave me a sense of not being the 'outcast' that I had experienced in civilian life." [176] They wore the same uniform, ate the same food, and fought a "common enemy." They could prove that they were not Untermenschen (subhumans). Serving in the army, Ernst Ludwig said, "gave me the opportunity to prove to myself and others that as a half-Jew, I was not inferior." [177] Half-Jew Otto Luderitz said, "I volunteered. I wanted to be a normal German. I wanted to prove I was a German .... I did not want to be an outsider." [178] Liideritz's desire to be a soldier was reinforced by his Jewish family, who were proud that he could serve. [179] Half-Jew Dieter Bergmann wrote that in the army, "I sensed the solid comfort of being 'one of the guys' and being accepted." [180] Half-Jew Oberschutze Hugo Freund said that he experienced an "honest camaraderie" in his unit and that he preferred to stay with his comrades in 1940 when the army discharged him because of the racial laws. "It was my family," Freund simply said. [181] Waffen-SS soldier and Jew Heinz-Gunther Lowy claimed that he felt connected with his men, especially since they had saved each other's lives so many times. [182] They also quickly came to realize that during war, there was no difference between themselves and the so-called Aryans. Quarter-Jew Fritz Binder said, "It's a joy for me even today to have seen how the wonderful supermen (Herrenmenschen) shat in their pants when a battle started. Death doesn't discriminate between Jews and superior races." [183] During war, Binder could feel equal to those around him, and this validated his self-worth. Many had similar experiences as Binder; however, this sense of equality and belonging quickly faded when their commanders failed to promote them or had to discharge them for racial reasons. They also felt that their Wehrmacht service protected them from the Gestapo. Ilse Korner wrote of her deceased husband, half-Jew and Lieutenant Hans-Joachim Korner, "He wanted to distinguish himself through his bravery and willingness to fight as a soldier and thus, escape the persecution of the Nazis." [184]

Mischlinge Come to Terms with Their Situation during and after the War

Many came from the middle class and resented that their status in society decreased significantly after the Nazis labeled them Mischlinge. For some, the Wehrmacht offered them a chance to regain some of their lost prestige. Yet, this had its price. During the war, many felt torn between the desire to belong, regain some of their lost pride, and protect themselves and their families through military service and the realization that to do so, they had to serve Hitler. As half-Jew Gefreiter Richard Riess said, "What I was doing was actually against my interest and my family. I had to serve. I had to serve my mortal enemy. I rationalized that I did so to help my father, but that was definitely not how it felt and ultimately my service didn't help .... I always asked myself why I am serving a criminal -- evil Hitler." [185] This dilemma plagued many Mischlinge. Many describe feeling as if their soul or heart were torn in two. [186] On the one hand, they felt secure in the army, but on the other hand, they felt that they were betraying their Jewish family. Many felt guilty that while they lived securely in the Wehrmacht, their Jewish families suffered Nazi persecution. Some rationalized their actions by convincing themselves that they were serving to save their Jewish family. Many provided temporary protection for their family members through their service until the Wehrmacht discharged them throughout 1940 and 1941. Half-Jew Hans Meissinger said that "being a soldier in the army of the Third Reich naturally gave me a bad feeling. The conflicting emotions are hard to reconstruct today. Naturally, I had some confidence that doing what other Germans had to do gave some shielding to my mother [Rosa) from the ever-present threat around her. After I was dismissed from the army, that shield was gone." [187] Self-protection and protecting their families in any way they could was only human, but in doing so, ironically, many M ischlinge felt they were betraying the very people they wanted to protect. Moreover, they felt that they were not being true to their own convictions by serving Hitler, who many knew hated them because of their Jewish ancestors. It was a paradox, but their sense of pride made them seek every opportunity to be like everyone else. At the time, however, many did not dwell on the ironies involved in their service. Only with time and reflection did many of these paradoxes become clearer to them.

In retrospect, many say that being forced out of mainstream society, especially when the Wehrmacht discharged them, made them look at Hitler and his policies more critically. Helmut Kruger feels fortunate that he had a Jewish mother because it helped him see things more clearly. Had he not had a Jewish mother, he claims, he probably would have joined the Party or SS. [188] Former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, a Luftwaffe first lieutenant during World War II, echoed Kruger when he admitted that without his Jewish grandfather, he could have become a Nazi. [189] Because of the persecution they and their families suffered, many grew to hate the Nazi regime. In 1936, Hans Koref felt irritated to discover that his grandfather was a Jew, but later, his Jewish past helped him hate Hitler, who labeled him "nonhuman." [190] The majority of Mischlinge, knowing that they descended from Jews and were being persecuted because of that ancestry, became critical of Hitler and his regime. However, several have expressed that had it not been for their Jewish ancestry, they probably would have become Nazis. [191]

Interestingly, Mischlinge had a knack for finding each other. Most had contact with other Mischlinge. When asked how, many echo the answer one half-Jew gave: "We could smell one another." [192] Neither religious beliefs nor nationality nor heritage united Mischlinge. Rather, their common fate created this community. In time, they started to take on similar characteristics. These behavioral changes, however, were so subtle that usually only other Mischlinge could recognize them.

