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.

Re: Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racia

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

Part 2 of 2

To ascertain how many quarter-Jews served, one must use records of mixed marriage in Germany between 1870 and 1900 as well as consider all those quarter-Jews who lived in other lands Germany occupied from 1936 to 1940. From this data, this study estimates that at least 90,000 quarter-Jews served from 1935 to 1945 (see tables 2 and 4). This is also a conservative estimate. Wolters estimated that quarter-Jews were "twice as plentiful" as half-Jews, putting their number at I=140,000. These figures are much larger than previously believed, but when put into perspective with intermarriage trends, they make sense (see table 2). Since roughly 17 million soldiers served in the Wehrmacht, [85] a conservative number of possible Mischling soldiers, according to this study's estimate (150,000), represents less than 1 percent of the total manpower of the Wehrmacht.

Table 6. Places Where Mischlinge and Jews Were Interviewed for This Study Who Served in the Wehrmacht or in OT Camps

Interview Location / No. of Half-Jews / No. of Quarter-Jews / No. of Jews / Total No.


Berlin / 45 / 8 / 2 / 55
Bremen / 0 / 1 / 0 / 1
Brandenburg / 0 / 1 / 0 / 1
Austria / 13 / 4 / 0 / 17
Bavaria / 25 / 11 / 1 / 37
Hessen / 29 / 10 / 2 / 41
Hamburg / 8 / 5 / 1 / 14
Schleswig-Holstein / 1 / 1 / 0 / 2
Baden-Wurttemberg / 22 / 10 / 0 / 32
Niedersachsen / 2 / 7 / 1 / 10
Nordhein- Westfalen / 10 / 13 / 0 / 23
Rheinland-Pfalz / 0 / 3 / 0 / 3
Sachsen-Anhalt / 1 / 0 / 0 / 1
Sachsen / 3 / 0 / 0 / 3
Canada / 2 / 0 / 1 / 3
Israel / 0 / 0 / 1 / 1
United States / 11 / 0 / 1 / 12
Switzerland / 1 / 1 / 0 / 2
Total / 173 / 75 / 10 / 258

Note: Interviews were conducted between 1994 and 1998.


One does not know how many full Jews served. If the ratio of 97 full Jews for every 967 half-Jews can be applied from the data collected for this study, and given the estimate that 60,000 half-Jewish soldiers served, then one could assume that at least 6,019 full Jews also served in the Wehrmacht. The numbers presented here are insignificant relative to the Wehrmacht's size, but are startling in light of the Holocaust. The idea that at least 150,000 men of Jewish ancestry served in the Wehrmacht is hard to accept. Nevertheless, the evidence strongly suggests that was the case.

History of Jews in the German and Austrian Armies

One cannot understand how thousands of men of Jewish descent served in the Wehrmacht without knowing that others of that descent had served in German armies for almost two hundred years prior to Hitler (see table 7). [86]

Table 7. Number of Jews Who Served in the Prussian, German, and Austrian Armies from 1756 to 1918

War / Soldiers / Officers / Casualties


Prussia's War from 1756 to 1763 / Unknown / At least 3 / Unknown
Prussia's War of Independence, 1813-1815 / At least 731 / 23 / At least 55
Prussia 1815-1827 / 1,100 / Unknown / N/A
Prussia 1827-1844 / 2,200 / Unknown / N/A
Austria between 1798 and 1821 / 35,000 / Unknown / Unknown
Austria 1855 / Unknown / 157 / Unknown
Prussia's War of 1864 against Denmark / 194 / Unknown / Unknown
Prussia's War of 1866 against Austria / At least 1,025 / 26 / Unknown
Austria 1872 / 12,471 / Unknown / Unknown
Austria 1893 / 40,669 / 2,181 / Unknown
Austria 1897 / Unknown / 1,993 / Unknown
Austria 1898 / 52,282 / Unknown / Unknown
Austria (around 1900) / Unknown / 2,180 / Unknown
Austria 1904 / Unknown / 1,662 / Unknown
Austria 1911 / 44,016 / 1,871 / Unknown
Germany 1914-1918 / 100,000 / 3,200 / 12,000
Austria 1914-1918 / 300,000 / Unknown / 25,000

Note: Austria is used to denote the Austro-Hungarian Empire.


The history of German Jews who served in their country's armies reveals that they felt German and wanted to participate in the development of Germany's international prestige and in the enlargement of her territorial holdings. Some historians have wrongly claimed that Jews could not become officers in Germany. [87] In reality many did, but most often had to convert to do so. German Jews displayed their willingness to make the supreme sacrifice for their country time and time again when Germany went to war. Accurate figures are difficult to find because Germany was split into so many states until 1871, but the examples of Prussia, Bavaria, and Austria will give an indication of military policy occurring in German-speaking lands that later would be unified under Hitler's rule.

FREDERICK THE GREAT'S RULE

In 1760, the "enlightened despot" Frederick the Great promoted the Jew Konstantin Nathanael von Salem on to general for his bravery in battle. Salemon's son also became a Prussian officer. One does not know how many Jews fought in Frederick's army, but if Prussia's king promoted a Jew to general, there is no reason to doubt that Frederick allowed some of his Jewish population to serve. In fact it had been a law since 1701 that all Prussian inhabitants were defenders of the state (whether Jews were included in this law is not known). [88] Because of the dire nature of Frederick's situation between 1756 and 1763 (the Seven Years' War), one can assume that he would have drafted every able-bodied man regardless of ethnicity or religion. [89] Most likely, the Jews who served as officers under Frederick were baptized Jews. For example, baptized Jews seemed to have had no problem serving in the Austrian army during this time. [90] Although many Jews served under Frederick, the Prussian state did not officially recognize their service.

Frederick also employed some Schutzjuden, [91] who had become court Jews, as general purveyors to his army. For example, Frederick commissioned Marc Raphael and Jacob Wolff to buy horses for his army from the Tartar Khan in the Crimea. The king also encouraged the Jews under his rule to build factories to supply his army. [92] Veitel Ephraim and Daniel Itzig possibly "helped Fredrick avoid defeat" during the Seven Years' War by supplying and equipping his troops. [93] In recognition for his intelligence and contribution to society, Frederick granted the German-Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn exemptions from some of the laws restricting Jews' freedom. [94] However, this should not imply that Frederick liked Jews - he in fact detested them. [95] But it seems his hatred did not cloud his reason. He knew he needed some Jews to ensure the smooth running of his country. It would be fifty years later, however, before Jews could officially serve in Prussian armies.

WAR OF INDEPENDENCE (1812-1815) AND THE NINETEENTH CENTURY UNTIL 1870

On 11 March 1812, Prussia's first prime minister (Staatskanzler), Karl August von Hardenberg, emancipated the Jews and allowed them to perform military service. [96] Chief of the General Staff and Minister of War Gerhard von Scharnhorst had pushed the agenda of having a nation-in-arms after the disastrous defeat at Jena and Auerstedt of 1806. He wrote, "In the future every subject of the state, without regard for birth, will be obligated to perform military service .... " [97] During Prussia's War of Independence from 1813 to 1815, a conservative estimate of 731 Prussian Jews [98] served in the war against Napoleon. Five hundred and sixty-one of them were volunteers. [99] One German Jew wrote, "[W]ho doesn't rejoice to hear the honorable call to fight and conquer for the Fatherland .... Oh Death for the Fatherland, you're the most beautiful fate to befall any mortal." [100] Luise Grafemus (real name Esther Manuel) decided to join the Prussian army after she lost her Jewish husband in battle. She served during the battles of 1813 and 1814 and later became a Wachtmeister. [101] She was wounded twice in battle and received the Iron Cross. [102] During the battle at Belle-Alliance (Waterloo) in 1815 alone, 55 Jewish soldiers of the reserve militia died in combat. [103] Prussia decorated 82 Jews with the Iron Cross, and one received the Pour le Merite decoration [104] between 1813 and 1815. [105] Moritz Oppenheim depicts these valorous German-Jewish soldiers in his famous painting of a Jewish soldier returning home to his traditional family after the Wars of Liberation with an Iron Cross. [106] Moses Mendelssohn's youngest son, Nathan, reported for duty in 1813 and later became a lieutenant. [107] According to the records, 23 of these Prussian Jewish soldiers became officers: one major and 22 lieutenants. [108] After the war, all of the Jewish officers except one were allegedly forced to leave the army. The authorities did not think it advantageous to their establishment to maintain Jewish officers during peacetime. The army allowed only Major Meno Burg, called the "Jewish major," to remain. He taught at Danzig and Berlin's Artillery Officer schools. Although an officer, he also found time to be a board member of Berlin's Jewish Community Center. [109] Hardenberg praised German Jews, both male and female, for their service in the War of Independence despite the fact that many in the Prussian military establishment did not want to retain the Jewish officers (or common soldiers for that matter). [110] German Jews continued to serve in the Prussian army despite such opposition. From 1815 to 1827, 1,100 Prussian Jews served in the armed forces, and from 1827 to 1844, 2,200. [111] Jews also served in Bavaria at the same time. Bavaria showed more tolerance than Prussia, and many Jews actually left Prussia to join the Bavarian army. [112] Jews had more of a chance to advance through the ranks in that army than in the strict, Junker [113] controlled Prussian army, despite the fact that hundreds of Junker families had intermarried with Jewish families. [114] Officers often married Jewish women not only in Prussia, but in Austria as well. [115]

Hitler condemned this, stating that it endangered the armed forces: "[A]s soon as it became fashionable for individual officers, especially of noble descent, to pair off with, of all things, department-store Jewesses, a danger arose for the old army." [116] It was common throughout the nineteenth century for aristocratic but poor Prussian officers to marry into rich Jewish families; he got the money, and her family gained social acceptance. Chancellor Otto von Bismarck even advocated marriages between the nobility and Jews. [117] As German writer Theodor Fontane claimed in 1893, "[T]here are very few aristocratic generals who do not have Jewish blood flowing in their veins." [118] The marriages of Prussian officers with Jewish women must have also helped many Jews to enter the army.

Although Prussia and Bavaria had Jews in their armies, they did not integrate them into their armed forces as successfully as Austria did. Joseph II of Austria, with his Toleration Patent of 1782, required Jews to perform military service. Joseph hoped that this policy would make the Jews" more useful to the state," [119] and many Jews willingly served in the hope of improving their social status. [120] By 1821, some 35,000 Jews had fought in Austria's wars against Napoleon. [121] Austrian Jews enjoyed more success in the armed forces during the nineteenth century than their counterparts in Prussia or Bavaria. For instance, in 1829, Gustav von Heine-Geldern, brother of Heinrich Heine, enlisted in the Austrian cavalry (an elite military service) and attained the rank of first lieutenant. [122] By 1855, the Austro-Hungarian armed forces had 157 Jewish officers, most of them in the medical corps. In 1893, there were 40,344 Jewish soldiers and as many as 2,179 Jewish officers in the Austro- Hungarian army. [123] By 1898, the number of Jews who served in the Austro-Hungarian armed forces increased to over 52,000. [124]  

A Jew in the Prussian army had to show remarkable talent like Burg, convert, or gain the favor of the ruling classes before he could become an officer. For example, in 1848, the German Jew Jakob Wilhelm Mossner helped the prince of Prussia flee to England to escape the revolution. [125] In 186o, the prince, then king of Prussia, commissioned Mossner's son Walther into the most "feudal" of cavalry regiments. The son served in three wars (1866, 1870-1871, and 1914-1918) and became a general. Emperor Wilhelm II eventually ennobled the family. [126]

In 1864, 194 Jews fought in the army in Prussia's war against Denmark. In 1866, a conservative estimate of 1,025 Jews fought in Prussia's war against the Austrian Empire. Prussia's army employed two Jewish generals, four Jewish colonels, and twenty Jewish staff officers in its medical corps. [127] Although the exact number is not known, between 10,000 and 20,000 Jews served in the Austrian army at this time. [128]

FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR (1870-1871) UNTIL WORLD WAR I

In Prussia's war against France from 1870 to 1871, [129] 12,000 Jews served: 120 were officers and 373 received the Iron Cross; [130] 483 died or were wounded during the war. [131] The army even allowed the Jews to observe their Yom Kippur [132] services in the field. Near Metz, 1,200 German Jews took part in the service there. [133] After the war's victorious conclusion, many Jews felt their service now entitled them to enter the ranks of the German elite.

Between 1870 and 1899, 5 Jews were promoted to active officers in Prussia, and between 50 and 100 were made reserve officers in the Bavarian army. In 1872, out of 135 Prussian general staff officers, one was a Jew. [134] Prussian officials cited religious traditions and holidays, keeping Jewish soldiers from their military duties, to explain why Prussia did not promote more Jews. [135] For example, in 1897, German Admiral Eduard von Knorr refused to accept a Jew because he refused to be baptized and required kosher food. [136] The armed forces repeatedly used this argument about the difficulty of providing soldiers special food to deny Jews promotions, admission to certain units, or permission to serve, [137] although most German Jews at this time did not keep strictly kosher. One historian wrote that the army feared that "Jews might not be able to command the respect due a superior officer [because of their strange habits and ethnicity]." [138] Yet thousands of Jews continued to serve in the German armed forces, although the authorities denied the majority of them opportunities of advancement.

From 1885 to 1914, the Prussian army trained some 30,000 Jews as soldiers but gave none of them a reserve officer's commission. [139] However, out of the 1,200 to 1,500 Jewish soldiers who had converted, the army promoted 300 to reserve officers. By 1906, out of 33,067 active German officers, only 16 were Jews. [140] In contrast, at that time, the Austro-Hungarian Empire had 2,180 Jewish officers including one field marshal. [141] Even Dr. Sigmund Freud served as a reserve medical officer in the Austrian army. [142] Although Jews numbered only about 4.5 percent of the population in the Austrian Empire in 1900, they made up 8 percent of the officer corps. [143] Among the Jewish officers, there were 6 generals, 17 colonels, and 1 admiral. Three Austrian warships were commanded by Jewish captains. [144]

In the Prussian army, converted Jews or Christians with Jewish ancestry were usually treated just like other Prussian soldiers. [145] But conversion did not guarantee total acceptance. As the historian Holgar Herwig wrote, "[A] few baptized Jews were allowed to enter the executive officer corps, but this did not ipso facto signify social acceptance of the Jews by the executive officers." [146] Jews, whether converted or not, still had difficulties becoming Prussian officers during peacetime. [147]

Yet the German armed forces' aversion to promoting Jews to officers did not prevent them from doing business with Jewish businessmen. Historian Jonathan Steinberg states that executive naval officers, "unlike their Prussian counterparts, belonged to clubs and mingled freely with prominent Jews, especially in Hamburg. Mutual respect and social relations between naval officers and members of the Jewish community arose naturally from common interest." For example, the great Jewish industrialist Albert Ballin mingled freely with executive officers in Hamburg and had contact with the kaiser. The kaiser even received Ballin at court and made sure that officers of his retinue danced with Ballin's daughter. [148]

Those Jews who served had a profound sense of duty. The Prussian war minister, General Karl von Einem, stated publicly on 22 March 1904 that the Jews did not serve badly. He said they fulfilled their military duties in peace and felt they would do the same in war. [149] However, as in the past, many Jews in Prussia decided to serve in the Bavarian army because it proved more tolerant. [150]

World War I

During World War I, German Jews would prove their patriotism and willingness to fight for Germany. When war broke out, the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith issued this statement on 1 August 1914:

During this deciding hour of history, the Fatherland calls all its sons to the flag. That every German Jew is willing to give his life for Germany, to do his duty, is a foregone conclusion. Religious comrades! We urge you to go beyond the call of duty in devoting your strength to the Fatherland. Hurry up and volunteer. All of you, men and women, do everything within your power to aid the Fatherland with both your deeds and your money. [151]


German Jews were largely loyal and dedicated patriots. The famous German-Jewish philosopher Hermann Cohen passionately expressed this loyalty and patriotism well in 1916: "Thus, in these times of epoch-making fatefulness for our people, we, as Jews, are proud to be Germans. For we are conscious of our task to convince all our co-religionists the world over of the religious significance of Germandom, of its influence, of its rightful claim over the Jews of every nationality, in religious developments as in general culture." [152] About 10,000 volunteered for duty, and over 100,000 out of a total German-Jewish population of 550,000 served during World War I. Some 78 percent saw frontline duty, 12,000 died in battle, [153] over 30,000 received decorations, and 19,000 were promoted. Approximately 2,000 Jews became military officers, and 1,200 became medical officers. An estimated 30 Jewish chaplains served in the German army, one of them being the famous rabbi Dr. Leo Baeck (Baeck even received the EKI). Out of the 10,000 German pilots of the Great War, 120 were Jews. [154] One Jewish pilot, Lieutenant Wilhelm Frankl, died in action and received the prestigious Pour le Merite. [155] He was credited with sixteen kills. [156] The youngest Jewish volunteer of the war was thirteen-year-old Joseph Zippes. He lost both legs during combat. [157] Among the oldest of those who fought for Germany was Reichstag deputy Ludwig Frank, who died in battle in 1914 at the age of forty. [158] A poem written by a German Jew expressed how many Jews felt in 1914:

We are united, one people, one army.
In love and loyalty we get along.
We stand together! All differences disappear
Wherever they had been;
Whether of high or low birth, whether Jew or Christian,
There is only one people in our land!
We fight together for the kaiser and the Reich. [159]


The sense of camaraderie and duty seemed to override previous prejudices, and the symbiosis between the two groups appeared complete during this hour of national struggle. The Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith wrote in 1914: "[W]e cannot turn anyone away who sacrifices his all for the Fatherland, Christian or Jew, Aryan or Semitic. The Fatherland supersedes everything else, the holy Fatherland ... " [160] Another Jew closed an article in 1914 with these words: "The German Jews stand shoulder to shoulder with their Christian comrades without anyone asking about ancestry or religion."[161] Master Sergeant Fritz Beckhardt, a Jew, flew a plane with a swastika [162] on its side to display his German pride. [163] Another pilot, Lieutenant Josef Zurndorfer, wrote, "[A]s a German, I took to the field to defend my endangered Fatherland. But, also as a Jew, to fight for complete equal rights and for my religious brothers." [164] Jews fought not only because they were patriots but also because they felt their service would open the door to social equality.

Jews exhibited their support for Germany's war not only through military service but also through other skills. Professor Fritz Jacob Haber, a baptized Jew, helped in the manufacture of munitions and explosives. [165] He also organized the chemical warfare service and personally directed gas operations on the field of battle. In addition, he and Professor Richard Wills tatter "designed the first gas mask used by the German army." [166] Banker Max Warburg and industrialist Walther Rathenau helped design and carry out the financial plans that enabled the army to conduct operations for the four long years. [167] At the end of the war, Warburg implored the high command to keep fighting when quartermaster general of the general staff, General Erich Ludendorff, suffered a mental breakdown during the crisis. [168] These Jews felt German and believed in Germany's destiny.

In the Austro-Hungarian Empire, of the 300,000 Jews who served in World War 1, [169] 25,000 were officers; [170] 25,000 died in battle. [171] There were 76 Jewish chaplains, all holding the rank of captain. [172] During the war, 24 Jews attained the rank of general, [173] 76 received the Gold Medals for bravery, [174] and 22 the Orders of the Iron Crown Third Class. [175] General Baron Samuel Hazai, a baptized Jew, was "practically the most important officer in the whole monarchy" besides the general staff" commanding recruiting and supplies." [176] In Vienna's Jewish cemetery alone are buried 160 lieutenants, 40 captains, 40 colonels, 16 majors, and 20 generals. [177] The Austro-Hungarian armed forces were more tolerant of Jews than Germany's armed forces. Its ranks included men from thirteen nationalities and twelve religious groups. [178] Both the German Reich and the Austro- Hungarian Empire's willingness to allow Jews to serve in their armed forces for years show how integrated these Jews were.

Thousands of German and Austrian Mischlinge had generations of family members who had served in the armed forces when Hitler came to power. Applicants for clemency often cited this ancestry. Half-Jew Ulrich Engelbert, a Wehrmacht soldier, wrote Hitler that his father had served as a World War I officer and was decorated with both Iron Crosses, that his grandfather had served in the war of 1870-1871, and that his great-grandfather had volunteered in the War of Independence from 1813 to 1815. [179] Gert Dalberg, who volunteered for the Wehrmacht, mentioned in his application to the University of Berlin that his Jewish father had been a World War I officer and had been decorated with both Iron Crosses, the House of Hohenzollern's Knight's Cross with swords, Turkey's Iron Half-Moon Medal, and Silver Wound Badge. Dalberg's father also had fought against the Communists after World War I in the Freikorps. [180]

After World War I, General van Deimling urged all Germans to remember "that thousands of Jews went to the war voluntarily - that thousands died heroes' deaths for the fatherland - that thousands were crippled for life. In my corps, the Jews fought as bravely as their Christian comrades and to many of them I presented the Iron Cross." [181] However, during the war and after, many of these Jews were treated with contempt by some of their officers and fellow comrades. [182] Ironically, many of these Jewish soldiers (those from Prussia) had sworn an oath to Emperor Wilhelm II, an anti-Semite. [183] Despite this treatment, many Jews believed that this war would prove to their countrymen once and for all that they, the Jews, were true Germans. Many hoped to gain equal rights not only in theory, but now in practice through their service. One Jew explained, "Our mission will be successful when we have convinced the reader that Jews are people too just like any other people, not Devils and not Angels, but just people with noble and unnoble, with good and bad, and that their religion and ancestry never prevent them from being good citizens or from performing their duty for the Fatherland." [184] The challenge for German Jews to prove to society that they exhibited the same range of character traits as most other humans came to the forefront during the war.

The war provided many Jews with the opportunity to prove their loyalty to Germany. These Jews fought faithfully for Germany in World War I and showed that they felt fully German in everything they did. However, one must not forget that the Judenzahlung (Jewish census) carried out by the Prussian War Ministry in October 1916 [185] provided proof that Germany did not yet consider Jews equal to Aryans even if they fought on the front lines. [186] The Reichstag followed up on the War Ministry's statistical inquiry to ascertain how many Jews worked "in the offices and agencies of the war economy." [187] The German government and army conducted this research to document how many Jews had been "shirking" military service. [188] Ironically, in proportion to their numbers in society, they were overrepresented among the frontline troops. German Jews did not shirk their duty to the Fatherland. Although disillusioned and hurt by the Judenzahlung, most Jews continued to serve Germany loyally and fight next to their Christian comrades. [189] Unlike the Jews under Hitler, in 1916 the Jews in Germany had more opportunities to serve their country and prove their patriotism. Unfortunately, Germany would forget them after Hitler came into power. With the knowledge that thousands of Mischlinge came from families with proud military traditions, one can understand why many did not find their Wehrmacht service as abnormal as many might think today.

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ADOLF HITLER
BERLIN, DEN 27.Oktober 1937.
Nach Vortrag des Chefs der Kanzlei des Fuhrers der NSDAP. habe ich auf dem Gnadenwege entschieden, dass Ihre sowie Ihrer Geschwister Nachkommen trotz nicht einwandfrei geklarter Abstammung als arisch im Sinne dor Vorschriften der NSDAP. sowie der reichsgesetzlichen Bestimmungen zu gelten haben.
[Signature]
( Herrn
Dr.August Ganghofer
Berlin - Charlottenburg 9
Stalluponer Allee 45 )
Aryan declaration for half-Jew Dr. August Ganghofer and his siblings' children. "After the presentation made by the head of the Kanzlei des Fuhrers der NSDAP [Bouhler], I have generously decided that you and the children of your siblings are classified as Aryan for purposes of NSDAP regulations and federal laws, although your ancestry is not completely clear. Signed: Adolf Hitler." Ganghofer had several nephews who served in the Wehrmacht.


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Half-Jew Werner Goldberg (last rank Gefreiter) in a photograph used in a Nazi propaganda newspaper with the caption "The Ideal German Soldier," taken in 1939; modern photo (facing page) taken on 17 November 1994, around 8:30 P.M.

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Military service book of half-Jew Hermann Aub. Note the laws of 8.4.1940 and 20.4.1940 discharging half-Jews cited plus the handwritten "n.z.v." (nicht zu verwenden -- not to be used) in the top line of the page (bottom). Most discharged half- Jews had similar entries. Unless one knew that these laws from April in addition to "n.z.v." were clear indications that the person in question was a half-Jew, then the half- Jew was just looked upon as being a part of the reserves.

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Military service book of half-Jew Hermann Aub. Note the laws of 8.4.1940 and 20.4.1940 discharging half-Jews cited plus the handwritten "n.z.v." (nicht zu verwenden -- not to be used) in the top line of the page (bottom). Most discharged half- Jews had similar entries. Unless one knew that these laws from April in addition to "n.z.v." were clear indications that the person in question was a half-Jew, then the half- Jew was just looked upon as being a part of the reserves.

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Example of the oath being administered.

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Picture taken in 1939 by half-Jew Hermann Aub showing orthodox Jews pushing a German army wagon. This was typical harassment of the Jews by Wehrmacht personnel.

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Achim von Bredow (last rank Gefreiter), a 37.5 percent Jew. (Military awards: EKI, EKII, Panzer Assault Badge in Silver, and Eastern Campaign Medal 1941-1942.)

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Half-Jew Edgar Francken (last rank first lieutenant); he received Hitler's Genehmigung. (Military awards: EKII and Silver Wound Badge.)

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Half-Jew Horst Geitner (last rank Obergefreiter). (Military awards: EKII and Silver Wound Badge.)

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Half-Jew Commander Paul Ascher, Admiral Lutjens's first staff officer on the battleship Bismarck; Ascher received Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserkldrung. (Military awards: EKI, EKII, and War Service Cross Second Class.)

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Half-Jew Michael Gunther (last rank Obergefreiter), (Military awards: EKII.)

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Half-Jew Wolfram Gunther (last rank Obergefreiter). (Military awards: EKI, EKII.)

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Lieutenant and Jew Paul- Ludwig (Pinchas) Hirschfeld. (Military awards: Wound Badge and War Service Cross Second Class with swords.)

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Paul-Ludwig (Pinchas) Hirschfeld holding his War Service Cross Second Class with swords in a military cemetery outside Hanover in 1996. (Photo credit: Ian Jones, London Telegraph)

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Hitler and General Werner Blomberg.

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Hitler and Hermann Goring (right), head of the Luftwaffe and second in command after Hitler. In the middle is President Gombos.

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Dr. Hans-Heinrich Lammers, secretary of state and head of the Reichskanzlei.

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Hitler and Paul von Hindenburg, field marshal and Reich's president.

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Captain and Jew Edgar Jacoby, company commander of Propaganda Company 696 in France. (Military awards: EKI, EKII, and Wound Badge.)

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With his children Barbara Jacoby (left) and Hans Edgar Jacoby (right), in a photograph taken after a military parade in Berlin in 1941.

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Quarter-Jew Hans-Christian Lankes (last rank Gefreiter).

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Half-Jew Anton Mayer (last rank Gefreiter) in a typical series of photographs that accompanied a "Mischling's" application for clemency.

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Half-Jew Richard Riess (last rank Gefreiter).

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Half-Jew Christoph-Michael Salinger (last rank Gefreiter).

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Quarter-Jew Klaus von Schmeling-Diringshofen (last rank captain); he received Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserklarung.

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Half-Jew Kurt Zeunert's picture taken for Organisation Todt forced labor.

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Example of an Organisation Todt registration book.

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Hitler's army adjutant major, Gerhard Engel (right; person on the left is unknown). (Photo credit: Charles Hamilton, courtesy of R. James Bender Publishing)

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Half-Jew Dietmar Brucher (last rank Kanonier). (Military awards: EKII and Wound Badge.)

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Half-Jew Peter Gaupp (last rank Soldat).

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Half-Jew Dieter Fischer (last rank Obergefreiter); he received Hitler's Genehmigung. (Military awards: EKII, Wound Badge, Assault Badge, and Eastern Campaign Medal 1941-1942.)

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Declaration of ancestry that most Wehrmacht soldiers had to sign.

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The 8 April 1940 order discharging half-Jews from the Wehrmacht.

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Half-Jew Karl Henle (last rank captain); he received Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserklarung.

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A platoon in the Panzer Abwehr Regiment 23: Potsdam Sans Souci for the taking of the oath to Hitler. Out of the twenty-two soldiers in the Nachrichten (communications) platoon, three were half-Jews: Karl-Heinz Scheffler (middle row, fourth from right), Rudolf Sachs (front row, third from right), and Hannes Bergius (front row, far right).

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Half-Jews and brothers Johannes (above) and Karl (below) Zukertort (last rank for both general); both received Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserklarung.

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Re: Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racia

Postby admin » Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:36 am

Part 1 of 2

Chapter 4: Racial Policy and the Nuremberg Laws, 1933-1939

The Beginning of Racial Policy in 1933


In 1942, an ex-Wehrmacht soldier entered SS headquarters in Berlin. He walked slowly, uneasy in those surroundings. On his civilian jacket, he wore the EKII and EKI ribbons he had earned in battle. An SS officer asked what he wanted. Hugo Fuchs asked where they had taken his father. The SS man looked shocked and said, "If you didn't have those medals, I would send you straight to where your father is!" Fuchs never saw his father; he had been killed in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. [1] That a man could have served bravely while the Nazis imprisoned and murdered his Jewish father seems impossible.

But Fuchs was not alone. During World War II, hundreds, if not thousands of Jews and tens of thousands of Mischlinge, not only served in the Wehrmacht but also held some of its highest positions. Any full Jew who served in the Wehrmacht or SS during the Third Reich did so with false papers. As far as his superiors knew, he was an Aryan. The Nazi conscription laws required Mischlinge to serve. However, they could not hold positions of authority or be promoted past the rank of corporal without an exemption from Hitler. The laws affecting Mischlinge became increasingly restrictive throughout the Third Reich, ultimately pushing them down the same bloody road as the Jews.

To comprehend how Mischlinge served, one must know about the German armed forces' racial policies. Hitler's racial theory was simple: Jews destroyed German (i.e., Aryan) society; therefore, they must be removed. The Nazis first stumbled onto the difficulty of determining exactly who was Jewish enough to be dangerous when considering the civil service.

Soon after Hitler's "seizure of power" on 30 January 1933, Jews began to lose their jobs, although by then no law had been enacted that required them to leave their posts. On 1 April 1933, the Nazis enacted a nationwide boycott against converted and nonconverted Jews alike. [2] This boycott of Jewish firms, including retail outlets, lawyers, and doctors, affected thousands.  [3] Sometimes the boycott became violent and Jews were injured and even a few murdered. [4] Many wrote letters of protest to several government offices. In response to letters that field marshal and Reich's president Paul von Hindenburg received from several of these distraught men and their families, he wrote Hitler on 4 April 1933:

[C]ivil servants, judges, teachers, and lawyers who were wounded in the war or were soldiers at the front, or are sons of those who died or had sons who died in battle must -- insofar as they have not given cause to be treated otherwise, be allowed to continue in their profession. If they were prepared to bleed and die for Germany, they deserve to be treated honorably by the Fatherland. [5]


Hitler confidentially informed Hindenburg the next day that "a law has been in preparation for about a week which will take into consideration those Jews who are veterans who suffered in the war, who served in some capacity, or who after long civil service do not warrant dismissal." [6] Although the Enabling Act of March 1933 gave Hitler almost unlimited power, his willingness to grant Hindenburg's request showed that Hitler did not feel fully secure in his new position. [7] Hitler knew that without Hindenburg's support, he would not have the army's backing, which he desperately needed if he wanted to remain in power. [8] Hitler felt only contempt for the "Old Man." Hindenburg distrusted the "Bohemian corporal." But placed in a position of power under him, Hitler had to take Hindenburg's "middle-of-the-road anti-Jewish arguments" [9] seriously, especially since their relationship had been less than friendly throughout 1932. [10]

The Law of Restoration of the Civil Service (known later along with its supplementary decrees as the Arierparagraph), enacted on 7 April 1933, ordered the dismissal of all non-Aryan civil servants. They were not defined as Jews, contrary to what some historians claim. [11] As Hindenburg had requested, the law granted exemptions for those who had entered the civil service before World War I, for World War I veterans, and for those whose fathers or sons had died in action. [12] The first supplementary decree to this law, issued on 11 April, defined a non-Aryan as anyone with at least one Jewish parent or grandparent. The Nazis assumed that a parent or grandparent of the Jewish faith was non-Aryan. [13] At the time, this decree actually allowed some Jews and Mischlinge to hold onto their jobs and livelihood. Peter Gaupp's Jewish grandfather, Dr. Sammy Ascher, a retired World War I medical officer, [14] was allowed to retain his medical practice. [15] Gaupp felt that the Nazis had "some kind of heart" to make exemptions for these officers. [16] But in general, this new law adversely affected thousands of non-Aryans. [17] In a few years, the Hindenburg exemptions would no longer help full Jews.

Many did not understand why these laws were enacted. Professor Klemperer wrote on 25 April 1933, "The destiny of the Hitler movement lies without a doubt on the Jewish question. I cannot understand why the Nazis have made this such a central issue. It will be their downfall." [18] As the Nazis discovered, these racial policies caused many problems.

Some civil servants were fired who should have been protected by the exemptions specified by the 193 3 supplementary decrees to the Arierparagraph. Arthur Partisch, a civil servant of Jewish descent, wrote Hermann Goring on 8 July 1933 to protest his dismissal: "It's certainly not the Fuhrer's will to treat a person who served the Fatherland faithfully for eighteen years, including service at the front in World War I, so cruelly .... I see myself as the victim of the personal desires for revenge of some of my co-workers who don't like me." [19] Thousands of complaints like this were filed. Many protested vehemently, demanding to know the real reason for their dismissal. They could not believe non-Aryan descent was reason enough to lose their jobs. With such problems coming to Hitler's attention, he remarked on 14 July that" one could make an exception only for those who had taken part in direct combat. Only participation in combat, and not mere presence in the combat zones, was decisive. A commission to check the roles of the various units was necessary." [20] Such orders created more work for a bureaucracy already confused as to how to implement the Arierparagraph. More guidelines were needed.

On 1 September 1933, Frick issued the second supplementary decree to the April laws:

In defining the concept of Aryan descent in accordance with section 3 of the Law for the Restoration of the Civil Service, it is not religion which is decisive, but rather descent, race, blood. It is in particular not only those of whom a parent or grandparent belonged to the Jewish religion who are non-Aryan .... Thus, the Law by no means excludes the possibility of non-Aryan descent, even if none of the parents or grandparents belonged to the Jewish religion, in the event that non-Aryan descent can be established by other means. [21]


Frick failed to specify what these "other means" were. Subsequently, civil servants were dismissed for any suspicion of non-Aryan descent. This extreme decree would later prove impractical. The only reliable way to prove non-Aryan descent was through religious records.

General Werner von Blomberg, minister of defense, brought the racial laws one step closer to affecting soldiers when on 27 May 1933 he approved the decree that fired non-Aryan civil servants dependent on the armed forces (for example, workers in munitions factories). [22] Perhaps in response to protests from officers who resented this politicization of the armed forces, in June 1933, Blomberg commented that the Reichswehr could not ignore the new racial regulations adopted in the civil service. [23] During the tumultuous Weimar years, the Reichswehr had participated in political maneuvering, but never was controlled by one Party, much less one politician. [24] However, when Hitler came to power, the armed forces increasingly showed its support for the Nazi Party until it was ultimately controlled by the politician, Hitler. According to historian James Corum, "Hitler won the admiration and gratitude of the military for instituting rearmament on a scale beyond the military's wildest dreams, restoring Germany to a major military power." [25] For example, the later First Lieutenant Paul-Ludwig Hirschfeld said, "[A]s a Jew, I hated Hitler, but I have to give the man respect for some of the things he did .... He had a smart mind and accomplished many things [especially for the army]." [26] Military personnel of all ranks welcomed Hitler's government, his policies, and his dreams of a new, powerful Reichswehr. [27] Traditionally, soldiers held positions of honor in their communities. Consequently, most non-Aryan military personnel believed that the racial policies would not affect them as long as they remained in the Reichswehr. However, a few felt the walls of Nazi Germany slowly closing in on them.

During 1933 and 1934, reports about soldiers' racial backgrounds and their protests that such men were still serving poured into the government. Many non-Aryan soldiers started to get nervous. Lieutenant Ernst Prager informed his superiors of his Jewish father when he was considered for promotion in 1933. He felt bound" to report my ancestry even though officers aren't affected by the laws." On 21 July 1933, Blomberg reassured him that "nothing stood in the way of his promotion." [28]

Hitler and high-ranking officials apparently did not realize how many non-Aryans wore the military uniform in 1933. Hitler had assured Hindenburg on 5 April 1933 that the officer corps had remained " [racially] pure," [29] perhaps because it embodied most directly the Aryan honor and fighting spirit. However, Hitler probably knew differently. He had had personal experience with Jews serving in the German army and had received his EKI during World War I because of the nomination given by a Jew. [30] Hitler had even told his army adjutant captain, Gerhard Engel, that he knew about several Jews who fought valiantly during World War I. [31] But Blomberg declared officially to a periodical in November 1933 that no Jews served in the armed forces. [32] Both men publicly adhered to Nazi ideology, while privately they knew non-Aryans served in the armed forces.

On 17 January 1934, the Association of High-Ranking Civil Servants' public relations office asked Blomberg to comment on the rumor that over eight hundred non-Aryan officers served in the Reichswehr. The authors of the letter wanted Blomberg to provide them with facts refuting such allegations and to punish those spreading these rumors. [33] Although he had no statistics to offer, Blomberg denied these claims. On 28 February 1934, Blomberg issued the Arierparagraph for the Reichswehr, perhaps to prevent more speculation regarding non-Aryan service members. [34] This military racial regulation, like the civil servant laws, did not apply to World War I veterans or children of veterans. All other non-Aryans were to be discharged. Non-Aryans not protected by the Hindenburg exemptions were to be reported by 31 May. Historian Manfred Messerschmidt described this introduction of racial laws into the armed forces as "a major break with the tradition of the officer corps." [35]With this decree, Blomberg sent a clear message that Nazi ideology would serve as the guiding force behind military policy. He had relinquished the Reichswehr's cherished independence from political affairs. Blomberg emphasized this shift in policy throughout 1933 and 1934, often in small ways. On 19 September 1933, he ordered military personnel to salute uniformed SA members. [36] He gave permission "for the Reichswehr music corps to play National Socialist tunes." [37] Similarly, on 25 February 1934, he ordered the addition of the Nazi emblem [38] to all uniforms. [39] According to historian Ian Kershaw, Blomberg introduced the racial laws and Nazi emblem into the Reichswehr in a "conscious attempt" to gain Hitler's support to act against the SA, an organization perceived as a grave threat to the Reichswehr's autonomy as the nation's bearer of arms. [40] Although Blomberg ordered the Arierparagraph for political reasons, he did not have to sacrifice his ideological beliefs to do so. As Hitler would later say of Blomberg, "That the troops could be brought to adopt the National Socialist Weltanschauung is due to the understanding and the boundless loyalty of the Minister of War." [41]These racial laws dramatically changed the way Reichswehr personnel were handled and screened.

