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Determining ‘People of German Blood’, ‘Jews’ and ‘Mischlinge

Discussions on the Holocaust and 20th Century War Crimes. Note that Holocaust denial is not allowed.
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Determining ‘People of German Blood’, ‘Jews’ and ‘Mischlinge

Postby Andy H on 10 Oct 2006 07:15

Again I hope of some interest.

Determining ‘People of German Blood’, ‘Jews’ and ‘Mischlinge’: The Reich Kinship Office and the Competing Discourses and Powers of Nazism, 1941–1943 by THOMAS PEGELOW of Department of History, Grinnell College, 1213 Sixth Avenue, Grinnell, IA 50112, United States

This article conceptualises the dissemination by Nazi party and state institutions of racial categories of Germanness and Jewishness and the imposition of these categories on segments of the population as a form of linguistic violence. Centring on the Reich Kinship Office during the Second World War, the article argues that racial discourses were not static, but were constantly remade in the practices of the office's employees and their interaction with petitioners desperately seeking to escape persecution. The office's practices exemplify the competing discourses of Nazism, as employees saw the Kinship Office's discourses increasingly undermined by SS and police agencies and their growing power and more radical languages

[quote]In 1942 the fifth edition of the Lösener-Knost commentary on the Nazis’ 1935 Nuremberg Laws restated the authors’ contention that the definition of ‘Jew’ and ‘Mischling’ ha[d] been ‘established . . . once and for all’.1 The commentary repeated the classificatory system of these laws. Everyone with at least three ‘full-Jewish grandparents’ was a ‘Jew’. Grandparents were ‘full-Jewish’, if they ‘belonged to the Jewish religious community’.2 The 1935 racial legislation also turned the term ‘Jewish Mischlinge’ into a legal category, defining them as the descendants of one or two ‘full-Jewish grandparents’. In addition, a number of specific conditions such as marriage to a ‘full Jew’ led to the reclassification of a ‘Mischling’ as a ‘designated Jew’ (Geltungsjude).

On the basis of these definitions and categories, the Lösener-Knost commentary implied, the Nazi leadership had executed a policy of seemingly stringent separation between ‘citizens [Staatsangehörigen] of alien blood’ and German Volksgenossen.3 Yet the categories of the 1935 legal and political discourses were not tied to fixed referents. Nor could they grasp the myriad of differing cases of people's imagined ‘racial descent’. Like language in general, these racialised terms and statements never lost their inherent vagueness and remained a ‘site of a massive confusion’.4 Nazi administrators, party officials and scientists continually struggled over these racialised categories with Germans who could not satisfy the requirements for an ancestry of ‘German blood’. It was through these struggles that the categories’ meanings, applications and violent repercussions evolved. All the while these competing notions and statements continued to restructure the social realities of Germans living in the Third Reich.

Among the range of state, party and academic institutions that were involved in the massive project to remake Germanness and Jewishness and regulate these cultural and juridical identities was the Reich Kinship Office (Reichssippenamt – RSA). This article focuses on the RSA's work, which offers a crucial window on these struggles and the impact of the regime's racialised categories. Like other institutions in Hitler's Germany, RSA employees sought to expand their authority by ‘working towards’ and speaking for ‘the Führer’. In so doing, the RSA legitimised its employment of racialised discourses that continued to interact with competing discourses rooted, for example, in the apparatus of the SS (‘Protection Squad’ or Schutzstaffel) and the Nazi party in the Hitler state's shifting power relations.5

The RSA received its name in late 1940, but its activities date back to spring 1933, when the Reich Interior Ministry established it as the Higher Reich Office for Domestic Administration (Höhere Reichsbehörde der Inneren Verwaltung).6 In this position, the office functioned as a national administrative body below the level of the Reich ministries. Throughout its history, interior ministry officials supervised the RSA. Charged with the task of determining people's ‘racial descent’ in cases of doubt, the office had initially functioned in the framework of the April 1933 civil service law. By the mid-1930s, the Reich Agency for Kinship Research (Reichsstelle für Sippenforschung, RfS), as it was then known, had become the sole administrative body for processing complicated cases of descent in the population at large.7 Beginning in autumn 1941, the imposition of racial categories in the RSA's ‘decisions on descent’ (Abstammungsbescheide) could aide examinees’ often desperate attempts to escape deportation. At the same time, decisions by the office also sealed the fate of many petitioners and directly led to their death in the extermination centres in German-occupied eastern Europe.