Some did not learn of their Jewish past until after the war. Heinz Dieckmann, a highly decorated first lieutenant, recalled that shortly after the war's conclusion, his grandfather told him he was Jewish. His family had kept the information hidden to guard him, but the Allies had different attitudes. His grandfather decided it was now time to tell Dieckmann he was a "bastard." He explained that Dieckmann's mother was a half-Jew and that his real father had been a Communist Russian Jew. The revelation that he belonged to the people he had been taught to hate overwhelmed Dieckmann. A few months before the war ended, a grenade splinter had taken off Dieckmann's foreskin in battle. A sense of irony came over him as he realized that his "circumcision had been appropriate." [193]

After the war, the Allies and many Jews had a hard time understanding the Mischling concept or that some German Jews had served in the Wehrmacht. Some half-Jews freed from OT forced labor camps by Allied troops were handled like POWs [194] because the Allies considered OT a paramilitary organization and therefore Mischlinge were OT "soldiers." [195] Many discovered it was more trouble than it was worth to try to explain to impatient Allied authorities what a half-Jew was and the persecution half-Jews suffered under Hitler. Since most of the Allies only understood Nazi and Jew, the half-castes were ignored. Egon Bossart said, "We didn't belong to the Nazis, but we were also German. I was always scared what would happen."  [196] When half-Jew Alfred Butow told an American interrogator that he was a Jew and ex-soldier, the interrogator told him that "you must've betrayed your Judaism." Butow was not released earlier as he had hoped. [197] Hermann Lange tried to explain to a Russian soldier that he was a half-Jew and not a soldier anymore and that his mother and grandmother both died in concentration camps. Not interested in explanations, the Russian held a pistol to his head and pulled the trigger. Luckily, the Russian had run out of bullets. Later, a Russian officer told him that he did not understand what a half-Jew was and that a German was either a Jew or a soldier. From then on, Lange told everybody he was a Jew. [198] Lange was lucky. When half-Jew and ex-soldier Karl Helmut Kaiser tried to explain his situation to impatient Russian soldiers, they shot him in cold blood. [199]

After his discharge, the Jew Gunther Kallauch, while trying to return home, met a group of freed Jewish concentration camp prisoners (KZ-Haftlinge) on the road. Kallauch tried to explain his survival and that he was a Jew, but the people, not believing a Jew could be wearing a Wehrmacht uniform, beat him horribly. [200] Half-Jew Helmuth Kopp tried to emigrate to South America after the war. He told everybody he met that he was Jewish and recited the Shema to prove it. He went to a rabbi in Berlin who had contacts in Colombia to ask for help. When Kopp entered the rabbi's office, he saw other Mischlinge and Jews there. When the rabbi asked about Kopp's experiences during the war, Kopp told him honestly that he was a Gefreiter and had served as a driver of a Selbstfahrlafette (self-propelled artillery piece) from 1941 to 1944. [201] Shocked, the rabbi said that Kopp must have shot Jews if he served so long. Kopp said, "This rabbi was a fanatic. I was more goy than Jew for him. All he cared about were full Jews or religious ones. He couldn't bring himself to believe that I didn't shoot Jews. I told him, 'You think that since I served in the army, I suddenly started hating Jews, that's crazy!' Then I left." [202] Unfortunately, the rabbi Kopp met held the view of many -- namely, that all Wehrmacht soldiers were Nazis and "Jew killers." [203] Such a view is historically wrong. On meeting Kopp, the rabbi's opinion about how the war was conducted was challenged and he could not bring himself to change the way he felt about German soldiers, regardless of their ancestry or true military activities. For Kopp, turning to Jews for help turned into a humiliating experience. He quickly learned that many would never understand his situation and that regardless of Halakah, many Jews would not consider him Jewish and would always reject him. Jewish organizations refused to help ex-soldier Alfred Butow, a half-Jew, after the war because he had converted to Christianity. [204]

Some half-Jews were more successful in convincing the Allies of their difficult situation. After ex-Unteroffizier Karl-Arnd Techel explained his case to Allied authorities in charge of the POW camp he was incarcerated in, they released and sent him home. [205] A few years after the war, many half-Jews received official documents from the Allies and other agencies founded throughout Germany (e.g., the Bavarian State Office for Reparations) [206] claiming that the Nazis had persecuted them. [207] Some received compensation for the atrocities committed against them and their families. [208]

Aryans who had rejected their Mischling relatives did an about-face after the war. Suddenly, most Germans claimed they had not supported Hitler and had not been involved in any of the atrocities. Often, the Allies believed only those claims that a Jew would confirm. Since the Allies later came to view Mischlinge as Jews, Mischling relatives became a significant asset. Heinz Puppe wrote, "The Aryan part of my family ostracized me during the Third Reich, ... [but] they were eager to meet me after the demise of the thousand-year Reich. 'Oops, we made a little mistake. Forgive and forget now, dear Heinz.' I have forgotten nothing and forgiven nothing. The pain of my experience will not go away .... I cannot amputate my memory." [209] What Puppe experienced with Aryan relatives was common; this study found that many did not help their Aryan relations. They saw through their repentance and once again viewed their opportunistic relatives with disdain.

Although most Mischlinge had little or no contact with Judaism before Hitler and after the war were not embraced as fellow victims by Jewish survivors, since 1945 many have tried to rediscover their Jewish roots. After the war, many have read extensively about Judaism, traveled to Israel, and researched their Jewish ancestors. Books about Jews, Jewish philosophy, Israel, and Judaism line their bookshelves, and it is common to see a menorah [210] somewhere in their homes. [211] Many take pride in their Jewish heritage now through the state of Israel, although most do not agree with the fundamentalist religious movement there, often comparing it with Nazism. [212] Some, on the other hand, have even converted to Judaism and been circumcised. [213]

Some families of these men have shown even more interest than the Mischlinge themselves in their Jewish past. Countless children and grandchildren enjoy going to Israel, studying about Judaism, and even learning Hebrew. Half-Jew Werner Eisner's son Mijail (Michael) not only immigrated to Israel but also served in the Israeli army. [214] He must have converted, since his mother was not only not Jewish, but was a daughter of an SS man. [215]

Israel has helped many Mischlinge deal with the pain they experienced during Hitler's tyranny. For many of them, Israel's military achievements concretely refute the stereotype of the cowardly Jew. [216] Many Mischling veterans looked for a country that would accept them and their patriotism. Some transferred their old German pride and military values to Israel. A few Mischlinge and Jews who had served in the Wehrmacht even traveled to Israel after 1945 to fight in Israel's War of Independence and later conflicts. [217]