Under the Arierparagraph, a conservative estimate of how many the Reichswehr discharged was between seventy and one hundred men. [42] Blomberg felt that the benefit he would gain with Hitler outweighed the few soldiers he would lose, since the majority of the valuable non-Aryans would remain in the service because of the Hindenburg exemptions. [43] Most likely, since most dismissed were young and inexperienced, Blomberg did not feel the Reichswehr would suffer much because of their loss. Since the numbers of dismissals were published in April and May 1934, one does not know how many the armed forces released under this law in late 1934 and throughout 1935. Several were discharged because of the A rierparagraph between 1935 and 1938. [44] Later laws should have been stated as the reason for these discharges instead of the Arierparagraph, but the bureaucrats were either used to citing this law as the reason for the discharge of Mischlinge or did not know about the other laws. The number dismissed because of the Arierparagraph is difficult to determine. Messerschmidt concurred that "it will never be determined how many 'non-Aryan' officers served in the Reichswehr."  [45] Since it applied not only to officers but also to all soldiers, one can safely assume hundreds were discharged because of the Arierparagraph. [46] Most have assumed that the majority discharged were full Jews, but out of the almost thirty men documented in this study discharged because of this law, only two were full Jews; the rest were half- or quarter-Jews. Most felt shocked that their ancestry suddenly disqualified them from serving.

Lieutenant Hans-Heinrich Lebram was discharged from the navy in 1934. He wrote, "[W]hen in early March 1934 the commander [47] of the [cruiser] Konigsberg ordered all officers to prove our 'Aryan descent,' it was as if a lightning bolt hit me from the heavens." [48] Bitter and disillusioned, Lebram tried to see the commander in chief of the Kriegsmarine, but Admiral Erich Raeder avoided him. "Raeder was too much of a coward to tell me himself why I was being discharged," Lebram claimed after the war. [49] One of Lebram's commanding officers, Captain Giinther Lutjens, who later was the fleet commander of the battleship Bismarck and heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, explained that Raeder could not bear to see Lebram because this matter "had affected him so deeply." [50] Raeder wrote to Lebram that he "greatly regretted" having to discharge him, but he had to follow orders. [51] Lutjens probably empathized with Lebram. His wife and her brother, Admiral Otto Backenkohler, were half-Jews. Lutjens's two sons were naval officers and thus risked discharge on the same grounds. [52] Lutjens told the angry Lebram that the Arierparagraph "is the Fuhrer's wish." [53] When Lebram pressed him for a better explanation, Lutjens acknowledged that this was hard to understand but told Lebram that "we cannot change anything."  [54] The Kriegsmarine discharged Lebram on 31 July 1934. [55] His brother, Lieutenant Walter Lebram, was so distraught over his coming discharge that he committed suicide. [56]

In the navy, many officers viewed the Arierparagraph as an unjust measure. Some came to the aid of discharged non-Aryan naval personnel and helped them find positions in civilian life. For example, Hans-Heinrich Lebram was transferred to the merchant marine, where he served out the war transporting military goods to different sectors of the German front along the Atlantic.

Other naval officers accepted the new racial laws. Ironically, 12.5 percent Jew and Blomberg's naval adjutant Captain Hans-Georg von Friedeburg, the future commanding admiral of U-boats, accepted the Arierparagraph as "necessary ... in order to act within the sense of our Fuhrer." [57] Friedeburg, a fervent supporter of Hitler's, [58] may have been a quarter-Jew and thus risked being discharged himself. [59] He was spared the humiliation and discrimination families like Lebram's had to suffer.

Lebram's family was not alone in its distress. Quarter-Jew Lieutenant Klaus von Schmeling-Diringshofen, discharged in June 1934 under the Arierparagraph, lamented that he would no longer "be allowed to serve Germany." [60] The night before his discharge, 31 May 1934, the dramatic Schmeling-Diringshofen reflected on his situation:

I'm sober and alert .... It's the last hour that I'll be a lieutenant. Do you see how I sit and write and spend this last hour in which I'm something still for Germany .... I put on my army coat. I'm still allowed to wear it and I'll do so until the end .... This is like a slow death for me. What will become of me? What did I do before? ... For four years and two months, I've lived this life, which will be destroyed in ten minutes [it was 11:50 P.M.]. [61]


Although Colonel Erich von Manstein (later field marshal and one of Germany's finest army commanders), [62] chief of staff of Wehrkreis III Berlin,  [63] tried to help him, Schmeling-Diringshofen still had to leave the army. [64] Schmeling-Diringshofen wrote Manstein that "perhaps Germany will need us later, and if so, we [he and his brother] will be there for her." [65] Discharge was the worst disgrace soldiers like Schmeling-Diringshofen could face both professionally and socially. Bewildered about what he should do with his life, Schmeling-Diringshofen viewed his demise as an officer as though his life were over. The disintegration of all his hopes and dreams destroyed the young man's self-confidence. Most discharged non-Aryans did not understand why they were discharged. The rules of the game had changed suddenly, and they could not clearly comprehend why they no longer could serve in a profession of their choosing, a profession where most had performed well.

After his discharge, Schmeling-Diringshofen went to China, where he helped Chiang Kai-shek train his Nationalist army. [66]Apparently, General Ludwig Beck, head of the troop office in 1934 and chief of the army's general staff from 1935 to 1938, helped several discharged non-Aryan officers get military posts in China as advisers under the leadership of General Hans von Seeckt, [67] and later, General Alexander von Falkenhausen. [68] For example, Beck had already sent Major Robert Borchardt, a half-Jew and later recipient of the Ritterkreuz, to China a few months before he sent Schmeling-Diringshofen there. [69] Borchardt was in charge of training the Chinese Nationalist Army's first mechanized units. He would actually engage in combat with Chinese troops against the Japanese. [70] Most Mischlinge in China wanted to return to Germany and serve the fatherland. Before Schmeling-Diringshofen left for China, he told his good friend, the later General Dietrich Beelitz, "[W]hen war comes, and it will come, you do everything you can to get me back here so I can serve. You have the connections." "I couldn't believe that he was discharged. He didn't look Jewish at all," Beelitz said. "Schmeling looked just like an Aryan. His nickname was Blubo, after the phrase of Blut und Boden [blood and soil]. [71] If any soldier looked German, it was Schmeling-Diringshofen." [72] Strangely enough, before war broke out, Germany allowed most of the Mischling soldiers in China to return to the Wehrmacht in 1938. [73] But until war looked like a distinct possibility and the alliance with Japan strengthened, most of these soldiers spent several years in China in "forced exile."

On 23 March 1934, retired captain Dr. Leo Lowenstein, [74] president and founder of the Jewish Frontline Soldier Federation, [75] wrote Hindenburg criticizing the Arierparagraph for depriving Jews of military service. He felt that Jews had an honorable place in the armed forces despite the National Socialist government. [76] The following day, Lowenstein wrote Major Hermann Foertsch in the Reichswehr Ministry, "It's of course impossible for German Jews to accept this fundamental denial of their rights as German citizens." [77] In 1934, German Jews felt German and could not understand why the privileges they had enjoyed for decades were suddenly revoked. They felt oHended as Germans deprived of their basic rights.

Although public relations officer in the Bundeswehr's [78] Ministry of Defense, Colonel Gerd Schmuckle, acknowledged in 1961 that the Arierparagraph opened a dark chapter in German military history in which the Wehrmacht's leadership forgot to stand by their comrades, [79] only Colonel von Manstein dared to protest in 1934. [80] Manstein wrote Beck on 21 April 1934 and explained that the Schmeling-Diringshofen case had made him think about the racial policy. He wrote, "The honor of these young [men] is all our honor." [81] Manstein argued that if the Reich was ready to require soldiers to sacrifice their lives, it could not legally say to those same soldiers that suddenly they were" no longer true Germans." [82] Manstein believed anyone willing to sacrifice his life for the Volk had proven himself Aryan regardless of his grandmother's racial status. [83] Manstein assured Beck that he welcomed Nazism and admitted that Germans no longer wanted to serve under non-Aryans, even though it had never mattered before. Although Party officials might not like it, Manstein maintained that no common officer would ask to see his lieutenant's family tree as long as that lieutenant had earned his respect. [84]

Manstein wanted the army to retain the right to judge its own rather than abdicate that power to Party civil servants. [85] Manstein saw the Arierparagraph as a plot by "certain elements" to destroy the officer corps and gather this power in their hands. [86] Manstein's commanding officer, General Erwin von Witzleben, supported Manstein's protest "with all his authority." [87] Manstein's letter reached head of the ministerial office and Blomberg's chief of staff, Colonel Walter von Reichenau, who then showed it to Blomberg. Blomberg in turn ordered the army commander in chief, General Werner von Fritsch, to take disciplinary action against Manstein. Fortunately for Manstein, Fritsch did nothing. [88] The intelligent Fritsch, although anti-Semitic, [89] disliked Hitler and "his cronies" [90] and thus probably empathized with Manstein's position vis-a-vis the government. Nonetheless, Manstein's protest accomplished nothing.

Manstein agreed that Jewish influences should be removed from society, but his letter in 1934 showed he understood Jewishness to mean something other than what Nazi ideology claimed. Manstein thought of Jewishness as part of a cultural rather than racial identity. Any non-Aryan, Manstein believed, who adopted German culture and beliefs by serving in the army was German. Manstein probably felt motivated to write Beck such a letter because he wanted to help not only his subordinate Schmeling-Diringshofen, but also his two great-nephews, both of whom were soldiers and Mischlinge. [91]

Manstein was not alone in having different priorities when implementing Nazi ideology. Interestingly, Goring privately told his wife that he really did not believe in all this racial ideology. He said that the Jews were just like other people, "'a bit smarter,' he would say grinning, 'and they have their good and bad, just like every other race.''' [92] On the one hand, he allowed half-Jews to serve in some of the Luftwaffe's highest positions, alleging that he could tell whether they were Jewish. In other words, Goring was notorious for his struggle to maintain as much power as possible over the organizations under his control. [93] Only Hitler could tell him whom he could or could not have in positions of authority regardless of their ancestry. On the other hand, he issued orders and authorized actions that exterminated Jews. For Goring and many others, personal relationships sometimes overrode Nazi ideology. But in general, he fully supported Nazi policies regardless of what he said in private.

From 1934 to 1935, Blomberg, who praised Hitler's "strategic genius," [94] aligned the armed forces more closely with Hitler's ideology. Naturally, Hitler welcomed this shift. Hitler knew he could not control society or dominate Europe without military support. He demonstrated his gratitude for Blomberg's loyal service by sacrificing his SA in June 1934 ("Night of the Long Knives") to ensure the Reichswehr's primacy. [95] The ailing Hindenburg wrote Hitler soon thereafter and thanked him for saving "the German nation," which provided Hitler with "legitimation from the head of state." [96] On 29 June, Blomberg wrote in the Volkischer Beobachter that the Reichswehr "stands behind Hitler ... who remains one of ours." After Hindenburg's death on 2 August 1934, Hitler took over the office of president as well as chancellor, placing all executive power in his hands. [97] Now holding both offices, Hitler's "power had effectively shed formal constraints on its usage." [98]

The Reichswehr would help Hitler in his quest for total domination. Not obligated or prompted, the Reichswehr implemented policies to honor Hitler and his newly acquired power. General von Reichenau, a Nazi sympathizer [99] and nicknamed the "Nazi General," [100] drafted a new military oath to swear allegiance to Hitler as the supreme commander of the armed forces. [101]The ambitious Reichenau took this new draft to Blomberg, who enthusiastically took it to Hitler. Hitler approved it, and from then on, military personnel swore allegiance to the person of Hitler rather than to Germany. The oath read: "I swear by God this holy oath, that I will render to Adolf Hitler, Fuhrer of the German Reich and People, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, unconditional obedience, and that I am ready, as a brave soldier, to risk my life at any time for this oath." [102] Before 1918, soldiers took an oath to the kaiser and Germany, and during the Weimar Republic, they swore allegiance to the constitution and the presidency. [103] The new oath of 1934 demanded obedience to one specific person and established a personal connection between every soldier and Hitler. The Fuhrer could not have asked for a better act of subservience or a clearer vote of confidence from the armed forces than this oath. The new oath confirmed, more emphatically than anything else, that Hitler had established a level of control over the armed forces unparalleled since the kaisers. Hitler was now the highest authority in the land. Quarter-Jew Colonel Christoph von L'Estocq later wrote that "it was a horrible burden to have this obligation to want to live or die for ... Hitler." [104] Beck called this day a "black day" for the army but did not refuse to take the oath. [105] When a Mischling or any other soldier had the courage to refuse to take this oath, like Walter Falk, his resistance did not last long. Falk stated that he could not give the oath because he had a Jewish father. He was arrested, brought to court, and sentenced to six months of imprisonment. After hearing Falk's appeal, Berlin's high military court (Oberkriegsgericht) reduced his sentence by four months. After he had served his time, the army returned him to his unit. His comrades and superiors warmly welcomed him back. However, before war broke out in September 1939, he was forced to take the oath. He was threatened with deportation to a concentration camp if he did not. With tears in his eyes, Falk swore his loyalty to Hitler. [106]

Many have claimed that the oath was administered during a public ceremony, and as a result, since they were standing alongside many others, they claim, they did not say the words; consequently, they freed themselves, they allege, from feeling bound to it. [107] This new oath followed the precedent Hitler established in 1930 when he assumed the post of SA supreme leader and demanded "an oath of unconditional allegiance to his person, as an assurance against future insubordination" from every SA leader. [108] Blomberg sped up the process by which Hitler gained control over the armed forces. By giving this oath to Hitler, the Reichswehr "symbolically marked its full acceptance of the new order." [109] Also during August, Blomberg suggested that all soldiers address Hitler as "Mein Fuhrer (my leader)." [110] Acknowledging that the Reichswehr had placed its collective head in his hands, on 19 August 1934 Hitler pledged to make it his "highest priority to maintain and preserve the armed forces." [111] By the end of the summer of 1934, Hitler's "popular standing had never been higher." [112] Reichenau wrote that the armed forces now "loved him because he has shown himself a true soldier" in murdering Rohm and doing away with the SA threat. [113] Hitler's military, political, and social successes between 1933 and 1935 made it easier for military leaders to accept this major power shift. [114]

On 16 March 1935, Hitler made it mandatory for every young man in Germany to serve in the armed forces, now called the Wehrmacht, [115] and set the goal of establishing a peacetime army of twelve corps and thirty-six divisions. With these moves, Hitler put an end to the military restriction of the Versailles treaty, [116] making him even more popular with the German people. [117] Hitler believed that military training would bond Germans to each other and to the azi regime. Young, fully Jewish men also had to report to draft stations, but not surprisingly, the Wehrmacht only registered them and did not allow them to serve. [118] Hitler required some non-Aryans (i.e., half- and quarter-Jews) to serve, but they could not hold positions of authority. [119] Ironically, some non-Aryans who wanted to emigrate with their families because they feared Hitler and Nazism could not do so because the Wehrmacht drafted them. [120] The inclusion of Mischlinge in the draft contradicted the rule set by the Arierparagraph a year earlier that prohibited non-Aryans from serving at any rank. Hitler and Blomberg may have backed down from the harsh position taken in the Arierparagraph to avoid the hassle of complaints or because they did not want to deny the Wehrmacht so many potential soldiers. [121] Hitler did say in 1935 that he favored the assimilation of Mischlinge "to avoid any weakening of the German potential for war." [122]

Since enough full Jews wanted to serve in the armed forces, Lowenstein wrote state secretary and head of the Reichskanzlei, Dr. Hans-Heinrich Lammers, in March 1935 to argue that Jews had the right to serve. [123] A few months later, he pleaded with Hitler to give German Jews the right to wear the gray army uniform which they had so "proudly" worn in the past. [124] Dr. Max Naumann, head of the Association of National German Jews, also wrote Hitler in March 1935 and promised that every German Jew would prove that "he is just as good as an Aryan" if Hitler gave them the chance to serve in the armed forces as they had in World War I. [125] Hans Joachim Schoeps, leader of Jewish organization called the German Vanguard, also wrote the government a letter similar to Lowenstein's and Naumann's in March of 1935. [126] In response to such letters, the SS organ, Das Schwarze Korps, "advised Jews to give up their efforts to enlist in the armed forces." [127] Even in 1940, Jews were still trying to enter the Wehrmacht. On 4 March 1940, OKW [128] again issued a statement that "Jews, just as in peacetime, are not allowed to serve." [129] Jews would never receive approval to serve in the Wehrmacht.

As the Wehrmacht enforced the racial laws, Aryan officers started to report non-Aryans and used Nazi terminology in their reports on subordinates -- a practice relatively new to the armed forces. For example, in 1935, General Heinrich Doehla wrote in a routine performance review that he felt Major Karl Helwig, a half-Jew, could not effectively train officers because of his ancestry. [130] Such accusations became increasingly common, most likely because some Aryan officers truly believed in Nazi ideology or wanted to remove someone whom they disliked (or both).

Efforts to purify the Wehrmacht racially were not confined to military personnel. Several minor orders attempted to ensure that soldiers only interacted with Aryans. On 21 December 1934, Fritsch, usually tolerant of Mischling soldiers, commented that "it must be a matter of course that an officer seeks his wife only in the Aryan groups of the nation." [131] A Defense Law was issued on 21 May 1935 banning marriages between Wehrmacht personnel and people of "non-Aryan origin." [132] On 15 July 1935, Blomberg prohibited all Wehrmacht soldiers from shopping "at non-Aryan shops." [133]

In 1935, Reichenau commented that in principle, non-Aryans could not hold positions of authority, but if war broke out, the Wehrmacht would use special regulations to handle these cases, and Hitler would give final approval.  [134] Although the armed forces had a clear policy on what to do with non-Aryan soldiers, it did not have an efficient way to identify them. The armed forces routinely had their soldiers report their religion, but had never inquired about the religion of their soldiers' parents or grandparents. Now officers had to submit their and their wives' family trees, and soldiers had to sign Aryan declarations. [135] Most officers identified themselves truthfully, and many who lied were often subsequently denounced. The Wehrmacht relied on soldiers to sign the mandatory Aryan declarations truthfully, since investigating so many family documents was practically impossible. Fear kept most soldiers honest. Despite harsh penalties, some risked the lie. For example, half-Jew Richard Cohn claimed on his papers that he was Aryan. No one verified his ancestry, although his name was clearly Jewish in origin. [136] If the authorities caught a Jewish or Mischling soldier lying about his ancestry, they usually imprisoned him for making a false report. For example, when officials discovered that half-Jew Lieutenant Hans-Joachim Korner had lied about his ancestry, the military court of the 408th Division in Breslau sentenced him to four months in prison. The Party's Ortsgruppenleiter of his hometown had informed the army that Korner was a half-Jew after Korner's grandmother was deported to Poland, where she was murdered. [137] Captain Edgar Jacoby, stationed in France as the company commander of Propaganda Company 696, was only identified as a Jew after his sister, Kathe Himmelheber, attended a Nazi Frauenschaft meeting. The Ortsgruppenleiter Alfred Kromer of Pinneberg stated that when questioned, Kathe had said she had been invited and added that her brother was an officer. Kromer immediately wrote the local Wehrmacht authorities about this incident describing Kathe's "insolence (Frechheit)." [138] When Jacoby's commander informed him that his lie about his ancestry bad been discovered, Jacoby suffered a heart attack. Thanks to his sister, his true ancestry was revealed and his false documents would no longer hide him as an Aryan. Despite the fact that he was a World War I officer decorated with the Iron Cross and in poor health, Jacoby was brought before a military court, discharged, and deported to a forced labor camp. [139] Quarter-Jew Rolf von Sydow also lied about his ancestry and became an officer. When the Wehrmacht learned of his trickery, he was demoted and thrown in jail. [140]

Many felt that they deserved more than the army had given them, and lied to get it. Sydow felt he had been wrongly imprisoned and vowed to fight "until my honor is restored -- that is until I'm an officer." [141] In a letter to his parents, he expressed outrage at his fate: "I can hardly deal with the monstrosity of this decision .... I want finally to have what I deserve based on my abilities." [142] The authorities later released Sydow, and he returned to the army as an Obergefreiter. [143] He never attained a higher rank. He was one of the lucky ones. Most guilty of lying remained in jailor were sent to concentration camps.

Sometimes when the authorities caught a Mischling lying, loyal comrades in positions of power protected him. For instance on 19 August 1939, the commander of the Seventeenth Army Corps, General Werner Kienitz, wrote the OKH Personnel Office asking it to discharge half-Jew Captain Robert Colli. Kienitz had received proof from the Gestapo that Colli was "not Aryan." Colli's commanders and probably someone in the OKH Personnel Office (most likely the later General Seegers) [144] ignored these allegations. Colli remained a soldier and eventually received the Deutschblutigkeitserklarung (German blood declaration). He reached the rank of colonel and received both the German-Cross in Gold and the Ritterkreuz. He lost one of his legs in combat. [145] The quarter-Jewish Marine-Oberbaurat and Nazi Party member Franz Mendelssohn was hounded throughout the 1930S, but like Colli, his superiors protected him. Ultimately, the authorities could not prove Mendelssohn's Jewish ancestry, although the name should have been evidence enough (Mendelssohn was a great-great-great grandson of Moses Mendelssohn). Many encouraged him to change his name as his brother Alexander had done. He refused. Luckily, Commodore Ernst Wolf and Admiral Eugen Lindau protected Mendelssohn, and he continued to build torpedo boats and submarines. [146]

What Wolf and Lindau did for Mendelssohn was not uncommon. Others in the Wehrmacht personnel offices sometimes hid non-Aryan officers simply by not reporting them. When Colonel Karl-Heinrich Fricke took over Section 5 (Army Corps of Engineers and Communication Units) [147] in Army Personnel Group Office [148] I (P1) [149] from Colonel Rolf Menneking, Menneking gave him the files of three officers and said, "[T]hese three commanding officers are non-Aryans. No one knows this except me. I've allowed these three to remain at their post and to be promoted despite the racial laws .... It's now your responsibility." [150] Admiral Patzig, in charge of the Navy Personnel Office as well as Hitler's Army Adjutant Engel, did the same thing as Menneking and Fricke did. In dealing with military personnel files, one could easily help a non-Aryan remain in the armed forces by not reporting his racial status.

Others successfully hid their Jewish ancestry without the help of those in the personnel office. The later First Lieutenant Paul-Ludwig Hirschfeld, a Jew, moved to another town before the war and registered himself as an Aryan. [151] Like Mendelssohn and Jacoby, he falsified his papers, but unlike the Jew Jacoby, he severed all ties with his family except his Jewish fiancee. Soon thereafter, he entered the army and rose up through the ranks. He did his duty and even saved his whole regiment on several occasions, of which he is still proud. For his tactical abilities, he was nicknamed the "wise Jew" by his comrades. [152] He claims that he was also able to use his position to help Jews: "I often secretly gave Jews who had been rounded up by the SS and military police special permits (Passierscheine) [to get extra food or to travel home]. I did all this as my unit marched east into Lithuania, Latvia, and Russia. I could do more for those persecuted Jews than those Jews who ran away to foreign countries!" [153] Later in the war, Hirschfeld was able to falsify the papers of his fiancee and married her, fitted out in his full dress uniform. Hirschfeld claims that he was not alone in surviving the war as he did:

The fact remains that several educated Jews decided to escape the concentration camps and death by changing their religion and [by serving in the Wehrmacht as officers]. One who wore a uniform in Germany back then was safe .... Who could present himself as a Jew back then? No one! So they carried their Jewish secret around with them and weren't permitted to share it with anybody. [154]


Hirschfeld asserted that he feels fortunate that he served because it allowed him to survive: "Service in the Wehrmacht was my salvation .... My brother, sister, family all died in the Holocaust. The whole family." [155] Hirschfeld claimed that he remained religiously Jewish as best he could while serving in the Wehrmacht. He recited his Shema every day and did his best to say his prayers. He testifies that without God, he would not be alive today. When confronted with the fact that Jews served in the Wehrmacht, New York Orthodox Rabbi Chaskel Besser said, "It may seem strange at first glance [that these Jews served]. However, I can understand how one may have done it to survive." [156] Many tried to hide their ancestry, some successful like Hirschfeld and Mendelssohn, others unsuccessful like Jacoby and Sydow. They all wanted to Jive a better life under Hitler, and to do so, they needed to hide their Jewish past.

The fact that the Wehrmacht either relied on the men themselves to report their racial status or waited for someone to denounce them showed that the Wehrmacht, perhaps understandably, did not want to look too hard for non-Aryan soldiers, especially officers. With war in the air in the mid-1930s, the Wehrmacht needed all the experienced officers it could get. Most non-Aryans documented in this study were loyal and good soldiers.

Ironically, when the Nazis wanted to prove that a non-Aryan served in the Wehrmacht, they sometimes enlisted the help not of a Nazi organization but of a Jewish one. The director of the Central Archives of German Jews, Jacob Jacobson, helped the Nazis in their racial research. At the Central Archives, the Nazis were able to document many people's Jewish ancestry, including some who served in the armed forces. For example, one day, probably in the late 1930s, a "Jewish looking army officer" was sent to Jacobson "by his superiors to inquire whether he had Jewish ancestry." [157] Although Jacobson did not really want to help this officer, he found no evidence of Jewish ancestry. The officer left, evidently relieved by the result. By chance, the next day, Jacobson discovered that both the soldier's parents had been buried in the Jewish cemetery. [158] Although no record of what happened to this particular soldier exists, he was probably dismissed. This soldier's "ignorance" of his Jewish past was common among non-Aryan soldiers. Even though many full Jews did indeed feign ignorance, several Mischlinge, especially quarter-Jews, really did not know about their ancestry until after 1933.

Many first learned of their Jewish heritage when civil servants proved it to them. For example, Unteroffizier Kreuzer harassed one of his subordinates, quarter-Jew Reinhard Krackow, by calling him a Judenbengel [159] and other anti-Semitic names until Kreuzer suddenly learned that he himself was also a quarter-Jew. The army demoted him to Obergefreiter and he became deeply depressed. He even had the audacity to ask Krackow's father, Hans, for help. [160] Surprisingly, the Krackows decided to counsel the unfortunate man. If one could prove complete ignorance of one's Jewish heritage, the authorities were often more lenient. [161]

Some reported non-Aryans to the authorities because they believed in the need for a "racially pure" Wehrmacht while others reported non-Aryans because they saw racial laws as an opportunity to depose someone who stood in their way of a promotion, to settle old scores, or to be sadistic. [162] Enough people joined the witch-hunt that most non-Aryan soldiers and officers worried about their positions. Even if they were not discharged, many non-Aryans were passed over for promotion or sent to undesirable posts.

One did not have to be non-Aryan to have problems. It was enough to be married to one. For example, in July 1935, an anonymous letter arrived at a Munich police station which claimed that Dr. Zeise, a military psychologist, was married to a Jew. The police turned this information over to the army, and by March 1936, General Wilhelm Keitel had decided it was not wise to retain Zeise. [163] This case was then passed to Reichenau, now commander of the Seventh Army Corps. Although Reichenau wanted Zeise out of the army, he told the authorities to continue allowing Zeise to collect pis salary for the next three months to help him in his search for another job. It is not clear from the documents what ultimately happened to Zeise. [164] In 1937, Lammers appealed to government officials to stop their denunciations because he was overwhelmed with reports. [165] Whether disillusioned with their lives, anti-Semitic, or morally depraved, quite a few Germans derived gratification from seeing others overtaken by tragedy by denouncing them. [166] Once someone was denounced, like Zeise, or exposed, like Schmeling-Diringhofen, the Wehrmacht usually dismissed that person.
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Re: Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racia

Postby admin » Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:36 am

Part 2 of 2

THE NUREMBERG RACIAL LAWS OF 1935 AND THEIR AFTERMATH

The Nuremberg Laws enacted on 15 September 1935 marked a major step in clarifying racial policy and removing Jewish influences from Aryan society. [167] Interestingly, these laws, on which the rest of Nazi racial policy hung, were written hastily. In September 1935, Hitler decided that the time was ripe for more restrictions on Germany's Jews, especially since many Party militants had expressed their disappointment with the Arierparagraph. He outlined new laws for the protection of German blood and honor. These laws would "regulate the problems of marriage between 'Aryans' and 'non-Aryans.'" [168] On 13 September 1935, he called on Losener in the RMI, and others, among them state secretaries Hans Pfundtner and Dr. Wilhelm Stuckart, to formulate the legal language. [169] Hitler wanted to present these new laws at the Nuremberg Party rally on 15 September, leaving only two short days to write them. During these two days, several of the men involved in the drafting process did not sleep. A lot of preliminary work had been done for the drafting of such laws prior to 13 September, but they still had to agree on their severity and language. They wrote notes at mealtimes on menu cards as they threw together the laws that would decide the fate of millions. Hitler had asked these men to translate racial ideology into law. Remarkably, the head of Reich Office for Genealogy Research, Dr. Kurt Meyer, heard about these new laws for the first time when they were officially announced. He openly expressed his anger, humiliation, and surprise at not having been consulted during the drafting process. [170] Hitler made no pretense of basing these laws on any "scientific truths" discovered by his" racial scientists." His driving force was not reason but rather the need for an enemy. Hitler had said that if the Nazis had not had Jews, they would have had to invent them. [171] Since Hitler believed he was the sole authority on racial policy, he had the final say about what the law stated.

The laws issued on 15 September 1935, approved by Hitler personally, deprived Jews of citizenship, prohibited Jewish households from having German maids, forbade any German from marrying a Jew, and outlawed sexual relations between Jews and Germans. These laws enforced a new morality on Germans. Hitler claimed during a Reichstag session that the Nuremberg Laws would actually help the Jews by creating "a level ground on which the German people may find a tolerable relation with the Jewish people." [172] Hitler's statement was a "blatant deception, aimed at the outside world." [173] Regardless of what Hitler said, he implemented these laws to ostracize, discriminate, and expel Jews from society. [174] This was quickly gleaned from his speech when he next said that if this "tolerable situation" was not found and if the Jewish agitation both within Germany and abroad continued, then the position must be reexamined. [175] In other words, Hitler would then implement further laws and policies to persecute the Jews. The Nuremberg Laws, according to Hitler, were just a precursor to other more degrading decrees. To create his homogenous and harmonious Aryan society, Hitler had first to discard the Jews, a "people" incompatible with "true Germans." The Nuremberg Laws helped Hitler to take the first step toward getting rid of "these parasites" [176] and imposing racial conformity on society.

The Nuremberg Laws issued on 15 September 1935 prohibited marriages between Jews and Germans but failed to specify who counted as a Jew. Years of German-Jewish assimilation made this a difficult question to answer. The debate raged for the next several months. Hitler wavered between declaring half-Jews the same as Jews or keeping them separate as half-Jews. [177] Many issues about Mischlinge and intermarriage were discussed. For example, Nazi hard-liners thought the Arierparagraph had been too lenient. Dr. Gerhard Wagner, Reichsarztefuhrer (Reich doctors' leader) and a fanatical anti-Semite, had many talks with Hitler during the drafting of the racial laws. He wanted to equate all half-, quarter-, and even one-eighth-Jews with full Jews. [178] Such extremists argued that partial Jews were more dangerous than full Jews because their mix of German and Jewish blood would enable them to lead the state's enemies with the skill of Aryans. [179]

The racial theorist Dr. Achim Gercke in the RMI introduced another argument when he wrote in September 1935 that Mischlinge could really be disguised Jews. Anyone who mathematically defined "50 percent, 25 percent, 12.5 percent, 6.25 percent, etc., Mischlinge" had not understood Mendel's laws of genetics, Gercke maintained. Gercke warned that Mischlinge could also "mendel out pure Jews." [180] At this time, Hitler refused to give his decision on whether to declare half-Jews as Jews. Hitler's wavering was typical of his style of rule. He often avoided giving a final decision that involved choosing different options proposed by two or more of his trusted underlings. [181] And being the good politician he was, Hitler probably did not declare half-Jews as Jews because he did not want to alienate the Aryan families of Mischlinge too much.

The Nazis not only persecuted people of Jewish descent, but Aryan Germans with Jewish spouses as well. Sruckart in the RMI argued that anyone who married a Jew was an inferior German. Any children born to such parents did not deserve any better treatment than Jews, since their German half was not really worth protecting. [182] Streicher tried to convince Frick that Jewish semen permanently polluted an Aryan woman to such an extent that later, although married to an Aryan, she could not bear "pureblooded Aryan babies." [183] Luckily men like Losener, who were responsible for drafting these laws, did not take Gercke's or Streicher's beliefs too seriously. [184]

Throughout this process of defining Jewishness, Losener realized the problems inherent in labeling as un-German people who felt German, thereby marking them for persecution. Losener feared the disastrous social repercussions that would result from branding as Jews several highly decorated half-Jewish World War I veterans (one a Pour le Merite recipient) and distinguished supporters of the Nazi movement. [185] Losener argued that since most felt German and rejected Judaism, their suicide rate would climb dramatically if the government labeled them as Jews. [186] Losener also cautioned that if they treated half-Jews as Jews, the armed forces would probably lose 45,000 soldiers. [187] He felt that the "laws transformed dissimulation into an established fact [and] would minimize hatred," and he "stressed that legal segregation meant legal protection." [188] After the war, Losener explained his reasoning: "One could no more achieve any movement on the Jewish question in the narrow sense, i.e. the full-Jews, than one could move a mountain. It would also have been tactically the most stupid thing I could possibly have done because it would have removed any further possibility of making use of my position [in helping half-Jews]." [189] He knew the Jews were doomed but felt that he could save the Mischlinge from meeting the same fate if he could prevent the authorities from labeling them as Jews. In this battle between the Party, led primarily by Wagner, and the RMI, led by Stuckart and Losener, the RMI won. Hitler had been content to let these two factions fight it out. [190] Hitler apparently allowed the RMI to enact its version of the law because he feared the unrest in society that the harsh law of the Party fanatics would cause. According to historian Nathan Stoltzfus, Hitler was only concerned "for his popularity" in permitting RMI to get its way. [191]

On 14 November 1935, the RMI issued a supplement to the Nuremberg Laws of 15 September 1935 which created the racial categories of German, Jew, half-Jew (Jewish Mischling first degree), and quarter-Jew (Jewish Mischling second degree), each with its own regulations. [192] Apparently, Hitler decided for the time being to keep half-Jews as such rather than treating them as full Jews. Full Jews had three to four Jewish grandparents. [193] According to Hitler, when someone was more than 50 percent Jewish, he was beyond the point of saving and was evil (ubel). [194] Half-Jews had two Jewish grandparents, and quarter-Jews had one Jewish grandparent. [195] The azis had to resort to religious criteria to define these racial categories, [196] ultimately determined by birth, baptismal, marriage, and death certificates. Often stored in churches and courthouses, these records indicated what religion one adhered to or had left. When a Mischling belonged to the Jewish religion or was married to a Jew, the Nazis counted him as a full Jew. Jews could only marry Jews or half-Jews, and half-Jews could only marry Jews or other half-Jews. Quarter-Jews could only marry Aryans, although in practice they experienced difficulties in doing so. Marriages between a Jew and an Aryan that had occurred before 1935 were called "privileged mixed marriages" and provided some protection for the Jewish spouse. [197] Most Jews who survived the Holocaust in Germany were married to non-Jews. [198] At the same time, Hitler allowed some Mischlinge to apply for exemptions under section 7 of the supplementary decrees of November 1935. In some cases, if Hitler approved, the Mischling was allowed to call himself or herself an Aryan.

The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 laid the foundation for the next ten years of racial policy. Subsequent official documents usually replaced the term non-Aryan [199] with the more specific "Jewish Mischling first or second degree" and Jew. Although by 1938 Hitler felt the Nuremberg Laws had been too "humane," [200] he never changed them.

As Losener had predicted, these laws calmed many individuals of Jewish descent by clarifying their situation somewhat. Half-Jew Peter Gaupp, who called the time from 1933 until the racial laws of 1935 the "lawless years," [201] said:

In 1935, the laws came out, the Nuremberg Laws. That was the first time you knew where you stood legally .... Before it was all guesswork. You could meet a Nazi in some office and he could exterminate you or you could meet a Nazi that was very human and he could help you .... Before 1935, before the laws came out of Nuremberg, you swam your way through .... You know, there was no regulations. The laws of Nuremberg was the first, ah, form, legal shape where you knew where you stood. [202]


Mischlinge felt oppressed, but at least they knew where they belonged. Some Jews welcomed the laws because they felt that now they could live an "orderly existence." [203] Moreover, for a few years after these laws, most Mischlinge continued to live fairly "normal" lives -- that is, they were able to study, date, serve in the armed forces, and so on. Most felt pleasantly surprised that the majority of their Aryan friends and acquaintances did not treat them differently after the issuance of these laws. Kershaw wrote, "Between the promulgation of the Nuremberg Laws and the summer of 1938, it would not be going too far to suggest that the 'Jewish Question' was almost totally irrelevant to the formation of opinion among the majority of the German people." [204] Many people did not take the new laws seriously. As Kershaw claims, "[The Nuremberg Laws] appear to have passed by much of the population almost unnoticed." [205] It seems that those who did know about these laws, including Mischlinge, accepted them without objection. [206] Quarter-Jew Hans Koref claimed that he looked upon these laws as the "biggest heap of shit in world history"; however, he acknowledged them as binding. [207]

In 1936, Stuckart and his assistant, Dr. Hans Globke in the RMI, claimed that Nazi racial laws differed little from Jewish law: "The German people want to keep their blood pure and together just like the Jews have done since the prophet Ezra ordered them to do so." [208] Regardless of what Nazi officials said, these laws inflicted humiliation and suffering on Jews and Mischlinge. Quarter-Jew Hans Ranke said, "I was shocked [by these laws]. I no longer felt like a worthy German." [209] The Reichstag felt it had secured the purity of blood essential for the German people's future existence. [210] Lammers wrote Frick on 20 February 1936 that Hitler's goal in Mischling politics was to make the "mixed race disappear" and to force Mischlinge to lose their citizenship rights. [211] The Nazis used these Nuremberg Laws to define, control, and dehumanize Mischlinge and eventually to expel them from Aryan society. Germans had already experienced three years of Nazi rule and had come to accept anti-Jewish regulations. The average citizen also had a high respect for the law in general and would not have questioned its legitimacy. Those who might have objected privately feared reprisals enough to hold their tongues. Protest would have been suicidal folly.

The Wehrmacht quickly implemented regulations based on these laws. Blomberg, now minister of war, did not wait a whole year to implement the Nuremberg Laws [212] in the armed forces as he had done with the Arierparagraph. In the many conflicts that resulted from the increasing Party control over the Wehrmacht, Blomberg almost always sided with the Party. This case was not different. [213] On 12 November 1935, Blomberg stated that every "soldier is without a doubt a National Socialist, even if he isn't a card carrying Party member." [214] Such a declaration from the war minister could easily disconcert the average Mischling soldier. On 27 November 1935, a few days after the first supplementary decree to the Nuremberg Laws was issued, Blomberg ordered all officers and military civil servants to prove their Aryan descent. [215] Blomberg issued this order to identify the racially unreliable. If there was any doubt about a grandparent, then the great-grandparents were to be researched. Officers who had been protected by the Hindenburg exemptions until then no longer enjoyed this clemency. On 31 December, the Wehrmacht discharged most who had been protected by the Arierparagraph exemptions. [216] Their number remains unknown.

Only one officer protested these new racial decrees of 1935 through official channels. No less a figure than World War I Field Marshal August von Mackensen wrote Hitler on 3 December 1935 and argued that one should take care of Jewish war veterans who had been severely wounded and disabled and, because of the new laws, were vulnerable to financial hardships. But as far as Jews in general were concerned, he welcomed Nazi persecution. [217] Although he respected Mackensen, Hitler ignored his request. Unlike his reaction to Hindenburg's similar request in 1933, Hitler did not revise the laws. Mackensen, not receiving the desired action from Hitler, wrote Blomberg on 11 January 1936 with the same request. These exemptions, Mackensen argued, were in the army's interest. [218] Mackensen's request was still not granted. Jewish war veterans would not be helped.