Before the recent appearance of Diana Schulle's comprehensive institutional history of the RSA, only a few specialists in the larger group of historians of the Nazi period had a more detailed knowledge of the RSA. A previous book, by Horst Seidler and Andreas Rett, two natural scientists, mainly investigated the co-operation between Austrian anthropologists and the RSA. In her recent study of the ‘system’ of the Nuremberg Laws, Claudia Essner demonstrates the RSA's significant role in the drafting of pre-1935 racial laws. Analysing the perspective and fate of ‘Mischlinge’, Beate Meyer identified the growing significance of the RSA for members of this ‘group’, who often tried to escape persecution by publicly questioning their descent.8

For all their valuable contributions, these historians have not systematically explored the constructive and destructive force of language and discourse itself, either in the daily work of RSA officials or in their conflicts with competing agencies of the Nazi state and party. The rereading of Victor Klemperer's Lingua tertii imperii (language of the Third Reich) in recent years has contributed to historians’ growing interest in questions of language and its role in the perpetuation of racist ideology. With its emphasis on how the regime employed words to further its goals, Klemperer's work proves to be an invaluable starting point for this study. At the same time, however, my research moves beyond his untenable concept of a unified Nazi language. Such an overarching notion does not sufficiently account for Nazism's competing categories, symbols and statements.9

This article analyses the RSA's institutional culture, with its distinct practices and the employment of racialised discourses, between 1941 and 1943. After a discussion of the office's composition, basic operation and case files, my study explores the often disputed RSA decisions on racial descent and the role of ‘genealogical and racial examinations’ (Erb- und rassekundliche Untersuchungen). The RSA operated within the ‘system’ and language of the Nuremberg Laws, which the larger ministerial bureaucracy perpetuated. Rather than shaping a different and coherent discourse on race, RSA employees engaged with internal RSA guidelines and decrees of the Reich interior ministry. These discursive practices played a crucial role in keeping the categories and statements on Germanness and Jewishness unfixed and critically contributed to their shifting meanings in the Hitler state.

The RSA's everyday decision-making processes show how the regime's abstract ideology was put into practice and how the office's employees struggled to reshape and readjust these racial discourses to what they perceived as an increasingly complex reality of descent. The RSA had reached the height of its influence in the second half of the 1930s, when its supervising agency, the interior ministry, played a significant role in the shaping of the regime's racial policies. In the course of the war, the RSA increasingly confronted competing and ultimately more powerful discourses of rival state and party agencies, especially the SS, the main power in the perpetration of the ‘final solution’. While RSA officials did not participate in the actual killings, their decisions and categories retained a crucial role in the lives of many Germans of suspected or imagined Jewish descent who continued to petition the RSA until the end of the war. Not only did RSA officials identify thousands of ‘Jews’ and ‘Mischlinge’ in cases of doubt and lay the foundation for their ongoing exclusion and deportation; they also affirmed the Germanness of tens of thousands of Volksgenossen inside and outside the Nazi party and helped them to continue to function in their everyday lives in the racial state. This study demonstrates the significance of these processes by conceptualising the dissemination of these discursive categories as a key component in our understanding of the preconditions for genocide.

My work conceptualises the RSA as a key force in the perpetration of linguistic violence. First, it contends that official Nazi discourses imposed racial categories on the population. These categories constructed German citizens as part of the ‘community of the Volk’. In this sense, discourses and their terms and symbols were ‘productive’, and cannot simply be equated with notions like ‘spirit’ or ‘meaning’.10 Second, my study shows that the discourses of the Nazi state and party apparatus also excluded hundreds of thousands of people by reconstituting them as lying outside the boundaries of national life, violently ending their previously enjoyed privileges of cultural integration and as German nationals. This process inflicted ‘linguistic injuries’ by wrenching the control of these categories away from individuals and communities and redefining them in an exclusionary way.11 It created and identified the very targets of Nazi racial policies. It both made possible and interacted with the Nazis’ increasingly radical physical onslaughts throughout the 1930s and culminated in the Nazi genocide of the European Jews during the war. Nazi racial categories devised by the policy makers in the ministerial and party bureaucracies and disseminated in the country's media by Nazi state and party propagandists had a symbolic as well as material impact. In the Third Reich, as Michael Burleigh pointed out, ‘suffering was determined by categories’.12


In August 1941, as the German armies continued their attack on the USSR and the Einsatzgruppen systematised their mass shootings of the local Jewish population, the RSA frantically pursued tasks of its own inside Germany. During this month alone, the office's Department 1 issued 1,124 decisions on descent. This figure was only slightly below the monthly average of 1,160 decisions for the years 1941–1943. While the office's employees temporarily struggled with backlogs, these build-ups were minor in comparison with the situation in the mid-1930s, when several hundred cases remained uncompleted each month.13 In the face of personnel losses to call-up for military service – by May 1941, the office had given leave to thirty-eight officials – RSA head Kurt Mayer spurred on his remaining 119 employees to ‘ensure that the performance . . . would not drop off’.14 Although a series of ministerial and party decrees removed the obligation for most civil servants and party members to document their descent until the ‘final victory’,15 RSA leaders emphasised the office's status as ‘essential for the war’ (kriegswichtig).16 These officials noted that their decisions clarified whether a person could become or remain a soldier in the Wehrmacht, as Hitler's military continued to discharge thousands of experienced soldiers due to their status as ‘Mischlinge’.17 Despite diminishing resources and increasing disruption by air raids, RSA employees completed consideration of the vast majority of applications that greatly affected the lives and survival of soldiers, civilians and their families alike.