Some tried to establish contact with their Jewish relatives in Israel and the United States after 1945, but several were rejected because they had served in the Wehrmacht and had fought for Hitler. Helmuth Kopp explained, "I couldn't leave Germany. I didn't have the money -- both my parents were dead. I didn't want to serve in Hitler's army, but I had to. Now my relatives call me the Jewish Nazi. They don't really like to have contact with me at all." [218] Protests by Mischlinge and "hidden" Jews that the Wehrmacht drafted them fell, in most cases, on deaf ears. Karl-Heinz Lowy, raised in a religious home, hid his Jewishness and was drafted into the Waffen-SS and served as a Sturmmann [219] (under the assumed name of Werner Grenacher). He feels it was by God's grace that he survived the war. [220] He complained that many Jews do not understand him or consider him Jewish, and are not willing to acknowledge his suffering. He says he wants to have contact with his Jewish relatives but claims they have rejected him. [221]

Such allegations also come from many Mischlinge who have felt discriminated against by Jewish relatives or other members of the Jewish faith. Many Mischlinge who after the war tried to establish contact with Jews have experienced unpleasant reactions. When half-Jew Anton D. tried to worship in Mannheim's synagogue, the Jews there kicked him out when they learned about his Wehrmacht service. Referring to the extreme religious beliefs of some Orthodox Jews, quarter-Jew Karl Partsch said, "Some Jews are just as bad as the Nazis." [222] Many Mischlinge and people living in mixed marriages feel that Orthodox Jews are prejudiced against them. Prominent Frankfurt banker and 37.5 percent Jew Michael Hauck said that Jews in the academic world do not like Mischlinge. He claimed that they "don't like people not of their group. They exclude us from their history. We are outcasts."  [223] After the war, when Adolf Blum and his wife Lenni met the rabbi of Frankfurt at the train station and Lenni told him she only survived the war because Adolf, an Aryan and veteran Wehrmacht soldier, chose to remain married to her, the rabbi told them she had sinned by marrying a non-Jew and left the Blums standing there. [224] From such experiences, one can understand why half-Jew Walter Schonewald said, "A Jew is only a religion; everything else is Hitler; everything else is racism." Schonewald claimed that Israel has its own "racial laws" in that the rabbinical courts prevent marriages between Jews and non-Jews and do not recognize the Reform or Conservative movements. [225] Since the Nazis persecuted Mischlinge because they were products of mixed marriages, many resent the fact that religious Jews also condemn such mixed marriages. Ironically, many Mischlinge maintain that their existence actually helped mitigate the Holocaust by making it difficult for the Nazis to exterminate Jews married to non-Jews and those with Mischling children.

Because of their experiences with some religious Jews, many Mischlinge blame Orthodox Jews for anti-Semitism. Quarter-Jew Fritz Binder claimed that Orthodox Jews, by maintaining they are the only ones who have found the "truth" and that their "lifestyle is the best, are just as bad as the Nazis." [226] Half-Jew Bergmann said, "The fact that the religious Jews pray each day and thank God that He did not make them gentiles is disgusting." [227] Quarter-Jew Horst von Oppenfeld, a descendant of the Jewish Oppenheim family, [228] who was a captain and an adjutant to Stauffenberg, [229] said that Orthodox Jews experience so many problems because they do not assimilate. "Their problem," he claims "is due to the fact that they want to be different." [230] Consequently, many Mischlinge avoid contact with very religious Jews.

After 1945, most Mischlinge put their unpleasant experiences behind them and started to live normal lives. They hate the word Mischling, but many still secretly do everything they can to prove they do not fit the Nazi stereotypes. Most strove to be the best in their respective fields after the war, and most have been successful. Many make it a point that they are not Mischlinge. However, they always use this word in their description of the past to describe their Webfehler (ancestral defects) [231] or falscher Makel (wrong blemish). [232] Many make light of their "racial situation" to show they have come to terms with it, such as calling themselves Mampe, a term derived from the name of a popular cocktail in Berlin at the time "Mampe Half-and-Half." [233] Many had never talked about their experiences until interviewed for this study. Most still struggle with identity issues and where they belong. Their experiences under Nazism have been a source of insecurity throughout their lives. For example, after the war Hans Gunzel told his first wife that he was of Italian rather than Jewish descent because he was afraid that she would not marry him. [234] Reinhard Krackow, still afraid after the war, asked his fiancee Edith whether she would marry him, knowing he was a quarter-Jew. She told him it did not matter. They now have been married for over fifty years. He has never discussed his Jewish ancestry with his children. [235] Many Mischlinge, especially in Vienna, refused to meet, stating that they had not discussed their past even with their own families and saw no reason to do so with a stranger. Some still fear that people will reject them once they learn they are "partially" Jewish. For example, Rolf Zelter, whose 75 percent Jewish father Obergefreiter Joachim Zelter fought on the Russian front, found out about his Jewish past after the war. When he confronted his mother, she quickly told him, "Don't let your children know. It can only cause them problems." For the Zelters, like many families documented in this study, Jewish ancestry should simply be concealed and forgotten. [236]

After I interviewed half-Jew Heinrich Hamberger [237] in Munich, his girlfriend recommended that he take me with him that evening. He immediately tried to hush her, but she insisted, saying, "The young American would find it interesting." He explained that his army buddies met in a pub once a month. [238] After discussing the matter, he agreed to take me there, but only on two conditions: first, under no circumstance would I tell anyone about his Jewish descent, and second, I would tell them I studied something else besides Mischlinge who fought in the Wehrmacht. I agreed.

A few hours later, we entered the pub. Loud voices greeted us, and the smell of smoke smarted our nostrils. I felt odd sitting among these old men singing, drinking, and telling war stories. I watched the years melt away as they relived the "good old days." After a while, Hamberger left me alone and I started to talk with his former company commander. He wanted to impress upon me how honorable the Wehrmacht had been. I just listened. During our conversation, I told him that during my studies I had come across an anomaly that Jews and men of Jewish descent had fought in the Wehrmacht. "Have you ever heard about this?" I asked. The commander looked around, spotted Hamberger on the other side of the room, and nodded his old, scarred head. He lowered his raspy voice to a conspiratorial tone: "Don't tell Hamberger, but we know he's a Jew." I acted surprised and promised not to tell. This event illustrates the universal fear present among many Mischlinge who feel insecure about their "Jewishness" and cower at being labeled "Jewish."