After the Nuremberg Laws, several Mischling army officers were encouraged to transfer to the Luftwaffe, where many believed Goring would protect them from further discrimination. [219] Several officers stayed at their posts by falsifying their papers or by finding a commanding officer who would protect them (or both). [220] For example, when civil servants started chasing the later Marine-Oberbaurat Franz Mendelssohn, he falsified his documents and informed his superiors about his situation so that they could protect him. Then he became a Nazi Party member. [221] Officers like Mendelssohn took the precautions they felt necessary as Mischling restrictions multiplied, especially after World War I service no longer mattered. Some got lucky because their commanding officers still followed outdated laws. For example, the Tenth Army Corps commander wrote OKH in 1936 that he would not discharge the quarter-Jew Captain Peter Sommer (later Waffen-SS Obersturmbannfuhrer) because his father had died in World War 1. [222] This confusion in the Wehrmacht only increased as Hitler issued more stipulations on how to deal with Mischlinge. [223] During this time, Hitler and some of his associates left several Mischling officers at their posts without subjecting them to any persecution.

Throughout the first half of 1936, the Wehrmacht worked diligently along with the Reichskanzlei to find and process Jewish officers. Considering the work involved, one wonders whether these officials did anything besides thinking about how to handle Jews and Mischlinge. Yet, since the catalyst for making racist policy was Hitler, who according to associates could not talk ten minutes without discussing the Jews, [224] one should not find it surprising that the Nazis devoted so much time to formulating and applying racial laws. Blomberg argued against the laws that denied Mischlinge citizenship, saying that "anyone permitted to serve the State in the Wehrmacht must have the right to citizenship." [225]

Besides the citizenship issue, officials and officers argued whether Mischlinge should hold any positions of authority. From March to June 1936, Blomberg argued with Lammers and Frick whether the racial laws, when applied to the armed forces, should say that Mischlinge "should not" or "cannot" hold positions of authority. The debate stemmed from how the Reich should handle Mischlinge who warranted special treatment. Blomberg probably favored a more flexible position based on his experience with the implementation of both the Arierparagraph in 1934 and the draft law in 1935. Blomberg claimed that NCOs, not officers, actually held most positions of authority in the armed forces, and that the Wehrmacht should handle the racial requirements for officers and career soldiers. [226] He was not ready to relinquish total control over the Wehrmacht. In May of 1936, Hitler reached a compromise with Blomberg. The new racial policy read: "Jewish Mischlinge cannot hold positions of authority in the Wehrmacht: exemptions require the Fuhrer's consent." [227] Although Hitler allowed loopholes to be written into the laws, his public comments would never have led one to believe he endorsed such exemptions.

On 13 May 1936, Hitler admonished the Wehrmacht to learn and teach the racial principles and the laws designed to convert those principles into reality:

The National Socialist concept of state demands the nurturing of the idea of race, and of a specially selected group of leaders from people of pure German or similar blood. It is therefore a natural obligation for the Wehrmacht to select its professional soldiers, hence its leaders, in accordance with the strictest racial criteria above and beyond the legal regulations, and so to obtain a selection of the best of the German people in the military school of the nation. [228]


Hitler's next paragraph included instructions on how to select soldiers racially.  [229] Taking such statements of Hitler's seriously, Blomberg ensured that Nazi" teaching covered all instructional institutions, especially officers." [230] Yet Hitler contradicted the hard line he advocated publicly by making exemptions behind closed doors for Mischlinge.

In the summer of 1936, Field Marshal von Blomberg and Hitler enforced the policy that half- and quarter-Jews had to do military service, but that they could not hold positions of authority without Hitler's approval. [231] Interestingly, the Wehrmacht did not distinguish between half- and quarter-Jews with these initial policies -- they were only Mischlinge. [232] Nonetheless, despite the laws, many Mischling officers remained unknown to the authorities because it was difficult to document every person's ancestry.

During this time, Wehrmacht officials received letters from worried parents, angry Party members, and demoralized soldiers. Since the Nuremberg Laws affected the entire society rather than just the civil service, the numbers of complaints and petitions for exemptions increased dramatically. The Arierparagraph, introduced in the civil service in 1933 and in the armed forces in 1934, caused the number of cases dealt with by the Party Genealogy Office to increase from 4,887 to 7,692 from 1933 to 1934. The staff grew accordingly from 27 in 1933 to 126 in 1934. [233] The number of personnel would continue to grow in genealogy offices. Experts estimated that it would take 80 million Reichsmarks to check every German's ancestry. [234] This estimate was made before the Anschlufl of Austria and the incorporation of the Germans living in the Sudetenland and Memelland, which significantly increased the number of people involved. [235] When the exemption clause in the 1935 Nuremberg Laws became known, it prompted thousands of Mischlinge to write the government for help. Likewise, many Aryans wrote letters of condemnation and defamation against Mischlinge.

The Party often took it upon itself to help the armed forces identify Mischlinge. For example, the Kreisleiter [236] in Mannheim, Dr. Reinhard Roth, wrote Baden Gauleiter [237] Robert Wagner in Karlsruhe on 8 January 1936:

It's absolutely incomprehensible to us how such a politically questionable person [Captain Hans von Schlebrugge] who's not purely Aryan and whose anti-National Socialist sentiments have been clearly expressed on many occasions can become an army officer. ... His bank in Berlin has even told us that it's obvious from his business transactions that he's of Jewish descent. [238]


This information was sent to the Wehrmacht and ended up on Reichenau's desk. Luckily for the half-Jew Schlebrugge, the army did not take action against him. Reichenau wrote Wagner on 20 March 1936 that the army along with the political police (politische Polizei) had found nothing incriminating in Schlebrugge's papers. [239] On 13 June 1936, Wagner's deputy reminded Reichenau of Schlebrugge's Jewishness, this time including detailed data about his ancestry. [240] Even so, Schlebriigge's file shows that he remained with his unit and ended the war as a colonel decorated with the Ritterkreuz. [241] His superior described him in 1944 as a "National Socialist in attitude and action." [242] Many officers resented the Party's attempt to diminish their authority, as Reichenau's cool response demonstrated. In this case, Reichenau valued Schlebriigge's abilities more than the racial laws.

Most officers had to document not only their own ancestry but also that of their wives. Much to the surprise of their superiors, hundreds of men had married Mischlinge. During a conference of the Abwehr [243] on 27 January 1936, Abwehr personnel argued that future officers and their wives had to be Aryan, but present officers should not be punished for their wives' ancestries.  [244] However, on 1 April 1936, Blomberg ordered all personnel to prove their wives' Aryan descent. [245] When an officer had a Jewish or Mischling wife, the Wehrmacht sometimes told the man to choose between his wife and his career. In one case, Goring protected General Bernhard Kuhl's Jewish wife and half-Jewish sons for several years. One son served as an officer. Finally in 1938, Goring gave Kuhl an ultimatum, probably forced by Hitler, either to divorce his wife or leave the service. Kuhl divorced his wife. She left for the United States, and he stayed on as a general. His son, Lieutenant Heinz-Jurgen Kuhl, remained an officer and received the Deutschblutigkeitserklarung from Hitler. Heinz-Jurgen died in Rommel's Deutsches Afrika-Korps in 1942. [246] Kuhl was not the only one given an ultimatum. Navy Captain Arnold Techel, a friend of Raeder's, refused to leave his Jewish wife, Paula nee Pick, and was consequently discharged in 1938. [247] Although most soldiers felt such racial laws had no place in military policy, all had to take them seriously. Fritsch sent a letter to the various Wehrmacht offices on 15 January 1936 saying, "I expect from the spirit of brotherhood within the officer corps that officers will refrain absolutely from any conjectures or spreading of rumors about the non-Aryan ancestry of a comrade or his wife .... Any correspondence regarding the non-Aryan ancestry of an officer is to be treated as a secret matter." [248] Apparently, rumors had been spread. Mischling officers or their wives' racial flaws became a popular topic of conversation.

On 11 October 1936, the War Ministry announced that Mischlinge could not volunteer for military service; [249] however, this was not widely enforced. Many Mischlinge volunteered between 1936 and 1940. The Wehrmacht would have drafted them later anyway, but they wanted to serve the required time sooner so they could enter the university earlier or choose which military branch they fought in. Also, a good military record increased a young man's chances of being accepted for his desired course of study. With the scent of war already in the air, the Wehrmacht did not reject many volunteers. Even so, sometimes the armed forces made it difficult for Mischlinge to volunteer. For example, when half-Jew Felix Bruck volunteered in 1938, the Wehrmacht forced him to go through a racial test. He had to strip in front of three officials, who then measured various body parts. "It was incredibly humiliating," Bruck said. The Wehrmacht rejected him then, but drafted him a year later. [250]

On 19 October 1936, OKH issued an order to distinguish between half-and quarter-Jews. It specified that commanders could promote half-Jews no higher than Oberschutzen; [251] quarter-Jews could be promoted in special cases to higher ranks. [252] Klemperer knew about this order. In 1939, he wrote about the Meyerhof family, whose half-Jewish son served and "was even allowed to become a Gefreiter." [253] Klemperer went on to explain, however, that the Wehrmacht would not promote Meyerhof any higher because of the laws. [254] Once these racial laws were issued, many newspapers printed them. Ironically, although Mischlinge could serve and hundreds of Mischling officers remained in the Wehrmacht, OKH ordered officers on 15 December 1936 not to associate with civilians of Jewish descent. If officers had already developed such relationships, OKH encouraged them to break contact with such persons gracefully and respectfully. [255] This order, however, did not take into consideration that many enforcing it were either Mischlinge themselves or Aryans who had daily contact with Mischling soldiers. On 28 March 1938, OKW advised Wehrmacht personnel not to rent apartments from Jewish landlords. On 16 July 1938, the Wehrmacht even issued an order that no soldier could spend the night in a Jew's home. [256] The law did not specify whether Mischlinge were permitted to stay with their Jewish parents when home on leave.

Yet, many Mischlinge did not know about the racial regulations. Moreover, although the government had issued several laws on how to deal with Mischlinge, not every commanding officer knew about the new racial laws. For example, on 24 January 1938, the general command of the Seventh Army Corps chastised Munich's War School for promoting soldiers without checking their ancestry. The authorities instructed the school to revoke immediately any reserve officer status granted to anyone proven to be a Mischling. The letter further stated that even "Jewish Mischlinge" who had permission to remain Party members through a Gnadenakt (act of mercy) could not become NCOs or officers. [257]

Many Mischlinge were identified after the military racial laws had been issued. The Wehrmacht sometimes gave them the choice between discharge and demotion to the enlisted ranks. First Lieutenant Karl Henle, a half-Jew, refused to return to the rank of private and left the army. Yet, on 30 August 1941, when the Wehrmacht needed trained soldiers, Hitler reactivated Henle as an active army officer. Eventually, Hitler declared him deutschbliitig on 30 August 1941. Henle thought that his service might protect his Jewish father. For his valor in combat, his superior awarded him the EKII. On 18 August 1942, he died in battle as a captain. [258] Several Mischling soldiers, however, were not identified and discharged in the 1930s like Henle. They continued to serve and were promoted as usual.

By February 1938, nothing on the macro level of Wehrmacht policy could happen without Hitler's approval. Hitler removed Blomberg on 4 February 1938 because his second, considerably younger wife, Margarethe Gruhn, [259] had reportedly been a prostitute and had posed for pornographic photos. Hitler was furious with his war minister. [260] Blomberg left in disgrace. Although Blomberg supposedly had not known about his bride's sordid past, he refused to leave her. Soon thereafter in March 1938, Fritsch was accused of homosexuality and also had to leave his post in disgrace, though a military court later found the charge to be false. Most military personnel welcomed these moves, and those who thought the dismissals unorthodox simply accepted Hitler's reorganization of the Wehrmacht as a fait accompli. They did not realize at the time that this reshuffling of the command structure had left Hitler holding all the aces. [261] On 4 February 1938, Hitler declared that "henceforth, I exercise personally the immediate command over the whole armed forces." [262] Historian Wilhelm Deist writes that the Wehrmacht no longer was a "part of the foundation of the state but rather merely its instrument." [263] It was now a "National Socialist Wehrmacht." [264] Hitler had total control over the armed forces, [265] allowing him to "decide over war and peace." [266] Indeed, people in authority took Hitler's new position seriously. For example, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris explained on 3 March 1938 at an Abwehr conference that "today, every German officer should unconditionally be a National Socialist" and feel bound by his oath to Hitler. [267]

After taking control of OKW, Hitler turned his attention to Austria, where he flexed his new military muscles. On 11 March 1938, Hitler ordered the Wehrmacht to invade Austria, which many Austrians welcomed most heartily. [268] As of 15 March 1938, the Nuremberg Laws applied to all Austrian military personnel to be integrated into the Wehrmacht. Keitel, Blomberg's replacement, officially issued the order on 23 March 1938 to discharge Jews from the formerly Austrian army. [269] Generally speaking, the Austrians, who were more passionately anti-Semitic than the Germans, welcomed this change. [270] By the end of 1938, the Wehrmacht discharged at least 238 Austrian military personnel, most of them officers, for racial reasons. Possibly as many as sixty-six high-ranking officers were discharged because of their racial backgrounds. [271] These sixty-six high-ranking officers did not fare well as civilians. One general was allegedly murdered in 1938. One lieutenant colonel was sent to Mauthausen, where he committed suicide. Another lieutenant colonel was sent to Buchenwald, where he died. Four other officers were sent to prison; one of the men, a general, died there. [272] One can be sure that many more than sixty-six high-ranking officers were discharged from the Austrian Bundesheer for political reasons. [273] Some officers did not wait for the Nazis to deport them. Fearing the worst, a retired Jewish colonel first shot his wife, then himself. [274] He was not alone. Over five hundred Austrian Jews committed suicide, fearing the worst from their new Nazi government. [275]

Many Austrians accepted the racial laws with indifference. However, some Austrians, now known as Germans from the German state Ostmark, did not understand some of the Wehrmacht's racial policies. One Austrian Jewish soldier, Josef Getreuer, wrote:

As soon as the Austrian army received the insignia of the Wehrmacht, I was asked not to train any longer. German soldiers who were billeted in our garrison were very good. Nobody bothered me, I would speak freely and disagree with the Fuhrer. (I spoke in front of thirty soldiers one evening), and I received expressions of sympathy from German soldiers. My Austrian Nazi buddies even put me under their protection. [276]


Most of Getreuer's comrades would not have minded keeping him in the unit. He was an assimilated Jew and was just as German as the next man.

As in Germany, officials had trouble enforcing the racial laws in the newly acquired Ostmark. [277] Keitel, chief of OKW, reminded OKH, OKM, [278] and OKL [279] of the importance of the racial laws by repeating his order to discharge officers, NCOs, and soldiers who were Jews, Jewish Mischlinge, or married to Jews or Jewish Mischlinge on 3 November 1938. Keitel added that those married to quarter-Jews could remain at their jobs in special cases. He specified that only career-enlisted soldiers had to leave. Young Austrian Mischling males, like their German counterparts, still had to perform their mandatory military service. [280] For example, when Dr. Robert Braun received his draft notice in 1938, he wrote the Wehrmacht several times telling them of their apparent mistake because he was a half-Jew. The Wehrmacht ignored his letters and drafted him, and he served as a medical Unterarzt until his discharge for racial reasons in 1940. [281] Perhaps because of the confusion illustrated by Braun's case, on 23 November 1938, Keitel issued an additional decree repeating that racial laws only affected career soldiers. Mischlinge and those married to Jews and Mischlinge had to perform compulsory military service, but they could not choose to remain soldiers or expect promotions after their time was up. [282] In 1938, Keitel took this policy of not allowing Mischlinge positions of authority one step further and ordered that they could not perform sentry duties because the job implied a degree of authority. [283]  
From 1938 to 1939, Mischling soldiers experienced many social difficulties with Reichskristallnacht, the issuing of Jewish identification cards to their relatives, and the ever-present feeling of uncertainty. In a generous mood, Hitler instructed Field Marshal Goring to write a decree in late 1938 preventing families in which the father was Jewish and the mother Aryan from being moved to Jewish districts. Their children would have to perform Wehrmacht service and, thus, should not have to experience such persecution. If the mother was Jewish, the exemption did not apply. [284] Hitler believed that Aryan women who had intercourse with Jews should not be as persecuted as Aryan men who slept with Jews. [285] This decree was rare in that Hitler seemed to acknowledge the paradox inherent in a policy that forced men to risk their lives for a regime that discriminated against their families. This decree protected some Jews temporarily.

In 1939, the Wehrmacht continued to increase its Jewish persecution. On 20 January 1939, Hitler ordered the discharge of officers married to Jewish wives. [286] One does not know how many discharges resulted. Also, the army started discharging Mischlinge from munitions factories. During this time, the Kriegsmarine seemed to ignore many Mischling decrees. On 26 August 1939, the Kriegsmarine clarified its position on employing Mischling civilian contractors: "Since Mischlinge must serve in the armed forces and are supposed to be integrated into German society, they shouldn't be hindered in their economic pursuits. Consequently, there's no reason not to employ Mischlinge in military industries as long as they aren't classified as Jews and don't hold special or leadership positions." [287] The Kriegsmarine always seemed to lag behind the army in implementing racial policies. It is not known whether they dragged their heels intentionally, but this policy aided hundreds if not thousands of Mischlinge to stay in the Kriegsmarine.

Several powerful men, such as Raeder and Goring, enforced the racial laws inconsistently. They chose to ignore the fact that certain officers had non-Aryan wives, and both knowingly left several high-ranking Mischling officers at their posts. Although Raeder and Goring helped some Mischlinge, they did so while avidly supporting the Nazi government. For example, on 12 March 1939, Raeder, who just a few months previously had seemed relatively sympathetic to the Jews' plight, gave a virulently anti-Semitic speech on German Hero's Day. He said in part, "National Socialism, which originates from the spirit of the German fighting soldier, has been chosen by the German people as its ideology .... This is the reason for the clear and unsparing summons to fight Bolshevism and international Jewry, whose race-destroying activities we have sufficiently experienced in our own people." [288] In 1939, Goring instructed Heydrich to "solve" the Jewish question by forcing Jews to emigrate. [289] But by 1941, the methods of "solving" the Jewish question had radically changed, and Goring now charged Heydrich with the responsibility of exterminating all Jews in Europe. [290] In setting the priorities for their respective organizations, Raeder and Goring felt that protecting their Mischling comrades outweighed racial policy in certain cases. Their behavior typified the enforcement of racial policies throughout the military chain of command.

WORLD WAR II BEGINS, 1939

Just as many Nazis felt unsure or acted in contradictory ways when dealing with Mischlinge, many Mischlinge often reacted in bizarre ways when dealing with Jews or issues of Jewishness. Mischlinge often felt the same anti-Semitic emotions that non-Jews expressed. Many today have a tendency to believe that racism somehow applied only to non-Jewish Germans, but such attitudes had been passed on to Mischlinge as well, especially after living with Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda for six years. In 1939, when Germany invaded Poland, most Mischlinge felt just as horrified and disgusted by the appearance, habits, and living conditions of the Ostjuden as many German-Jewish soldiers of World War I had been. [291] Obergefreiter Heinz-Gunter Angress, a half-Jew, described that as his unit moved deeper into Poland, he felt Der Sturmer (a virulent anti-Semitic newspaper) had not exaggerated. The Jews there "looked simply horrible." [292] The later Unteroffizier Hans Muhlbacher wrote in his diary:

The Jews are dressed better on Saturday and go outside the ghetto (Ropczyce, Poland). I walk through the ghetto. It's awful what horrible people I see there. With grimacing faces they lean against the doors of their homes and businesses and stare amazed at the tall officers walking by .... Truly two worlds stand opposite one another.... The Jews give the impression of being the eternal Ahasverus. [293] .... The Jews make a much more decadent impression probably due to centuries of inbreeding. [294]


Although Muhlbacher had a Jewish mother, he did not see any connection with the Orthodox Jews in the ghetto. He depicts them as weak and lacking self-respect by not carrying themselves upright like the Germans. His description of these Jews as "decadent" and products of "inbreeding" shows his utter contempt for them. He calls them the anti-Semitic name" Ahasverus." Ironically, Muhlbacher's Jewish family had "wandered" from the East before finally settling in Vienna.

Most Mischlinge could not believe that any of their ancestors ever looked like Ostjuden and found their poverty and archaic customs embarrassing. While a Landser [295] during the invasion of Poland in 1939, half-Jew Gefreiter Friedrich Schlesinger was appalled to think that his ancestors looked like the Ostjuden he saw. [296] Many veterans interviewed showed pictures or told stories of soldiers cutting off Jews' beards, forcing Jews in traditional garb to push military wagons, or cruelly prodding Jews with guns. [297] Unfortunately, most Mischlinge did nothing to help Polish Jews they saw mistreated by fellow soldiers. Most claim today that such actions would have been foolish and unproductive, but their statements also betray some prejudice on their part. Quarter-Jew Hans Bernheim, [298] who today feels strongly Jewish and attached to his Jewish family (Mischpoke), "shamefully admits" that he stood by while German soldiers beat and cut the beards off Polish Jews. He especially regrets that he did nothing when his staff doctor leaped out of the marching column and shot a Pole, probably a Jew, in cold blood for no apparent reason. Bernheim continued to march. [299] A few did have the courage to intervene on behalf of certain Polish Jews, but these people were rare. For example, Gefreiter Helmut Kruger, a half-Jew, when he witnessed several soldiers vandalizing a synagogue, reminded them that they were in God's house. Surprisingly shamed, the men stopped and left. [300] Kruger's intervention was uncommon. Most Mischling soldiers celebrated the German victories with their comrades and hoped that their service would alleviate their discrimination back home. They worried little about the persecu tion of Jewish-Polish civilians by their countrymen. [301] Some Mischling soldiers mistakenly believed that the anti-Semitism directed toward Ostjuden would not be directed at them or their families. They underestimated Hitler's true intentions.

Many half-Jews distinguished themselves in Poland in 1939. For example, when the Poles attacked their position near Tomaszow, half-Jew Kanonier [302] Dietmar Brucher bravely removed several wounded comrades from the battlefield to the rear echelons. He witnessed how in fits of rage, some of his fellow soldiers committed "horrible acts" of violence. One of the few who had remained uninjured, Brucher continued to help wounded comrades in need of medical attention. While busy on the battlefield, he suddenly was forcefully knocked to the ground. He had been shot through the leg. He saw the enemy nearby and feared the worse, having heard rumors of what Poles did to wounded Germans. The Poles noticed Brucher but left him alone. One actually stopped and helped him dress his wound. They shook hands, and Brucher said, "War sucks (Krieg ist Seheisse)." [303]

Eventually, Brucher was found by his own troops and was sent back to Vienna to recover from his wound. While in a military hospital, his Jewish aunt, Gretel Florey nee Pick, visited him. Brucher worried about her son, Klaus Florey, who had served in the unit next to Brucher's during the campaign. She was happy to report that he had survived and was also in a military hospital in Vienna. [304]

For his "bravery in the face of the enemy," his commander First Lieutenant Schlike awarded Brucher the EKII. He also received the Wound Badge. Schlike ended his letter wishing Brucher a quick recovery so that "we can see you once again in our ranks." [305] Not all Mischlinge reaped the benefits of official recognition as Brucher did.

By October 1939, the fighting in Poland had ended. The time had come for promotions and medals, a process made more intricate by racial policy. Several Mischlinge have reported their officers' regret over not being able to award them the EKII or EKI because they were half-Jews. Also, when a Mischling deserved a promotion, the racial policy of not allowing Mischlinge to serve as NCOs or officers often meant that a potentially less qualified Aryan would get the job. For example, Fritz Steinwasser's commander told him that although he was a "good soldier," he regrettably could not promote him to sergeant because he was a quarter-Jew. When Steinwasser was still a Stabsgefreiter [306] after five years of service, his rank had become a bad joke. During the war, people who did not know the reason for his rank often wondered why such a good soldier remained unpromoted. Many thought only an idiot could get stuck as a Stabsgefreiter for five years and therefore treated him offensively. His military pay, significantly smaller than it would have been if he had received promotions, remained a constant reminder of his discrimination. [307] Obergefreiter Michael Gunther's letter of 28 February 1940 to his half-brother, Gefreiter Konrad Schenck, illustrates the frustration felt by so many half-Jews [308] who could not be promoted:

I can't be promoted, which is a real hardship, as only someone who has served in the army for a long time can really understand. If I were an idiot (Depp), then all this wouldn't be so hard to take. But, my captain tells me all the time how truly sorry he is that he cannot promote me to Unteroffizier, and I'm continually asked [by my comrades] why I've not been promoted. [309]


Although Gunther had served commendably for years and was an Abiturient,  [310] he had to resign himself to the fact that no matter how well he performed, his ancestry prevented him from being promoted. Gunther's officer had sent an application on Gunther's behalf to Hitler. After one year, the officer received a reply from Hitler's headquarters saying that the Fuhrer had "not yet decided" Gunther's case. Gunther's officer tried again later with the same result. Although his officer had the mental fortitude to apologize for this mistreatment, Gunther felt inadequate and abused. Being asked by his comrades about why he was not promoted only added to his feelings of inferiority and frustration. Many Mischlinge, like Gunther, resented that they did not receive the rewards their intelligence and actions deserved.

The reason why many Mischlinge were not being promoted quickly became common news among the troops. Achim von Bredow, a 37.5 percent Jew, was never promoted because of his racial background. He wrote his sister Ada: "[T]he only unpleasant thing is that soon the whole regiment will know my embarrassing situation [apparently most in his platoon knew about his case]. Life is awful here. I had resigned myself to playing the eternal Gefreiter. ... If it [the application for clemency] doesn't work out, I want to change regiments to get away from it all." [311] Two days later, Bredow wrote his parents: "Unfortunately, my situation has made the rounds here." [312] Often, Mischlinge described their fellow soldiers as sympathetic and somewhat understanding of their situation; however, they also felt that many of their comrades looked on them as cripples. The fact that the men in their units knew about their situation was embarrassing. They struggled to maintain a sense of dignity and self-respect in an organization that often reminded them that they were inferior.

Most Mischlinge not only felt upset about the military treatment they received, but also were disturbed by how the Nazis treated their Jewish family members. Mischling soldiers home on leave felt outraged by the persecution their parents suffered. Traditionally parents of soldiers were honored by their communities, but Jewish parents of soldiers were excluded from such praise and glory in 1939 and 1940. After the war in Poland, thousands of Mischlinge returned home in the winter of 1939-1940 and found that their mothers and fathers had lost their jobs, could not shop in certain stores, and that Nazis spit on some of them in public. The laws enacted on 17 August 1938 required Jews to add either Israel or Sara to their first names by 1 January 1939, and on 5 October, they were required to have their passports marked with the letter J (Jude -- Jew). [313] GermanJews and Mischlinge could not walk in parks or a city without seeing benches marked" Only for Aryans" or signs outside restaurants saying "Jews Not Welcome." These decrees and others added insult to injury for Mischling families and soldiers who had risked their lives fighting for Germany. [314] Although Mischling soldiers' families did enjoy some protection from persecution in the late 1930s and early 1940s, they felt they deserved more. Many Mischling soldiers complained to their commanders about the mistreatment of their parents. Complaints also poured into military offices from families whose sons fought in the Polish campaign. Clara von Mettenheim, a Jew with three sons in the Wehrmacht, wrote army commander in chief General Walther von Brauchitsch on 8 December 1939 on behalf of all half-Jewish soldiers, asking him to work with the Party to alleviate the problems they and their families experienced:

I speak to you as the mother of three soldiers, and as an old soldier's wife [of Lieutenant Colonel Erwin Fischer]. [315] ... My boys are soldiers from head to toe. The godfather of one of my boys is Germany's crown prince, [316] and my old friend [General von] Seeckt held the other one at his christening. My sons are Mischlinge because of me. During the war, when my sons were fighting in Poland, we were tortured here on the home front as if there were no more important tasks to be done during the war. ... Please [stop this mistreatment of half-Jewish soldiers and their parents]. [317]


Frau von Mettenheim felt desperate and did not understand why a family of their social standing had to endure such persecution. She felt guilty for the misfortune that had visited her family and pleaded with Brauchitsch to remove the obstacles her sons faced. She described how angry it had made one of her sons when he returned from the war in Poland to find that his sister had been expelled from certain organizations and his mother was constantly being persecuted. For example, Obergefreiter Dieter Fischer accompanied his mother to the Office for Jewish Affairs on the street Hermes Weg to pick up her Jewish identification papers. [318] He wore his uniform with his EKII, Wound Badge, and Assault Badge. He did so not to provoke anyone but because he was about to return to his unit, never imagining how this would shock those in that office. He returned to the front deeply upset and worried about his mother. Frau von Mettenheim enclosed her son's picture in this letter

to prove that my son does not degrade the Wehrmacht racially .... I beg you to use your influence to make sure the Party leaves those [Jewish Mischlinge and their relatives (judisch Versippte)] alone .... These men already have it bad enough being treated as second-class soldiers, they shouldn't also have to worry about their families at home while they are fighting a war. [319]

Frau van Mettenheim's request was logically argued, and one would think that the Wehrmacht should have anticipated such predicaments; however, this was obviously not the case. Before the army could answer her request though, they had to complete her racial dossier. OKH wrote her back on 16 December asking exactly how non-Aryan she was. [320] She answered, and on 24 December, probably because of her connections with Seeckt, Keitel informed her that the offices responsible for such cases would look into what they could do to help Jewish parents of soldiers. [321] On 16 January I940, Frau von Mettenheim received a letter from chief of the general Wehrmacht office, [322] General Hermann Reinecke, stating that the RMI rather than OKW was responsible for these issues. [323] Apparently, Frau van Mettenheim then sent her request to the RMI after being brushed aside by OKW.

Perhaps annoyed by such protests, on 16 January 1940, Hitler ordered the Wehrmacht to ascertain how many Mischling soldiers there were to "get a clear picture of the situation." [324] Keitel informed the government that this number could not be determined before April. [325] On 16 January, Hitler, in an OKW decree, decided that anyone married to a quarter-Jew could be used in war but could not become an active officer. [326] On 20 January, OKW confirmed the rule that men married to Jews or Jewish Mischlinge could remain in the Wehrmacht but not hold ranks higher than sergeant, [327] which in practice did not happen.

At the beginning of 1940, the armed forces and government continued to entangle themselves in unclear policies regarding Mischlinge. Although Hitler had drawn the lines of enforcement, he issued new decrees regarding Mischlinge at a frequency that made it difficult for government agencies to avoid implementing outdated, and thus conflicting, policies. As Ian Kershaw wrote, "The character of Hitler's decisions was guaranteed to lead to continuing uncertainty .... The open-ended nature of some decrees, bestowing extensive power which conflicted with those of other authorities, could create serious problems of implementation." [328] It proved difficult for a Mischling family to keep abreast of the new decrees that controlled their lives. For example, Hans Schenck wrote his friend, the lawyer Dr. Ferdinand Bang, on 12 January 1940 complaining that Konrad, his third son, presently in the army, had been rejected by the university's medical school. The father complained that his son's commander wanted to help Konrad and had promoted him to Unteroffizier. Before the paperwork went through, the commander found out Schenck was a Mischling, and the promotion was canceled. The father was perplexed because his other son had been promoted to Unteroffizier without difficulty. [329]

On 14 February 1940, Admiralstabsarzt Dr. Fikentscher turned to OKW on behalf of a half-Jew and retired navy staff doctor, Ferdinand Rohr, brother of the famous World War I storm battalion commander, Willy Rohr. [330] Rohr had described the adversity Mischlinge experienced, [331] having not only himself and his siblings in mind, but all their children as well. It is significant that Fikentscher listened to Rohr and took his grievances directly to OKW, and it may have had some influence on Hitler. It was noted after this conference that Hitler would consider protecting half-Jewish parents of those soldiers who had proven themselves in battle and who had been declared deutschblutig. [332] Rohr had two nephews (Heinz and Joachim Rohr) who would receive this highly sought after exemption in December 1939, but any protection that it may have given their half-Jewish father, Willy Rohr, was for naught because he was the only one of Ferdinand Rohr's siblings who had already died.
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Re: Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racia

Postby admin » Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:34 am

Part 1 of 2

Chapter 5. The Policy toward Mischlinge Tightens, 1940-1943

Mischling Policy in the Wehrmacht Becomes Strieter, 1940


In March 1940, the military future for half-Jews looked bleak. The famous Evangelical theologian Heinrich Gruber, an enemy of Hitler and a good friend of Clara von Mettenheim, tried to discuss her sons' cases in March 1940 with some OKW contacts he had: "I tried to describe the difficult situation these young men found themselves in, but I didn't find the officers very understanding." [1] According to a memorandum written on 26 March 1940 for deputy head of the KdF, Viktor Brack, [2] the chief Wehrmacht adjutant, Colonel Rudolf Schmundt, had told Hitler about Frau von Mettenheim's embarrassing experience when her son Dieter accompanied her to acquire her Jewish identification card. Schmundt told Hitler that the son had been decorated in Poland for bravery and was shocked at how his mother had been treated. Hearing this story, Hitler pronounced such events intolerable. Either all half-Jews must immediately leave the Wehrmacht, Hitler stated, or the government must protect their Jewish parents. Hitler did not want to protect full Jews, so he ordered the half-Jews discharged. [3] The Nazis felt Mischlinge were overly ambitious to distinguish themselves in battle to protect themselves and their families. The Nazis did not like this attitude. Klemperer wrote that from what he had heard, the half-Jews had been dismissed because the army wanted to advance these brave soldiers, an idea that the Party would never tolerate. [4]

On 28 March 1940, Brack's deputy in Section IIb of the KdF, Oberbereichsleiter Werner Blankenburg, responsible for Mischling applications, discussed the problems that half-Jewish soldiers' families experienced. He wrote Hitler's army adjutant major, Gerhard Engel, that Jewish parents could not go into cinemas with their soldier sons; they had problems with ration cards, despite their sons' military service; and they lost their jobs. Blankenburg complained that such treatment could affect troop morale. Furthermore, he explained, the half-Jews could turn into a liability. If they became enemies of the state, then they could use their military training and possible military secrets against the Nazis. Therefore, Blankenburg supported the proposal to discharge all half-Jews. [5] If the half-Jews were not discharged, then Blankenburg argued it was important to know what residual benefit such combat service would have for their parents. Blankenburg informed Engel that the chief of the KdF, Philipp Bouhler, was willing to meet Keitel if he wanted. If such a meeting did take place, Blankenburg also recommended to have Lammers there. Blankenburg felt that the total number of half-Jews would playa vital role in what the regime would decide. [6] That number was still not forthcoming, although Hitler had ordered a Mischling census on 16 January. It remains unknown if OKW ever gave Hitler an answer. The Wehrmacht adjutants shared Blankenburg's concerns, and consequently they welcomed the KdF's willingness to take the initiative to get the half-Jews discharged. [7]

On 8 April 1940, under Hitler's direct order, OKW issued the directive requiring the dismissal of half-Jews and soldiers married to Jews and half-Jews. Keitel signed the decree. [8] This order was passed down the chain of command to the company level. [9] Blankenburg believed that his letter of 28 March 1940 about Mischling problems influenced Hitler to dismiss the half-Jews. [10] Blankenburg may have influenced Hitler, but more likely Hitler had already decided to discharge the half-Jews on 26 March after hearing about the Mettenheims' problems.

This order explicitly stated that exceptional half-Jews could apply for exemptions. Hitler allowed half-Jews who filed such petitions to remain with their units until the authorities and he decided their cases. Mischling officers who had received Hitler's clemency before the 8 April decree could remain at their posts. Hitler allowed quarter-Jews and men married to quarter-Jews to stay, but they could not become NCOs or officers unless they had Hitler's approval, which they would only receive by demonstrating exceptional service in battle. Furthermore, quarter-Jews and men married to quarter-Jews who were retired NCOs, officers, or civil servants could be reinstated only if their talents proved absolutely indispensable. Hitler would personally decide on all applications. [11] Anyone less than "25 percent Jewish" was not officially affected by the laws. But that did not mean men less than 25 percent Jewish were left alone. For example, when brothers Tycho and Prosper Du-Bois Reymond tried to become officers, the Wehrmacht rejected them because they were" 12. 5 percent Jewish." [12]

On 20 April 1940, OKH passed on the OKW decree from 8 April. OKH repeated the definitions of a Jew, half-Jew, and quarter-Jew and reinforced the edict that every soldier had to sign an ancestry declaration. As is often the case with Mischling policy, it is important not to confuse formal pronouncement with results. Because of war preparations, the Wehrmacht did not have enough time or personnel to locate, document, and discharge all half-Jews then serving. The Wehrmacht was unable to discharge any half-Jews who served with units that had invaded Norway and Denmark on 9 April 1940. Most in units preparing for the French campaign also remained untouched because of bureaucratic mishaps or the secrecy surrounding the plans for the attack on France and the fact that many were not known to be half-Jews. [13]

Not all who remained did so because of the Wehrmacht's inability to locate them -- many units simply did not enforce the new decree. And, of course, when many half-Jews were asked to sign ancestry declarations, they simply lied about their racial backgrounds. [14] For instance, Obergefreiter Heinrich Bamberger's sergeant called him to headquarters and asked him whether he was a half- or quarter-Jew. Bamberger lied and said he was a quarter-Jew. Then the sergeant had him sign a statement declaring he was a 25 percent Jew. The Wehrmacht would tolerate his presence, but he could not be promoted or receive medals even if he deserved them. [15] Moreover, the document warned Bamberger that if he gave the army any reason to take disciplinary action against him, he would be subject to more severe punishment than normal. Bamberger wrote, "I signed the document and returned to my company, and I was totally depressed and downcast. I almost cried." [16] Had Bamberger's commander looked into his case, he would have found that Bamberger had lied. After Bamberger signed his ancestry declaration, his unit dropped the issue. Some half-Jews, if asked about their background, simply told their commanders that they were Aryans, and most officers did not doubt them. Unlike Bamberger, unless someone researched their ancestry, these Mischlinge were left alone and remained in their billets.