The RSA's applications of ministerial decrees, language and decision-making processes were decisively shaped by the heterogeneous political, professional, gender and even ethnic composition of its personnel. Despite the RSA's close ties with the Nazi party's Department for Kinship Research (Amt für Sippenforschung), many employees were not party members. Most department and section heads left conservative parties and joined the Hitler movement only after January 1933.18 While some RSA leaders such as Max Prowe were increasingly altered by their work in the office and eventually exhibited much of RSA chief Mayer's radicalism,19 others worked less eagerly towards the Führer. In their refined parlance, these more ‘lenient’ RSA officials endorsed Nazi categories and statements, but generally abstained from the crude language and rabid antisemitism exhibited by party radicals. In February 1936, a regional leader of the SA (Storm troopers or Sturmabteilung), for example, denounced the RSA's Friedrich A. Knost. The SA officer characterised him as a ‘despicable’ critic of Hitler and past supporter of German liberalism. Knost, Mayer's deputy for most of the war, responded by readily embracing the Nazi leader, while ambiguously praising Nazism for its support of an ‘ideal form of democracy’.20

University-trained administrative specialists such as Knost, along with experienced genealogists such as Max Prowe and Eberhard Schircks comprised the RSA's leadership. The prominence of genealogists in key positions increased the significance of this profession's language and reasoning in the office's practices. The RSA's supervision of genealogical societies and its employment of professional genealogists on a contract basis further strengthened this tendency.21 In 1941, eight of the RSA's leading officials were upper-level civil servants and employees. In this exclusively male group, four held Ph.D.s., among them Kurt Mayer, who had a doctorate in history.22 Unlike the heads of other newly established Nazi state offices, SS-Obersturmbannführer Mayer largely failed to recruit his office's leaders to the SS. In 1942 only Wilhelm Jahn served in the Waffen SS.23 This lack of members of Nazism's self-proclaimed elite partially explains the rather protracted integration of the SS apparatus's increasingly powerful discourses into the office's work during the early war years.

In 1937, the RSA personnel had an average age of 32.1 years. Such a low average was common among bureaucracies set up by the Nazi regime.24 During the war, the widening call-up led to an increase in female employees. In May 1937, Mayer had been working with eighty-one men and forty-two women (34.1 per cent of the workforce). In September 1943, he supervised forty-five men and sixty-one women (57.5 per cent).25 As early as 1939, female employees under the direction of Charlotte Wetzel exclusively staffed one of Department 1's sections.26

By early 1943 the RSA also exploited the skills of about a dozen highly trained German-Jewish forced labourers. Many of these men were married to a non-Jewish spouse, which had so far saved them from deportation. Among these labourers was Jacob Jacobson, the head of the General Archive of the German Jews (Gesamtarchiv der deutschen Juden). The Gestapo forced Jacobson to help RSA officials, for example, by clarifying the age at which Jewish officials used to allow children of ‘mixed’ marriages to join the religious community. In May 1943, Gestapo officials deported the archivist to Theresienstadt. Even in this Nazi ghetto, the authorities made him respond to RSA inquiries. Forced labourers such as Jacobson had little choice but to use and, thus, inadvertently legitimise Nazi categories. For a while, however, some of them had also been able to take small steps slightly to shift racialised language by advising petitioners and supplying them with specific statements and constructs.27

RSA employees processed requests for decisions on descent from a variety of agencies and petitioners. Both the ministerial bureaucracy and the Wehrmacht submitted more complicated cases as part of these agencies’ ongoing task of removing Nazi-defined Jews and ‘Mischlinge’ from their ranks. These submissions constituted only a fraction of the workload of officials in these larger bureaucracies. Ministerial guidelines required these bureaucrats not to involve the RSA in the processing of clearly documented cases, but to handle these petitions on their own.28 In the course of paternity suits, German courts also repeatedly called on the RSA to assist their appointed ‘experts’, who were largely scholars of anthropology.29 Furthermore, the RSA aided the Nazi party's smaller Department for Kinship Research in examining questions about the descent of party members and applicants.30 Finally, RSA officials directly received tens of thousands of wartime petitions from ordinary Germans with and without Jewish ancestry.31 These applications could evolve at all stages of life, including preparations for school, professional careers, marriage and service in a party organisation or the military. After the Nazi leadership's shift to systematic genocide, many petitioners also sought to bring about a stay of their and their families’ pending deportation.