Moreover, Hamberger's comrades did not appear to have cared that he was Jewish. To them, he was simply a member of the unit; he was a comrade. This story highlights the irony inherent in the fact that most Mischlinge's fellow soldiers viewed them as brothers-in-arms, which created strong bonds of friendship. Many non-Jewish Wehrmacht soldiers did not view Aryan and Mischling unit members differently. This fact, with time, greatly influenced the way Mischlinge came to view themselves and their time in the armed forces. Whether they felt their comrades knew about their "problem" or not, they started to feel like they were among close friends who were loyal and dedicated to one another regardless of circumstances. This bond is quite common among men-of-arms, but for the Mischlinge, who had experienced years of persecution, this bond was welcomed and desired.

Claiming that a person who was either 25 percent or 50 percent Jewish was a Mischling under Nazi law does not explain a Mischling's problems. That person, more often than not, was plagued by uncertainty and persecuted for being different. Many still do not know how to describe themselves. Arc they primarily Jewish or German? Do they share guilt with the perpetrators or solely belong to the victims? A Mischling, in both the past and the present, has been forced to come to terms with who he was and is. It involved more than just having a certain percentage of "Jewishness" according to Nazi laws. Being a Mischling was a nightmare for them -- a nightmare of uncertainty regarding their identity which, in most cases, is still present today.
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Re: Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racia

Postby admin » Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:49 am

Part 1 of 2

Chapter 3: Assimilation and the Jewish Experience in the German Armed Forces

Although it is incredibly difficult to determine definitively the actual number of Mischlinge who served in the Wehrmacht during Hitler's rule, I estimate that at least 150,000 did so. As illustrated in the tables in this chapter, previous estimates varied and future scholars may devise more advanced computations to produce a more precise figure. All such efforts should lead to the same significant conclusion: the number of Mischlinge in the Wehrmacht was far greater than anyone previously imagined. To understand this fact, one needs to consider briefly the assimilation of Jews in Germany and Austria, which began almost two hundred years before Hitler's ascent to power. [1] German Jews were so successful in assimilating into society that they became, according to some historians, more German than Jewish by 1933. [2] For example, a Gestapo report claimed in 1935 that Jews in the non-Zionist camp, especially assimilationists, were "more German than the Germans."  [3] Efforts by generations of German Jews to assimilate led to mixed marriages and mixed offspring. The Nazis were unable to find a satisfactory method of dealing with them, especially since there were so many.

Assimilation of Jews in Germany and Austria

Between 1800 and 1900, around seventy thousand Jews converted to Christianity in Germany and in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. [4] These numbers do not include those Jews who left Judaism and did not embrace another religion. Ruth Gay writes that by 1871, three generations after the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn lived, who was a famous proponent for German-Jewish assimilation, the German Jews "had become Germans in speech, outlook, and culture, as well as their patriotic feelings." [5] In 1890, the philologist Hermann Steinthal said, "Today we can be good Jews only if we are good Germans, and good Germans only if we are good Jews .... Together with the prophets, it is Lessing, Herder, Kant, Fichte, Schiller, and Goethe and the two Humboldts who arouse our enthusiasm -- and they could not have emerged from any other people." [6] For some Jews, assimilation into German society was completely consonant with being a "good Jew." They did not feel a need to leave Judaism because they did not see a conflict between being both German and Jewish. For many others, their "super patriotism" [7] and desire to be accepted as fellow Germans led German Jews to leave Judaism in considerable numbers in spite of Steinthal's opinion that good Jews would be good Germans.

At the turn of the nineteenth century, conversion rates began to increase (see table 1). [8] Between 1880 and 1920, some 29,000 Jews converted to Christianity in Germany (an average of 725 per year). [9] Between 500 and 700 Jews in Vienna converted to Christianity annually during the same period. The sociologist Arthur Ruppin [10] estimates that between 1868 and 1929, some 28,777 left Judaism in Vienna primarily to marry non-Jews. [11] No other city in Europe had conversion and dissident rates as high as Vienna (see table 1). [12] The movement to convert largely came from the younger generation of Jews, but it was not uncommon for Jewish parents to have their children baptized in the hope of easing their plight in a society hostile to Jews. [13]

Some German Jews were simply dissidents [14] and did not adopt another religion once they left Judaism. [15] The demographer Felix Theilhaber predicted in 1911 that because of conversion, intermarriage, and dissidents, no Jews would be left in Germany by the year 2000: "[T]he modern Jew no longer knows why he should remain a Jew." [16]

Table 1. Dissidents and Converts among Jews in Germany and Austria

Years / Location / Number / Source


1868-1929 / Vienna / 28,777 / Ruppin, Modern World, p. 332
1873-1908 / Berlin / 2,209 / Theilhaber, Untergang, p. 96
1873-1922 / Berlin / 4,953 / Behr, p. 98
1912-1923 / Vienna / 10,429 / Behr, p. 98
1924-1925 / Vienna / 1,698 / Grunwald, p. 527
1919-1937 / Vienna . 17,000 / Meyer, German-Jewish History, vol. 4; Barkai, p. 33; Robertson, p. 386