Why did many units not properly enforce Hitler's decree? Several half-Jews remained because their commanders wanted to keep experienced soldiers in their units. Interviewees stated repeatedly how their commanders expressed total disregard for the April laws, and thus, they stayed with their companies. For example, Obergefreiter Horst Geitner, whom the Luftwaffe had honored with a position on Goring's special guard battalion, always feared what would happen to him if someone discovered he was a half-Jew. When he told his company commander, First Lieutenant Ladach, about his concerns, Ladach just winked at him and said he had nothing to fear. Geitner remained at his post. Later, while fighting on the Russian front, he was the first in his battalion to receive the EKII for his bravery, although the officer who gave him this award knew about his ancestry. [17]

Many interviewees have described how their superiors explained that they knew about their Jewish past but respected their abilities and would allow them to stay. Their commanders often warned them not to do anything careless that would draw the attention of the authorities. Some commanders simply said they would discuss the matter after the campaign in France, which seemed a much more pressing concern than the new racial decrees. For example, Dieter Fischer's commander decided he would ignore Hitler's decree until hostilities ceased. This extra time before Fischer's inevitable discharge would give him the opportunity to distinguish himself and thereby help his plea for equality. Maybe commanders like Fischer's also held on to their half-Jewish soldiers because they wanted the unit to perform as well as possible in the upcoming battle, and the more trained men they had familiar with each other, the better chance they had of achieving their objectives. The commanders may also have felt loyalty to soldiers who had trained for months or years in their unit. When one works with a group of soldiers during trying circumstances, that group usually becomes a close-knit surrogate family. [18]

After the quick victory in France, commanders no longer could say they needed the half-Jews to fight or claim they were too busy fighting a war to deal with the matter. Fischer's commander had to discharge him. When Fischer left his unit, all his comrades and unit commander accompanied him to the train station to see him off. [19] No matter how strong the bonds of comradeship or how clearly the commanders saw the common humanity of half-Jews, after the war was over, most obeyed the law to dismiss them. Surprisingly, almost all half-Jews in this study describe their officers as sympathetic to their situation and say they were treated decently. [20] Karl-Arnd Techel said, "My officer told me that I was a good soldier and that he did not care that I was a half-Jew. He told me that such a term was only used by that 'madman Hitler."' [21] Half-Jew Gefreiter Otto Luderitz claimed that "my superiors were incredibly nice to me and made sure that I received the EKII. I'm still amazed at how kind and understanding they were with my situation." [22]

Many officers asked the half-Jews whether they wanted to apply for permission to stay in the Wehrmacht. Most opted to apply for clemency. The few who did not were immediately released. For instance, Gerd zu Klampen was asked in June 1940 whether he wanted to remain in the Wehrmacht. He refused, and a few days later was sent home. [23]

Since the racial status of many was unknown, commanding officers had to rely on these soldiers to answer questions honestly. Sometimes officers asked all half-Jews in the company to step forward during roll calls or report later. The roll call technique allowed several half-Jews to lie about their situation. In this situation, lying was as simple as standing still. Many were honest during roll calls, but several lied, afraid they would be persecuted if they reported themselves. Unteroffizier Hans Gunzel said, "When our sergeant asked for half-Jews to step forward during our roll call, I remained still and thought, 'God help me.' Another man reported himself. We never saw him again." [24] Others were identified when asked to sign an "ancestry declaration," which in most cases simply stated that a person was either a non-Jew or Jew. Some were honest and wrote "half-Jewish" or told the bureaucrats that they could not truthfully sign the document. Yet, just as in the roll call situation, many "truthfully" signed that they were non-Jews according to their understanding and, thus, remained in their units.

Half-Jews reacted in many ways to the 8 April decree. Some felt lucky about the discharge order. Unterarzt Robert Braun remembered feeling "happy that I didn't have to serve that idiot anymore." [25] Most felt loyal to Germany despite their disgust at having to serve under Hitler's command. Unteroffizier Karl-Arnd Techel, who had parachuted onto Crete, said, "I felt honored to be a paratrooper [an elite branch of the Luftwaffe] and serve Germany, but I hated the fact that I had to serve Hitler to do so. When I was discharged, I no longer had to struggle with this dilemma." [26] Some hated military life. When Schutze [27] Joachim Le Coutre's girlfriend informed him about the decree, which she had read in a newspaper, he immediately told his company commander his situation and demanded his discharge. He abhorred the Wehrmacht and thought his officers were "big assholes." The officer replied, "Everybody could come here with such a story and say he wants to go home." Le Coutre then told him to look into the matter, and a few days later he was discharged. [28] Le Coutre was not alone in reporting his ancestry. Others did the same thing, although for different reasons. They felt tired of not being promoted, tired of war, tired of being treated like second-class citizens, and tired of serving a cause many did not believe in. So some welcomed the new racial decree.

Many have said that their comrades congratulated them on being able to go home. [29] Some envied the half-Jews this freedom. [30] One comrade, who was a quarter-Jew, wished Wolfgang Spier luck and remarked wistfully, "If only 1could've had one more Jewish grandmother!" [31] Peter Gaupp had grown up with many of his fellow soldiers and considered his company and comrades "family." They knew he was half-Jewish, but apparently, most did not seem bothered by it. [32] Gaupp sought permission to stay in the army but was rejected. When Gaupp left, his comrades threw him a party. [33] However, not every comrade of a discharged half-Jew was as friendly as the men in Gaupp's unit. After Gefreiter Michael-Christoph Salinger's reason for his discharge became known, a comrade, who he thought was a friend, approached him, spat in his face, and called him a "Jewish pig." When Salinger was asked how he felt, he replied, "Strangely enough, I was not offended .... At that moment, I thought, 'I hope there's no bacteria in his spit,' and then I thought, 'Forgive them, for they know not what they do.''' ['34]

Fortunately, Salinger's case was rare. The majority of Mischlinge recalled their commanders and comrades as being sympathetic when their discharge order was issued. Unterarzt Robert Braun remembered his commander calling him "one of the best soldiers" as he left. [35] Some commanders even apologized for discharging their half-Jews. For example, Gerd Grimm's officer treated him with respect and told him he regretted what he had to do, but the Wehrmacht required him to discharge half-Jews. [36] Most still think fondly of their comrades, although they hated war and military life. Fellow soldiers had usually treated them respectfully. When Friedrich Schlesinger's comrades started talking about the Jews, one of them said, "You know, there's something wrong with the Jews. But not you, Schlesinger. You're all right." [37]

Many commanders wrote a positive recommendation for their discharged half-Jews. [38] A standard recommendation read as follows: "Hans Comely, a Mischling first degree, wasn't promoted because of his ancestry, although he was a decent and dutiful soldier. His Jewish ancestry also prevented him from being awarded the EKII." [39]

A half-Jew's discharge could be traumatic. A few suffered severe humiliation. Wolfgang Jordan's commander singled him out as the entire company waited at attention and explained that Jordan was being discharged because he was racially inferior. The commander completed the paperwork, and Jordan left his unit a few hours later, devastated by the public humiliation. [40] Richard Riess was sent home to Vienna. There he first had to go to an SS office, where they measured his head and other body parts. The SS then issued him an official half-Jew certificate. Riess was scared. He had seen the SS blow the heads off black French colonial POWs and feared what the SS would do to him, another "racially inferior" person. The SS merely told him that he was unworthy to serve in the Wehrmacht and sent him out saying, "Maze! tov!" [41] Karl-Heinz Scheffler saw the treatment of black POWs as an indication of what half-Jews should expect. [42] Many had witnessed the way Polish Jewry had been treated in 1939 and feared they would be treated similarly. A few half-Jews did not survive the announcement of their racial status long enough to be formally discharged. When Wilhelm Vielberth reported his racial status, his officer pulled out his pistol and shot Vielberth dead. [43]

After the April 1940 decree, some officers worried that they might be punished for having half-Jews among their troops. They saw the presence of half-Jews as a threat to their prospects for advancement. Other officers felt betrayed when they learned that soldiers under their command were Mischlinge. These officers often threatened them with disciplinary action because they believed they had been deceitful. However, in most cases, the officers found that the soldiers had honestly reported their ancestry. The authorities, and not the half-Jews, had overlooked, concealed, or omitted this information. For example, Gefreiter Heinz Bleicher was called to his company commander sometime during the fall of 1942. The commander yelled at him, "Why haven't you told us that you're a Jew?" Bleicher calmly explained that he had always written" Mischling first degree" in all his papers. The commander, not being satisfied with his answer, had Bleicher brought before a court because he, as a "Jewish person," had been training Aryans. After the hearings, Bleicher was absolved of all wrongdoing because his superiors, and not he, had failed to follow the regulations. Bleicher had not known that half-Jews were not allowed to serve. Soon thereafter, the army discharged Bleicher and he returned home. [44]

Later, Party or Gestapo officials (or both) identified many Mischlinge when they found out they were the sons or grandsons (serving in the Wehrmacht) of Jews they had deported or put in jail. Most of these soldiers were not found until late 1941 and early 1942 when the deportations started in earnest. Apparently, not much coordination between the Wehrmacht and Party existed.

Despite such complications, many half-Jews wanted to remain in the Wehrmacht. They claimed that on the one hand, they wanted to leave, but on the other hand, they felt that in the Wehrmacht they were safe from Nazi persecution. They maintain that only in the Wehrmacht could one escape the Nazis. Funker [45] Ferdinand Lichtwitz wrote, "In the army everything was different. In the army, you were ... guarded [i.e., from the Gestapo]." [46] Many knew that the only way to improve their lot was to remain soldiers and get a medal. For example, on 6 August 1940, Dieter Bergmann wrote that he longed to prove himself in a great battle and show he was worthy to serve the fatherland. [47] Many distinguished themselves in battle, and thousands received the Iron Cross. [48] Sometimes the desire to distinguish themselves ended in tragedy; many Mischlinge went beyond the call of duty to earn medals that cost them their lives. Out of the 967 half-Jewish soldiers documented in this study, 80 died in battle, [49] and out of the 607 quarter-Jewish soldiers, 76 died in battle.

Many half-Jews remained soldiers to help their families. Unteroffizier Egon Bahr claimed that because he was in uniform, he was able to obtain normal ration cards for his Jewish mother, who had to wear the Jewish star and feared leaving her home. [50] Since the government prohibited Jews from eating certain foods rich in nutrients, such as fish, milk, and poultry, and limited where and when Jews could shop, [51] Bahr's efforts on his Jewish mother's behalf helped maintain her health. When on leave in Munich, Walter Hamburger would visit the Gestapo and Gauleitung [52] dressed in his uniform to ensure that his parents would be allowed to remain in their apartment and that his father would not be persecuted. According to Hamburger, his efforts helped his family. Hamburger also described a time when the Gestapo did not arrest his father because when they entered the house, his mother pointed to a picture of him in uniform. They challenged the Gestapo, who were about to arrest the father of a soldier. When a Gestapo official asked his mother how that was possible, she answered that they "must ask the Fuhrer" to find out. The Gestapo then left. [53] Several have claimed that they thought the only way to safeguard their Jewish loved ones was to serve and receive honors. Helmut Kruger believed that by receiving the EKII, he had secured protection for his siblings and Jewish mother. [54]

Finally, some fought, even gave their lives, because they believed in the war. They got caught up in the excitement of victory. On 1 September 1939, half-Jew Dietmar Brucher wrote in his diary, "The old injustice of Versailles must be erased." [55] Quarter-Jew Hans-Christian Lankes wrote in his diary in late September 1939, "[T]he most beautiful report today is that German troops are in Warsaw!" [56] On 9 June 1940, Unteroffizier Bergmann wrote in his diary, "We're conquering! The greatest slaughter of all times ended on 4 June." [57] Bergmann wrote on 2 August 1940 that he "believed with my whole heart" that Germany would win the war. He continued, "I must believe in this victory, because I've sacrificed so much for it. I also believe in it because of my burning love for the Fatherland." [58] Many Mischlinge wanted to fight, and knew they might die, just as their forefathers had done for Germany in the past. They fought to return Germany to her place of honor among nations and felt proud to be soldiers. Bergmann seemed to believe Nazi propaganda when he wrote on 22 August 1940 that England was controlled by "Jewish capitalistic pigs (judische Kapitalistenschweine)." [59] As historian Marion Kaplan wrote, "[M)any who disliked or opposed the Nazis were confused or infected by the atmosphere."  [60] Bergmann, like many Mischlinge, did not see himself as Jewish and was caught up in the war fever. That was the difficult position many Mischlinge found themselves in -- they were German and felt personally involved in Germany's war. Some felt excited about battle, which is quite common among young men. For example, half-Jew Unteroffizier Emil Lux said that it was "a great feeling to be a great warrior (Kampfer)." Lux described how exhilarating it was to see how the Russians ran away when they engaged them in battle. [61] Dieter Bergmann said, "[A]s a soldier, you felt powerful. You felt strong and German. You could threaten people." [62] In April 1941, when Luftwaffe paratrooper Karl-Arnd Techel, a half-Jew, received live ammunition he wrote in his diary, "It's finally here [the attack of Crete]. The time that we've waited for so long. The deployment! The 'jump' against the enemy!" [63] Many not only felt that it was their duty to serve, but also found themselves caught up in the enthusiasm of going to war. Some residing in foreign countries when war erupted in 1939 quickly returned to Germany to enlist. [64] They did not want to miss the fight. A few even did everything they could to return to Germany once taken into captivity. For example, once the pocket battleship Graf Spee was scuttled after the Battle of River Plate, chief gunnery officer and half-Jew Paul Ascher was interned in Argentina. He soon escaped and returned to Germany. In 1941, he became the fleet operations officer on the battleship Bismarck. [65]

Most did not find their situation paradoxical until later, usually after the war in France when the Wehrmacht dismissed many of them. In August 1940, Bergmann started to recognize his true situation: "I cannot be entirely optimistic about the outcome of the war. The Nazis want to get rid of me." [66] Bergmann knew that the Nazis had many reasons to do away with him; namely, he was not only Jewish but also a homosexual. In 1940, his family started to experience obvious signs of discrimination. Although his brother, Schutze Ulrich Bergmann, had died in battle on 18 May 1940, his family's racial status prevented them from being as honored as others who had fallen sons and brothers. Ulrich's commander had claimed that they had to keep his name out of the local newspapers because of his "racial mistake." [67]

Another example of this lack of respect shown to the family of a fallen Landser happened to Hans Meissinger and his mother Rosa when they met a comrade of his dead brother, Ernst. The "friend," Plorin, wanted to pay his respects to his comrade's family. Plorin praised Ernst for his camaraderie and described how he had bravely died in battle. During the conversation, Frau Meissinger told Plorin it was agonizing to have lost her son in "Hitler's army" because she was a Jew. Plorin had not known this about Ernst. Shocked, he cursed the Jews as the cause of all that had befallen Germany. She tried to contradict him by describing her honorable brothers, World War I veterans. Hans and his mother then left "the scene of that explosive encounter." Frau Meissinger broke down and cried. Later, Plorin's wife called Frau Meissinger and taunted her, saying that she would soon be deported. [68] With each passing day, any illusions that half-Jews may have had before April 1940 about their military service helping them were slowly eaten away by the proliferation of anti-Jewish measures. Yet, during this atmosphere of growing intolerance, many still remained soldiers.

Hitler seemed to understand the difficulty of locating and discharging Mischlinge during the war in France. When Schmundt informed the victorious Fuhrer that most half-Jews had remained with their units during the French campaign and that many had been decorated, Hitler did not erupt in anger. He certainly was not prepared for this, but believed there was nothing they could do about it. [69] These men had served, but they were now to be found and dismissed.

After the war in France, many half-Jewish veterans felt the government was obligated to honor them as citizens and protect their families. They were sadly mistaken, but their experiences as soldiers bolstered their will to fight for equal rights. Even Hitler agreed somewhat with their position. On 2 October 1940 Schmundt wrote to chief of the KdF, Philipp Bouhler, saying that Hitler had said that half-Jewish veterans had rendered the Reich and the National Socialist state a great service, even if only by accident. Hitler admitted that many had been decorated, and he agreed that second-class treatment of them was unworthy of the Nazi state. As a result, Hitler told Schmundt that such decorated soldiers were to be immediately declared deutschblutig. Hitler stated that this Ausnahmebehandlung (exceptional treatment) applied only to Mischlinge; the soldiers' relatives would not enjoy any residual benefit. [70]

This Hitler decree was repeated in various ministries. For example, on 18 December 1940, Blankenburg wrote Losener that according to Hitler, Mischlinge who had received combat medals were to be declared deutschblutig.  [71] In addition, Hitler ordered that these brave Mischlinge should have no problems with their university studies. [72] But in practice, many courageous Mischlinge did not receive any form of clemency.

From 8 April of 1940 to December 1940, the Wehrmacht discharged thousands of half-Jews. [73] One officer in OKH has stated that over seventy thousand were discharged. [74] Unfortunately, the exact total cannot be ascertained. That thousands were being discharged did not seem to bother OKW, still celebrating the quick victory over France, a feat that Germany had been unable to accomplish during the four years of World War I. As of June 1940, the Wehrmacht had almost 5.8 million soldiers. [75] The loss of thousands if not tens of thousands of men apparently did not worry the military command. Now that the war on the continent was over, many felt it would just be a matter of time before England surrendered. Immediately after the French campaign, the Wehrmacht started to downsize anyway. [76]

Officially, most in the Wehrmacht accepted their discharge although they had served loyally. Had OKW known what awaited Germany in Russia, they might have protested the dismissal of thousands of well-trained, battle-hardened troops. Even so, no documents have yet surfaced that indicate the Wehrmacht lobbied for the return of these soldiers.

A protest against the discharge of thousands of half-Jews was unlikely to have any effect during the summer of 1940. Generals, many of whom had just received another promotion, [77] did not openly protest on moral grounds, especially after Hitler had won one of the greatest battles of history [78] and "stood on the pinnacle of his popularity in Germany." [79] "Humanitarian" arguments did not impress Hitler. As army chief of the general staff, General Franz Halder, said during the Nuremberg trials, "The thing that most impressed me about Hitler was the complete absence of any ethical or moral obligation." [80] Hitler clearly did not foster an intellectual climate that valued morality. With their official dismissal from the armed forces, half-Jews took one step closer to sharing the fate of full Jews. The Wehrmacht turned a blind eye.

On the other hand, the armed forces found it impossible to discharge all half-Jews or to prevent their conscription. Since the armed forces had never dealt with Mischlinge, it did not have the experience, the personnel, or the time to check the ancestry of every soldier before they entered the Wehrmacht. It was nearly unthinkable to research the family trees of everyone serving before 1940. Hitler had created a witch-hunt, a task the Wehrmacht seemed neither overly enthusiastic about nor capable of carrying out, especially during war times. Over 50 percent of the half-Jews documented in this study were still serving in 1941. Many were later identified, and several would never be located.

During 1941, the Wehrmacht repeated the 1940 decrees to remind the bureaucrats how to deal with Mischlinge. Perhaps the Wehrmacht did so because people were perplexed by the laws and did not enforce them. The Luftgaukommando 6 [81] issued the following decree on 8 January 1941: "[T]he promotion of half-Jews to Gefreite and higher ranks is prohibited because ... half-Jews who are still found in the Luftwaffe were already to have been discharged ... and they are not to be drafted anymore." [82] The document also outlined policies for quarter-Jews that differed little from what Hitler had specified in September of 1940.

Many Nazis viewed Mischlinge to be just as "unknowingly" dangerous as Jews, if not more so, because they had" German blood." Many wanted to treat half-Jews as Jews. It seemed that the only redeeming factor for German half-Jews was that they had half "German blood," making them still "half good." Losener repeatedly made this point with members of the Reichskanzlei and the Party to deter them from exterminating half-Jews along with the Jews. [83] In spring 1941 when Goring heard about the possibility that the government was going to treat half-Jews as Jews, he wrote Stuckart not to make any decisions about half-Jews during the war. [84] In February 1941, Field Marshal Keitel met with Hitler after Keitel found out that the head of the department that dealt with the Jewish question within the Reich Security Head Office, SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer Eichmann, wanted to include half-Jews in the Endlosung. [85] The anxious Keitel argued against it, stating that many quarter-Jewish soldiers would be burdened if their parents were treated as Jews. For troop morale, this action needed to be avoided. [86] Keitel's reaction showed that he believed that such a policy at this stage was irrational. But Eichmann was not alone in his desire to classify half-Jews as Jews. On 5 April 1941, Generaloberstabsarzt Dr. Anton Waldmann, head of the army's medical corps, wrote in the magazine Deutsches Arzteblatt that "half-Jews must be treated like full-Jews." [87] In March 1941, Dr. Walter Grog, chief of the Party's Race-Political Office, said it was necessary to equate half-Jews with Jews because they were just as undesirable. He argued that if they did not eliminate them, then undesirable Jewish racial elements would remain in Europe. If his plan was adopted, Grog claimed, then the number of quarter-Jews could be kept to an absolute minimum. [88] During his postwar trial, Eichmann said that in September 1941, the SS debated classifying German half-Jews as Jews. However, the army blocked the measure because of the reaction quarter-Jewish soldiers would have when the government started to treat their parents like Jews "in the full sense of the word." "The matter went right up to Hitler himself," Eichmann said, "and he rejected the proposal for widening the scope of the law." [89] Hitler did this against the counsel of many advisers.

But such opposition did not kill the issue. The debate resurfaced often before the end of the Third Reich. Perhaps many SS and Party personnel acted aggressively because they saw how a Mischling's service helped his Jewish family, thereby causing confusion among the authorities and more paperwork for them. Also, many Party and SS officials simply wanted half-Jews exterminated along with the full Jews. However, certain people in the RMI under Losener's leadership and in the armed forces continued to rally against SS and Party moves to treat half-Jews as Jews. In December 1941, Losener argued again that redefining what constitutes a Jew would only create more difficulties for an already overburdened bureaucracy, exacerbate the confusion surrounding the Jewish question, and unnecessarily affect thousands of families. [90] The fact that many half-Jews served in the Wehrmacht made finding a solution to this problem more complicated.

Military service often benefited Jewish relatives. In March 1941, Hitler issued a decree protecting the parents living in a privileged mixed marriage whose only son had died in action. Hitler believed that the son's "hero-death" granted his parents special privileges. [91] This document proves that privileged mixed marriages were not enjoying the protection they had in the past and that a half-Jew's military service protected his parents, in this case, only when he died and had no siblings. Interestingly, Hitler issued this decree in March 1941, almost one year after he had ordered half-Jews out of the Wehrmacht. One wonders why Hitler gave families of fallen half-Jews additional protection when these men, most of whom had died between May and June 1940 in France, died while serving illegally. As late as 1945, the Nazi bureaucrats seemed to honor this decree. For example, in 1945 when a Gestapo agent came to arrest Marianne Gartner, a Jew, she showed him a letter from the army announcing the death of her son, Rainer. The man turned his back on her and said, "Your son has saved your life." He left without her. [92]

Divorced or widowed parents, formerly protected by a mixed marriage, sometimes also received clemency because of a son's service. For instance, Jewish widow Olga Muhlbacher heard in 1943 that a Jewish parent of a fallen soldier no longer had to wear the Jewish star. [93] It seems that during the first part of the war, Jews who had Aryan husbands or half-Jewish sons in the Wehrmacht were granted certain privileges, and if their spouse or child died in battle, they were given the same support an Aryan wife or mother received. [94] However, although Frau Muhlbacher benefited from her son's service, she did not feel that her protection would last long: "I know that it was all for nothing to rely on the war performance of my son. It wouldn't have helped There was only one way to help myself -- not to have been a full-Jew My son's application for an Arisierung [95] has been submitted a long time ago; however, that is a mistake if I am deported to Theresienstadt!" [96] Frau Muhlbacher had an amazing presentiment of the coming horror. Although a half-Jew's service may have helped protect a parent, it would have stopped had Hitler won or prolonged the war.

Hitler must have bewildered several Nazi hard-liners when he allowed Jewish mothers and fathers to send their sons to war, and afterward, protected these parents because of their son's service. But as Hitler had reminded a group of his generals on 30 March 1941 after discussing the coming war with Russia, "I cannot demand that my generals should understand my orders, but I demand that they follow them." [97] Hitler held his high-ranking Party members and government officials to the same standard. When Hitler ordered his government to treat Mischlinge a certain way, he expected his government to obey, no matter how contradictory his new policies seemed. Hitler often displayed such erratic behavior, not just with racial policy, but with military, political, and economic policy as well. [98]

As the Parteikanzlei, Reichskanzlei, KdF, RMI, and OKW processed Mischling applications for exemptions, it became evident that many half-Jews were still serving without Hitler's approval. When reprimanded for allowing these Mischlinge to serve, most units claimed that they had had no idea that they had these Jewish soldiers. In response, on 2 April 1941, OKH ordered that soldiers who had not filled out their "ancestry declarations" must sign them as an attempt to identify remaining half-Jews. [99] As before, the military authorities relied on Mischlinge's honesty. One can only imagine the flood of papers that poured in through all levels of the Wehrmacht. Tens of thousands, if not millions, of soldiers had to be called into their commanders' offices, sometimes for the second time, to sign papers declaring that they were of "Aryan descent" or "not Jewish" (or both). Many half-Jews were identified this way because they answered honestly. Obergefreiter Wolfgang Voigt was the first in his unit to see this order because he worked in the officers' duty hut. He did not know what to do. After several days of contemplation, he went to sign the ancestry declaration. As he filled out the form, his first sergeant [100] was watching over his shoulder. At the sight of the words "half-Jew," the sergeant burst into tears. Voigt does not know why his sergeant reacted this way. Perhaps he cried because his clerk had to leave or because he knew that Voigt's future looked bleak. In May 1941, Voigt received his discharge papers and returned home. [101]

Most Mischlinge claim they answered truthfully because they feared what would happen to them or their families if they were caught lying. Yet, once again, a war launched in the Balkans on 6 April 1941 prevented the Nazis from tracking down several Mischlinge for months. Many half-Jews say that during the spring of 1941, a year after Hitler issued his April decree of 1940, they still did not know that they were not allowed to serve. Many had been illegally promoted and decorated in the meantime. During a summer morning inspection in 1941, Unteroffizier Felix Bruck's company commander informed his men that one of them had betrayed and misused the army. He had learned about Bruck's ancestry. When the army discharged Bruck a few days later, they not only forced him to leave but also retroactively took away his rank, claiming that they should have never promoted him in the first place. [102]

Mischling Life and Policy, 1941-1943

By 22 June 1941, however, a large majority of the half-Jews who had entered France in 1940 with the Wehrmacht had been discharged. Interestingly, the Kriegsmarine was two to three years behind relative to the army and Luftwaffe in discharging its Mischlinge, although all services apparently issued the same decrees. Allegedly, Raeder prevented some racial laws from affecting the Kriegsmarine because of his relationship with Hitler. [103] The only place in the army where one might find a place of refuge was in the Deutsches Afrika-Korps (DAK) under the leadership of the "Desert Fox," Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. According to this study's files, his half-Jews were not as affected by the racial laws as most others serving on the European continent. [104] It remains unclear whether Rommel was directly responsible for this. According to quarter-Jew Captain Horst van Oppenfeld, the staff officer to Colonel Claus van Stauffenberg, Rommel did not concern himself with the racial decrees. Although Rommel never acted on behalf of Oppenfeld personally, Oppenfeld never experienced any trouble because of his ancestry while he served in the DAK. [105] However, this study's research is not conclusive on Rommel's DAK. According to historian Beate Meyer, Nazi authorities searched for one soldier in the DAK, but before they could apprehend him, he had become a POW. [106] Perhaps Rommel failed to enforce the order to discharge half-Jews because he was unaware of it. Rommel spent two years fighting a war in the desert, where he, unlike many generals, was given freedom to conduct operations largely without Hitler's interference. Many viewed the African campaign as a sideshow, [107] especially after the invasion of Russia in 1941. Thus, it is more likely that orders based on racial policies never reached Rommel, rather than that he actively decided not to enforce them. Although Rommel knew about the persecution of the Jews, he seemed not to allow Nazi racist policy to affect the running of his DAK. Oppenfeld believes that Rommel blocked orders to have Jews in their area of operations deported. [108] In June 1942, Hitler had supposedly ordered Rommel through the OKW to exterminate all German Jews (political refugees taken prisoner who were fighting on the side of the free French). However, Rommel apparently ignored this order and turned the prisoners over to the Italians, "who treated them like all other prisoners of war." [109]

Most half-Jews discharged from 1940 to 1941 returned home. At first, they felt scared about what would happen. Richard Riess felt as though he suddenly faced what he labeled a "great vacuum" and was unsure of his fate. [110] Most quickly found work or studied until they entered Organization Todt's forced labor camps in 1944. Hans Muhlbacher and Hans Meissinger worked as rocket scientists. [111] Muhlbacher, already an engineer, worked at Peenemunde on the guided rocket program designed to sink enemy ships (HS293294). [112] Meissinger worked at the DVL (Deutsche Versuchsanstalt fur Luftfahrt) [113] on guidance and control theory of aircraft and on air-to-ground missiles. [114] Kurt Hohenemser worked in an armament factory. He remembered playing the game Battleship with his coworkers to pass the time. [115] Helmut Kruger built U-boat bunkers at Brest. He even had a group of forced Jewish laborers under his control. [116] Many started to live a normal life again after their discharge. Besides studying or working, some went skiing, played tennis, had girlfriends, and socialized. [117] Many encountered uncomfortable situations when military police, as well as common Germans, challenged them as to why they were not in uniform. But by and large, they avoided any further trouble by telling those who questioned them truthfully that they were members of the reserves [118] as recorded in their military service books (Wehrpass). [119] Most half-Jews' service books had "n.z.v." (nicht zu verwenden -- not to be used) written on their discharge page with a citation to the law of 8 or 20 April 1940 dismissing half-Jews from active service. Some had wehrunwurdig (unworthy of military service) written in their service books. Nonetheless, discharge papers did not necessarily protect a half-Jew from the SS. After the Gestapo arrested a half-Jew for suspicion of going AWOL, [120] he tried to explain to them that half-Jews could not serve. The SS did not believe him. They sent him to Theresienstadt. [121] However, this was the exception rather than the rule.

In May 1941, Hitler turned his attention to the sexual behavior of Mischlinge. Although Hitler had a war in the Balkans and one coming up with Russia, he desired, as State Secretary Pfundtner reported on 7 May 1941, an extension of the racial laws to prohibit sexual relations between Aryans and half-Jews. [122] Possibly Hitler turned his attention to private matters of Mischlinge in connection with his sharpening of policy against full Jews. For instance, on 7 June 1941, Lammers informed Bormann, head of the Parteikanzlei, that the Fuhrer wanted no more Jews in Germany after the war. [123] Hitler had no misgivings about including parents of half-Jewish soldiers in the Holocaust. It was just a question of timing.

The Wehrmacht's willingness to work with the Party and SS foreshadowed a murderous future for Jews and Mischlinge. Already in March of 1941, Keitel issued a Wehrmacht directive that Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler had full responsibility to prepare the political administrations in conquered areas. Keitel knew that the directive meant the murder of thousands of defenseless people, especially Jews. On 28 April 1941, Heydrich signed an agreement with General Eduard Wagner, army quartermaster, that the SD [124] would operate behind army lines when Germany invaded Russia. [125] The war with Russia was to be ideological. A guideline approved by OKH and sent out to the Wehrmacht services in mid-May 1941 explained how the armed forces should act in the upcoming war: "This struggle demands ruthless and energetic action against Bolshevik agitators, guerrillas, saboteurs, Jews, and the complete elimination of every active or passive resistance." [126] The Wehrmacht also ordered that all Soviet political officers (commissars) should be exterminated when captured because they were the "exponents of the Jewish-Bolshevik world outlook" and not accepted as "genuine soldiers." [127] These military directives fell under the "Fuhrer decree" and Kommissarbefehl (commissar order) that came into being throughout the spring and summer of 1941. [128] Halder wrote that many in the army felt confused about the Barbarossa [129] plans and the strategic purpose of the war. He started to realize that military objectives might be "subordinated to ideological ones," and the destruction of the Bolshevik system and the extermination of the Jews would take priority over the goal of weakening the enemy's will to fight. [130] Halder was right. However, such conduct of war did not encounter any opposition from military leaders [131] or prevent Halder from turning Hitler's racial ideology into functioning decrees in preparation for the attack on Russia. [132]

o one in the Wehrmacht officially complained about the "Fuhrer decree" or the Kommissarbefehl. General Alfred JodI, chief of OKW operations and Hitler's principal military adviser, [133] explained that after Hitler's successes in Poland and France, the Fuhrer" required nothing more than the technical support necessary to implement his decisions, and the smooth functioning of the military organization to carry them out." [134] In other words, had anyone complained on moral grounds against these directives, they would not have found Hitler or any high-ranking Nazi officials willing to listen, especially if that complaint came from a Mischling officer.
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Re: Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racia

Postby admin » Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:35 am

Part 2 of 2

Most Germans had become accustomed to and even accepted Hitler and his regime and, thus, would never have thought to protest against anything Hitler decreed. After his military successes in Poland and France, Hitler had become even more popular among the German population. [135] Most generals did not argue with the Barbarossa plans on political, economic, or ideological grounds. Rather, most were intoxicated with Hitler's triumph. Reflecting the mood of many at this time, Field Marshal von Mackensen wrote a few months after Barbarossa that "as long as God gives me life, in thanks I'll remain faithfully bound to ... Hitler, the Fuhrer and savior of my German Fatherland. He's the German man I've searched for since 1919." [136] If Germans disapproved of Hitler in 1941, they were either doomed to die or knew they had to keep their mouths shut. If they wanted to live or remain at their posts, they had to adhere to the state's policy.

During the initial weeks of Barbarossa in June and July 1941, ideological goals seemed to override the strategic objectives. Hitler's Einsatzgruppen [137] exterminated Jews at a phenomenal rate during the opening weeks of Barbarossa. [138] Hitler's chief Wehrmacht Adjutant Schmundt claimed on 5 July 1941 that the extermination of Jews was part of "a necessary mopping up operation." [139] Schmund t wrote his friend, Irmgard Bohrne, on 11 July 1941, "Thank God we attacked the Asiatic East before they attacked us. We're saving Western culture." Then on 20 October 1941, he wrote her again, telling her that they fought for a new Europe against "Jewish anarchy." [140]

More Jews died in the first month of Barbarossa than in all of the previous eight years in Germany. [141] Without the Wehrmacht's help, the SS would not have been able to murder so many. In September 1941, Keitel continued to help the SS by ordering replacements for Jews who worked in the General Government so these Jews could be deported. [142] On 21 October 1941, Hitler explained that by exterminating this "pest [the Jews]," he would render humanity a great service. [143] Yet, during this slaughter of Jews, Hitler made some surprising decrees for Mischlinge. On 10 July 1941, Hitler announced that quarter-Jews would become "German-blooded" citizens after the war. Manfred Messerschmidt writes that this "tactic" of Hitler's "relieved those Mischlinge to some extent." [144] Hitler told some of his associates that he wanted to show battle-tested Mischlinge that the Nazis were not ungrateful to brave Mischling soldiers. [145] Hitler said he wanted to prevent unpleasant situations both in Germany and abroad created by unhappy decorated veterans. Thus, he intended to treat quarter-Jews as deutschblutig after the war. More extraordinarily, Hitler allowed some discharged, "worthy" half-Jews to return to the Wehrmacht and gave them an opportunity to become officers. [146] Influential military or civil connections (or both) played a significant role in selecting those invited to return. Perhaps Hitler also believed these experienced soldiers deserved a second chance to demonstrate their Aryan qualities. This is a good example of the inconsistency in Mischling policy.

During the fall of 1941, the Nazis took Mischlinge down another evil path when they threw sterilization onto the worktable of extermination. Sterilization was not a new idea; it had been used throughout the century. The Germans had had a lot of practice with these techniques. In the 1920s, German authorities had sterilized some 225,000 people. [147] The Nazis used and expanded this technique, performing hundreds of thousands of sterilizations throughout the Third Reich. [148] On 2 October 1941, Gross held a discussion with Lammers in which they discussed the sterilization of Mischlinge, which they both favored. To implement sterilization, Lammers contended, they needed Wehrmacht cooperation. Lammers felt that Keitel would approve the measure and, thus, would ensure military support. Once agreement was reached, Lammers felt that they could then inform Hitler and ask that the plan be approved. [149]

Throughout 1941, the Nazis placed the destruction of Jews as a top objective but still debated the Mischling question. The Nazis did not know whether to treat them as Germans, sterilize them, or annihilate them. But most seemed to forget the connection between Jews and their Mischling children when discussing the Jewish question. As the Nazis deported Jews, thousands of Mischlinge lost their loved ones. The Mischlinge were being pushed further down the Holocaust road. Even the Wehrmacht implemented harsher policy for those Mischlinge they still let serve.

Although no official OKW documents surfaced during this study, a few half-Jews were documented as having been drafted by the Wehrmacht into penal battalions. According to these men, the Wehrmacht drafted them for petty offenses or simply because they were Mischlinge (or both). For example, Hugo Friedlander was sent to a Frontbewahrungseinheit [150] in 1942 because he was a half-Jew. In 1943, he died in action. [151] Half-Jew Heinz Schindler was sent to one of these units because he had offended a Nazi. He lost his arm in battle after only a few months serving in a Bewahrungsbataillon  [152] in Russia. [153] Most who entered such battalions never came back. These units were known as Himmelfahrtskommandos -- "straight to heaven detachments." Beate Meyer documented that a half-Jew became a Bewahrungssoldat for two months to prove his worthiness to marry an Aryan. [154] The majority of such soldiers did not survive. Half-Jew Dieter Fischer, who had received Hitler's Genehmigung, was sent into Russia in October 1941 in a Bewahrungsbataillon with one thousand men. On 9 December, when he was wounded and sent back to the rear echelons, the Bewiihrungsbataillon had only thirty-five men left. [155]

Friedlander's, Schindler's, and Fischer's experiences were not surprising, considering the great vigor with which German high-ranking officers pursued Hitler's anti-Semitic crusade. Although Keitel had helped his quarter-Jewish friend Colonel Felix Burkner acquire the Deutschblutigkeitserkldrung [156] and argued against classifying half-Jews as Jews, [157] he still issued a murderous decree to military commanders on 12 September 1941. It read, in part, that "the struggle against Bolshevism demands ruthless and energetic measures, above all against the Jews, the main carriers of Bolshevism." [158] In order to eliminate the "Jew," Hitler felt that "Jewish Bolshevism" must be annihilated. [159] With such public messages coming from OKW and the Reichskanzlei, many Mischlinge wondered why they served when they at the same time were the targets of persecution.

The Wehrmacht asked itself similar questions. To find those serving illegally, on 30 September 1941, OKH again issued a decree that soldiers who had not signed the "Aryan declaration" must do so. [160] Military authorities repeated this order probably because they felt officers were either not getting the government-issued decrees or simply not enforcing them. For example, half-Jews were not banned from reserve police units until October 1942. [161] Often, new laws were not widely known, particularly at the front. For example, when quarter-Jew Hans-Christian Lankes's officer informed him that he was promoting him to officer-cadet, Lankes explained that this was illegal. The officer seemed confused. Lankes spent the next thirty minutes explaining the racial laws to his bewildered officer. [162] Other times, officers knew how to circumvent the racial decrees. Johannes Heckert wrote:

[D]uring the invasion of Russia in 1941, I was promoted to Unteroffizier. Since we didn't receive any mail from Germany, I had no papers to present. And since there was little tolerance in the army for Hitler's persecution of the Jews, my superior told me, "All you have to do is sign a declaration that you only had a great-grandmother who was a Jew, OK?" "Yes sir," I replied. The next day I was an Unteroffizier. [163]


Heckert's superior valued him more than Nazi ideology and knew how to falsify Heckert's papers to retain him. With his commander's help, Heckert no longer had to concern himself with his racial status. Interestingly, in Heckert's opinion, most in the Wehrmacht did not condone Hitler's persecution of the Jews. As historian Jonathan Steinberg wrote, "Hitler's rabid anti-Semitism ... seemed irrelevant to the Wehrmacht." [164] The help that Aryan officers rendered to countless Mischlinge in this study proves Steinberg's claim. They treated Mischlinge in their care surprisingly well. Many Aryan officers felt the racial decrees were absurd and wasted valuable time diverting them from their duties. After all, Mischlinge were either half- or three-quarters German.


Another telling document illustrating that the decrees were not being followed was a letter that Wolfram Gunther wrote to his half-brother Konrad Schenck in January 1943:

Father tells me that you find it painful that you can no longer be promoted. Now you have become a Gefreiter, and that's the first step out of the "primordial soup." I congratulate you warmly. You must understand a few things regarding further promotions. Under normal conditions, we will not be promoted and must deal with that fact. That's often bitter and I can tell you that many times during my five years of service, I would've gladly thrown everything away and given up. However, that's no solution to this problem. You must adopt an attitude that allows you to live in this situation without resisting it or hating life .... I also wanted to tell you that, from my experience [with the company] with only one exception, all my commanders and comrades who knew about my situation not only treated me with respect, but were also especially friendly and willing to help. I've told most of my comrades what my situation is in a manner suited to each situation and man .... You don't have to be afraid to talk about it.