1770-1830 / Berlin / 1,582 / Lowenstein, p. 120
1800-1847 / Germany / 5,200 / Lea, p. 31
1800-1900 / Germany / 22,520 / Gay, p. 139
1800-1870 / Germany / 11,000 / Deut.jud. 1871-1918, p.20
1822-1840 / Prussia / 2,200 / Fischer, p. 138
1825 / Prussia / 396 / Behr, p. 104
1828 / Prussia / 400 / Behr, p. 104
1831 / Prussia / 356 / Behr, p. 104
1834 / Prussia / 391 / Behr, p. 104
1837 / Prussia / 345 / Behr, p. 104
1840 / Prussia / 312 / Behr, p. 104
1880 Vienna / 110 incl. Freethinkers / Frankel and Zipperstein, p. 237;  Rozenblit, p. 237
1880-1928 / Prussia / 18,705 / Behr, p. 105
1880-1910 / Germany / 12,000 / Gay, p.202
1880-1919 / Germany / 25,000 / Deut.jud. 1871-1918, p. 20-21
1886-1889 / Vienna / 165 / Ruppin, Jews of Today, p. 165
1900-1903 / Austria / 2,700 / Ruppin, Jews of Today, p. 186
1880-1925 / Germany / 22,695 / Ruppin, Modern Jews, p. 330
1900 / Vienna / 599 / Frankel and Zipperstein, p. 237; Rozenblit, p. 237
1901-1905 / Vienna / 3,543 incl. Freethinkers / Ruppin, Jews of Today, p. 190 1911-1925 / Germany / 5,775 / Marcus, p. 246
1910 / Vienna / 512 / Oxaal, "Jews of Vienna," p. 32[a]
1912-1923 / Vienna / 10,429 / Behr, p. 98

a. See Ivar Oxaal, "The Jews of Young Hitler's Vienna," in Jews, Antisemitism, and Culture in Vienna, ed. Gerhard Botz, Ivar Oxaal, and Michael Pollak (New York, 1987).

Many Jews converted because they desired more honor, freedom to marry whomever they wanted, better social standing, and better positions at work. Christianity was the predominant religion, and thus many Jews followed it to become better Germans. [17] Christian-German society seemed willing to accept converts. The journalist Sebastian Haffner points out that "religious anti-Semitism" did not focus on the "extermination of the Jews but [on] their conversion; the moment they were baptized all was well." [18] Christians set up organizations in Germany to convert Jews. [19] However, Theilhaber notes that few Jews converted because they were seduced by the Christian message. The majority of Jews who converted did so solely to assimilate. For example, when the famous German Jewish poet and writer Heinrich Heine converted, he claimed he had bought "an entry ticket to European culture." [20]

Some Jews took this belief further and maintained that marrying an Aryan would make a German Jew more German. The 37.5 percent Jew Michael Hauck's Jewish grandfather, Henry Oswalt, forbade his daughter to marry a Jew. She obeyed. The grandfather, whose mother was a cousin of Heinrich Heine's, wanted the family to be more German and accepted by society. He was tired of the stigma that followed them and wished above everything else to "get away from the ghetto." [21] As historian Dietz Bering wrote, "[T]he [German] Jews were ... a minority who sought to be admitted to a majority. " [22] The quickest way for a Jew to enter the dominant German society was to marry a non-Jew. Theilhaber writes that mixed marriages brought on the death of the German-Jewish population, [23] noting that mixed marriages showed that German Jews no longer were" racially conscious." [24]

A natural outcome of these unions was that children were born in Austria and Germany who were partially Jewish. If one looks at the continued increase in intermarriage and conversion rates in Germany, a logical conclusion is that tens of thousands of children resulted from these marriages, especially since Germany at the turn of the century had the highest birthrate among countries of northwestern and central Europe. [25] True to Theilhaber's predictions, just before World War I, more than 30 percent of German Jews who married, married non-Jews. [26] Between 1901 and 1929, over 36,000 mixed marriages occurred in Germany. [27] In Vienna alone, [28] between 1919 and 1937, probably close to 17,000 [29] mixed marriages occurred.  [30] From this number, one gets an average of at least 895 mixed marriages transpiring annually in Austria. [31] Extrapolating from this average, one can assume that between 1901 and 1929, around 25,000 mixed marriages occurred in Austria. [32] Since the average family during this time period had two to three children, at least 122,000 half-Jewish children likely were born from these combined 61,000 unions in Germany and Austria (see table 2). [33] Mixed marriages between 1900 and 1929 probably produced the majority of half-Jews of military age during Hitler's rule. [34]

An estimated 20,000 mixed marriages occurred in Germany between 1870 and 1900. [35] In Prussia alone, over 8,000 mixed marriages occurred between 1875 and 1900. [36] A conservative estimate of mixed marriages occurring in Austria between 1870 and 1900 is 3,000. [37] Thus, in accordance with the average German family size, 46,000 to 69,000 half-Jewish children likely resulted from these combined 23,000 unions in Germany and Austria.  [38] From these half-Jews, another 92,000 [39] to 197,000 quarter-Jewish children could have come into the world by 1929, according to the recorded data (see tables 2 and 3). This assumes that half-Jews all married non-Jews. Mixed marriages from 1870 to 1900 accounted for most of the quarter-Jews of military age during the Third Reich.

The number of Mischlinge under Hitler's rule has been underestimated because of registration procedures in Germany and Austria. Many marriages were registered solely as Protestant or Catholic and, thus, it has been difficult for sociologists to know whether one partner was previously of the Jewish faith. In other words, just looking at identified mixed marriages does not account for converted Jews who married Christians, although the Nazis classified children from such marriages as Mischlinge. It suffices to say that by 1933, there were tens of thousands of people in Germany and Austria who did not call themselves Jews, but were of Jewish descent because of the conversions and intermarriages that had taken place for decades in these countries.

When the Nazis came to power, they attempted to solve the problems they perceived years of Jewish assimilation had created. Jews and Mischlinge, no matter how loyal they were to Germany, were no longer seen as German. Their assimilation, or that of their ancestors, would no longer be honored. Hitler saw all forms of assimilation as a long-term plot to destroy society.

Hitler argued that assimilated Jews were the most dangerous because they remained hidden, [40] and corrupted the Aryan people's purity through intermarriage.  [41] Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf that the Jews "contaminated" the Volk: "Systematically these black parasites of the nation defile our inexperienced young blond girls, and thereby destroy something which can no longer be replaced in this world." [42] Hitler feared that the Jewish bacillus, a predatory agent, would infect Aryan women and take away their ability to produce purely Aryan progeny. Hitler was determined to end these sexual abuses.

Reversing assimilation proved difficult. Most German Jews and Mischlinge looked, acted, and dressed like Aryan Germans. Many Jews not only had changed their names, but also had married into the dominant culture and converted to the dominant religion. Identifying such Jews and their Mischling offspring was laborious. Some Germans discovered they had Jewish ancestry after 1933. Ruppin explained this phenomenon in 1939:

[T]he Jew, if indifferent, tends to conceal the fact that he is a Jew, even from his own children. For these, and still more for their children, the connection with Jewry is completely broken, and they freely intermarry with non-Jews, and often do not even know about their Jewish extraction. This is why the hunt after the 'Jewish grandmother,' officially launched in Germany in 1933 has produced numerous surprises. [43]

Table 2. Intermarriage in Germany and Austria


a. Since the birthrates are applied to different years from which these averages are taken, they are intended to give readers a general impression of the potential number of children that could have been born, instead of the exact birthrate for the time period between 1870 and 1930. According to Behr's estimates, mixed marriages produced more children before the turn of the nineteenth century than during the early 1900s.

b. Theilhaber apparently focused only on marriages in which the Jewish spouse remained Jewish, which may have resulted in lower birthrates. The average of 1.4 children per mixed marriage comes from statistics taken from 1900 to 1908 (Theilhaber [1911], p. 113). In his study "Die Juden in Deutschland von 1935-1939," Bruno Blau found that in 1939, 31.8 percent of mixed marriages were childless (Blau, "Die Juden in Deutschland," p. 279). Stefan Behr found an average of 1.22 children per mixed marriage between 1875 and 1926 for Prussia (Behr, p. 114). These figures are probably not reliable to use for this study because most parents of Mischlinge in this study did not remain religiously Jewish, and thus would not have been included in Theilhaber's, Blau's, and Behr's studies, which focused on Jewish partners who remained religiously Jewish. Furthermore, the percentage of childless marriages Blau gives in 1939 would have been higher because of the oppression during the Third Reich, during which these couples would have been discouraged from having children.

c. This average was taken from the 174 families of half-Jews documented in this study. Since this average was determined by talking to the children of mixed marriages, this study was not able to document those mixed marriages without children. When possible, aunts and uncles who were in childless mixed marriages were included in the final tally.

d. These figures are extrapolated from data compiled in 1944 by the U.S. Naval Intelligence Division. According to Behr, the average number of children of Jewish families in Prussia from 1875 to 1926 was 2.8. Theilhaber puts the average of 2.8 children per Jewish family in 1900 and 2-7 in 1904. Theilhaber puts the average for Christian couples at 4.1 for both 1900 and 1904 (Theilhaber, p. 113). Since most of the half-Jews in this study had Christian parents, they would have fit into the Christian category rather than the interfaith marriage category that Theilhaber was fond of using.

e. This average was taken from the 75 families of quarter-Jews documented in this study.

f. Barkai claims that the majority of these 17,000 who were dissidents left Judaism to marry non-Jews. As a result, the 17,000 has been left alone as if all of them "seceded" (Ruppin's words) from Judaism to marry non-Jews, especially since Jews could only marry Christians in Austria when they were either converted to Christianity or konfessionslos (without confession).

Table 3. Mixed Marriages and the Number of Their Possible Offspring in Germany and Austria, 1870 to 1929

Years / No. of Marriages / Average No. Children per Marriage / Total No. o Children / Total No. of Grandchildren

1870-1900 / 23,000 / 2-3 / 46,000-69,000 / 92,000[a]-197,000
1900-1929 / 61,000 / 2-3 / 122,000-183,000 / N/A  

Source: Bryan Rigg's estimates using various assimilation records (see tables 2 and 4).

a. This number has been left according to a pure mathematical model. Although some of these half-Jews did not marry or married other Mischlinge and Jews, the Naval Intelligenee Division figures from 1944 show that the net reproduction rate from 1870 to 1929 (with a few gaps) would have produced at least 92,000 children. See Naval Intelligence Division, ed., Germany, vol. 3, Economic Geography, p. 73.

Ruppin articulated well the quandary many Mischling families faced after 1933. Many did not have the faintest idea what it meant and even less what it would mean to be Jewish in such a hostile environment. When the Nazis confronted those families who did not know about their Jewish ancestors with the truth about their backgrounds, many reacted in disbelief, anger, and despair. The new racial definitions confused not only Mischlinge but also many German Jews who had converted to Christianity and no longer felt Jewish. Mathilde Blanck said half seriously and half ironically, "We no longer knew that we were Jews." [44] Consequently, they felt it was unlawful to treat them like Jews. On 15 May 1935, Reinhard Heydrich, head of the SS Reich Main Security Office, took issue with this "problem" in an article titled "The Visible Enemy" in the SS's organ, Das Schwarze Korps:

The assimilationists deny their Jewish race, based on their many years of life in Germany, claim to be Germans, and after baptism claim to be Christians. Those assimilationists are the very ones who are trying to subvert and abrogate the principles of National Socialism by means of various declarations of loyalty typical of this race, protestations that make them despicable in the eyes of others. [45]

Heydrich's description of how "assimilationists" responded to racial policy depicts how desperate many had become. Most converted Jews and Mischlinge felt German, and being labeled "Jewish," and, thus, enemies of the government and un-German, made many panic. Some became desperate to prove to the Aryans around them that they were faithful German patriots. Others did nothing, paralyzed with fear.