Wolfram added that exceptional courage might lead to more promotions if the commanding officer was so inclined. [165] Gunther's letter explains the frustration many half-Jews felt with the racial laws. The best coping mechanism Gunther found was to have an apathetic attitude. Interestingly, Gunther felt he could trust most Aryans in his unit and even confided his racial background to many of them. Talking about their problems, according to Gunther, was one of the best ways to deal with their situation. Gunther's letter also showed that even in 1943, some half-Jews found ways without much difficulty to continue serving. For instance, on 13 July 1943, First Lieutenant Schlesremkamber reported that the "intelligent" and "brave" Gefreiter Friedrich Schlesinger had received the EKII and the Assault Badge in battle against tanks. Schlesremkamber noted that had Schlesinger not been half-Jewish, he would have been "promoted to Unteroffizier a long time ago." [166] Apparently, Schlesremkamber did not know about or was ignoring the April 1940 decrees discharging half-Jews. Several half-Jews like Gunther and Schlesinger remained with their units throughout the entire war although they should have been discharged back in 1940.

When the Nazis persecuted Jews at home and increased the rate of deportation of German Jews, they traumatized thousands of Mischling soldiers. During his trial in Israel, Eichmann said that between 194 I and 1942, Hitler and Keitel had expressed concern that when Mischlinge went on leave, they would become distressed to discover that their parents had been deported. [167] Losener also worried about the deleterious effect deportations would have on half-Jewish soldiers. On 4 December 1941, Losener wrote that the government should grant special consideration to Mischlinge and their families, especially during the war. According to Losener, it would be illogical to let Mischlinge serve while the government persecuted their parents. Losener described Ernst Prager's situation as an example of this problem. Even after Prager had received Hitler's Deutschbliitigkeitserkldrung, the police arrested his father Heinrich (World War I veteran with the EKII and Wound Badge), and threatened him with months of imprisonment if the authorities saw him talking with an Aryan in public. The Nazis also required him to wear the Jewish star and made him perform forced labor. [168] Prager was lucky, though, in some respects. Many soldiers learned that a parent or grandparent had been deported and possibly murdered. At least Prager knew where his father was and that he was still alive.

Other Mischling soldiers were not so fortunate. Bundeswehr General Johannes Steinhoff reported that when he went to receive the oak leaves for his Ritterkreuz, Field Marshal Milch asked him if there was anything he could do for him. Steinhoff first requested more ammunition for his planes. Milch said this would be done and then asked if there was anything else. Steinhoff inquired if something could be done to help the half-Jew Feldwebel Rudolf Schmidt, whose Jewish mother and grandparents had been deported. "You, of all people, should know how difficult it is to fly missions against Russia all day fearing the Gestapo might be waiting to interrogate you when you land," Steinhoff told Milch. It is unknown what happened to Schmidt's relatives. Later, Schmidt was reported missing in action when he failed to return from a mission. [169] While in the Jewish hospital in Berlin, Jenny Lux told another patient about her son, half-Jew Emil Lux, who had been a Wehrmacht soldier. The other woman agreed that it was paradoxical that she wore a star while her son the fighter-ace wore the Ritterkreuz. [170] Perhaps Jenny Lux had met Rudolf Schmidt's mother.

Sometimes, when a soldier served on active duty, he could assist a relative by eliciting help from a high official. For instance, in the spring of 1941, the Nazis deported Helene Kruger to the east. Her three grandsons served in the Wehrmacht. Fortunately, their Aryan father was a friend of Engel's, Hitler's army adjutant. After hearing about the case, Engel agreed to help. "One of the main arguments Engel used with Hitler to get my grandmother free," Bernt von Helmolt said, "was that we grandsons all had the EKII and other medals." [171] The grandmother was freed, and Helmolt remembered being threatened by the Gestapo that they would all disappear if anyone ever found out what had happened. [172] The Helmolt family's situation showed how important personal politics and access to Hitler could be in helping people in need during the Third Reich.

Mischling soldiers sometimes could help a family member directly. Jurgen Krackow went with his father to the deportation station in his black Panzer uniform. When Krackow informed the officer in charge that he was the son of this half-Jew, the civil servant looked confused and asked him to prove it. Krackow insisted that no further proof was necessary. The man said that they could not deport a front officer's father. "Your father's a half-Jew," the civil servant said, "that means that you must be ... at least ... " "A quarter-Jew. Correct," Krackow blurted out. Then Krackow announced that he had a document personally signed by Hitler that allowed him to serve as an officer. Krackow's father was not deported. [173] Krackow would save his father from deportation three times. The last time he rescued his father, the icy SS man said to him, "Alright then, take your good little thing (gutes Stuck) with you, Lieutenant." [174] Lieutenant H. Ruge, [175] who had received Hitler's Genehmigung, was able to arrange the release of his brother, Jurgen, from an OT forced labor camp in France. [176] It caused much resentment among other half-Jews there because they did not have an older brother to help them escape. [177]

Often soldiers were not able to prevent the deportation of family members. Moreover, once relatives were put in camps, getting them out -- especially if they were full Jews -- became almost impossible unless they had good connections like the Helmolt family. Some could visit their loved ones in the camp, but not secure their release. For example, a horrible situation developed when Lieutenant Joachim Cohen [178] visited his Jewish father at Sachsenhausen in 1943 while on leave. The perplexed camp commander could not understand how Cohen could be a decorated Panzer officer. When the commander implied that Cohen must have inherited his "blood" from his mother to have accomplished so much in the army, Cohen replied that his father was a World War I veteran and had been wounded in battle. Then the son asked the commander if his father would remain protected. The commander stated that just as long as the "Jewish professor" continued to clean his clothes and boots, he could stay there with him. During the five minutes he was allowed to talk with his father, Cohen said, "When the war's over, Papa, you'll leave this place. We'll live together in freedom and if I survive at the front, Hitler said he would consider declaring us Aryans .... Papa, you can count on that. I'll do everything I can at the front and elsewhere, Papa. It'll all be ok, when the war's over." [179] Cohen showed immense courage by visiting his father. He capitalized on the psychological advantage he had by being an officer and felt comfortable enough to see and encourage his father in Sachsenhausen. Cohen's conversation with his father conveys Cohen's hope that his service would protect them. Whether he believed that his father would truly survive or reassured him only to ease his fear of the death that probably awaited him is unknown. Nonetheless, Cohen concluded that if he performed well militarily, not only he, but possibly his father, could be "Aryanized." Both of their fates remain unknown.

Some Mischlinge, uncertain of where to turn or what to do for their relatives, asked their superiors for help. In 1940, after half-Jew Werner Goldberg had received news of the persecution his sick father was experiencing, he approached his commander. He reasoned that it was absurd that a father of a soldier should be humiliated in his neighborhood, given reduced food ration cards, and now threatened to report for forced labor. Goldberg's superior, in turn, passed the matter up the chain of command. Eventually, "through a colleague who was a nephew of their general," Goldberg was able to meet with the general of the Potsdam garrison, Count Erich von Brockdorff-Ahlefeldt. During the meeting, Goldberg explained his situation. Afterward, the general promoted Goldberg, gave him permission to wear a pistol, and instructed him to go to the proper authorities "to arrange things as they should be for a German soldier." [180] Goldberg was able to convince the Berlin officials that sending a father of a soldier to forced labor was unacceptable. Without General von Brockdorff-Ahlefeldt's help, Goldberg would have been unable to help his sick father.

In 1943, Obergefreiter Heinrich Schlepegrell tried to get people to help his Jewish grandmother, who had been bombed out of her home twice. Captain Ehrlich, his officer, wrote the authorities on 29 December 1943 that because of Schlepegrell's bravery and medals, the Nazis should help his eighty-year-old Jewish grandmother. [181] Schlepegrell later said, "[U]nfortunately, it didn't help. My grandmother killed herself in March 1944." [182] Another case involved Obergefreiter Ludwig Reinhard, who was informed while he was in France that the Nazis had deported his grandmother, Johanna Broell nee Bendeix. Reinhard asked for leave at headquarters but was denied. Reinhard was at the point of tears when an officer in his unit took him outside and comforted him for at least thirty minutes until he regained his self-control. Unfortunately, Reinhard could do nothing for his grandmother. He "cried like a baby" when he realized that he "couldn't save her." [183] The traumas of Prager, Helmolt, Krackow, Cohen, Goldberg, Schlepegrell, and Reinhard exemplify what thousands of Mischlinge had to endure. Most never saw their relatives again after the Nazis deported them.

Losener argued that since half-Jews who remained soldiers and proved themselves in battle would, according to Hitler, be declared deutschblutig after the war, their relatives should not be persecuted. [184] Unfortunately, only a few bureaucrats heeded Losener's advice. As a result of the problems surrounding Mischlinge, several bureaucrats suggested that they should deal with them after the war. [185] However, many did not want to wait that long. On 2 October 1941, Groa reopened the discussion of sterilizing half-Jews to prevent the birth of more quarter-Jews. Over the course of a generation, this would eliminate Mischlinge from society. [186] Lammers and other officials supported Grosss plan. [187]

To further control Mischlinge, the Nazis also wanted to regulate their marriages. Many Nazis felt that the control and elimination of marriages with Mischlinge was crucial to preventing the birth of future Mischlinge. Grog denounced marriages of quarter-Jews with Aryans. He believed it prudent to allow quarter-Jews only to marry among themselves, and when an unfavorable child resulted, then the Nazis should exterminate it. [188] In practice, some quarter-Jews experienced problems marrying Aryans, but others had no trouble. [189]Although Wehrmacht personnel were prohibited from marrying quarter-Jews by a decree issued on 15 February 1939, [190] many successfully did so. [191] The only problem Rosa Taraba and her husband Karl experienced was that they did not receive Hitler's Mein Kampf when they married, because Karl was a Mischling. [192]

Hitler agreed that they needed to be careful with Mischlinge and prevent them from procreating. He remarked on 1 December 1941: "[W]hat's amazing is that Jewish Mischlinge in the second and third generations quite often resemble Jews." [193] However, he felt that if they continued to procreate, evolution would ensure that the stronger Aryan blood would finally triumph over the inferior Jewish. He claimed: "Nature, however, removes harmful elements in the end. The Jewish elements are eventually mendeled out by the seventh, eighth and ninth generations and the purity of the blood is apparently restored." [194] Perhaps Hitler allowed Mischlinge to serve and marry Aryans, because he had faith that a Mischling who mentally and physically resembled an Aryan would produce, by the family's seventh generation, Aryan progeny. Yet, since the Nazis had not created laws to document people to the seventh generation, and since Hitler wanted the Mischling race to disappear, a Mischling family had little hope of ever reaching this safe generation. Hitler said in the same context that by enforcing racial laws, he would save future generations numerous problems. [195]

Many Nazis wanted to eliminate Mischlinge by late 1941. Most agreed that although sterilization offered one solution, the easiest resolution would be equating half-Jews with Jews. However, a few officials wanted this discussion to cease. Losener felt appalled that Party hard-liners once again wanted half-Jews treated like Jews. He believed the Party had enough difficulties with half-Jews and their parents without taking this step.

Keitel insisted in February 1941 that to equate half-Jews with Jews would disrupt the lives of numerous quarter-Jewish soldiers. Losener expanded this argument when on 4 December 1941 he wrote that the government planned to declare almost all quarter-Jews deutschblutig after the war. He explained that almost every quarter-Jew had a half-Jewish parent. [196] Losener concluded that "one shouldn't sterilize, defame or deport the parents or even relatives of people one wants to treat like full-blooded Germans. This would create a new class of enemies of the State." [197] Losener also warned that one should not turn half-Jews into enemies because they were more dangerous than Jews. They had above-average intelligence, good educations, and "German blood," all of which made them "born leaders." Their "German heredity shouldn't be abandoned to the Jews, but used for our purposes." [198] Losener gained the support of some bureaucrats to allow half-Jews to retain their separate status. He was not able to secure support for protecting their Jewish relatives. Given the atmosphere in which Losener worked, that would have been impossible.

Unable to bear the burden any longer, Losener submitted his resignation to Stuckart on 19 December 1941. He told Stuckart that the SS had deported German Jews to Riga, and once there, the authorities had brutally murdered them. Losener said he no longer would work as an expert on Jewish matters. Stuckart tried to convince Losener to stay by reminding him "that all this takes place by the highest order [i.e., Hitler]''' Losener pointed to his chest and replied, "I have a judge within myself who tells me what to do." [199] Stuckart accused Losener of not being "dynamic enough" in handling the Jewish question and sticking too "rigidly" to the letter of the Nuremberg Laws. That was why, Stuckart explained, Losener had no longer been promoted. Stuckart did not accept Losener's resignation. Losener stayed on in the RM1 under Stuckart, but stopped taking an active role in racial politics. He did the "bare minimum" required of him, and soon after his talk with Stuckart, went on an unusually long vacation. He was eventually granted a transfer in March 1943. [200] When Losener's influence dwindled after 1941, the Mischlinge lost their strongest and most vocal advocate. Simultaneously, they gained more attention from their worst enemy, head of the Parteikanzlei, Martin Bormann. [201] With Bormann dealing with the Mischlinge, their situation could only worsen. Not surprisingly, the ability of certain Wehrmacht personnel to help Mischlinge also decreased at this time.

On 19 December 1941, after the last offensive near Moscow had ground to a halt and the Russian counteroffensive gained momentum, Hitler relieved Army Commander in Chief Brauchitsch of his command and formally announced that he would assume command of the army. [202] On dismissing Brauchitsch, Hitler said, "It is the task of the Supreme Commander of the Army to educate the Army in a National Socialist sense. I know no army general capable of doing this. Therefore, I have decided to assume supreme command of the army myself." [203] As Claus Hermann wrote, "This was the last step taken to complete the ideological integration of the Wehrmacht."  [204] Hitler bent the whole military structure to his supreme will. As General Jodl said about 1942, the war then attained the ultimate in irrationality, "with Germany's commanding generals reduced to the status of highly paid NCO's." [205]

Hitler continued to propagate his anti-Semitic ideology. On 30 January 1942, he said at Berlin's Sports Palace that "the war will not end as the Jews imagine it will, namely with the uprooting of the Aryans, but the result of this war will be the complete annihilation of the Jews." [206] The fate that awaited the Mischlinge could only be equally murderous.

Surprisingly, the Wehrmacht was still calling up half-Jews. If it were not for the efforts of some Mischlinge themselves and their family members, several would have served when it was against the law. They viewed the racial decrees as saving them from going to the" meat grinder" in the East. Many interviewees expressed gratitude toward the Fuhrer that he had issued a law that prevented them from having to go to Russia. Many described that once the recruiter knew about their ancestry, they were released from military service throughout 1941 to 1944. For example, in 1943 when the draft letter arrived for half-Jew Wolfgang Ebert, his mother Sonja did not wait for her son to report at the appointed time but decided to go directly to the Potsdam recruiting station herself. The impulsive Sonja Ebert nee Himelstein, a Russian Jew, did not want to lose her son in battle. She proved to the recruiters that she was Jewish and, consequently, they should not draft her son. One of the men wrote "n.z.v." (nicht zu verwenden -- not to be used) in Ebert's Wehrpass and assigned him to the reserves. According to Ebert, his mother, "whose life defined chutzpah," left the confused officers saying, "and besides, the war is over so you should just write my son sick." [207] Sonja was lucky that the recruiters did not report her insolence and that she was married to an Aryan. Many half-Jews were not as fortunate as Ebert. Several were called up between 1941 and 1944 and served on the murderous battlefields of Russia. Even so, the authorities continued to try to correct their mistakes by discharging those half-Jews who were serving illegally. Busy conducting the largest war in modern history, the Wehrmacht experienced some understandable difficulties in finding these men. Over seventeen million men served in the Wehrmacht before the war ended. [208] Consequently, the Wehrmacht found it impossible to test whether all were racially pure. Officials succeeded in filtering out many Mischlinge during the in-processing stage, but the odds of identifying and discharging them after they had joined combat units following the spring of 1941 were low.

Even the SA had problems keeping half-Jews out of its ranks. [209] Blankenburg wrote SA-Gruppenfuhrer [210] Girgensohn's office on 12 February 1942 that Mischlinge who had been rejected for an exemption often claimed that they had completed their premilitary training with the SA. Blankenburg asked Girgensohn, who served as the SA adjutant to the SA chief of staff in the Reichskanzlei, to send an order out to the different SA offices to inform them that this was not allowed. [211] Half-Jew Walter Scheinberger, a SA member during the whole war, claimed that his superior knew about his ancestry but did not care. [212] Half-Jew Werner Seldis claimed that he knew not only of Mischlinge but also of several Jews in the SA in Berlin. They often entered the SA to help protect their family. According to Seldis, the SA personnel told him that they would "protect their Jews" and "fight to keep them in the SA." [213] Bormann even complained in December 1943 that ex-colonel and quarter-Jew Felix Burkner had taken on a position in the SA leadership. The SA claimed that it had not known of Burkner's racial makeup. [214] If the SA had such problems without a war to fight, removing half-Jews from the Wehrmacht during the war posed an enormous challenge for the authorities.

Many Aryan Wehrmacht personnel did not concern themselves with Mischling policy. After fighting on the Russian front in 1941, Edgar Francken's commander told him, "A good soldier like you ... needs to go to officer school." Edgar told him he could not because he was a half-Jew. "Nonsense," replied the officer, "you're going." [215] Francken later received Hitler's Genehmigung and became an officer, but not before his family was drawn into the ordeal. Before the Nazis could approve Edgar's case, an SS racial office measured his father Hermann's body. On the basis of Hermann's physical features (he was tall and had a high forehead) and his mother's false testimony, [216] the SS decided that he was not a full Jew but rather a half-Jew. Consequently, Edgar was a quarter-Jew and, thus, did not have difficulties receiving clemency. [217]

By 1942, several civil servants had grown increasingly lax in their enforcement of Mischling policy. Lammers wrote Bormann on 16 January 1942 that the government needed to handle the half-Jews more competently.  [218] Also, Bormann, Lammers, and others were becoming restless about how to handle the Jewish question officially. The Nazis had been using methods of extermination, such as gas vans and execution firing squads, that had proved inefficient and cumbersome. [219] The firing squads also took a psychological toll on the perpetrators. [220] Although these methods helped the Nazis murder hundreds of thousands, the Nazis wanted a faster and more efficient procedure. [221] Moreover, the Nazis still did not know whether to include Mischlinge in their murderous plans. On 20 January 1942, Heydrich gathered several high-ranking officials such as Stuckart, Eichmann, and head of the Foreign Ministry's "Jewish Desk" Uudenreferat), Franz Rademacher, to discuss the Jewish question at a villa in Berlin-Wannsee. [222] Heydrich did not invite the armed forces, because he and others thought the Wehrmacht might cause problems. [223] Goring's infamous letter of 31 July 1941 to Heydrich had been a major turning point in the Nazi handling of the Endlosung. This letter, as well as the problems the azis had with Mischlinge, may have motivated Heydrich to call this meeting. Goring's letter gave Heydrich plenipotentiary powers to conduct the "overall solution of the Jewish question in the German sphere of influence in Europe." [224] The following conference was crucial in planning how this "solution" was to be conducted, although the systematic murder of Jews had been going on for a while. Heydrich had already concluded that the eleven million European Jews should be destroyed, but did not know what was to be done about the Mischlinge. [225]

Later known as the Wannsee Conference (or first Final Solution conference), this meeting was devoted in large part to the dilemma surrounding the Mischlinge. During the deliberations, most agreed that quarter-Jews in general should later be declared deutschblutig. Only those quarter-Jews who had two quarter-Jewish parents, inferior racial characteristics, police records, engaged in undesirable political activities, or "acted or felt like Jews" would not be treated as Aryans. [226] Regarding the Endlosung, most agreed that half-Jews should be treated like Jews. Exemptions conceivable for half-Jews included those married to Germans, those who had children, and those with clemency; however, half-Jews with exemptions would have to go through further racial tests after the war. Most agreed that half-Jews who remained in Germany would be sterilized. [227] Stuckart preferred sterilization because killing them would create too much paperwork and too many problems. [228] The meeting ended with most agreeing that the Jews would be exterminated, but left the issue of the treatment of half-Jews unresolved.

During this round of the ongoing debate about whether to declare half-Jews Jews, Hitler surprised his government again. The Fuhrer wanted Jewish Mischlinge who had proven themselves in battle and who had been discharged recalled to active duty. If they continued to prove themselves, Hitler would declare them deutschblutig. It remains unknown how many Hitler recalled or declared deutschblutig. [229] Moreover, Hitler had sanctioned a decree that allowed Jewish Mischlinge who had died in battle to receive the deutschblutig declarations posthumously. This decree also awarded severely wounded Mischlinge the Deutschblutigkeitserkldrung. These two new stipulations to the racial laws added thousands to the final number whom Hitler declared deutschbliitig. [230]

In March 1942, Nazi officials again debated the pros and cons of defining half-Jews as Jews. This meeting held on 6 March 1942, referred to as the second Wannsee Conference (or second Final Solution conference), picked up where the first Wannsee Conference left off. Those involved agreed that the Nazis should sterilize half-Jews. After sterilization, the Nazis would transport them to one place in order to control them. The concentration camp Theresienstadt, where most older Jews were sent, was used as a model. [231] Lammers's office reported that when they considered half-Jews who had performed military service, they would have to divide this group into Jews and Germans for sterilization purposes. The Nazis decided that they should separate these people according to their physical characteristics because they did not want "Mischlinge permanently existing" as a third race. [232] Lammers's office argued that sterilizing half-Jews and then allowing them to live where they wanted negated Nazi goals. If they did not isolate them in a single city, Stuckart warned, then sterilization would neither solve the racial dilemma nor lessen the administrative problems surrounding them. Sterilization and deportation were regarded as a "gracious favor" because they allowed Mischlinge to remain alive. [233]

Nazis also discussed giving half-Jews a choice between sterilization and deportation. Many believed that they would prefer sterilization to deportation, and, as Stuckart argued, such a policy toward half-Jews would ensure their disappearance. [234] Nothing was decided. Just as after the first meeting at Wannsee, the question of the Mischlinge was not resolved. Most in the Party still wanted to treat half-Jews like Jews, but Hitler remained indecisive. Perhaps Hitler did so because of the problems such a policy would cause in society. For example, Goebbels wrote on 7 March that eliminating the Jews "of course raises a large number of exceedingly delicate questions. What is to be done with the half-Jews? What with those related to Jews? In-laws of Jews? Persons married to Jews? Evidently we still have quite a lot to do and undoubtedly a multitude of personal tragedies will ensue within the framework of the solution of this problem." [235] For the present, many wanted to prevent such tragic, not to mention labor intensive, problems from developing.

Stuckart relied on Losener's former arguments when he wrote several of the ministries (especially Himmler's office) to convince them of the necessity of not treating half-Jews as Jews. He argued in March 1942 that after Hitler had granted half-Jewish status to approximately three thousand Geltungsjuden, it would be "incompatible with the Fuhrer's authority if we re-branded them as Jews." [236] He continued:

I may point out that the Fuhrer has, in addition to normal acts of grace, granted the status of racial Germans to a large number of officers and officers' wives who were [half-Jews] and that he'd promised to a large number of [half-Jews] who had remained in the Wehrmacht, the same status after the war, if they prove their worth during the war. ... These cases show that those half-Jews whose activities take place within the Reich's territory aren't necessarily and always harmful to the German people. [237]


Declaring half-Jews as Jews would force Hitler to deport high-ranking officers or their wives, and would cause severe morale problems in the Wehrmacht and unrest in society. Stuckart further argued that one needed to remember the Aryan relatives of these half-Jews and the" 50 percent of their blood which was German." Stuckart reasoned that half-Jews had above-average intelligence and that their talents should be used for the Reich rather than relinquished to her enemies, especially since most half-Jews were loyal to Germany. [238] Half-Jews were lucky that the bureaucrats and, most important, Hitler, remained indecisive on this topic. [239] Stuckart implored others to remember that Germany's highest authority, Hitler, had already decided what policy should govern the treatment of half-Jews. He warned that changing the status of them would cause bureaucratic chaos. Stuckart felt puzzled by those who wanted to exterminate half-Jews because most presented no threat.

Perhaps the bureaucrats felt irritated by the fact that many young half-Jews did not have to share the risk of battle. This may have contributed to the desire to treat half-Jews more severely. According to this study's interviewees, half-Jews forbidden to serve had a much more comfortable life between 1940 and 1944 com pared with the life of hunger, cold, disease, and death that faced soldiers in Russia. Their Aryan comrades had the "honor" of going to Russia and dying for Germany, while half-Jews stayed home and studied or worked. For example, Helmut Kruger, who the army discharged in 1940, later learned that his entire company was decimated fighting outside Moscow in 1941. [240] Back home, plenty of lonely girlfriends, wives, and widows kept Mischlinge company during their free time. [241] The SD expressed its indignation in April 1942 that half-Jews slept with German women, while their "German-blooded" boyfriends and husbands fought. The SD stressed that if they caught a half-Jew with a married woman, they would send him to a concentration camp. [242] Surprisingly, several Aryan girlfriends documented in this study remained loyal to their half-Jewish boyfriends although they knew it was dangerous. [243]

The Wehrmacht still searched for Mischlinge who remained in the Wehrmacht illegally. On 14 March 1942, Hitler ordered that Mischling officers, NCOs, and army civil servants who had received the Genehmigung could remain in the army, but Mischlinge who had not received his approval were to be immediately discharged. However, the Mischlinge in question could apply for clemency if they had performed exceptional service. Applicants would remain in the service until Hitler decided their cases. [244]

These decrees did not solve the problem. Thousands of Mischlinge remained in the Wehrmacht. When OKH found Mischlinge illegally in the ranks, their commanders usually claimed ignorance about their subordinates' racial backgrounds. In June 1942, OKH demanded that all units obey the 8 April 1940 and 16 July 1941 decrees that required everyone to sign Aryan declarations. OKH discovered that many units still used the old declarations that required a soldier only to state whether or not he was a Jew. Thus many Mischlinge had truthfully stated that they were not Jews. [245] To catch those Jewish Mischlinge, OKH now commanded everybody to state they were 100 percent Aryan on new declarations. The longer the updated declarations were not completed, OKH claimed, the more work the Personnel Office would have in the future. [246]

In May 1942, Hitler told Lammers that he was tired of the Mischling problems and that he would deal with them after the war. [247] Hitler's change of heart, combined with Heydrich's death in June 1942, probably brought the discussion over whether to treat half-Jews as Jews to a halt for a few months. [248] Although Hitler wanted to defer the half-Jewish question until after the war, he had issued too many racial laws and subsequent decrees to enable civil servants to ignore the Mischlinge. [249]

For example, head of the KdF, Bouhler, wrote Bormann, head of the Parteikanzlei, on 10 July 1942 to say he could tolerate the delays in resolving the Mischling issue if he knew that the goal of eliminating half-Jews from the Volk would be achieved. However, Bouhler told Bormann that "you know yourself that this isn't the case." Bouhler was disturbed by the Racial Office's figures on the high rate of illegitimate children born to half-Jews. He complained that the Party (i.e., Bormann) had done nothing to combat this problem. Bouhler had suggested several measures that would stop "these unfortunate creatures" from being born, but apparently they had been ignored. [250] Finding a solution to the Mischling problem was hampered by Bouhler and Bormann's hostility toward one another. [251] Nonetheless, both believed that eliminating half-Jews would be far easier to manage than regulating them, especially since, as Bormann claimed, they occupied valuable government time. Yet, the Wannsee Conferences had shown that such a policy was impossible to implement at that time.

On 11 June 1942, Rademacher summarized the Wannsee Conferences by saying that the equalization of half-Jews with Jews was undesired but that the majority of the Nazis welcomed the sterilization program. Yet, to sterilize the half-Jews would require almost a million hospital days, which was impossible while medical resources were devoted to the war. Not only were more time and training needed, but the sterilization technique also required further development. The Nazis had experimented with plant poisons, X rays, and physical removal of the genitals, but they were not satisfied with the results. Furthermore, more trained surgeons would be required to implement a mass sterilization program. [252] Plans for mass sterilizations of Mischlinge were postponed because of events at Stalingrad. [253] Himmler actually wanted to deport half-Jews to a separate city. [254]

Based on the documents, the Nazis did not discuss the problems they would encounter if they started to sterilize and/or deport Mischling soldiers who had received clemency. Although somewhat illogical, many Mischling soldiers with exemptions would not have been spared this fate. Such plans to dispose of loyal soldiers only mirrored Hitler's growing fanaticism. According to Halder, Hitler became extreme in many areas during this time. On 24 September 1942, on being dismissed by Hitler, Halder wrote that Hitler spoke about the necessity for educating the General Staff in "fanatical faith in the idea [of National Socialism]." "He is determined to enforce his will also on the Army," Halder wrote. [255] Halder was a little late in drawing this conclusion, but the fact that he started to feel Hitler's presence more in 1942 demonstrated Hitler's increased radicalism. Perhaps Hitler had the Mischlinge in mind when he talked about the army becoming more devoted to Nazism. On 25 September 1942, OKW reported that Hitler ordered the discharge of half-Jews still serving. [256] Many times when these men were located, they were sent to concentration camps for violating one or more laws, such as lying to the authorities, drawing extra pay from an illegal promotion, having an Aryan girlfriend, and so on.

Half-Jewish veterans caused a new type of problem when Nazis deported them. When half-Jew Werner Eisner was caught sleeping with an Aryan, who was pregnant with his child, the SS sent him to Auschwitz on 7 December 1942 for Rassenschande. After he got off the train at Auschwitz and stood in line for the gas chamber, he pulled out a picture of himself in uniform and screamed, "Now you'll exterminate a Wehrmacht soldier." After inspecting the photo, an SS man saved his life by pulling him out of the line. These SS guards did not feel comfortable gassing a veteran. [257]

Mischlinge still on active duty became increasingly nervous as rumors circulated about new plans to sterilize or deport half-Jews. Many feared that if discharged, they would face deportation. Some decided to desert before they could be discharged. [258] Half-Jew Matrose [259] Kurt Schinek left his unit in 1942 for Switzerland but was caught. On 7 October 1942, his officer, Lieutenant Berlling, actually wrote in his defense that he was a good soldier and that extenuating circumstances existed. He explained that Schinek's first fiancee, Liselotte Steinbrech, who had a daughter by him, had left him for racial reasons. Berlling asked the court to release Schinek and tried to convince the authorities that Schinek's Jewish ancestry troubled him so much that it caused him to have a lapse in judgment. [260] Schinek's new fiancee, Thea Liebe, wrote a letter to the authorities on 8 October 1942: "This news has shocked me horribly, especially since I know that my fiance didn't try to cross the border because he was a coward. Since the Wehrmacht refused to grant us permission to marry, we wanted to marry in Switzerland [where it was allowed]. ... As the daughter of an officer, I would've never gone with a deserter. ... " [261]The open admission that she wanted to marry him, thus committing Rassenschande, proved either her disregard for or her ignorance of the racial laws. Unfortunately, her passionate plea did not help. Schinek should not have been serving in the first place, but he apparently did not know this. The court ruled that he should not have left his unit without permission. He was executed. [262]

Gefreiter Werner Kohn, who was born out of wedlock, [263] also left his unit because of a woman and because he feared what the Nazis planned to do with the half-Jews. He wrote the court on 9 June 1942 that he liked the Wehrmacht and had lied about his ancestry to remain a soldier. Although several comrades suspected that he was Jewish because of his name, he explained that only people who spelled Kahn with a C were Jewish. His comrades apparently accepted this reasoning. While Kahn served, he "heard several times that Mischlinge were supposed to be discharged .... I naturally thought deeply about such things." "I left my unit," Kohn continued, "because I worried about my pregnant bride [Maria Hempfling], my future and because the decrees for Mischlinge were becoming stricter." [264] The court was unsympathetic. Despite Kohn's Party membership (he had been expelled in 1934 because of his ancestry) and military service, he was sent to prison. For months thereafter, he petitioned to serve on the front lines in a Bewahrungs unit, but the court rejected his requests. [265] He remained in prison until the war's end. Perhaps since Kohn had been a Party member, the court was not as harsh as it had been with Schinek. The documents are unclear on this point.

A tragic case was that of Gefreiter Anton Mayer. He left his unit in 1943 not only to be with his fiancee, but also because he worried about what would happen if the authorities discovered he was a half-Jew. [266] The court condemned him to death. Anton wrote a desperate plea on 23 July 1944 to Admiral Karl Donitz:

[I only left my unit] because I was afraid .... I ask to serve on the front immediately to prove my worthiness.... I'll prove that I can atone for the stupid thing I did out of fear.... I beg you to believe me that I've always been a good German. I was always proud to be German, even when I was persecuted for it while I lived in Romania .... I plead with you, Herr Grossdmiral, to think about the fact that I'm the only son of my parents .... Long live our Great Fuhrer. Long live Greater Germany. [267]


Mayer's ordeal revealed how little he understood his position in society and the options left open to him. Had he truly been trying to dodge suspicion in the Kriegsmarine, then he should never have left his unit. Evidently, Mayer was too frightened to report his ancestry, too scared to stay in the navy, and too short-sighted not to realize that he could not run away to his fiancee to escape his fears and duties without dire consequences. Donitz ignored Mayer's letter and the court condemned him to death. Mayer, however, was not shot by a firing squad. He was beheaded. Admiral Walter Warzecha, chief of the Allgemeines Marineamt, [268] made sure that Mayer received this cruel punishment. [269]

Ironically, only after December 1942, when quarter-Jew Admiral Martin Baltzer took over the Navy Personnel Office from Admiral Conrad Patzig, did the discharge of Mischlinge in the Kriegsmarine begin. Until then, Patzig had been able to help and hide most Mischlinge within the Kriegsmarine. [270] Possibly Baltzer feared what would happen if he did not enforce racial policies vigorously, since his superiors knew about his ancestry. Perhaps Baltzer acted harshly against people in a position he could fully relate to because he did not wish to deal with them.

As the debate over the Jewish question intensified, General Schmundt issued a decree on 31 October 1942 that required every soldier to acknowledge that the Jewish influence had forced Germany to fight a war in which its best sons died. Therefore, Schmundt argued, "There's no difference between so-called respectable Jews and the others .... The present war against the Jewish Bolshevistic arch enemy shows with clarity Jewry's true face. Thus, the officer must, from inner conviction, reject Jewry and all contact with it. Whoever doesn't follow this unrelenting attitude is no longer fit to be an officer." [271] Although he had helped some Mischlinge earlier in his career, he seemed now to toe the Party line and to become less tolerant of anybody or anything Jewish. Schmundt's statement expressed the growing intolerance of Jews among the military leadership.

Bureaucrats pushed the sterilization program again in October. On 27 October 1942, a third Final Solution conference took place. Karl Klingenfuss of the Foreign Office submitted a memorandum advocating the sterilization of half-Jews wanting to remain in Germany and the deportation of those who refused. The attitude was that this measure was a "gracious favor." [272] This proposal gained support among the civil servants, but Hitler refused to act. [273]

Although Hitler did not feel ready to order the sterilization of half-Jews, he continued to make decisions that restricted both their freedom and the freedom of those affiliated with Jews. For example, Hitler rejected a soldier's application on 2 November 1942 to marry a woman who had previously been married to a Jew. Engel wrote Commander Frey, who worked in the General Wehrmacht Domestic Office, [274] that Hitler had reasoned that "the fact that this woman, regardless of the circumstances, was willing to marry a Jew is a sign of a weak character that shouldn't be overlooked." [275] Shortly thereafter, Hitler issued a decree in December 1942 that no soldier could marry any woman who had previously been married to a Jew. In certain cases, Hitler allowed soldiers to submit an application for an exemption, but in most cases, such a woman was unworthy of a Wehrmacht soldier. [276] Streicher had taken this a step further and believed that just having sex with a Jew could poison the body, but he did admit that a vaccination might exist. [277]
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Re: Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racia

Postby admin » Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:49 pm

Part 1 of 2

Chapter 6. Turning Point and Forced Labor, 1943-1944

Forced Labor and the Worsening Situation for Mischlinge


The year 1943 was a turning point for the "Mischling Question." [1] During this time, several Nazis recognized that a harsh policy against Mischling veterans was unwise. Bureaucrats in Berlin debated whether to recall previously discharged half-Jewish soldiers, a group they believed to number 8,330. [2 ]The OKW had reported that these men were good soldiers. Reichsreferent Dr. Gussmann said, "It could be argued that by letting them fight, they're being given the opportunity to prove whether the Nordic blood in their veins outweighs their Jewish blood." [3] From this document, one can infer that the Wehrmacht was interested in using this reservoir of men.

However, the Party disapproved. Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Heydrich's successor, wrote on 3 March 1943 that traitors, homosexuals, half-Jews, men married to Jews, and Gypsies could not serve in special military units. [4] When Gussmann wrote "Herrn Leiter" at the Hauptverbindungsamt on 10 February 1943, he suggested the government form Mischling work battalions instead. Men married to Jews were to be included. By forming such battalions, they could remove several Mischlinge from their positions and thereby appease Aryans who had protested their employment. Also, the Nazis could bypass the discussion of whether to treat half-Jews and Jews married to Aryans as full Jews if they sent them to forced labor battalions. Kaltenbrunner and a civil servant who worked on Mischling policy, Sachbearbeiter Heinrich Dietz [5] in OKW, supported the forced labor proposal. Dietz objected to letting Jewish Mischlinge perform military service because this meant that they would later be declared deutschblutig. Dietz believed that these men should not wear uniforms and should work only in particularly "unhealthy swamps and other dangerous locations." [6] In other words, Dietz wanted to start a slow but nonetheless systematic eradication of this group. On 17 July 1943, Gussmann echoed Dietz's plan and wrote that according to a Hitler decree, half-Jews and men married to Jews or Mischlinge should be bred from their jobs and drafted into forced labor battalions, especially to help clean up bombed-out regions. Wehrmacht personnel would guard them. [7] OKW would work with the labor offices to organize the battalions, and the Reichskanzlei would give Bormann the responsibility for the project.

Goring feared that these new decrees would negatively affect some of his subordinates. Goring had expressed to Bormann that he should be able to make exemptions and wanted to discuss everything with Hitler. [8] Apparently Goring got the concessions he wanted because, during the same month, Goring decreed that OT would draft half-Jews and Aryans married to Jews who did not work in important military related installations into forced labor battalions. [9] Evidently, the people Goring had helped protect would remain at their posts, or else he would not have changed his position on OT so quickly.

On 13 October 1943, Fritz Sauckel, plenipotentiary for labor mobilization, decreed on Hitler's orders that civilian half-Jews and Aryans married to Jews be drafted into OT. [10] Hitler decided that only those Jewish Mischlinge who worked for installations providing support for the war effort could be exempted from OT. [11] Most had to prove they were indispensable to their companies. For example, Gerhard Wundermacher remembered his boss Dankbardt telling him that in the name of Siemens, he would protect him. [12] However, most half-Jews would eventually have to leave for OT camps. Many could not get important jobs after their military discharge because of their racial status. Consequently, their bosses could not justify keeping them in 1943 and 1944. Furthermore, many were college students, and studies did not exempt one from OT. However, some were exempted from OT duty because of their war service. [13] (Table 8 shows the ages of all Mischlinge in this study.)