When Hitler took power, he officially abolished the civil equality granted to Jews by the emancipations of 1812 [46] and 1871, [47] and the hunt for "hidden Jews" commenced. Hidden Jews were those fully assimilated Jews and people of Jewish descent who did not claim to be Jewish. The targets of this witch-hunt numbered in the tens of thousands. In 1939, 328,176 Jews remained in Germany, down from 600,000 in 1933. [48] The Nazis documented 30,000 Jews married to non-Jews. [49]

On 17 May 1939, the Nazis published the first "official" numbers of Mischlinge: 72,738 half-Jews and 42,811 quarter-Jews. [50] Since the term Mischlinge had not applied to Germans of Jewish descent until 1933, the results were highly inaccurate. The office that began these statistics in late 1935 or early 1936 not only failed to identify all the Mischlinge in Germany, but also overlooked the many German Mischlinge living in the lands Germany occupied from 1935 to 1940. The population under German control increased from 67 to 90 million. [51] The Saarland was returned to Germany in 1935 after the plebiscite, and Germany regained control of the Rhineland in 1936 and annexed Austria in March of 1938 (Anschlufi). [52] An additional 220,000 Jews [53] and tens of thousands of Mischlinge lived in Austria. [54] Occupying the Sudetenland in 1938 added another 27,374 Jews and thousands of Mischlinge. The Nazis later occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia on 15 March 1939 with its additional 300,000 "full-blooded or nearly full-blooded" Jews. [55] The historian Raul Hilberg estimates the number of Mischlinge in the Protectorate [56] at 30,000. [57] On 23 March 1939, the Nazis reoccupied Memelland with its unknown number of Jews and Mischlinge. When Germany successfully conquered Poland in 1939, they joined the free port city of Danzig [58] once again to Germany proper and in May 1940, when Germany defeated France, they reoccupied the provinces of Alsace-Lorraine [59] with its 30,000-plus Jews [60] and its unknown number of Mischlinge. However, the authorities did not include in the May census the numbers from Memelland, Danzig, and the newly acquired eastern and western territories taken after May 1939. [61] Noone knows how many of the 40,000 Baltic Germans, 120,000 Valhynian Germans, 40,000 Lithuanian Germans, 80,000 to 100,000 Bukovinian Germans, and 100,000 to 130,000 Bessarabian Germans also had some Jewish ancestry. [62] The Nazis attempted to include the numbers from Austria and the Sudetenland, but those results must be considered with skepticism, since officials had only a little over a year to document over seven million people in Austria and a little over six months to document three and a half million people in the Sudetenland. Furthermore, Nazi bureaucrats did not exhibit the same sense of urgency in locating Mischlinge as they did with Jews.

The statistics on Mischlinge were compiled by asking people to classify themselves as Jews, Jewish Mischlinge, or Aryan. Many did not know their true status, and many lied. Nonetheless, many told the truth. However, family trees were not usually researched, and the data compiled were incomplete. Dr. Achim Gercke, an expert in racial research in the RMI, claimed in 1935 that "to ascertain the Jewish blood of [all the] people in Germany, it would take one thousand family researchers working for thirty years." [63] In fact, the understaffed team of civil servants had only three and a half years to work on this census during a stressful and eventful time. Their 1939 figures significantly underestimated the number of German Mischlinge in the Reich.

In 1935, overwhelmed by his task, Gercke wrote that because of the emancipations of 1806, [64] 1812, and 1871, there were too many Mischlinge. He warned that attempting to eliminate Mischlinge from German society would cause several problems, because so many officers, professors, and politicians had married Jews. In 1935, Gercke believed that there were a minimum of 600,000 Mischlinge. [65] Historian Leni Yahil wrote, "[T]hose loose definitions [of the Mischlinge] and the absence of statistical data prevent us from citing definitive information on how many people were considered full- or partial-Jews." [66] Some writers estimate the number at two to three million Mischlinge, which is not unrealistic. [67] Losener in the RMI claimed on 30 October 1933 that the number of Mischlinge must be high because so many prominent people had been affected. [68] On 8 October 1935, he believed there were 40,000 to 45,000 half-Jews of military age out of a total half-Jewish population of 200,000. Losener believed that an additiona130,000 would soon be of military age. [69] State secretary in the RMI, Hans Pfundtner, wrote to Hitler's Wehrmacht adjutant, Friedrich H06bach, on 3 April 1935, asserting that assimilation records indicated there were roughly 150,000 half-Jews and quarter-Jews of military age out of a total Mischling population of 750,000. [70] Historian Werner Cohn estimates that there were at least 500,000 partial Jews in Nazi Germany. [71] According to the RMI, in June of 1943, there were 16,000 half-Jews and 3,200 men married to half-Jews who were of military age. These numbers were apparently based on the census of May 1939, which significantly underestimated the total number of Mischlinge (see table 4). [72] Local military offices and police stations initially registered half-Jews who reported for military service. Apparently they did not keep complete lists of Mischlinge turned away as ineligible after Hitler prohibited half-Jews from military service in April 1940. Such records would have provided a much more accurate estimate of the total number of half-Jews of military age than did the census of 1939. The reason why a half-Jew was discharged from military service was registered in his personnel file, military service book, and in most local police stations, but not recorded anywhere else. No central database existed.

The assimilation figures clearly indicate that the statistics of 70,000 half- Jews and 40,000 quarter-Jews the Nazis presented in 1939 were inaccurate. There should have been more quarter-Jews than half-Jews. The Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith [73] had the mathematical proportions right when it estimated there were 47,695 half-Jews and 71,543 quarter-Jews in Germany in May 1935. [74] From the recorded assimilation numbers, there should have been at least two to three times more Mischlinge in 1939 than the Nazi census counted. [75] The numbers reported in the census of 1939 were low because of people's ignorance, lack of interest, or dishonesty, as well as the Nazis' inexperience with such census taking. Sociologist Bruno Blau wrote in 1949 that such a census had never been taken and probably will never be conducted again. [76] Losener wrote in May 1939 that the actual number of Mischlinge had not been determined because so many hid the truth. [77]

Table 4. Estimates of the Number of Mischlinge during the Third Reich


Date / Source / No. of Half-Jews / No. of Quarter-Jews / Total No. of Mischlinge / Half-Jews / Quarter-Jews / Total

June 1943 / RMI / Unknown / Unknown / Unknown / 16,000 / -- / --
May 1939 / Nazi census / 72,738 / 42,811 / 115,549 / 18,185[a] / 10,703 / 28,888
1935 / Dr. Achim Gercke, head of the Reich Ministry of the Interior for Racial Research / Unknown / Unknown / 600,000 / -- / -- / 150,000
October 1935 / Dr. Bernhard Losener in the RMI / 200,000 / Unknown / 200,000 / 40,000-45,000 / -- / --
April 1935 / Hans Pfundtner, state secretary in the RMI / Unknown / Unknown / 750,000 / -- / 150,000 / 150,000
May 1935 / Central Association of German Jews / 47,695 / 71,543[c] / 119,238 / 11,924 / 17,886 / 29,810
1939 / Bruno Blau in Judaica 5 and 7 / 69,943 / 40,060 / 109,003 / 17,486 / 10,015 / 27,501
-- / This study (see this chapter and table 2)[ b] / 122,000-183,000 / 92,000-197,000[c] / 214,000-380,000 / 61,000-91,500 / 46,000-98,500 / 117,000-190,000

a. Since half of the 72,738 half-Jews were women, this number has been subtracted, leaving a total of 36,369 males. From this group, probably around 50 percent were within the draft age of eighteen to forty-five years. As a result, probably 18,185 were able to serve. This method was also used to determine the number of quarter-Jews in this table and the figures for Bruno Blau and the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith.

b. Data here do not take into account children born out of wedlock.

c. This number has been left according to a pure mathematical model. Although some of these half-Jews did not marry or married other Mischlinge and Jews, the Naval Intelligence Division figures from 1944 show that the net reproduction rate from 1880 to 1929 (with a few gaps) would have produced at least 92,000 children. See Naval Intelligence Division, ed., Germany, vol. 3, Economic Geography, p. 73.

As these statistics demonstrate, tens of thousands of Mischlinge lived in Germany, many unknown to the Nazis. Strangely enough, thousands of these Mischlinge, though by definition Hitler's enemies, found themselves serving in Germany's armed forces. The Nazis originally allowed half-Jews to serve, but in 1940 discharged many not qualified for exemptions. [78] Yet, how many Mischlinge Wehrmacht personnel were there?

Through documents and personal referrals, this study has documented 967 half-Jews, 607 quarter-Jews, and 97 full-Jews who served in the Wehrmacht and/or the SS, or Waffen-SS. The ranks of the Jews were as follows: 71 soldiers, 4 NCOs, 15 lieutenants, 3 captains, 2 majors, 1 colonel, and 1 admiral. The ranks of the half-Jews were as follows: 808 soldiers, 77 NCOs, 38 lieutenants, 9 captains, 5 majors, 15 colonels, 11 generals, 3 admirals, and 1 field marshal. [79] The ranks of the quarter-Jews were as follows: 423 soldiers, 55 NCOs, 63 lieutenants, 20 captains, 10 majors, 24 colonels, 9 generals, and 3 admirals. Altogether, this study has documented 1,671 German soldiers of Jewish descent (see table 5). [80]

These figures are not representative, since during the first few years of research, this study focused strictly on full- and half-Jews. Once quarter- Jews were documented with the same energy as half-Jews, it soon became apparent that since quarter-Jews had to serve the entire war, a greater percentage of them had died than half-Jews. For this study, 10 full-Jews, 146 half-Jews, and 75 quarter-Jews who served in the German armed forces during World War II were interviewed (see table 6).

If between 92,000 and 197,000 quarter-Jewish and between 122,000 and 183,000 half-Jewish children were born who were of military age during World War II, then there must have been tens of thousands of Mischling Wehrmacht personnel. Since 50 percent [81] of the children would have been female, between 46,000 and 98,500 quarter-Jewish and between 61,000 and 91,500 half-Jewish males would have been eligible for military service during the Third Reich. [82]

Taking into consideration Losener's data, recorded mixed marriages, estimates of mixed marriages not on record, and estimates of Mischlinge in lands Germany occupied between 1936 and 1940, at least 60,000 half-Jews served in the Wehrmacht from 1935 to 1945 (see tables 2 and 4). This is an extremely conservative estimate. Even Losener, who had very incomplete information, estimated in 1935 that 40,000 to 45,000 half-Jews were of military age and 30,000 would soon be of military age. Moreover, retired Bundeswehr Colonel Otto Wolters, who worked in OKH (army high command), [83] estimated that at least 70,000 half-Jews were discharged in 1940. [84]

Table 5. Ranks of Jews and Mischlinge Who Served in the Wehrmacht, Waften-SS, and SS during the Third Reich, according to Rigg's findings

Rank / No. of Jews / No. of Half-Jews / No. of Quarter-Jews / Total No.

Soldiers/Sailors / 65 / 799 / 421 / 1,285
Waffen-SS Men / 5 / 5 / 1 / 11
SS Men / 1 / 4 / 1 / 6
NCOs / 4 / 77 / 55 / 136
Lieutenants (Wehrmacht) / 13 / 38 / 63 / 114
Lieutenants-Untersturmfuhrer/Obersturmfuhrer (SS) / 2 / 0 / 0 / 2
Captains / 3 / 9 / 20 / 32
Majors / 2 / 5 / 10 / 17  
Lt. Colonels/Colonels (Wehrmacht) / 1 / 15 / 23 / 39 Lt. Colonels/Colonels Obersturmbann-/Standartenfuhrer (Waffen-SS) / 0 / 0 / 1 / 1
Generals / 0 / 11 / 9 / 20
Admirals / 1 / 3 / 3 / 7
Field Marshal (Five Star General) / 0 / 1 / 0 / 1
Total / 97 / 967 / 607 / 1,671

Note: Except for admirals, all naval ranks have been converted to army ranks. The data in tables 5-6 are not representative. They could not be prepared by a random sampling technique. They are a convenience sample. Consequently, they are only meant to show numbers accumulated during this study.
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