As with earlier policies, implementation often proved more challenging than anticipated. Albert Speer, head of armaments production, wrote

Table 8. Years of Birth of Mischlinge Who Served in the SS and the Wehrmacht, Documented in This Study

Year of Birth / No. of Mischlinge First Degree / No. of Mischlinge Second Degree / Total No.


1875 / -- / 1 / 1
1878 / 1 / -- / 1
1880 / 1 / -- / 1
1881 / -- / 2 / 2
1882 / 1 / -- / 1
1883 / 1 / -- / 1
1885 / [-- / 1 / 1
1886 / 1 / 2 / 3
1887 / -- / 2 / 2
1888 / 2 / -- / 2
1890 / 2 / 1 / 3
1892 / 1 / 1 / 2
1893 / 1 / 2 / 3
1894 / 2 / 2 / 5
1895 / 2 / 1 / 3
1896 / 4 / 1 / 5
1897 / 2 / 2 / 4
1898 / 6 / 1 / 7
1899 / 5 / 3 / 8
1900 / 6 / 2 / 8
1901 / 3 / 1 / 4
1902 / 2 / 3 / 5
1903 / 9 / 1 / 10
1904 / 5 / 2 / 7
1905 / 5 / 3 / 8
1906 / 4 / -- / 4
1907 / 8 / 5 / 13
1908 / 7 / 2 / 9
1909 / 6 / 3 / 9
1910 / 11 / 5 / 16
1911 / 17 / 4 / 21
1912 / 10 / 11 / 21
1913 / 26 / 6 / 32
1914 / 29 / 7 / 36
1915 / 25 / 11 / 36
1916 / 45 / 5 / 50
1917 / 40 / 14 / 54
1918 / 55 / 17 / 72
1919 / 71 / 18 / 89
1920 / 69 / 22 / 91
1921 / 49 / 14 / 63
1922 / 35 / 15 / 50
1923 / 23 / 9 / 32
1924 / 8 / 17 / 25
1925 / 14 / 16 / 30
1926 / 9 / 5 / 14
1927 / 8 / 11 / 19
1928 / 10 / 4 / 14
1929 / 1 / 1 / 2
1930 / 1 / 0 / 1
1931 / 2 / 0 / 2
Total / 646 / 256 / 902

Note: Binh dates were available for only 902 of the 1,574 Mischlinge identified by Bryan Mark Rigg.


Himmler a year later on 16 October 1944 that Hitler's order to send half- Jews and men married to Jews to OT camps had caused problems. Speer protested the loss of skilled workers at several munitions factories who would be difficult to replace. Speer asked that the deportation of highly skilled half-Jews and men married to Jews or half-Jews be deferred until he could find qualified replacements. [14]

As 1943 progressed, the Party aggressively attacked Mischlinge still on active duty. On 18 December 1943, Bormann, now Hitler's personal secretary, claimed that Mischlinge used the Wehrmacht as a hiding place and implied that they were not concerned with their duties. Bormann used the quarter-Jew Colonel Felix Burkner, former head of Krampnitz's Cavalry School and Keitel's friend and old comrade, as an example. Burkner trained soldiers in a military school, a position Bormann claimed Burkner received because of his relationships with Keitel and General Fritz Fromm. Despite the noteworthy support, Bormann said Burkner's Jewish blood continued to reveal itself. When the army discharged Burkner, Bormann wrote that his fellow officers felt relieved because of his Jewish character. Bormann ended his circular proclaiming that declaring Mischling soldiers deutschblutig endangered the Volk by allowing them to hide in the Wehrmacht. The Reich would suffer later when this concealed Jewishness reared its ugly head, Bormann wrote. For Bormann, the idea that Mischlinge could be employed as soldiers was asinine from the outset. Keitel felt that since Schmundt was also against Burkner, he could not take his case to Hitler, so he did nothing for his friend. Burkner was discharged. [15] Bormann tried to ensure that the paramilitary organization, called the Deutscher Volkssturm, [16] in which he was responsible for political and organizational matters, [17] would not encounter similar problems that the Wehrmacht had with its Mischlinge as illustrated by Burkner's case.

At a time when Germany needed every man, Bormann wrote on 9 December 1944 thatJews, Gypsies, and half-Jews could not serve in the Volkssturm; quarter-Jews could serve as long as they did not hold positions of authority. Bormann stipulated that the Parteikanzlei would review applications for exemptions. [18] However, racial policies proved harder to enforce during late 1944 because of the war's chaos. Despite Bormann's racial restrictions, many Mischlinge served in the Volkssturm. Others used these restrictions to avoid serving. For example, when the Volkssturm drafted Hermann Nast-Kolb, he went to his Gauleiter and claimed he could not serve because he was a half-Jew and his mother was in a concentration camp. The Gauleiter freed him from Volkssturm duties. [19] However, many were forced into the Volkssturm regardless of their racial status, and many met their deaths in these units. For example, discharged half-Jew Colonel Ernst Bloch [20] not only served in the Volkssturm but also trained men to fight in it. He died in the Volkssturm near Berlin in 1945. [21]

Although Sauckel had already ordered the deportation of half-Jews and Aryans married to Jews to OT in 1943, the first major action to implement this in force happened in the spring of 1944,22 during "Aktion Hasse" [23] and "Mitte." [24]These men would be called "OT-men" or "B-men." [25] Himmler joined the chorus of voices and ordered that half-Jews and men married to Jews or Mischlinge, who were not active soldiers, be sent to OT. [26] These "conscripts" also included criminals, homosexuals, and Gypsy Mischlinge. Apparently, some Jews not married to Aryans were also sent. Ex-Gefreiter Herbert Beyer remembered having Jews with the yellow star in his OT camp, Rositz near Altenburg in Thuringen. [27] Many deported to OT were Wehrmacht veterans. The Wehrmacht forgot their loyal service. On 21 March 1944, Sauckel repeated his order that half-Jews and men married to Jews be deported to OT. [28] Most half-Jews could not escape it. Only a few who could prove that their jobs were invaluable to the war effort were exempted from deportation. Others prevented their own deportation by falsifying papers from their work, claiming that they were needed at their jobs. [29] Sometimes, half-Jews outran the orders sent out by the SS. Friedrich Schlesinger avoided the Gestapo by moving around to three different cities where he had three different girlfriends to hide him. [30]

Besides Hasse and Mitte, OT conducted the deportations under the call sign Aktion Barthold in the region of Glogau (today Glogow, Poland) at Ost Linde. Along with their male counterparts, female half-Jews were deported to this camp, where they were forced to perform hard manual labor. Christoph-Michael Salinger recalls that their number was close to 250. [31] However, it appears that in general most women conscripted by OT were not deported to camps like Ost Linde but simply deployed in local work details. [32] In March 1944, between two thousand and three thousand Jewish and Gypsy Mischlinge and men married to Jews were sent from the province of Baden to the West to perform forced labor. [33] Between May and October 1944, 820 half-Jews and 127 men married to Jews were deported to such camps from Hamburg. [34] Thousands of half-Jews and men married to Jews must have been deported to OT from Vienna, Berlin, Frankfurt, and Munich.

Most received draft cards from the local police or Gestapo offices informing them that they had a few days or weeks to report to a certain train station with a change of clothes and toiletries. [35] Sometimes, employment offices would print official notices in the local newspapers under the title of "Registration of Mischlinge," which notified half-Jews of when and where they were required to report. [36] Though most had lost several relatives in the Holocaust, only a few tried their luck as "U-boats" (a term used for people who went into hiding with false papers) or tried to escape to Switzerland. However, hiding a Mischling fugitive was as dangerous as hiding a hardened criminal, and the chance to escape to another country was slim at best. For example, Helmut Rehfeld tried to escape to Basel, Switzerland, from Breslau, a distance of approximately seven hundred miles. Every twenty miles, police questioned him at checkpoints as to why he was not in uniform and where he was going. After traveling only a few miles, he decided that he would never reach the border and gave up. [37] Half-Jews had few options left open to them other than to obey the OT draft order. Most reported at the appointed time. For all they knew, the SS could have used OT to disguise an "extermination action." Although Gerhard Guttstadt's father had been murdered in 1939 in Sachsenhausen, Guttstadt still reported to his deportation station. [38] Many stated that they had no real options. Herbert Beyer remembered that he almost committed suicide before his deportation; [39] other half-Jews killed themselves to avoid going to OT. [40] Some feared Sippenhaft, a process whereby not only the person who disobeyed orders was punished, but his family as well. [41] Hermann Steinthal explained:

I don't know what I feared more: to obey the order or not to obey the order. Both were probably dangerous, and it was impossible to know which one was more dangerous. We didn't know where they were taking us or what awaited us .... Perhaps, we could've hidden, but where and with whom? There were brave people who hid Jews back then, but, first of all, I didn't know any of them, and second, we knew that the Nazis sometimes took revenge on the family if they couldn't find the person they were looking for [Sippenhaft]. One could've committed suicide like a few people among family and acquaintances had done, but I didn't think about that. [42]


Steinthal expresses eloquently the dilemma half-Jews faced. Events swept them along and they felt powerless to influence them. Although Steinthal thought about hiding, he, as most half-Jews, had few choices other than to obey the OT draft order. Steinthal showed up at his deportation location and was sent to the OT camp Wolfenbuttel.

Often relatives accompanied them to their deportation stations. Once there, most half-Jews were loaded into cattle cars and had to endure their journey without water or food for days. [43] Others were deported in normal passenger trains. [44] Surprisingly, most in OT camps survived the war, probably because they had to endure only a few months in these camps, as compared with the many months or years that concentration camp victims had to endure. Moreover, OT camps were not as nefarious as death camps as long as the inmates worked long and hard.

Those Mischlinge still serving in the Wehrmacht experienced increased restrictions during 1944. On 4 September 1944, Hitler ordered that half- Jews still serving could no longer receive medals. [45] Bormann also pushed for high-ranking officers who had received Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserklarung to be discharged. In late 1944 and early 1945, Hitler discharged several high-ranking officers who were either Mischlinge themselves or had Mischling wives. On 2 November 1944, Hitler also ordered Jewish Mischling civil servants discharged. [46] Many of the discharged half-Jews would find themselves in OT camps, a humiliating experience for these battletested officers. For example, the Neue Zurcher Zeitung reported on 15 January 1945 that it was hard for discharged officers to bear the humiliation of working in an OT camp. [47] Herbert Beyer remembered that a captain was sent to the OT camp one week after he had been discharged, and "one could see he was destroyed because of it." [48] Heinz Wollenberg remembered one officer who broke down into tears when he entered the OT camp at Wolfenbuttel/Braunschweig. [49] Several half-Jews wore their Iron Crosses, [50] and Beyer remembered a fellow prisoner wearing the Ritterkreuz in the OT camp Rositz. [51] Several quarter-Jews, some highly decorated, had to endure the uncertainty about their older half-Jewish fathers laboring away in OT camps while they still served on the front. [52]

By 1944, thousands of concentration camps and forced labor camps sprinkled the landscape of Nazi-dominated EuropeY Many camps incarcerated half-Jews. Speer claimed ignorance after the war about what type of manpower had been recruited. [54] Speer acknowledged that OT camps built concrete dugouts, roads, and railroads, but explained little about where his labor came from or how those workers were treated. [55] By May 1944, OT camps were no longer controlled by Speer's organization, but by the SS Building Administration. Even then, the treatment of half-Jews in these OT camps varied greatly.

Many OT camps provided prisoners decent shelter, good food, and normal working hours. Sometimes the OT units had weapons at their disposal in case they had to defend their camp. [56] According to Kurt Einstein, his camp allowed prisoners to leave their barracks on Sundays for church or the cinema or just to take a stroll in town. [57] Other camps allowed girlfriends or sisters of OT men to bring them food. [58] Some in certain camps received OT uniforms. [59] Ernst Ludwig said that at the Zerbst camp, where around three hundred half-Jews worked, they performed hard labor day and night, but that the Luftwaffe guards there treated them decently. They built a large airport for the new Messerschmitt Me 262 fighter jets. They did not have much to eat, but nonetheless, Ludwig described it as survivable. [60] Dieter Bergmann said that he felt "good" in his OT camp. He worked hard but felt energized by the outdoor work. Called up with another eight hundred half-Jews, they had to build launchpads in France for V-I flying bombs. [61] There were many OT camps in the Harz Mountains in central Germany where several mines and gasoline production faculties were loccated. [62] Ex-Funker Hermann Rath was deported with a group of one hundred other half-Jews to a mine near Zeitz where they worked close to fourteen hours a day. Rath lived with "an indescribable fear" and felt that he might die soon. [63] Peter Schliesser experienced hard labor, and the half- Jews in his camp in Saxony had little food, usually of poor quality, and lived in dilapidated shelters. [64]

Some OT camps had, instead of guards, just a foreman to whom the half- Jews reported. [65] Sometimes, the interned half-Jews provided their own guards. [66] However, sometimes these camps resembled a concentration camp in their brutality. [67] People were beaten and died of hunger and hard labor. Some committed suicide because of the trauma and stress. Sometimes SS personnel guarded these camps as at Weissenfels/Halle, Derenburg/Harz, Rositz, and the OT barracks in Casernes Mortier near the metro station Porte des Lilas in Paris.

Whether OT camps were lenient or brutal, prisoners feared deportation to a concentration camp. Christoph-Michael Salinger, at the Ost Linde OT camp, remembered that those Mischlinge who misbehaved were sent to Auschwitz. [68] At Derenburg, the SS threatened the Mischlinge constantly with deportation to a concentration camp if someone tried to escape. Many OT camp commanders warned that if any of them tried to escape, not just the offender but all who lived in his barracks would be deported to a death camp. Consequently, inmates often policed themselves. When Robert Schindling escaped from Derenburg, some of the other inmates in the camp searched for him, found him at a train station, and brought him back to the camp. Then Heinz-Herbert Karry, brothers Ernst and Heinz Scheinberger, Aristoteles Trembelis, and several others brutally beat Schindling out of fear and anger until he lay dead. According to Peter Cahn, another prisoner who witnessed this awful act: "[ i]t wasn't murder, it was a Totschlag (manslaughter)."  [69] Other OT escapees were sent directly to concentration camps when found. Ex-Funker Ferdinand Lichtwitz successfully escaped with three other inmates (he remembers two of their names as being Fleischmann and Claus Cohen) from Rositz. After one month of hiding in Munich, Lichtwitz was denounced by Frau Einstein and deported to Dachau. While there, he was reunited with Fleischmann and Cohen. [70]

Others were more successful with their escapes. Hans-Geert Falkenberg escaped along with several others from his OT camp at the Casernes Mortier in Paris in 1944. He obtained false papers and masqueraded around France and Germany as an OT officer until the end of the war. He believes his escape saved his life. [71]

As the war drew to a close, Mischlinge stood at the edge of the Holocaust's gaping jaws. At the close of 1944, Himmler ordered the execution of Mischlinge in camps near the enemy before the enemy overran their position and liberated them. Harald Etheimer claimed that a fellow half-Jewish inmate discovered in camp documents after the war "Himmler's order" that the SS should have executed them. [721 Luckily for them, it was not obeyed. If such an order was indeed given, SS commanders of OT camps did not enforce it. [73] Contrary to normal Nazi camp behavior, Mischlinge were free after their guards typically deserted their posts.

At the war's end, control over the OT camps disintegrated, leaving each camp commander at liberty to decide what to do with his prisoners. Some in OT were offered the opportunity to fight in the Wehrmacht against the invading Allied armies. Horst Schmechel remembered that probably three out of approximately two hundred half-Jews in his camp decided to do this when their commander, OT-Frontfuhrer [74] Bauer, presented this option to them. [75] Klaus Budzinski remembered his SS camp commander gave the half-Jews weapons, addressed them as "my dear Mischlinge," and then told them that they would fight the Allies. [76] This last-ditch effort by the Nazis was not uncommon. Gypsies and Gypsy Mischlinge were drafted at the beginning of 1945 into the ill-famed SS Special Regiment Dirlewanger and given weapons to fight at the front. [77]

On 3 January 1945, probably under Party pressure, the Wehrmacht issued one of its last orders regarding Mischlinge. It ordered that employing "Jewish-Mischling" officers, even those who had exemptions, in key positions and promoting them past colonel should be avoided. [78] This last order showed that the Party was probably tired of "discovering" so many Mischling generals, most of whom had been discharged throughout the fall of 1944. Discharging such men in high positions negatively affected both morale and the Wehrmacht's ability to fight efficiently.

It seems that only active officers were discharged. Most reserve Mischling officers served until the war's end. Roughly half of the half-Jews documented in this study spent the last months of the war in concentration or OT forced labor camps. The others, whether because they were not found or had received exemptions, continued to work, study, or serve.

Hitler's preoccupation with race, particularly his desire to discharge high-ranking and experienced officers from their posts, targeted not only Mischlinge but also those married to Mischlinge. Few active officers escaped Hitler's discharge order. An exception was General Gotthard Heinrici, who was left alone by Hitler because of his exceptional military acumen. Heinrici finished the war as an army commander and conducted the final battle of the Oder and the defense of Berlin. [79] In January 1945, Himmler repeated the order to send half-Jews to forced labor battalions. [80] Hitler at this time was a physically sick man. Although he was only in his midfifties, his head and hands shook visibly (probably from Parkinson's disease), his eyes were bloodshot, and saliva sometimes trickled from his lips. [81] In this state of poor health, he still obsessed about the Jews. His decision to send thousands of half-Jews, many of whom were Wehrmacht veterans, to forced labor units instead of the front, showed again Hitler's obsession with race and destructive policies. These thoughts were still on his mind just a few hours before he shot himself on 30 April 1945 when he said, "Above all, I charge the leadership of the nation, as well as its followers to a rigorous adherence to our racial laws and to a merciless resistance against the poisoner of all people - international Jewry." [82] A few days later, the war ended.

What Would Have Happened to Mischlinge If Germany Had Won the War

The Nazis' "mechanism of destruction" would also have engulfed the half- Jews if Hitler had continued or won the war. Buttner wrote, "It was only a question of time when [half-Jews] too should share the fate of the 'full Jews.''' [83] Quarter-Jews would also have suffered further discrimination, selective sterilization, as well as possible extermination. The elimination of Mischlinge had already been conceived in the 1930s. According to the first supplementary decree of 14 November 1935 to the Nuremberg Laws, Article 5, section 2, paragraph (c), any half-Jews born after 15 September 1935 would be considered Jews in violation of the law. [84] Also, as Stuckart and Globke wrote in 1936 in their commentary about the racial laws, the disappearance of the" Mischling" race was the aim of the legal solution to the "Mischling Question." [85]

The Nazis continued to betray their true plans about how to treat Mischlinge. For example, when the Nazis discovered that a half-Jew had not left the Jewish community and had tried to marry his pregnant Aryan fiancee, the SS sent him to Auschwitz. The SS wrote, "We'll do everything we can so that not only the full-Jews, but also the Mischlinge will disappear." [86]The Nazis planned to handle the Mischlinge as they had the Jews. They believed this would eliminate the disguised Jew, considered the most dangerous of all Jews. [87]

In 1943, Himmler informed Lammers that the Endlosung would include half-Jews. [88] Dr. Richard Hildebrandt, head of the SS Main Office for Race and Resettlement, wrote Himmler on 17 March 1943 about the Final Solution of the "Jewish Mischling Question" ("Endlosung der Judenmischlings- frage"). He said that SS-Standartenfuhrer [89] Dr. Bruno Kurt Schultz in the Main Race Office recommended further testing of quarter-Jews in the future to see if they looked racially inferior. One that "looked Jewish" should be treated like a half-Jew. To justify this policy, he argued that a quarter-Jew could have inherited more than 25 percent "Jewish blood" from his half- Jewish parent. [90] Himmler wrote Bormann on 22 May 1943 that he wished that children of Mischlinge would in the future be tested "just like plants and animals," and that those racially inferior would be sterilized. Such a policy would safeguard the German gene pool. [91] Himmler believed" Mischlinge ... were particularly unpleasant occurrences" and implied that Mischlinge were "freaks" of nature. [92] Had Himmler had his way, he would have included half-Jews in the Endlosung from the beginning. By the summer of 1944, Himmler's office issued the statement that in one hundred years, if any Mischlinge were still alive, they would be only" Mischlinge of the third, fourth and fifth degrees." The office hoped that half-Jews and quarter-Jews would be extinct by then. "The removal of Judaism from our German Reich," the memorandum continued, "and the purification of our German Volk from Jewish-Mischling blood is the greatest racial-political task presently."  [93] But before systematic deportation and total expulsion of Mischlinge from society could be executed, German society would have to be desensitized to Mischling persecution. The decision to deport half-Jews to OT forced labor camps in 1944 was a big step in this direction. Until then, the plan to deport and exterminate Mischlinge had been largely theoretical.

However, German Mischlinge were fortunate compared with their non- German Mischling counterparts. Already in the eastern territories, non- German Mischlinge were marked for extermination. [94] The Reich Security Main Office for the Eastern Territories wrote in the summer of 1941: "In view of the Final Solution ... it appears necessary both from a political and a racial standpoint, in order to avoid a later recovery of the Jews, to define the concept of a Jew as broadly as possible .... Anyone who has one parent who is a Jew will also count as a Jew." [95] This policy for the occupied areas was clear: all half-Jews would be deported to death camps along with Jews. There would be no segregation of half- and full-Jews as in Germany. Hans Frank, the governor general of occupied Poland, included Mischlinge in his scheme of extermination in a report on 16 December 1941:

The Jews are for us also very parasitical eaters. We have in the General Government an estimated 2.5 million, maybe together with Mischlinge and all that hangs on, 3.5 million Jews. We can't poison them, but we will be able to take some kind of action which will lead to an annihilation success and I am referring to the measures to be discussed in the Reich. The General Government will be just as judenfrei as the Reich. [96]


Frank felt that the Nazis would be free of the "Jewish disease" only when the Mischlinge were also exterminated. The policy implemented in Poland and other areas would follow this line of thinking. For example, already in the summer of 1940, Mischlinge in Poland were pushed into ghettos. [97] Half- Jews there were also included in plans for deporting Jews to concentration camps. [98] Some Mischlinge from Greece, Hungary, and even Italy were also deported. [99] Klemperer had met Mischlinge from the Protectorate who had to wear the Jewish star in accordance with a law decreed after Heydrich's assassination on 4 June 1942. [100] Half-Jewish Danes felt the need to escape from Denmark. Out of the 5,919 refugees of Jewish ancestry who fled Denmark for Sweden, 1,310 were half-Jews. [101] The Nazis also forced half- Jews to identify themselves as Jews in Luxembourg, Holland, northern France, Denmark, Vichy France, Belgium, Poland, the Baltic states, and Russia. [102] One can safely conclude that hundreds of thousands of non- German Mischlinge ultimately died in the Holocaust.

The Nazis treated German Mischlinge better than non-German Mischlinge to maintain popular support among Aryan Germans, particularly relatives of Mischlinge. Non-German Mischlinge, especially in the East, had no such lobby group. [103] From the racial scientists' point of view, a German half-Jew was still half-Aryan. Since all things Aryan were to be preserved and encouraged, policy regarding German Mischlinge was problematic at best. This ideological dilemma took so long to resolve that the war ended before the Nazis could deport the German half-Jews to the death camps.

Nonetheless, Himmler wanted German half-Jews and Jews married to Aryans destroyed. [104] Several brutal acts against German Mischlinge had already been committed. An institution had been set up specifically to exterminate Mischlinge. [105] Wilhelm Kube, general commissar for Belorussia, wanted to know in 1941 whether German Jews and Mischlinge should be given exemptions. Apparently, he felt uncomfortable exterminating "part-Jews (Mischlinge), Jews with war decorations, or Jews with 'Aryan' partners."  [106] From the documents, it seems that these Germans of Jewish descent were not given any preferential treatment. They were earmarked for extermination. In 1942, Gestapo Chief Heinrich Muller issued an order that Jewish and half-Jewish patients in hospitals and sanatoriums be sent to the extermination camps. [107] In 1943, some German half-Jews and Jews married to non-Jews had been sent to the Warsaw ghetto. [108] Hauptsturmfuhrer [109] Alois Brunner, a deportation expert, deported some German Mischlinge to the East in 1942-1943. During one investigation of a Mischling's papers, he crossed out the word Mischling and wrote "Jew," saying: "What? Y'er a Mischling? .. Y'er a dirty Jew." [110] Between 1943 and 1944, Mischling children from welfare institutions were sent to Hadamar's euthanasia center, where they were poisoned. [111] On 9 November 1944, an article in Der Sturmer stated: "The Jews that we still have aren't as dangerous as the half- Jews because these half-Jews can mix in with the German population .... Hopefully the time will quickly come, when this dangerous pack of people won't be allowed to do what they want to. If the half-Jews aren't taken care of, then the Jewish-question will only be partially solved." [112] The article reflected what many Nazis desired. They believed that the destruction of European Jews would be final only when half-Jews were eliminated.

By late 1944 and early 1945, the Nazis deported some Mischlinge from the Reich to Theresienstadt. [113] During the evacuation of Auschwitz in late 1944, the SS transferred the Mischlinge there to Ravensbruck. [114] Hans Kirchholtes, who served in an OT camp near Hamburg, remembered that many half-Jews were interned in the Neuengamme concentration camp. [115] Wolf Zuelzer's mother, a half-Jew who, though married to an Aryan, had to wear a Jewish star, was forced to work in a munitions factory and was later deported to Theresienstadt. [116] This study has documented some German half-Jews who were deported to Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Minsk, Gross- Rosen, Sachsenhausen, and Dachau. [117] Many were sent to such camps presumably because they had acted against Nazi orders such as escaping from OT camps.

The alternative to exterminating half-Jews was to sterilize them. The Nazi regime sterilized some four hundred thousand people during its twelve years in power. [118] It had developed techniques that would make mass sterilizations possible. Hans-Oskar Lowenstein de Witt, a Geltungsjude, claimed he knew a couple of Mischlinge, a young man and woman, ages eighteen and nineteen, respectively, whom the Nazis had forcibly sterilized.  [119] Half-Jew Gerhard Bier remembered one half-Jew who was told that if he volunteered for sterilization, he would not be deported. Because he did not want to take any chances, he became sterilized. [120] Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer wrote that while "no clear policy was adopted, experiments in sterilization were made and undetermined numbers of Mischlinge were thus crippled." [121] Fritz Steinwasser, a quarter-Jew, claimed that his uncle found SS documents that spoke of plans to sterilize the Jews and Mischlinge in their family and then send them to the East. [122] However, it never came to a universal sterilization of German Mischlinge because Hitler never gave his approval.

Mischlinge ultimately owe their survival to Hitler's inability to decide on how to deal with them - whether to execute them like Jews, sterilize them, or to deport them. Hitler probably feared social unrest if he also exterminated half-Jews. Backlashes against the government such as after Reichskristallnacht [123] in 1938, the euthanasia program [124] after it became known to churches throughout 1939-1941, and during the Rosenstrasse protest [125] outside Goebbels's office in 1943 indicated that unrest was likely if too many Germans were personally affected by the persecution. As Eichmann said in Jerusalem, "Mischlinge were protected by a forest of difficulties because of their non-Jewish relatives and because there was no effective means of sterilization." [126] As a result, Hitler repeatedly said he would deal with the half-Jews after the war. Many Mischlinge today have little doubt about what would have happened to them if Hitler had continued his rule. Reiner Wiehl said, "[Had Hitler won], my mother, my sister, myself -- all dead!" [127] Robert Braun asked, "After Hitler killed six million-Jews, what would it mean to him to kill several thousands of Mischlinge to keep German blood pure?" [128] Wilhelm Droscher wrote in 1946 that had Germany won the war, "that would have meant the end of me." [129]

Interestingly, Hitler condemned softness on the Jewish question and rejected those who treated anyone of Jewish descent leniently. Yet he practiced what he ultimately condemned and often made exceptions to his own ideology. Nonetheless, the Mischlinge situation was on the verge of turning into a nightmare, and looking at Hitler's track record, it is now clear where he was going with the Mischlinge.

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Half-Jew Ernst Prager's Deutschblutigkeitserklarung. "I approve that retired First Lieutenant Ernst Prager (Berlin-So 36, Am Treptower Park 18) may be used again as an active officer in the service of the army. At the same time, 1 declare that First Lieutenant Prager is of equal status with German blooded persons with respect to German racial laws with all of the consequent rights and obligations. Fuhrerhauptquartier, 30 October 1941. Signed: The Fuhrer and Supreme Commander, Adolf Hitler; the Commander in Chief of the Wehrmacht, Keitel; the Secretary of State and Head of the Reichskanzlei, Lammers."

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Marriage of quarter-jew Lieutenant Wolfgang Beindorff (kneeling with wife, middle row); he received Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserklarung.

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Half-Jew Ernst Bloch (last rank colonel); he received Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserklarung. The horrible scar was from taking a bayonet through the face during hand-to-hand combat in World War I. (Military awards: EKI, EKII, Wound Badge, War Service Cross Second Class, and War Service Cross First Class.)

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Quarter-Jew Fritz Steinwasser (last rank Stabsgefreiter) standing in the foreground, France 1940

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Quarter-Jew Fritz Steinwasser in 1949 after he returned from POW camp in the Soviet Union. (Military awards: Recommended for the War Service Cross with swords in 1945, but the paperwork did not go through because it was at the war's end.

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Half-Jew Robert Borchardt (right) (last rank major) wearing the Ritterkreuz. Left of Borchardt is Major von Loeffelholz. July 1942. (Military awards: Ritterkreuz, German-Cross in Gold, EKI, EKII, Assault Badge, and Wound Badge.) (Photo credit: Dal McGuirk)

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Half-Jew Eberhard Fischer (last rank Unteroffizier). (Military award: EKII.)

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Quarter-Jew Wihelm van Gwinner (last rank second lieutenant); he received Hitler's Genehmigung. (Military award: Wound Badge.)

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Half-Jew Rainer Gartner (last rank Unteroffizier) in the summer of 1943 on the island of Crete. (Military award: EKII.)

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Quarter-Jew and First Lieutenant Helmut van Gottberg (third from right); he received Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserklarung. (Military awards: EKII, War Service Cross Second Class with swords, Wound Badge, and Eastern Campaign Medal 1941-1942.)

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Quarter-Jew and First Lieutenant Helmut van Gottberg's military pay book

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Half-Jew Wilhelm van Helmolt (last rank Feldwebel). This picture was taken several months after Helmolt lost his leg in combat. (Military awards: EKII, Silver Wound Badge, Assault Badge, and Eastern Campaign Medal 1941-1942.)

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Quarter-Jew Hartmut Heinrici (last rank captain); he received Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserklarung. (Military awards: EKI, EKII, Wound Badge, Assault Badge, and Eastern Campaign Medal 1941-1942.)

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General Gotthard Heinrici (far left), who was married to a half-Jew, meeting Hitler in 1937. Hitler would award Heinrici's wife and children the Deutschblutigkeitserklarung. He received the Ritterkreuz with oak leaves and swords.

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General Gotthard Heinrici.

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Hitler's working style.

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Hitler and General Karl Litzmann, Staats rat and Nazi Party member. Litzmann had two grandsons who were quarter-Jews according to Nazi law. He granted the family an exemption allowing Frau Litzmann, the daughter of General Litzmann, to remain in the Party and for her sons to serve in the Wehrmacht.

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Document granting approval by Hitler for the quarter-Jews and brothers Joachim and Heinz Rohr to return to the army. "I approve the reinstatement of the retired lieutenants Joachim Rohr and Heinz Rohr. Signed: Adolf Hitler."

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Half-Jew Emil Lux (far left) (last rank Unteroffizier), with his company commander, First Lieutenant Muller. The other two (on the right) are unknown. (Military awards: EKII, Assault Badge, Silver Wound Badge, and the Eastern Campaign Medal 1941-1942.)

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General and half-Jew Werner Maltzahn; he received Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserklarung. (Military awards: EKI, EKII, and War Service Cross Second Class.)

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Quarter-Jew Helmut Meyer- Krahmer (last rank first lieutenant); he received Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserklarung. (Military awards: EKII.)
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Re: Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racia

Postby admin » Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:52 pm

Part 2 of 2

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Half-Jew Ernst Prager (standing, in uniform) and wife Hella's wedding in 1941 (last rank captain); he received Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserklarung. (Military awards: EKI, EKII, and the Golden Wound Badge.)

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Quarter-Jews and siblings Lieutenant Heinz Rohr (left), Margot Rohr (middle), and Lieutenant Joachim Rohr (right), 1934. (Military awards for Heinz Rohr: German-Cross in Gold, EKI, EKII, Panzer Assault Badge in Silver, and Golden Wound Badge. Military awards for Joachim Rohr: German- Cross in Gold, EKI, EKII, and Eastern Campaign Medal 1941-1942.)

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Half-Jew and later Luftwaffe General Helmut Wilberg; Hitler declared him Aryan in 1935. (Military awards: Knight's Cross with Swords of the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern, Military Service Cross Second Class of the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Commemorative Flier Badge, EKI, EKII, and many others.)

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Philipp Bouhler, head of the 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). (Photo credit: Charles Hamilton, courtesy of R. James Bender Publishing)

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Martin Bormann of the Parteikanzlei. (Photo credit: Charles Hamilton, courtesy of R. James Bender Publishing)

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Dr. Wilhelm Stuckart, state secretary in the RMI (Reichsministerium des Innern; Reich Ministry of the Interior). (Photo credit: Charles Hamilton, courtesy of R. James Bender Publishing)

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Half-Jew Friedrich Gebhard (last rank major); he received Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserkldrung. (Military awards: EKI, EKII, War Service Cross First Class with swords, War Service Cross Second Class with swords, and Eastern Campaign Medal 1941-1942.)

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Quarter-Jew Felix Burkner (last rank colonel). He was commanding officer of Krampnitz Calvary School and received Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserkldrung.

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Quarter-Jew Major Heinz Rohr's wedding in 1944 (wife Stefanie); he received Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserkldrung and was decorated with the EKI and German-Cross in Gold.

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Quarter-Jew and SA Sturmfuhrer (Lieutenant) Hans Sander in 1935; he was also a Party member and was awarded the Gold Party Badge; he later received Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserklarung and served in the army (last rank lieutenant). (Military award: EKII.)

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Document from Hitler allowing quarter-Jew SA Sturmfuhrer (Lieutenant) Hans Sander to remain in the Party. A loose translation reads: "Adolf Hitler, Berlin, 30 July 1935. To H. Sander, S.A.-Sturmfuhrer, Meiningen. The head of the KdF [Kanzlei des Fuhrers] of the NSDAP has presented your case to me. r approve your petition insofar as it regards you personally in consideration of your long membership in the Party and because of your noteworthy service to our movement. There is no reason why you should not remain in the Party or the SA and retain your leadership position. Signed: Adolf Hitler."

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Half-Jew Ernst Prager a few days after he was shot seven times while fighting on the Russian front (last rank captain). A few months after this photo was taken, he met Eichmann about his Jewish relatives.

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Clara von Metteheim, mother of half- Jews Obergefreiter Deiter Fischer and Unteroffizier Eberhard Fischer.

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Half-Jew Werner Eisner; he later was deported to Auschwitz. (Military award: Wound Badge.)

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Half-Jew Martin Bier (last rank Gefreiter)

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Half-Jew Martin Bier (last rank Gefreiter)

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Quarter-Jew Helmut Schmoeckel (last rank captain of V-802); he received the Deutschblutig keitserklarung. (Military awards: Silver U-Boat Badge, Battleship Badge, EKI, and EKII.)

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Deutschblutigkeitserklarung for half-Jew Captain Walter H. Hollaender. It reads: "The Fuhrer has decided that Captain Walter H. Hollaender, Infantry Regiment 46, born on 15 October 1903 in Verden, is of German blood in accordance with the German racial laws with all the corresponding rights and obligations. Berlin, 31 August 1939. Signed: Secretary of State, Dr. Lammers. Signed: Chief of OKW, Keitel."
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Re: Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racia

Postby admin » Mon Apr 23, 2018 12:15 am

Part 1 of 2

Chapter 7. Exemptions from the Racial Laws Granted by Hitler

Why Hitler Granted Exemptions


Throughout Hitler's political career, he made several exemptions from his ideology. Whatever Hitler had written into decrees was always subject to alteration at his discretion. Hitler granted thousands of Mischlinge exemptions from the provisions of his racial laws.

Some have claimed that Hitler made exemptions for Mischlinge because of his own "Jewish" past. [1] Since this issue was raised frequently during discussions of this study, it is explored in some detail. [2] The facts seem to indicate that Hitler feared his paternal grandfather was Jewish. [3]As Dr. Fritz Redlich, psychiatrist and author of Hitler: Diagnosis of a Destructive Prophet, said, "Hitler was mixed up about his descent. He was definitely scared about the possibility that he had a Jewish grandfather." [4] However, no documents have survived to confirm or deny this allegation.

In general, Hitler was very secretive about his origins, [5] He tried to conceal many embarrassing stories about his relatives and forbade that anything about his family or youth be published. [6] Hitler invented his own history, changing his origins and ethnicity. He even had people murdered who knew too much about his past. [7] According to Hitler's nephew, Patrick, Hitler claimed that the public "mustn't be allowed to find out who I am. They mustn't know where I came from and who my family is.'' [8] Several plausible explanations for Hitler's discomfort exist: his family had a history of mental illness [9] and incest; [10] his mother and father were second cousins; [11] his niece and possible lover, Geli Raubal, had committed suicide allegedly because of his domination of her; [12] his half-brother, Alois Jr., had an extensive criminal record; [13] Hitler may have had a son; [14] one of his relations married a Jew; [15] his Aunt Johanna was a hunchback; [16] his father was illegitimate; [17] his father beat him, as well as his mother and his dog; [18] his father was promiscuous; [19] his father was a drunkard; [20] Hitler feared that his father may have been half- Jewish. [21] Rumors spread throughout the 1920s and 1930s about Hitler's "Jewish past," [22] but they were mainly "fostered by sensationalist journalism of the foreign press." [23] Only a few sources exist that refer to Hitler's potential Jewish heritage: one is a book written by Hansjurgen Koehler, an ex- Gestapo man who emigrated to England in the 1930s; another is the memoirs of Hans Frank, Hitler's notorious lawyer, written while awaiting the hangman in Nuremberg in 1946. Neither source is particularly reliable. [24]

Koehler's book was published during 1940, a time when several "spurious books" were being published about the Fuhrer. [25] Koehler reported in 1940 that he had come across information in SS files that proved that Hitler's grandmother had been impregnated by a Jew for whose family she worked as a domestic servant in Vienna. [26] The fact that Koehler's book was published in 1940, and that articles about Hitler's past had already been printed in the 1930s, shows how widespread such rumors were about Hitler. Thus, they could not have escaped his notice.

Frank's book, published in the 1950s, is full of mistakes. Frank's son, Niklas, warned that his father "lied about everything" and his memoirs must therefore be looked at skeptically. [27] Ian Kershaw wrote that Frank's memories were "dictated at a time when he was waiting for the hangman and plainly undergoing a psychological crisis, [and] are full of inaccuracies and have to be used with caution." [28] Even so, the "psycho-historian" Robert Waite, author of The Psychological God Adolf Hitler, found "reason to believe [Frank's] story. He wrote his memoirs as a condemned man who had converted to Catholicism. He had no reason to misrepresent Hitler or to invent a story." [29]

In 1946, Frank's memoirs substantiated allegations like Koehler's. In 1930, Hitler had asked him to research his family's past in light of some unpleasant rumors. Frank did so and allegedly found that Hitler's grandmother, forty-two years old and unmarried, became pregnant while working in the Jewish Frankenberger (perhaps Frankenreiter) household in Graz. [30] It was unclear whether the head of this Jewish home or his teenage son was the father of the child, although based on the documents, Frank assumed it to be the youth. According to Frank, letters he found proved the Frankenberger family was responsible, since they paid child support to Hitler's grandmother for several years. The child in question was Alois Schicklgruber, Hitler's father, who later changed his name to Hitler. When Frank reported these findings, Hitler told him to keep quiet. Frank claimed that Hitler confirmed the facts that Frank found except one. Hitler maintained that his grandmother had been impregnated by Georg Hiedler rather than the Jew, and had only pretended the father was Frankenberger to extort money from them. But as psychotherapist George Victor wrote, "Hitler's version [via Frank] is doubtful on its face. It implies Maria was engaging in sex with Georg and the Frankenberger youth at the same time. If so, she could not have been sure who the father was, and Hitler could not have been sure, although he said he was." [31]

If this story is true, it might help explain Hitler's actions in Austria after the annexation of 1938. Supposedly, Hitler had the whole town of Dollersheim, where possible secrets about his family were, turned into an artillery field. [32] However, according to Redlich, Waite is wrong in assuming that the Dollersheim documents about Hitler's family were destroyed by this "hostile act." [33] A more likely scenario was that Hitler took away whatever documents he thought were incriminating from the Dollersheim parish archives and had them destroyed. We do know that Hitler's "frantic efforts" to locate the documents about his evasion of the Austrian draft were futile because they had been removed from the archive and hidden. [34] But the fact that he looked for them proves that Hitler was searching out documents that might have harmed the identity he had created for himself. [35] Hitler probably found most of the documents he wanted. His past occupied much of his time; Hitler had his origins repeatedly investigated (nine times in total) and reportedly had incriminating documents destroyed. [36]

We can assume that Hitler believed that his grandmother had been "taken advantage of" while working in a Jewish home. This belief may have intensified his already anti-Semitic writings, statements, and policies. Even before Frank told Hitler this story about his grandmother, Hitler feared that Aryan women might be "misused" as servants in Jewish homes. Mein Kampf often refers with horror to Jews sexually abusing Aryan women. Perhaps hearing the stories of his grandmother confirmed his fears and probably intensified his reactions to this sensitive subject. [37] Hitler often flew into a rage when he heard about Aryan chambermaids in Jewish homes. [38] This may explain why Hitler falsely accused Matthias Erzberger, [39] a staunch Republican and representative of Weimar democracy, of being the illegitimate son of a servant girl and a Jewish employer. The fact that Hitler considered this kind of heritage a vile insult speaks volumes on how he felt about his father. Later, Hitler had a law implemented to prevent the situation he feared. The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 forbade Aryan women under forty-five years of age as of 31 December 1935 to work in Jewish households. [40] Concerning these policies, Redlich wrote that they were "possibly motivated by Hitler's concern that his paternal grandmother was impregnated by a Jew when she worked in a Jewish household." [41]

The SS also investigated Hitler's ancestry. Usually the SS only looked for Jews in a person's family tree. In 1944, Himmler wrote Bormann about Hitler's dubious past: "It's rumored that some of the Fuhrer's relatives live in Graz-St. Peter, some of whom are half-idiots or insane .... The Schicklgruber line seems to have several abnormal people, as demonstrated by the mentally retarded ('idiotische') descendants." [42] Hitler probably knew about mental illness in his family; namely, one cousin had committed suicide, another lived in an insane asylum, and two others were mentally retarded. [43] The SS report did not mention any Jewish stains in his "bloodline." The race office had researched his ancestry with the "predictable outcome" that they found him to be 100 percent Aryan. [44] Two facts emerge from this mass of rumor and inference. First, no one will ever know with certainty whether Hitler had Jewish ancestry unless new documents surface. Second, Hitler feared that the rumor about his Jewish past could have been true. He had expressed this implicitly to Captain Schuh in his regiment during World War I and later, during the Third Reich, voiced certain doubts about his ancestry to Speer. [45] This personal identity crisis may have led him to make so many exemptions to the Nazi racial laws.

Hitler may have given exemptions to Mischlinge because of his own experiences with them and Jews. Hitler spent time and possibly was romantically involved with quarter-Jew Gretl Slezak. [46] He had met the Austrian Jew Dr. Eduard Bloch, who took care of his mother during her battle with cancer. Hitler respected Bloch. After the Anschluss in 1938, Hitler made sure that Bloch was protected until the proper documents had been procured for his emigration. Hitler saw to it that Bloch, whom he called a "noble Jew," could leave Germany unharmed. [47] Hitler may also have given exemptions to Mischling soldiers because of his contact with Jews during World War I, through which he learned how brave many of them had been. [48] Hitler received his EKI on the nomination of Hugo Gutmann, his regiment's adjutant, a Jew. [49] Such firsthand experiences may have motivated Hitler to give exemptions to some Mischlinge.

Hitler had shown from the beginning of his political career a tendency to make exemptions. Between 1920 and 1933, he usually granted them because of political necessity. He allowed Ernst Rahm to command the SA even though Rahm was a homosexual. [50] Although those who were homosexual were later marked for persecution, at this stage Hitler believed matters "purely in the private sphere" should be left alone. [51] Perhaps the most famous exemption was given to Heydrich, the "Blond Beast," head of the SD Reich Security Main Office and one of the architects of the Endlosung. Because so many have argued about Heydrich's possible Jewish past, his case, like Hitler's, is described in detail.

When Heydrich was a child in Halle, neighborhood children made fun of him, calling him "Isi" (Izzy), short for Isidor, a name with a Jewish connotation. [52] This nickname upset Heydrich. [53] When he served in the navy, many of his comrades believed he was Jewish. [54] Some called him the "blond Moses." [55] Others who lived in Halle have claimed that everybody believed that his father, the musician Bruno Heydrich, was a Jew. Half-Jew Alice Schaper nee Rohr, who took piano lessons from Bruno, claimed, "We all knew he was Jewish .... He looked just like a typical Jew." [56] In town, Bruno was called Isidor Suess behind his back. [57] With such rumors going around, it was not surprising that Heydrich felt continually burdened by these allegations, especially when he served as an SS general. One will never know whether Heydrich was truly of Jewish descent unless more documents are found, but it is possible that Himmler and Hitler may have believed he was. In the early 1930s, according to Himmler's masseur Felix Kersten (if he can be believed), Hitler had told Himmler, "Heydrich was a highly gifted but also dangerous man, whose gifts the movement had to retain. Such people could still be used so long as they were kept well in hand and for that purpose his non-Aryan origins were extremely useful; for he would be eternally grateful to us that we had kept him and not expelled him and would obey blindly." [58] According to Speer, Hitler often used flaws of men in positions of authority to control them. In this case, Heydrich's possible flaw was "Jewish ancestors." [59] Heydrich often took those who claimed he was Jewish to court for slander. He did so as late as 1940 [60] and sent another man to a concentration camp. [61] Admiral Canaris, head of the Abwehr, presumably had a large dossier on Heydrich's Jewish past and threatened to reveal what he had if the SS tried to infringe on Abwehr activities. [62] Heydrich was definitely haunted by stories of his Jewish past.

Hitler's actions with Rohm and Heydrich show that he had the ability to ignore "defects" in men who, he felt, could serve his political cause. In this respect, Hitler bent his ideological principles to meet political needs.

Hitler granted exemptions for military necessity. Two examples of those who received such exemptions were Field Marshal Erhard Milch and General Helmut Wilberg. The accomplishments of these two men show that Hitler needed them to organize and develop his cherished new service, the Luftwaffe.

Milch became one of the most powerful men in the Luftwaffe and the Third Reich. In 1933, when Hitler wanted to hire the half-Jew Milch to help build an air force, he told him, "Now look, I haven't known you for very long, but you're a man who knows his job, and we have few in the Party who know as much about the air as you. That's why the choice has fallen on you. You must take the job. It's not a question of the Party, as you seem to think - it's a question of Germany and Germany needs you." [63] Milch admitted later that this talk with Hitler convinced him to take the job. [64] Milch noted in his diary on 1 November 1933 that Garing had discussed his ancestry with Hitler, Rudolf Hess (deputy head of the Party), and Blomberg and that "everything was in order." [65] Milch "possessed tremendous drive, a thorough knowledge of the production capabilities of the German aircraft industry, a detailed understanding of its managers and designers, and perhaps most importantly, excellent connections within the political leadership" of the Third Reich. [66] According to James Corum, the greatest contribution Milch made "to the Luftwaffe was organizing the massive program of aerial rearmament" begun in 1933, [67] By 1936, under Milch's leadership, "the German air industry had become a first-class organization" and the rearmament program was producing modern aircraft that were reaching Luftwaffe flying units. [68] Hitler had claimed in 1936 that "two names are ... linked with the birth of our Luftwaffe," Goring and Milch. [69] In April 1940, when the Norwegian campaign was running into several difficulties, Milch's skills as an excellent organizer and administrator helped lay the "foundation for the success of airpower in Norway." [70] Hitler eventually was victorious in Norway, thanks to the solid leadership that generals like Milch displayed. If the Germans had not secured their northwest flank in Norway, Hitler would probably have been unwilling and even possibly unable to launch his invasion of France one month later. Hitler presented Milch with the Ritterkreuz for his efforts during the Norwegian campaign. [71] A few months later, with the successful conclusion of the war in France, Milch was one of three Luftwaffe generals Hitler promoted to field marshal. [72] Over two years later, when the battle for Stalingrad was going poorly, Hitler called on Milch in January 1943 to save the situation. Hitler put Milch in "charge of the entire airlift operation" to relieve the Sixth Army. [73] However, the situation was beyond saving and Milch was unable to achieve the goals Hitler had set for him. [74] Nonetheless, it is important to note that when the situation became critical, Hitler called on Milch. Milch was an ardent and enthusiastic Nazi who strongly believed in Hitler. By 22 February 1944, Milch ranked seventh among Hitler's subordinates. [75]

Wilberg was an intelligent general who also received Hitler's" Aryanization." Wilberg was a first-rate commander who developed the important groundwork for the Luftwaffe operational concept later known as Blitzkrieg.  [76] During World War I, Wilberg was the first German air commander who organized and employed whole air groups in the ground attack role. He was one of the senior Luftstreitkraefte (air service in World War I) officers and commanded over seven hundred planes in the great Flanders campaign of 1917, one of the high points of German airpower during the Great War. The army regarded him as one of the pioneers of "ground-support tactics." [77] He was good friends with Milch and had given Milch a squadron to command in World War I. [78] General von Seeckt had handpicked him to serve as the aviation commander of the secret Luftwaffe from 1920 until 1927. Wilberg became the Reichswehr's leading air theorist [79] and was quite successful getting around most of the Versailles treaty restrictions on training German pilots. [80] He was a serious airpower thinker during the interwar period and was respected by everyone in the aviation field. When the Luftwaffe came into being in 1935, he prepared the operations manual that served as the Luftwaffe's "primary expression of ... battle doctrine into" World War II. [81] Later in 1935, he commanded the War College. [82] Hitler allowed him to be the staff officer for the Condor Legion [83] during the Spanish Civil War in 1936. He was responsible for the whole operation. [84] Luftwaffe General Erwin Jaenecke wrote that "Wilberg, owing to his abilities and career, was the obvious choice to command the Luftwaffe, a position given ... to Goring because of party politics. He was tall, good-looking and an officer who was a pleasure to work for, but, unfortunately, he was 50 percent Jewish." [85] Wilberg was an old professional soldier who was unpolitical and clearly did not like the Nazis. Nonetheless, he remained loyal to the Luftwaffe and did all he could to make it a first-rate military organization. He would die in a flying accident on 20 November 1941.

Both Milch and the lesser known Wilberg played crucial roles in developing the Luftwaffe. Hitler probably found it easy to make exemptions for men like Milch and Wilberg because of their abilities. Looking at these men's military records, Hitler had no reason to regret his decision of allowing them to serve although they were Mischlinge.

Hitler also allowed Mischlinge to serve because they had an important sponsor or relative. Many Mischlinge looked for influential people to support their application for exemptions. For example, on 24 October 1941, the "37.5 percent Jew" Gefreiter Achim von Bredow wrote his mother about his application and explained that "it's whom you know that matters here, especially in my situation, and it's quite obvious that I don't have anybody to stand up for me. Doesn't father know anybody in the high ranks of the Panzers?" [86] The later Lieutenant Wilhelm von Gwinner, a quarter- Jew, had received Hitler's exemption because of his military accomplishments. Perhaps the fact that his uncle was General von Studnitz also helped him receive the Genehmigung. [87] Gwinner firmly believed that everybody in his situation needed "a guardian angel." [88] Usually friendship played the biggest role in motivating someone in a high position to help a Mischling. For example, half-Jew Commander Georg Langheld approached Admiral Hermann Boehm for help in 1934 because of the Arierparagraph. "You've been my comrade for many years and to me that's what you will remain," Boehm told him. [89] Thanks to Raeder and others like Boehm, Langheld received the Deutschblutigkeitserklarung as soon as his case was brought to Hitler's attention. [90] While in command of the destroyer Z-8 Bruno Heinemann from 4 December 1939 until 14 May 1940, Langheld conducted several mine-laying operations off the British coast and embarked troops at Trondheim during the invasion of Norway. From 1942 until the end of the war, he commanded a series of destroyer flotillas. [91]

Throughout government, many in high places were willing to help Mischlinge by petitioning Hitler directly. Goring was a good example of a high-ranking official and officer willing to help Mischlinge. In 1937, when Goring told Hitler that Arthur Imhausen, a famous chemist and industrialist, was a half-Jew, Hitler announced that if he had really discovered so many amazing things such as synthetic soap, then "we'll declare him Aryan." The next day, Goring informed Imhausen that because of his own efforts, Hitler had declared Imhausen Aryan. [92] Other scientists were also helped. In 1941, Otto Warburg, who had conducted significant cancer research that Hitler valued, was reclassified a quarter-Jew on Goring's orders to mitigate his situation. [93] Goring not only helped distinguished generals and scientists but also assisted common people. He supported half-Jew Walbaum, a Gefreiter, and took his case personally to Hitler. [94] Goring brought the case of the Jew Lieutenant H. Franzel to Hitler's attention after General Bruno Lorzer [95] recommended this man to him (the authorities believed he was a Mischling). [96] He remained an officer in the Luftwaffe. Goring also protected the half- Jewish test pilot, Melitta Grafin Schenk von Stauffenberg, who would receive the Deutschblutigkeitserklarung and EKII for her service. [97] Goring was probably able to help so many people because he "had independent access to Hitler." [98]

Goring was not alone in helping people receive clemency. For example, Oberfusilier [99] Rudiger von Briesen, a half-Jew, was only considered and finally approved after General Kurt von Tippelskirch and Rudiger's cousin, General Kurt von Briesen, [100] wrote letters on his behalf. Consequently, Engel took his case personally to Hitler. [101] After several months, Hitler gave Briesen the Genehmigung.

Raeder was another example of a powerful man who helped several people of Jewish descent. Perhaps Raeder was so predisposed because his own son-in-law was a Mischling. [102] Raeder wrote after the war, "When individual cases came to my notice, I made use of my right to approach Hitler and various high Party authorities." [103] Certainly cases existed in which Raeder turned a blind eye, but he helped more than one would have expected. For example, Raeder personally helped retired Admiral Karl Kuhlenthal, who was a half-Jew married to a full Jew. Based on Raeder's briefing, Hitler allowed Kuhlenthal, his wife, and their two sons to remain in Germany and for the admiral to retain his rank and pension. Hitler ordered that he and his family suffer no defamation. [104] After the war, Kuhlenthal claimed that without Raeder's help, his family would have been sent to a concentration camp. [105] Raeder also helped the children of Admiral Wolf Wegener, the famous naval strategist, stay in the navy. He was even the godfather of one of Wolf's sons, Edward, [106] a man that his comrades called the best "racial mix" of Prussian charm and Jewish modesty. [107] Although a quarter-Jew, he became a lieutenant commander, winning the German- Cross in Gold. [108] Retired naval logistics officer (Verpflegungsamtsvorsteher) Erich Katz, a Jew, also owed his survival to Raeder. Raeder wrote Katz on 6 January 1940: "I can see from the letter you sent me on 17 December 1939 your difficult situation .... In order to support you, I've included a separate letter of recommendation which you may use to help in certain situations. I wish you good success." [109] Furthermore, Raeder pleaded with those who might harm Katz to refrain from doing so. [110] Katz claimed that the Gestapo later informed him that Raeder's letter saved his life.

Not everyone was so fortunate. Retired Lieutenant Field Marshal [111] Johann Friedlander, [112] an Austrian half-Jew, refused to divorce his Jewish wife, Leona Margarethe nee Abel, and thus, according to the laws, was also considered Jewish (Geltungsjude). He wrote many officers for assistance, but some ignored him and others were not powerful enough to help. He had tried to become an "honorary Aryan" with the help of lawyers, but without success. He also attempted to prove that his real father had been an Aryan, and not the Jewish husband of his mother, but was not successful. Unfortunately, Friedlander did not have a high-profile personality looking out for him. The Nazis deported him and his wife to Theresienstadt. She would die there. In 1944, the SS deported him to Auschwitz. On 20 January 1945, during a death march, [113] Friedlander could no longer walk, so an SS man pulled out his pistol and shot him in the head. [114]

Government employees also took advantage of their proximity to Hitler to help out Mischlinge in their chain of command. When Hitler's foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, brought a Mischling in his department to Hitler's attention, the Fuhrer quickly gave Ribbentrop permission to retain the man. [115] Ribbentrop claimed in 1946 that he believed "the Fuhrer was not at all uncompromising in those years and I thought he would go on in that direction." [116]

High-ranking officials and officers such as Sauckel, Lammers, Bormann, Canaris, Oster, Heydrich, Engel, Schmundt, Donitz, Kesselring, Manstein, Baldur von Schirach, Curt von Gottberg, and Kaltenbrunner helped Mischlinge by taking their cases to Hitler or to the proper authorities who submitted them to Hitler. [117] At one stage, Hitler claimed that Party members had brought so many cases to him for review that apparently "they [Party members] seem to know more respectable Jews than the total number of Jews in Germany. That is scandalous!" [118] Himmler described this phenomenon during a speech at Posen on 4 October 1943 when he said, "It is hard to talk about [extermination of the Jews], and then they come, 80 million Germans and each one has his decent Jew. Of course, the others are vermin, but this one is an A-I Jew." [119] Even Himmler helped a Jew, Professor Fritz Pringsheim, leave a concentration camp and escape Germany. [120] Several officials had old comrades of Jewish ancestry. They had seen the common humanity of German-Jewish soldiers who fought bravely and died in World War I. Moreover, many had grown up with Jews and Mischlinge and had come to view them as friends and colleagues - some were even relatives or lovers - and they valued these relationships more than they did their anti-Semitism. [121] Hitler seemed to respect the opinions of these men when they endorsed a particular Mischling for an exemption. For example, throughout the early 1930s, several people brought the Litzmann family's situation to Hitler's attention. Hitler quickly granted exemptions to the grandchildren of the famous General Karl Litzmann, Staatsrat and Nazi Party member. [122] Litzmann had two grandsons who were quarter-Jews according to Nazi law. [123] Hitler allowed their mother to stay in the Party and her children to remain officers although her husband was a Mischling. [124] One of the grandsons, Walter Lehwess-Litzmann, attained the rank of colonel in the Luftwaffe, served as the Luftflotte 5 (Air Fleet 5) operations adjutant to General Hans-Jurgen Stumpff in Norway, and successfully flew 160 missions with the Ju-88 twin-engine medium bomber. For his accomplishments, he received the German-Cross in Gold and the Ritterkreuz. [125]

But not every high-ranking official helped a Mischling because he was a friend or family member. Sometimes they did so for material gain. Unteroffizier and quarter-Jew Friedrich Rubien claimed that his cousins (soldier Johann-Christoph Beindorff, Unteroffizier Gunther Friedrich, and First Lieutenants Klaus and Wolfgang Beindorff) received the Deutschblutigkeitserklarung only because they paid hundred of thousands of Reichsmarks to a Reichskanzlei official who in exchange made sure the applications reached Lammers with favorable reports. [126] According to Rubien, his cousins had to pay over one million Reichsmarks. [127] Goebbels reported such corruption in the KdF: "Appeals for clemency have in part been taken care of by bribery; ... the Fuehrer blames Bouhler for not having intervened in time." [128] Since a Mischling seeking an exemption depended on the goodwill of those handling his case, many felt it worth several thousand Reichsmarks to ensure the application arrived at the proper office with the necessary stamps of approval. Sometimes a Mischling would payoff a local civil servant in order to receive his" certificate of Aryan descent." After half-Jew Werner Bujakowsky did this, he entered the army. In 1941, he would die in battle. [129]

Political and international pressure motivated Hitler to grant exemptions. The 1936 Olympics presented Hitler with a dilemma. He wanted an Aryan team, but several well-known athletes were half-Jews. If he refused to let them compete, he would face an international scandal. As a result, in 1935 the half-Jew Helene Mayer was invited to compete for Germany. Mayer, who lived in California at the time, wrote the Reich's sport leader, von Tschammer und Osten, that she would fence for Germany only if the government granted her full citizenship. [130] When the American press got word that Mayer was considering competing for Germany, several American Jews became angry and called her a traitor. Mayer felt that she did not deserve such insults, especially since she was German. [131] Klemperer expressed bewilderment at the insults Mayer received: "I don't know where the great shame is when [Mayer] comes as a German to perform for the Third Reich." [132] The American Olympic team told Germany that if they did not allow Mayer to participate, the United States might boycott the Games. [133] In December 1935, Tschammer informed Mayer that the government had given her and her two brothers full rights as citizens. [134] Mayer won the silver medal in fencing for Nazi Germany. [135]

Mayer was not alone in the Olympics. The government also granted hockey star Rudi Ball, a Jew, permission to represent Germany [136] and Captain Wolfgang Furstner, a half-Jew, permission to erect and organize the Olympic village. [137] The half-Jewish commissioner of the Games, Theodor Lewald, continued to perform his duties unofficially. [138] Tschammer, who had officially replaced Lewald, addressed a meeting of German sport officials and said, "You are probably astonished by the decision in Vienna, but we had to consider the foreign political situation." He declared that Jewish athletes would not be discriminated against. [139]

Hitler's ideas of racial purity caused political problems not only at the Olympics, but also in dealing with his allies. Hitler could argue that his Italian allies were heirs to the ancient Roman legions and a southern type of Aryan. [140] Justifying the alliance with the Japanese, who fit into the Nazi category of "Asiatic barbarians" and whom Hitler had degraded in Mein Kampf, called for a more creative rationalization. [141] Speer called Germany's alliance with Japan "from the racist point of view a dubious affair." [142] Strict Party members disapproved of the association with "barbarians," and the Japanese did not appreciate being called inferior "non-Aryans." [143] Particularly because of the strategic importance of the 1936 Anti-Comintern Pact with Japan, creating a unified front against Communism, Hitler needed to ease the racial tension both internally and externally. [144] Consequently, Hitler "officially" labeled the Japanese "honorary Aryans" because they possessed Germanic qualities, [145] although in private, he felt they posed a grave danger to the white race. [146] Nonetheless, Japanese residents of the Reich were not subject to the racial laws and were allowed to intermarry with Aryans. [147]
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Re: Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racia

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Part 2 of 2

Likewise, Hajj Amin el-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem and leader of the Palestinian Arabs, left the Middle East for Germany in 1941 because of political upheavals and surprisingly the Nazis treated him as an ally. [148] He lived comfortably in an elegant Berlin villa "in the pay of both the Foreign Office and the SS." [149] And once again, the Nazis had to compromise their racial views by approving racial "inferiors" as allies. [150] The Arabs were declared "honorary Aryans" because "the term anti-Semitic did not apply to them" and because Nazism was strictly anti-Jewish and the Arabs were not Jewish. [151] Hitler was impressed with the blond-haired, blue-eyed mufti and was "mildly interested" in the leader. [152] After Hitler met with him in November 1941, Hitler said, "Despite his sharp physiognomy resembling a mouse, he's a person who has among his ancestors more than one Aryan with probably the best Roman heritage." [153]

The central figure in Christianity, the Jew Jesus, presented Hitler with a dilemma: either make an exemption from his racial ideology or face millions of angry Christians if he condemned their savior. Hitler dubbed Jesus an Aryan, and Nazi Christianity revised images of Jesus to look more Nordic and described him no longer as the advocate of love but as the bearer of the sword focused on the rebirth of the Volk. [154] Hitler believed Jesus was the greatest early fighter in the war against the Jews and that he did not practice Judaism. Jesus was not, according to Hitler, the apostle of peace. Hitler believed Jesus preached against capitalism, and this was why the Jews, his archenemies, killed him. Hitler had boasted that what Christ had started, he would finish. [155] Hitler approved the Institute for the Research and Elimination of Jewish Influences on Christian Living in Eisenach, [156] headed by Dr. Walter Grundmann. This institute stated that Jesus was Aryan, and published a translation of the Bible that was "de-Jewified." This Bible was written by the poet Lulu von Strauss und Thomey. Hitler "Aryanized" Christianity to make it conform to his Weltanschauung. To do so, Hitler had to declare that "Jesus was not a Jew." Thus, Hitler Aryanized Jesus. [157]

Hitler may have allowed exemptions to maximize the number of soldiers available for war. Right before and during the Polish campaign, Hitler allowed many previously discharged Mischlinge to reenter the service as officers. He had also included them in the draft, though he generally did not permit half-Jews to serve after 1940. From Hitler's experience in World War I, he knew how many could die in one battle and may have believed that the war would bring him high casualties. However, after his tremendous success in Poland, Hitler may have changed this opinion after seeing Blitzkrieg in action. A few thousand half-Jewish soldiers would not make a difference in the war's outcome. Although most served in the western campaign, Hitler had decided to discharge half-Jews by March 1940. The need for sheer numbers was greatest during the Russian campaign. Germany invaded Russia with 3.6 million soldiers on 22 June 1941. By January 1942, 214,000 German soldiers had died. Casualties had reached over one million by March 1942. In only nine months, almost 30 percent of Germany's soldiers had been put out of action, and by March 1942, 250,000 had fallen. [158] Throughout 1941 and 1942, 809,310 German soldiers died on the eastern front alone. [159] In 1942, Hitler could have recalled thousands of half-Jews. Many felt that the Wehrmacht would indeed draft them back because of the casualties. [160] However, except for a few hundred who received exemptions, Hitler did not allow half-Jews to return en masse to active duty. In 1939, Hitler may have believed that he needed every soldier possible, but by 1942, this conviction had disappeared.

Hitler placed great emphasis on applicants' physical appearance. Photographs seemed to have played a decisive role in Hitler's decision to grant an exemption or not. [161] For example, Admiral Werner Ehrhardt wrote in 1956 that he pressured Navy Adjutant Karl-Jesko von Puttkamer (probably in 1939), to bring the cases of five half-Jews to Hitler's attention. Only after Hitler had personally reviewed their applications, giving special attention to the photos of the men and their families, did he grant them the Arisierung. [162] Every application had to have profile and side shots of the Mischling, and when the required photos were not enclosed, Hitler would not decide. If the applicant looked stereotypically "Jewish," Hitler apparently rejected him out of hand. [163] For two men, photos played a pivotal role in their applications. They were Commander Paul Ascher, Admiral Lutjens's first staff officer on the battleship Bismarck, and General Gotthard Heinrici. During the late 1930s, half-Jew Ascher had to send professional photographs to get Hitler's approval. He was later told that because of these photos, Hitler awarded him the Deutschblutigkeitserklarung. [164] Heinrici had a similar ordeal. Several of Heinrici's commanders encouraged him to leave his half- Jewish wife, Getrude nee Strupp, but he refused. Consequently, he was "forced" to apply for the Deutschblutigkeitserklarung not only for his wife but also for his son, the later Captain Hartmut Heinrici, and daughter, the later Gisela Petersson. All three were photographed extensively to prove, as one family member described, "that they didn't look Jewish, and their features were in fact typically Nordic." [165] In due course, Frau Heinrici and her children became "honorary Aryans." [166] Even later in the war, Hitler's obsession with photos did not abate. On 17 June 1942, Engel wrote Blankenburg and told him that Hitler needed photos of six Mischlinge to decide their cases and that Hitler had rejected three because they looked "racially inferior." [167]

A Mischling could improve his odds by knowing exactly how to prepare the application and which channels to send it through. For example, Engel wrote on 19 November 1940 to retired navy captain Jochen Vanselow and explained exactly how he should submit an application on behalf of his half- Jewish son. Engel gave more details and helpful advice than the decrees from April 1940 had done: "You should send your application immediately to the Fuhrer and ask to be granted active service for the war's remainder. It's wise first to send the application with a short note to me. What's further absolutely necessary is a complete CV [curriculum vitae] as well as any further documentation like ancestry documents and front and profile photographs of your son." [168] It is surprising that Engel took so much time to help this man, but he seemed to do this for many. Not only did Hitler approve Vanselow's son, but he also gave his daughter clemency. [169]

Beginning in 1941, Mischlinge not only had to send in photos, family backgrounds, and military records but also a full portfolio about their political convictions and activities. Throughout 1941, Hitler slowly started to be more influenced by what a Mischling had done politically rather than militarily, even when the applicant wanted to remain in the Wehrmacht rather than in the Party. For example, Engel wrote the KdF on 26 September 1941 that for Hitler to decide Gefreiter Alfred Kaferle's case, Hitler needed to know if he had been politically active, how he behaved after his discharge, if he had perpetrated any actions against the Nazis, and what the Deutsche Arbeitsfront [170] thought about him. The Baden Gauleiter's report on Kaferle had not provided the information necessary for Hitler to make a decision. [171] If a Mischling could prove that he had been loyal to the Party, he usually got clemency.

Hitler did not want seriously wounded Mischling veterans to suffer discrimination. On 4 May 1941, OKW issued a directive stating that severely disabled Mischling veterans (Stufe III) [172] who had received their wounds because of actions "above and beyond the call of duty" should apply for the Deutschblutigkeitserklarung. [173] In February 1942, the RMI wrote that Hitler had decided that half-Jews severely injured in war should be declared deutschblutig, but since the decree was not supposed to be enacted until after the war because of the small number, [174] these wounded men had not yet been awarded such clemency. [175] On 29 September 1943, Dietz in OKW confirmed in a memorandum, probably for Blankenburg, that for a while now, Hitler had declared gravely wounded Mischlinge deutschblutig. [176] As OKW wrote in a circular on 16 September 1942, Hitler did not want such soldiers to experience further difficulty, since they had rendered the Reich such service. [177] Although it appeared that this declaration was automatic, most Mischlinge still had to apply before Hitler granted them clemency. [178] For example, on 17 August 1943, Obergefreiter Heinrich Bamberger received Hitler's exemption in the mail only after applying for it in August 1941. The certificate said that Hitler had declared him deutschblutig, but that the exemption would not allow him to become a Party member. Max Gsell, a friend who was with him when the letter arrived, commented, "Man, you're lucky. You don't even have to join the assholes." [179] Bamberger received this award because of wounds suffered in Russia, two of which were the loss of sight in his left eye and severe head trauma.

However, Hitler did not grant all severely wounded Mischlinge deutschblutig status. [180] Unteroffizier Emil Lux, a half-Jew who had lost his arm in battle, applied for the Deutschblutigkeitserklarung in 1943 but was rejected because of his political convictions. Even though he had received the EKII and the Silver Wound Badge, he was labeled anti-Nazi and thus unworthy of an exemption. [181] Of several Mischlinge in this study who had lost legs, arms, or eyes in the war, only a few were declared deutschblutig, although one would think that their wounds qualified them for clemency. The way applications were processed depended on whether the Mischling in question was still on active duty. OKW processed those severely wounded Mischlinge still on active duty and then sent them to Schmundt for Hitler's decision. KdF handled those who had already been discharged before reaching Hitler. [182] It seems Field Marshal Keitel rerouted the severely wounded veterans to KdF. [183] Wounded Mischlinge still on active duty probably had a better chance of receiving clemency, since they did not have to obtain Party recommendations or go through Bouhler's department.

Hitler did not want to be "ungrateful to those Mischlinge who had bled for Germany." He sanctioned a decree that allowed those killed in battle to receive the Deutschblutigkeitserklarung posthumously. Yet, Hitler issued two stipulations. If a fallen Mischling had a wife or children, he would not receive this honor. Furthermore, Hitler's policy stated that after the war, their names would likely be left out of commemorations for fallen soldiers and off war monuments. [184] That meant Hitler subsequently gave, or should have given, thousands of fallen Mischlinge the Deutschblutigkeitserklarung.  [185] In a memorandum, Dietz in OKW explained on 29 September 1943 that during the war, Mischlinge who had died had already been declared deutschblutig. [186]

Late in the war the criteria for receiving an exemption had significantly changed. Hitler granted exemptions only to Mischlinge who had directly worked for the Party. Furthermore, he allowed only those who had not known about their Jewish ancestry until 1933 and had fought for the Party during the Kampfzeit [187] to apply. Hitler's reasons for granting exemptions late in the war seemed based less on military necessity and more on ignorance of one's ancestry and loyalty to the Nazis.

Hitler sometimes granted exemptions for no apparent reason other than sympathy or "goodwill" and without distinction in the armed forces or Party. They were people to whom Hitler realistically should not have paid any attention. Engel wrote on 13 August 1938 that Hitler felt sorry for some of these "Jewish" soldiers because, as Hitler said with rare generosity, "Regardless of what people nowadays say, there were brave Jewish soldiers, even Jewish officers during World War I. With such individuals, one can make an exception, because the children cannot help it who their parents were." Engel explained the tragic circumstances surrounding most of these cases: "I noticed that Hitler didn't like to hear this, but he promised he would look at each case." [188] Indeed, Hitler did review thousands of ordinary soldiers, and perhaps his sympathy for them motivated him to grant some exemptions.

How Many Exemptions Were Granted during the Third Reich?

Table 9. Conflicting Reports of Number of Exceptions (Half-Jews)
 
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Table 10. Conflicting Reports of Number of Exceptions (Quarter-Jews)

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Table 11. Conflicting Reports of Number of Exceptions (Jews)

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The evidence does not permit a definite determination of how many Mischlinge received some form of clemency. Although this study has documented hundreds of Mischlinge with exemptions, the Nazis did not keep complete records about these men, and the few documents that do list statistics must be looked at skeptically. Tables 9 to 11 illustrate the statistics given by different offices at different times during the Third Reich and this study's findings. These numbers do not correspond probably because of the different sources these bureaucracies used, the indifference with which some of these bureaucrats approached the task, and the lack of coordination between the various offices that worked on exemptions.

On 10 August 1940, Wehrkreis VII Munich, one of seventeen military districts, made a list of officers with special status. This list counted 2,269 officers who had received special permission to enter the Wehrmacht. The document does not indicate how many of the 2,269 were "quarter-Jews or married to quarter-Jews." [189] According to an officer who worked in OKH Personnel Office in 1944, most of these 2,269 were probably quarter-Jews. He also speculated that combining the Mischling officers with exemptions from all seventeen military districts would raise the number by a factor of five to seven, for a total of between 11,000 and 16,000 Mischlinge serving as a result of exemptions. [190]

The RMI stated that from November 1935 to 27 May 1941, Hitler had approved 260 out of 9,636 petitions under section 7 of the supplementary decree to the Nuremberg Laws. [191] As Beate Meyer rightly notes, this number of 9,636 is low. [192] Several tens of thousands of applications must have been submitted. On 2 June 1942, Bormann reported to Bouhler that between 1940 and 1942, 262 half-Jews and 186 quarter-Jews had received Hitler's Genehmigung. On 16 June 1942, Engel clarified to Blankenburg that 134 half-Jews and I I 5 quarter-Jews of the group Bormann reported were in the Wehrmacht. [193] On 9 June 1942, Blankenburg compiled a list stating that Hitler had granted the Genehmigung to 139 half-Jews and 55 quarter-Jews and the Deutschblutigkeitserklarung to 11 half-Jews and 4 quarter-Jews out of 331 half-Jewish and 66 quarter-Jewish male applicants. A further 225 half- Jewish and 109 quarter-Jewish applicants were still in process. [194] In September 1942, the government reported that 258 had been given Genehmigungen and 394 had received Deutschblutigkeitserklarungen. [195]

In September 1943, a certain H. Politz in the Reichskanzlei compiled statistics for Sachbearbeiter Dietz on Mischling exemptions. From January 1940 to September 1943 according to this document, Hitler approved 130 half-Jews out of 1,560 applications and 165 quarter-Jews out of 288 applications for the Genehmigung. The Reichskanzlei also reported that from January 1940 to September 1943, Hitler declared 14 half-Jews and 19 quarter- Jews deutschblutig. Decisions were pending for a further 81 half-Jewish and 152 quarter-Jewish cases. [196]

KdF put a list together on 28 October 1943 stating that out of 859 applicants who went through their office between 1940 and September 1943,126 half-Jews or Aryans married to half-Jews received Genehmigungen. The KdF added that if the applicants approved by OKW who received Hitler's approval were included, then the number of those who received Genehmigungen would be 213. The KdF was still working on a further 101 applications. The document commented that the number of applications received represented less than 5 percent of a possible 21,800 of half-Jews and men married to half-Jews eligible for military service. The document also stated that between 1940 and June 1942, cases involving 139 of 239 quarter-Jews or men married to quarter-Jews had received exemptions. A further 173 cases were pending. [197] These statistics were probably made hastily and were incomplete. Government documents did not include those people Hitler exempted between 1933 and 1935, such as Field Marshal Milch or General Wilberg. Cases approved after 1944 were also not included.

This study has documented 4 Jews, 69 half-Jews, and 20 quarter-Jews who received Hitler's Genehmigung, and 2 Jews, 74 half-Jews, and 137 quarter-Jews who received Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserklarung, most granted by 1941. These numbers total 306, and the majority were military officers.

This study's evidence indicates that statistics from the RMI were off by almost one hundred people in 1939. Hitler approved more people than previously believed. This was especially the case, since many Mischlinge who died in battle were posthumously granted the Deutschblutigkeitserklarung. According to the Reichskanzlei, only 33 received the Deutschblutigkeitserklarung between January 1940 and September 1943. According to this study's findings, between 1940 and 1943, 54 received it. Perhaps the Reichskanzlei or OKW tried to hide the real figures from certain people in the Parteikanzlei, such as Bormann, or just did not keep accurate records. Lammers claimed after the war that the number of Mischlinge granted exemptions ran into the thousands. [198] Most of the data sheets made by Bouhler's office under Blankenburg's supervision were to prove to Bormann that KdF had not been too lenient with Mischlinge. Consequently, their findings must be looked at with skepticism. Bouhler's office most certainly made the figures smaller to prove to Bormann that his department had not helped Mischlinge. Moreover, since the government had never planned to count all of them, as Colonel Georg Erdmann's experience (as head of Group IV in the P2 Group Office) in OKH indicates (see chapter 8), the Reichskanzlei, KdF, OKW, and the Parteikanzlei did not have complete databases from which to draw accurate figures.

Although the numbers vary widely, it is clear that thousands applied for racial exemptions. Quarter-Jews faced better odds than half-Jews. Hitler approved over 60 percent of quarter-Jewish applicants while approving only 10 percent of half-Jewish applicants from the Reichskanzlei files. For example, in July 1942, at a time when no half-Jews were being approved, Hitler approved over half of the quarter-Jews who came to his attention. [199] We will never know exactly how many received some form of clemency from Hitler, but the fact remains that there were thousands, especially since most Mischlinge who died in war were supposed to receive the Deutschblutigkeitserklarung.

How Did Those Who Received Exemptions View Their Effect?

Most described receiving the exemptions as a momentous event in their lives. They still feel a sense of importance when they talk about it. When Wilhelm von Gwinner received Hitler's Genehmigung on 5 March 1941, he remembered: "I had a problem with Hitler because of my Jewish past. My problem was solved by the Genehmigung. My salvation. With the Genehmigung, I was no longer a Mischling." Even today, Gwinner feels a sense of accomplishment in receiving this exemption. [200] Walter Hamburger felt "pleased and relieved" about the success of his efforts in getting clemency, which allowed him to return to the army. Although he knew he would have to put himself in danger if he received the exemption, he felt this was the only way to protect himself and his father. In 1994, he still believed that he was the only one who received such an honor. [201] Hamburger's belief that his award was unique was common. Ernst Prager thought he was one of oply a few because of the seven years Hitler spent reviewing his case before awarding him the Deutschblutigkeitserklarung. [202]

Many felt that Hitler's exemption restored their self-respect. On 15 October 1942, Dr. Gerhard Koken wrote Engel that after his half-Jewish son Lutz was promoted to Unteroffizier, "much of his depression and inhibitions" had disappeared. [203] However, the Koken family felt unsure whether Lutz should stay in the army. Engel answered Dr. Koken's letter on 19 October and gave him the "friendly advice" that Lutz should remain in the army and concentrate on his duties because he needed to distinguish himself further to receive the Deutschblutigkeitserklarung. Engel told the family they were lucky, because for a long time half-Jews had been denied exemptions regardless of their combat service. "We should be thankful to Providence," Engel wrote, "that Hitler gave his signature" for Lutz's Genehmigung. [204] Some felt a Genehmigung saved their lives. Half-Jew Arnim Leidoff felt that without it, he would have been deported to a concentration camp. [205]

Others were encouraged by their relatives to get an exemption. When the officer and quarter-Jew Georg Meyer wanted to marry, his future father-in- law, General Hans Ruhle von Lilienstern, expressed his reservations to his daughter, Margot, about the fact that she would be marrying a quarter- Jew. Both he and his wife, Lisa, liked Georg and approved of the marriage, but felt that they could encounter problems later because of his ancestry. Nonetheless, Margot and Georg were married on 1 April 1939 in the chapel of the Konigsberg [206] castle. Margot's family was shocked that Georg had any "Jewish blood" because he "looked so Aryan" with his blond hair and blue eyes. In 1942, thinking that Meyer might experience career difficulties, Ruhle von Lilienstern suggested that Meyer apply for the Arisierung. Meyer's wife, Margot, maintained, "We had heard that Hitler had said, 'Who's Jewish and not, I'll decide."' [207] Georg had little faith in the Aryanization process, but he complied with his father-in-law's wishes. On 4 March 1942, Georg and his cousin, First Lieutenant Helmut Meyer-Krahmer, received the Deutschblutigkeitserklarung without much trouble. In 1944, his superior wrote that Meyer, a lieutenant colonel and general staff officer, was a "passionate officer" and "convinced National Socialist." [208] He had been decorated with the EKII and the War Service Cross Second Class. He proved that he was worthy of this clemency. He and two of his three brothers, Lieutenant Ulrich Meyer and U nteroffizier Rolf Meyer, died fighting in the war. [209]

Many felt that Hitler's exemptions would protect them and their families. Exemptions did indeed help, but often not as much as the Mischlinge thought. As pointed out earlier, although Prager could marry his fiancee and return to the army, his exemption did not prevent the Nazis from deporting his uncle to Theresienstadt and forcing his father to wear the star and perform forced labor. [210] In 1941, Prager had hoped his award would save his family, but two years later, this hope proved unrealistic.

Some Jewish relatives did not want a Hitler exemption in the family. They feared what could happen to their loved ones in battle. Mrs. Elisabeth Maria Heard nee Borchardt wrote that she and her Jewish father, Philipp (who had been sent to Dachau in 1938), [211] both felt ashamed that her brothers, Major Robert Borchardt and Lieutenant Ernst Borchardt, got" Aryan declarations" and continued to fight. The father was "furious" with his sons, and the family felt upset that the brothers had wanted an exemption from Hitler. Their sister argued that the dangers of war heavily outweighed the benefits of clemency. She cited the case of her younger brother, Ernst, who was incapacitated by battle wounds and shot himself after several years in constant pain. She said her family never understood why her older brother, Robert, felt proud of his Ritterkreuz even after the war. Borchardt had received this prestigious medal on 23 August 1941 for holding a strategic position near Uman with his Panzer company that ultimately saved hundreds of German soldiers. [212] His superior, Colonel Menton, wrote in a review that "Borchardt's extraordinary bravery was praised in the official army news letter." Menton then recommended him for the General Staff School, a very high honor. [213] During one discussion after 1945, Borchardt told his sister, "I served because I wanted to prove Hitler's racial nonsense wrong. I wanted to prove that people of Jewish descent were indeed brave and courageous soldiers." [214]

As the war progressed, many Mischlinge realized that no piece of paper could make them truly deutschblutig. Lieutenant Eike Schweitzer, half-Jew and descendant of Moses Mendelssohn, received the Genehmigung in 1941 and wrote his Aunt Dorle on 11 January 1942:

I see that I've deceived myself. Instead of making things clearer, simpler, all that I've experienced just makes things more confusing. I only understand a few things clearly; everything else is chaos .... My situation is so impossible and always up in the air, observations of it sound delusional. My position as a soldier is such a paradox that there is no rational explanation. It would be good if I could talk to someone about these things, yet there's no one with whom I am ever really honest. That's a horrible position to be in. I've often feared that in the heat of the moment I would say more than I should. I'm not afraid of the truth but once I started, I would have to tell everything .... I've become lonely. Many good friends are dead. If only it would all end soon. [215]


Schweitzer realized his hope for equality was an illusion and felt unsure about why he actually served. His family was being persecuted and his father had already immigrated to the United States. [216] He longed for someone to confide in who could provide him with at least some sympathy if not understanding. In his loneliness, Schweitzer became fatalistic about his future. Schweitzer died in battle in 1945. Many felt cheated, especially after years of hoping that their service would bring equality to them and their families.

Many could serve and retain their rank, self-respect, and pay, but were passed over for promotion and disdained in most social circles. As with General Wilberg, even if a Mischling officer had received Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserklarung, he was often denied responsibilities equal to his capabilities. [217]

As previously stated, Hitler played an active role in evaluating Mischling applicants for racial exemptions. In the summer of 1941, before one of the greatest battles of modern history, Hitler continued to review applications. Did he have nothing better to do than to analyze applications from Mischlinge, sometimes with a rank no higher than private, to see whether they were worthy to be declared deutschblutig? Hitler took racial hygiene very seriously. He felt that only he could decide whether one was really a Mischling or an Aryan. Even during Stalingrad, one of the most decisive battles of the war, Hitler turned his attention to the problems of Mischlinge. He often busied himself with policy minutiae during times when one would think that other matters of greater importance required his attention. [218] As is often the case with Hitler, finding rational explanations for his behavior is difficult.

Instead of worrying about the war, Hitler turned his attention on 15 January 1943 to half-Jew Renate Schiller. Hitler declared her and her daughter Christa deutschblutig. He also decided that since her longtime lover, Captain Ludwig Eitel, had died, they could retroactively be declared husband and wife. She would have been married to Eitel had the laws allowed this union. She had to send in photos of their child with her application to prove that they had no unpleasant racial characteristics. Hitler also granted her a widow's pension. Frey wrote her on 10 February 1943 to tell her the good news. [219] The attention Hitler gave to Schiller's case, even if only a few minutes, showed Hitler's inability to prioritize his duties during a time when Germany was about to lose one of its most important battles - Stalingrad. But Hitler often gave his time and energy to "trivial matters" such as horse racing, architecture, art, and history. [220] Hitler became quite adept at turning a blind eye to reality when much more pressing issues were at hand.

Hundreds of Mischlinge continued to submit applications throughout 1943 and 1944 during a time when the Holocaust was reaching its apex and the Wehrmacht was suffering frightful defeats in Russia. Hundreds of Aryan officers showed surprising understanding and sympathy for these Mischlinge, writing them recommendations and giving them counsel. The fact that Mischlinge sent applications for exemptions demonstrated that some still believed Germany would win the war. Even those who thought Germany would lose the war sought to protect themselves in the interim, since no one could predict its end.

It is understandable why Mischlinge would want to obtain Hitler's exemption. Receiving an exemption made life easier. The inordinate amount of time that Hitler took to examine these applications not only seems bizarre but also indicates that he truly believed in his racial doctrine and that he alone could decide whether a soldier was worthy to enter the ranks of the Aryans.
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Re: Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racia

Postby admin » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:37 am

Part 1 of 3

Chapter 8: The Process of Obtaining an Exemption

The Process of Granting Exemptions from the Racial Laws


The process by which Hitler granted exemptions as well as the criteria he used to make decisions evolved throughout the Third Reich. Mischling policy remained in a state of permanent improvisation. One thing was certain: Hitler took his responsibility to grant exemptions seriously. He personally decided every case, and when he did consider someone for an exemption, it took him weeks, often months, to decide. [1] Sometimes Hitler decided in a single day, as in the case of Georg Langheld, a destroyer commander and later a winner of the German-Cross in Gold. [2] Other times Hitler took several years to make a decision, as in the case of Captain Ernst Prager. [3] Normally, he looked through photos, curricula vitae, family histories, military records, and military and Party recommendations to decide whether a soldier deserved immunity.

Hitler could not be "bypassed or ignored" on key issues, and the government relied on his decisions. [4] His ad hoc style was characterized by spurts of activity punctuated with long spaces of inactivity. He gave much of his time to analyzing the Mischling applications. Where decisions were awkward for him, for whatever reasons (as the Prager case and the extermination of ex- Mischling soldiers apparently were), he avoided action. [5] He often acted quickly and favorably when faced with apparently difficult decisions, such as declaring generals and admirals deutschblutig. One thing is for certain: when a Mischling was considered for clemency, Hitler knew about it.

Before Hitler took power in 1933, political importance was the standard used to determine whether a person deserved clemency. In Hitler's eyes, Rohm's and Heydrich's abilities to forward his movement outweighed their offensive characteristics of being homosexual or of Jewish descent. If a person was deemed to have political importance, Hitler apparently ignored the other issues, and the person was allowed to remain at his post.

When Hitler took power in 1933, people of Jewish descent immediately started to experience problems. This increased after Hitler issued the Arierparagraph for the Civil Service in 1933 and after Blomberg issued the same decree for the Reichswehr in 1934. As far as the laws were concerned, a legal process had not yet developed by which someone could apply for exemptions. Non-Aryans either fell under the Hindenburg provisions, were granted immunity by Hitler, or were dismissed. Despite the claim by some historians, the Hindenburg exemptions continued to be used throughout late 1934 and 1935 and were not totally "abolished after his death" in August 1934. [6]

During 1935, the issuing of exemptions became more formalized as more people were involved and procedures became more complicated. Hitler and several of his ministers discussed how to deal with this new and convoluted field. For instance, in May 1935 Blomberg asked Lammers, secretary of state and head of the Reichskanzlei, whether non-Aryans who trained soldiers should remain in the service. [7] Reichenau, Blomberg's assistant, provided the answer on 22 May. He maintained that on principle, non-Aryans could not hold positions of authority, but if war broke out, the Wehrmacht would use special regulations to handle these cases, and Hitler would give final approval. [8]

Hitler made exemptions for the Party as well. To illustrate, when Fritz Sauckel, the Reich's governor of Braunschweig, brought SA-Sturmfuhrer (Lieutenant) Hans Sander's case to Hitler's attention, Hitler responded quickly and favorably. On 30 July 1935, Hitler awarded quarter-Jewish Sander, who was a passionate Nazi and had the Gold Party Badge, the approval to remain in the Party and the SA. [9] Hitler allowed several Mischlinge like Sander to remain in the Party, but as Hitler wrote Minister Frick, these men "cannot hold positions of authority" because of the danger if they suddenly started acting like Jews. [10]

Section 7 of the first supplementary decree of November 1935 to the Nuremberg Laws allowed for exemptions officially. [11] Hitler specifically put in this safety clause that allowed him to grant exemptions from the restrictions placed on Jews and Mischlinge. [12] Probably based on his previous experience with non-Aryans, Hitler recognized that he should not tie his prestige to a law that might later serve to restrict his power. The historian Karl Schleunes called these loopholes "Hitlerian afterthought[s]." [13] As Hitler had claimed in 1937, "[W]hat matters constantly is not to take any step forward that I would have to retract." [14] With his signature, Hitler could declare someone deutschblutig. Petitions for exemptions based on Party service, civil or military importance, or exceptional distinction in some field of study could be sent to the RMI. If the RMI approved it, the Ministry sent the application to Hitler for final authorization. At this initial stage, Blomberg and Frick seem to have been responsible for examining whether a Mischling deserved an exception (Ausnahme) [15] for the armed forces before it reached Hitler for a final decision.

After this supplementary decree and both General Milch and Helene Mayer's cases became public knowledge, thousands started to send in their applications. [16] Sometimes Mischlinge wanted to remain officers, at other times they wanted to keep Jewish or Aryan maids, and still other times to marry Aryans or Mischlinge. [17]

Before November 1935, Hitler usually had a specific letter of exemption drawn up for the Mischling in question. After the adoption of the Nuremberg Laws, he had standard forms printed. When the individual in question received Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserklarung, the Reichskanzlei would send this former Mischling a form letter signed by Hitler, often accompanied by Keitel's and Lammers's signatures. [18] A month or so after the individual received this letter, he would then receive an official green "German blood" certificate from Dr. Kurt Meyer, the director of the Reich Office for Genealogy Research, allowing him to describe himself as deutschblutig in official documents. [19]

Hitler's exemptions did not permit certain privileges unless explicitly stated. For example, "Aryanized people" could not become Party members or farmers. [20] Also, unless specifically mentioned, the racial status of the approved applicant's children did not change. If a Mischling married a Mischling, then there seemed to be no hope of altering the children's racial status unless the children received some form of clemency directly. [21] In the Wehrmacht, one could not be promoted above colonel unless the exemption stated otherwise. [22] For example, when half-Jew Colonel Walter Hollaender, who had won the German-Cross in Gold and the Ritterkreuz, was up for promotion to general, he was rejected because of his Jewish father, although he was described as a "convinced National Socialist" and had been friends with Reichenau. Hollaender was devastated. [23] Moreover, Hitler had expressed his desire that no Aryanized wounded Mischling veteran could settle in the eastern territories without additional approvals. The report stated that although these Mischlinge had been severely wounded (which might have meant that they had received an exemption), that did not give them special rights to live in the East. [24]

From 1935 through 1940, Hitler had Lammers, his closest legal adviser, formulate more elaborate exemption documents. Hitler still ultimately decided each case personally, with little advice from others, [25] except from the unimaginative Lammers. On 4 October 1937, Hitler ordered that all applications go through Lammers. On 25 October 1937, Lammers wrote important civil and military offices to inform them about Hitler's decision that Lammers would present applications for exemptions from the racerelated provisions of the Nuremberg Laws to Hitler personally. Apparently, different offices had been sending their applications without any systematic order. In response to this confusion, Lammers assured all offices that he would take special care to observe each applicant's importance for Germany.  [26] It is difficult to trace exactly who processed the applications and how they eventually ended up in Hitler's office because the Nazi administration had a very "fluid character." [27] There was no chain of command but rather nominal bosses and deputies one had to approach before reaching Lammers, who was Hitler's gatekeeper at this time. [28] The highly acclaimed Nazi coordination of political, social, and public life, called Gleichschaltung,  [29] was not as polished or organized as one would think. Hitler often created "new offices and agencies without establishing clear lines of demarcation of responsibility with existing government departments." [30] Nonetheless, although applications continued to reach Hitler's office through most government channels open to him, the majority, especially during the late 1930s, were sent to Lammers before traveling on to the Fuhrer.

The bald, shy, and one-eyed [31] Lammers reviewed most letters sent to Hitler on matters of state. By 1936, Lammers's office was handling six hundred communications daily. Consequently, Lammers held a position approximately equivalent to "Vice-Chancellor" [32] because he prepared state matters for Hitler and added his own evaluations. He became the unofficial coordinator between the ministries and the Reichskanzlei. With the exception of Bormann, he achieved more importance than other ministers because he had the Fuhrer's ear. Lammers often knew what was happening throughout the top levels of the government, especially from 1935 to 1941. Hitler often left it up to him to carry out an order and to select the means and the personnel to do it. [33] Kershaw writes that "the only link between government ministers and Hitler was through Lammers." [34] Only with the rise of Bormann's power in 1941-1942 and when military considerations assumed paramount importance in the summer of 1941 did Lammers's importance as Hitler's adviser dwindle. By 1943, Bormann had usurped all essential power of the Reichskanzlei. Out of the several Deutschblutigkeitserklarungen and Genehmigungen collected for this study (mostly done between 1936 and 1941), Lammers almost always cosigned them. As Lammers said at Nuremberg, "I was responsible for seeing to it that the Fuhrer's wishes were properly and suitably formulated." Lammers was in control of the legal formulation of Hitler's will, and such orders were, as Lammers said, always "co-signed by me." [35] Speer mockingly called Lammers the Reich's "notary." [36]

The vast majority of full Jews were not included in Hitler's exemption process after 1935. However, a few Jews did receive some form of clemency from the racial laws. Goebbels, Goring, and Hitler protected some who, because of their usefulness scientifically or politically, served their purposes. These Jews were called Schutzjuden (protected Jews), and in Berlin alone, there were some two hundred of them. [37] As far as the armed forces were concerned, it seems that most Jews were not given clemency.

MostJewish World War I veterans received no help. The majority were abandoned, had their pensions reduced, and were later deported to concentration camps. In 1939, when Field Marshal von Mackensen asked Hitler to help some German-Jewish veterans, Hitler said that in principle, "any application for exemption concerning a Jew must be rejected." [38] During the war, Hitler apparently did not make an exception to this policy. For example, Schmundt brought the case of the German Jew Captain Erich Rose, who was a liaison officer between the Wehrmacht and the Spanish Blue Division,  [39] to Hitler's attention sometime in 1942. Hitler reportedly said that Rose was a good officer, and "had he been a half-Jew, I would have given him the Arisierung ... but a 75 percent Jew must be rejected." Hitler felt that the Blue Division was a good place for Rose. [40]

Between 1935 and 1939, most Mischlinge who did not hold a rank higher than Gefreiter had no problems - they were allowed to serve. Especially after 1935, most Mischlinge usually had no problems performing their mandatory two-year military service. Only those who aspired to become or were already NCOs or officers had difficulties.

From 1934 to 1939, Hitler reviewed many Mischling oHicers. He allowed several to remain at their posts. For example, the Fifth Division wrote OKH on 6 September 1937 that quarter-Jew Captain Alfred Simon deserved help to get a job in the Civil Service after his discharge. The Nuremberg Laws canceled the provision in the Arierparagraph, which previously allowed non-Aryans who had served in World War I to remain officers. [41] This stipulation had protected Simon until 1935. Reichenau wrote the Army Personnel Office on 3 August 1937 that both Simon's ignorance about his ancestry and good military record warranted that the army retain him or find him a civilian post. Reichenau argued that this proven comrade should not be treated poorly. [42] OKH wrote Goring on 11 September 1937 for his assistance. [43] Eventually, Reichenau and others' efforts produced the desired result. On 15 June 1938, Hitler gave Simon an exemption citing that his World War I service entitled him to remain in the army. [44] The following year, Hitler declared Simon deutschblutig. Simon later attained the rank of colonel and earned both Iron Crosses and the War Service Cross Second Class during World War II. His commander described him as a good soldier and "positive about National Socialism." [45]

Simon was lucky that he was not one of the several Mischlinge the Wehrmacht discharged between 1934 and 1939. However, many of those discharged were told that if war broke out, they would be drafted back. For example, in 1936 the army discharged lieutenants and quarter-Jewish brothers Heinz and Joachim Rohr. At the time, Heinz felt sad. The commander of Dresden's Kriegsschule, [46] General Joachim Lemelsen, took Heinz into his arms, shook his head, and said, "How could they do this to your father?" Rohr's father, Willy, was a famous World War I officer, commander of Storm Battalion Rohr. Before Rohr left, Lemelsen told Heinz to call him if he ever needed any help. [47] Rohr knew he could do nothing other than obey the laws, so he decided to start his university studies. But before leaving, his superior told him to apply for an exemption. Not Rohr, but his mother Elisabeth, who still had several contacts among the military elite, started the difficult process to obtain exemptions for her sons.

These applications included pictures, military records, records of his family's military past, ancestry information, and recommendations. For example, Lieutenant Klaus von Schmeling-Diringshofen, a soldier Manstein had unsuccessfully tried to retain in 1934, filed an application for exemption before he left for China, where he worked under Seeckt training the Chinese National Army. In 1938, Ursula von Knigge, Klaus's sister, said Engel came to her home to gather family documents and photographs to convince Hitler to declare the family deutschblutig. She humored Engel but did not hope for much. After several days, she sent him off with a large stack of documents. Engel told her that the applications of several men were being filed away in case of war. [48]

Engel was willing to help many Mischlinge get the coveted Genehmigung or Deutschblutigkeitserklarung. Engel became Hitler's army adjutant after the Fritsch-Blomberg crisis in 1938. He immediately was thrust into Hitler's presence and accompanied him on many trips and was present at several meetings when Hitler outlined his policies. [49] Engel's responsibility was to facilitate communication between Hitler and OKH. [50] He often went on private walks with Hitler, which was a coveted honor. [51] During these walks as well as during their trips and meetings, Hitler discussed many matters with Engel, [52] among them the Mischling question. Engel spent a lot of his time helping Mischlinge prepare their applications. [53] After Bouhler and Blankenburg approved an army applicant politically, the applicant's file was sent on to Engel to present to Hitler. Engel's responsibilities enabled him to bring several cases to Hitler's attention, and this study supports his claim that he helped Mischlinge when he could. He also had constant contact with his boss, Schmundt, [54] with whom he frequently discussed Mischling cases. [55] Hitler met regularly with both Engel and Schmundt, and often told them how to handle Mischling personnel. [56] Engel was joined by Hitler's navy adjutant, Karl-Jesko von Puttkamer, and his Luftwaffe adjutant, Nicolaus von Below. According to Below, petitions for clemency (Bittund Gnadengesuche) for Wehrmacht personnel first went through Bouhler's office. Below described that Hitler's military adjutants worked closely with KdF and that Bouhler's "nice and congenial" staff encouraged this cooperation. [57] The adjutant from the branch of service where the Mischling in question served was needed to process the case. [58] Below reports spending about one hour each day handling petitions for clemency for soldiers and their family members. [59] Since the majority of those who applied for clemency came from the army, simply because it was the biggest service, one can assume that Engel spent more than an hour a day on exemption cases.

Between 1938 and 1939, Hitler brought several of the Mischlinge he had discharged back into the ranks, declaring them along with those Mischlinge who had remained on active duty deutschblutig. [60] Hitler had complete dossiers on these men, as the Rohr and Schmeling-Diringshofen cases illustrate, thanks in part to Engel. On 2 September 1939, OKH reported that Hitler had declared a group of officers deutschblutig who were either 50 percent Jewish or married to 50 percent Jewish women and who were World War I veterans. There were others, such as half-Jew Colonel Karl Zukertort, whom Hitler had not yet decided on. Men in Zukertort's situation were simply told that they were to remain at their posts until Hitler had reviewed their applications.  [61] Those who had not applied or had been rejected were to be discharged. Hitler had already declared as deutschblutig officers who were 25 percent Jewish or married to 25 percent Jewish wives and who were World War I veterans. [62] Hitler gave three out of four officers and NCOs whom the Kriegsmarine had discharged between 1934 and 1939 the Deutschblutigkeitserklarung. [63] Hitler also declared several Mischlinge, all admirals, deutschblutig during this period. [64] Evidently in every case, Hitler agreed with Raeder's assessment of the Mischling in question. [65] For example, quarter-Jew Admiral Bernhard Rogge experienced great personal hardships until Raeder took his case to Hitler. Soon thereafter, Hitler declared him deutschblutig in 1939. This change of status saved Rogge from utter despair. Earlier in 1939, several Party officials [66] had made Rogge's life a "living Hell," and both his beloved Jewish wife and his mother-in-law had committed suicide because of this persecution. Rogge received Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserklarung soon after war broke out, which prevented Nazi bureaucrats from further attacking him. [67] Rogge accepted this "privilege" and went about his duties as a typical Prussian officer. He was the most successful surface raider commander of the war, sinking or capturing twenty-two ships for a combined displacement of 150,000 tons with his ship Atlantis while being at sea for 655 straight days and traveling over one hundred thousand miles. [68] At war's end, Rogge was in charge of battle group "Rogge," which included the old battleship Schlesien, the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, the light cruiser Leipzig, and escorts. [69] His flag flew on the Prinz Eugen. [70] Rogge was just one of hundreds of Mischlinge who received the Deutschblutigkeitserklarung from 1938 to 1940. For example, Colonel Werner Schmoeckel took his quarter-Jewish son and half-Jewish wife's cases (Gnadengesuch) to the proper authorities in the late 1930S. His son, Helmut, had been discharged from the Kriegsmarine in 1936 as a Fiihnrich z. S, [71] because of the Arierparagraph. Yet through his father's efforts, Hitler declared Helmut and his mother deutschblutig on 2 September 1939. Helmut Schmoeckel would become a U-boat captain in 1943 (U-boat 802) and would earn the EKII and EKI. He successfully conducted four patrols off the Canadian coast and in the North Atlantic for a total of 247 days. [72] A fellow U-boat captain, Thilo Bode (U-858), said of Schmoeckel, "I could not believe that he was Jewish. He was more blond than any Aryan I had ever seen. It was no wonder that Hitler Aryanized him." [73]

Quarter-Jews Heinz and Joachim Rohr received Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserklarung and reentered the service in 1939. Heinz wrote in 1994: "I was proud and happy to be allowed once again to put on the Wehrmacht uniform." [74] Field Marshal von Brauchitsch's family had promised that when war came, they would do everything in their power to get the Rohr brothers back into the service. They made good on their promise. In 1939, Engel personally met with Heinz in the Reichskanzlei and told him that Hitler had declared him deutschblutig. Engel told him, "The Fuhrer has approved your reactivation .... I hope this is good news for you?" Heinz replied that "he was very happy that Hitler had decided to do this for him." Then Engel asked him if he wanted to finish his studies before he returned to the army. Heinz replied, "No ... we already missed the war in Poland and we don't want that to happen again." [75] Heinz believed that the reason Hitler gave him this Arisierung resulted from his father's World War I service. [76] Rohr viewed the racial laws with disdain and regarded this exemption simply as allowing him to return to his rightful place in society: "I thought the Nuremberg Laws were total nonsense, and I never viewed myself as a quarter-Jew. We were Germans just like everybody else and more than willing to serve our Fatherland." [77] Coming as they did from a strong military background, they felt pleased to return to the army. They were warriors at heart. Heinz's brother, Joachim, would pay the ultimate price for this honor. He died in Russia in 1944. [78] Both received the EKII, the EKI, and the German-Cross in Gold for their bravery and attained the rank of major. [79] Heinz's superior wrote that he was a "good National Socialist," and Joachim's superior reported that he" advocated the ideas of National Socialism." [80] They had proved their political and military worthiness.

Hitler reactivated several hundred Mischling officers between 1938 and 1940. In 1938, Hitler reactivated Klaus von Schmeling-Diringhofen as a captain and granted him the Deutschblutigkeitserklarung. [81] Klaus's friend, General Beelitz, explained that Engel had secured the Deutschblutigkeitserklarung for Klaus. Engel reported that he brought Schmeling- Diringhofen's case to Hitler's attention while Engel and Hitler took a walk together. Hearing Klaus's story, Hitler told Engel he wanted Schmeling- Diringhofen back in the army. [82] Unfortunately, soon after war erupted in 1939, Schmeling-Diringhofen died in action in Poland while leading his company into battle. [83] His sister Ursula wrote her mother on 24 September 1939 in anger after his funeral saying, "[W]e can thank the Fuhrer for this!" Schmeling-Diringhofen was praised on the radio for his "hero's death." [84] With full military honors, his coffin draped with the swastika flag, he was buried next to his comrades in Poland. [85]

In addition to low-ranking officers such as Schmoeckel, the Rohrs, and Schmeling-Diringhofen, Hitler granted some high-ranking officers the Deutschblutigkeitserklarung between 1938 and 1940. General Gunther Blumentritt helped two comrades get Aryanizations in 1939. One was the quarter-Jew and later German-Cross in Gold and Ritterkreuz recipient General Hans-Heinrich Sixt von Armin, [86] commander of the 113th Infantry Division. The other was the half-Jew and later German-Cross in Gold and Ritterkreuz recipient General Gunther Sachs, commander of the Twelfth Flak Division. [87]

Beginning in 1940, more Mischlinge experienced difficulties receiving official approval. After an OKW conference on 14 February 1940, a government memorandum stated that in principle, all applications from half- Jews were to be rejected. Applications were no longer to be sent to Keitel, who apparently used to review them and forward them to Lammers. He evidently did not want to deal with half-Jews anymore. Applications of Mischlinge now went directly to Lammers's office before Hitler received them. [88] Alternately, Engel, Puttkamer, or Below took applications to Hitler for his decision and then passed them to the Reichskanzlei or OKW for processing. If Lammers did not present cases himself, he was definitely informed about them. If a Mischling was approved, it was Lammers's responsibility to ensure that he received the certificates he needed to change his documents.

However, on 8 April 1940, after officially discharging half-Jews from the Wehrmacht, Hitler gave them the opportunity to apply for exemptions to remain in the armed forces. OKH outlined the stipulations for the petitions on 20 April 1940 when it reissued the OKW decree of 8 April. This decree seemed to reverse Hitler's government memorandum of February, which had called for the cessation of exemptions for half-Jews. The new decree now required an applicant to show proof of meritorious service. He also had to include his racial status, curriculum vitae, whether his Jewish parent or grandparents were alive, his frontal and profile photos, and his commander's recommendations. Many hired lawyers to help them put together their applications, which sometimes cost a few thousand Reichsmarks. [89]

Since Mischlinge had a hard time being heard themselves, letting Aryan lawyers speak on their behalf often proved to be a more effective strategy. Many approached their applications as if they were on trial. For example, the half-Jew Wolfram Gunther's lawyers, Dr. Alfred Holl and Dr. Fritz Hamann, wrote Hitler that Gunther's racial status deeply troubled him and that it would be a pity for the Yolk if Gunther did not receive clemency. The lawyers argued that Gunther's commander did not promote him to reserve officer "because of his ancestry." They noted that he was the only one in his battery to be promoted to Oberkanonier, [90] were convinced of Gunther's Germanness, and felt he would work only for the betterment of Germany. General Freiherr von Maltzahn, commander of the Fifty-sixth Infantry Division, wrote a report on Gunther's father. The lawyers added pictures of Gunther and his two brothers to his Gnadengesuch as the state required and explained that one could clearly see that these men were Aryans. [91] That Gunther fought in a dangerous Sturmgeschutz (assault gun) unit also could only help him in his quest for Aryanization. [92] Although he was awarded both Iron Crosses, he felt that some of his actions warranted his receiving the Ritterkreuz (for instance, he destroyed several Russian tanks in one day with his self-propelled gun). [93] Had he been awarded the Ritterkreuz, he probably would have received clemency.

Normally, approved applications for personnel from the armed forces eventually came to Hitler's office through Hitler's Wehrmacht adjutants (Engel, Below, Puttkamer, and Schmundt), after being approved of by KdF, and later in 1942 and 1943, by the Parteikanzlei. Once approved, it seems that the Reichskanzlei and the RMI's Office for Genealogy Research [94] would send the Mischling his new documents. Apparently, if one of the bureaucrats in any of these organizations felt that a Mischling had no chance of receiving Hitler's approval, then his application was rejected before it ever reached Hitler. Thousands applied for exemptions. Many commanders of Mischlinge offered to write letters on their behalf to see if they might be eligible for an exemption. For example, between 1939 and 1941, Captain Wecker worked diligently on behalf of half-Jew Obergefreiter Martin Bier. Bier had "strongly requested" to stay with his unit and asked his superior for assistance. Because Bier had shown himself a leader and had set a good example for the whole company of how a soldier should conduct himself, Wecker decided to retain Bier and apply for clemency on his behalf. [95] During the winter of 1939-1940, Wecker contacted deputy Gauleiter Otto Nippold of Munich to discuss Bier's case. Wecker reported that after hearing about Bier's exploits in Poland and how he had received the EKII, [96] Nippold said, "If a man has proven himself like Bier has in Poland, then he has shown that he is German in his thoughts and actions and has earned special consideration in the future." [97] Nippold promised Wecker that he would look into the possibility of getting Bier an exemption from the Nuremberg Laws. [98] Bier wanted this exemption because he felt that with it, he could protect his family. He reasoned that the Gestapo would not harm a family with a son on the front. [99] Bier admits today that this was a naive thought, but nonetheless, he truly believed his service would save his Jewish relatives and himself. Bier's previous regiment commander, General Hubert Lanz, and his divisional commander, General Ludwig Kubler, supported his application for a Genehmigung, which would allow him to be promoted to Gefreiter and Obergefreiter. [100] Although Bier had all this support and had been decorated in battle, it still was not enough. In fall of 1940, he was discharged. [101]

Most half-Jewish soldiers, like Bier, asked their units to write such request letters for an exemption. Most of these "feelers," like Bier's, were rejected. Until a decision was reached, the inquiry allowed a half-Jew to remain with his unit for weeks, if not months. Only after a preliminary inquiry was approved, probably by the personnel office of either the army, navy, or Luftwaffe, did a Mischling start the involved process of applying for Hitler's exemption. Bier never got past this first stage even though his commander, Captain Wecker, explored several possibilities to support Bier's bid for clemency.

Three types of exemptions from the racial laws allowed a half-Jew to stay in the Wehrmacht. One form allowed him simply to remain in the armed forces. The next allowed him to remain and be promoted. These forms were generally called Genehmigungen. The third allowed him to describe himself on official documents as deutschblutig. The Deutschblutigkeitserklarung gave the recipient all the rights of an Aryan except the right to join the Party or own farmland. Several quarter-Jews tried for the second and third types just as aggressively as the half-Jews. However, almost all of the Genehmigung forms (first and second types) had a clause written in the award letter saying that Hitler would decide after the war if the person was worthy to receive the third and highest form of being classified as deutschblutig. Such clauses gave many Mischlinge the hope that they would regain their rights as full citizens.

Many who received the Genehmigung strove to attain the final level and be declared deutschblutig. Their superior officers often guided these Mischlinge through this difficult process. For instance, General Friedrich Sixt gave Colonel Hans- Wolfgang Schoch, the quartermaster for the Seventh Army, permission to write Engel on behalf of the half-Jewish Unteroffizier Karl Cadek on 10 November 1942. Although Cadek had received Hitler's Genehmigung, Schoch sent him to the front, where he could distinguish himself to improve his chances of being declared deutschblutig. [102] Schoch wrote: "Cadek has an irreproachable character and he's altogether German with soldierly values ... and Cadek's the opposite (Gegentyp) of the typical Jew who served in the offices (judischer Etappenschreiber) during World War I - he's honorable, dutiful, German and thoroughly a militarist." [103] Schoch recognized that to procure a higher level of clemency for Cadek, he needed to show that Cadek did not exhibit any Jewish behavior. In Schoch's opinion, Cadek's valor and militaristic bearing proved that his Aryan blood dominated his personality. Cadek's fate remains unknown. Many officers, like Schoch, did all they could within the boundaries of the law to help worthy Mischlinge subordinates. General Heinrich Eberbach, commander of the Fourth Panzer Division, tried to promote Obergefreiter Georg Struzyna to Unteroffizier and to get him Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserklarung. Although decorated with the EKI and severely wounded (Stufe III), Hitler refused to declare Struzyna deutschblutig. [104] Several high-ranking officers, like Schoch and Eberbach, did all they could to help brave and honorable Mischlinge soldiers who, in their opinion, warranted Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserklarung.

The RMI reported on 22 May 1940 that Mischling applications were proving difficult to process as long as Hitler demanded that he personally decide each case. [105] An RMI document stated that it was receiving too many applications to process. Many applicants felt desperate and awaited the outcome as if it were a matter of life and death (Sein oder Nichtsein). [106] For example, the half-Jew A. R. [107] wrote the RMI, "My daughter and I cannot help it that my father married a Jew. Should I forever continue to do penance for this fact?" The RMI rejected his application. Before the army completed his discharge, he died in battle. [108]

In response to the 8 April 1940 decree, thousands of family members of Mischlinge began the application process for one of Hitler's exemptions on behalf of a loved one. For example, on 19 June 1940, Dr. Adam Carl Maier wrote Hitler saying:

My Fuhrer! ... My nephew, Walther Hofmann, lost his mother twelve days after he was born. His mother was a Jew who had converted to Christianity In order to keep away any Jewish influence on the child, my wife and I decided to adopt him .... Walther thus remained in my Aryan family .... He has never been with his Jewish family .... While in the army, he would have become an Offiziersanwarter, [109] but that was dropped as soon as [they found out he was a Mischling]. And although his half-Aryanhood became public knowledge, his comrades still liked him As a result, I plead with you ... that you will grant my nephew the rights of a full Aryan so he can continue to fight at the side of his comrades and belong fully to his German homeland. [110]


Maier believed that Jewishness was cultural and, since his nephew was not raised as a Jew, he should not be considered Jewish and should be given the Arisierung. Moreover, since Gefreiter Hofmann was raised as an Aryan, then, according to his uncle, he should be treated with the rights an Aryan deserved. Maier noted that in addition to his upbringing, his nephew's physical characteristics and military performance added further evidence that displayed Aryan qualities. Despite Maier's passionate plea, he received no response. Hofmann wrote OKW on 7 June 1940, declaring that he had not been polluted by the "Jews" and passionately requested to return to the "sides of my comrades." [111] Hofmann's application was probably rejected.

During the spring of 1940, Hitler still awarded soldiers dismissed between 1934 and 1939 Deutschblutigkeitserklarungen. For example, on 27 February 1940, Brauchitsch wrote Frau Irmgard von Brockhusen, daughter of Field Marshal von Hindenburg, regarding Wilhelm von Gottberg, a family friend whose application she had supported: ''I'm especially pleased to be able to inform you that the Fuhrer and Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht has approved that Oberfahnrich [112] Wilhelm von Gottberg can once again serve .... [He] is to be declared deutschblutig. However, the Fuhrer doesn't wish that his Arisierung will be used to help other relatives." [113] Brauchitsch honored the fact that Brockhusen had worked hard for the Gottberg family, friends of her family, to get Wilhelm clemency. Apparently, Brauchitsch shared in her celebration of Wilhelm's reinstatement. Brauchitsch and Brockhusen had not been alone in their support of Gottberg. Wilhelm's uncle was the notorious SS general, Curt von Gottberg, [114] who helped not only him but also his brother and six cousins receive Hitler's Deutschblutigkeitserklarung in the spring of 1940. His cousin Helmut von Gottberg had personally asked Curt in the late 1930s for assistance. Curt told Helmut that he would talk to the appropriate authorities. [115] Obviously, the family's reputation and connections with distinguished personalities had impressed the government to take the Gottbergs' situation seriously.
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