RSA officials initially determined whether they had to take on a case, turn it down or refer the applicant to another agency. On accepting the request for a decision, RSA employees based most of their subsequent work on official documents. These officials required petitioners to submit their birth and marriage certificates along with those of the examinees’ parents and grandparents. When inquiries at German register and church offices were particularly challenging, RSA employees urged petitioners to hire a professional genealogist.32 Officials reviewed the obtained certificates for any sign of Jewish religious affiliation. If ‘there were justified doubts about the examinee's descent from German blood’, RSA employees could extend the searches for still missing certificates to all of German-controlled Europe.33

Once the RSA had imposed a racial category in a decision, the examinee could formally contest it by filing a complaint (Dienstaufsichtsbeschwerde) with the interior ministry.34 The reopening of a case often led to a ‘genealogical and racial examination’. RSA employees also initiated the same type of examination for members of arbitrarily formed groups such as illegitimate children of single mothers who had sexual relations with ‘Jews’ and ‘Germans’ during the ‘time of conception’.35 Designated anthropological institutes carried out these examinations on the basis of scientific discourses that had evolved in the field of human biology and as part of efforts to determine paternity genetically in the 1920s. By early 1942, there were twenty-six of these institutes or individual university-trained anthropologists working on behalf of the RSA.36

Examinations typically consisted of blood-typing petitioners and their legal and supposed parents, and ‘similarity analyses’ (Ähnlichkeitsanalysen) between these persons. These analyses compared up to 130 body parts, such as hands, heads and hair colour. The institutes based key components of these studies on ‘anthropological' photographs taken at their facilities. If relatives were unavailable, examiners often used older amateur photographs supplied by the petitioners. In a crucial subsequent step, they began to attribute this visual data to the typology of five European races based on the parameters of the institutes’ scientific discourses.37 The RSA's intervention in these discourses further increased the apparent scientific legitimacy of the office's decisions. In these interventions, officials did not ‘pervert’ science, but rather benefited from the conceptual conditions and ordering techniques inherent in modern science that had ‘made racism possible’ in the first place.38

Racial examinations and seemingly unambiguous genealogical certificates thus did not speak for themselves. Institutionalised discourses largely restricted the very meaning that examiners and RSA and interior ministry officials could attribute to any anthropological claim. While RSA employees operated within the limits of these discourses, they also employed their regulations to prescribe key sections of the anthropologists’ answers. In accordance with an April 1940 rule, RSA officials posed distinct questions such as, ‘Does the examinee show well-developed Jewish racial features [emphasis in the original]?’ This question not only strengthened the notion of a general existence of ‘Jewish racial features’ such as ‘large side of the nose’ and ‘limp posture’ (schlaffe Haltung), but also imbued them with great importance for the outcome of the examinations.39 Moreover, RSA questions steered examiners away from fully identifying the petitioners’ ‘racial status’ to secure the RSA's prerogative. If RSA officials disagreed with the outcomes of examinations on the basis of competing readings of the data, they could request a second opinion from another institute. Given their greater political and administrative authority, interior ministry officials could invalidate the RSA's use of regulations and categories. Ministry leaders indeed repeatedly reversed the office's decisions.40

The discursively restricted meanings linked to certificates and physical appearance could also contradict each other, as shown by an early wartime memorandum. ‘There are a thousand people of purely Aryan descent’, this RSA memorandum read, ‘who look in individual features, more Jewish than many full Jews. And there are full Jews who do not look Jewish’. The memo quoted a leading capacity at Berlin's Kaiser-Wilhlem-Institute (KWI) of Anthropology which closely collaborated with the RSA in the conduct of racial examinations.41

Certificates, too, were neither as definite nor as readily available as officials had initially assumed. The wartime rise in the number of decisions that necessitated racial examinations ‘on a very large scale’ points to shortcomings in these genealogical documents.42 In June 1939, a key interior ministry directive further raised the bar for the production of evidence. This often cited directive cautioned the RSA not to rule an examinee to be identified as a Jew or ‘Mischling’, ‘if Jewish descent was not certain’.43 The RSA's guidelines and discourses were thus not static and fixed, but rather constantly probed and remade in the practices of the office's employees and their interaction with state and party agencies, anthropological examiners and petitioners. RSA officials daily cited the discursive categories and statements, pointed to inconsistencies and redirected them, especially in convoluted cases that existing guidelines had not clearly charted.


The collection of RSA case files in the Federal Archive in Berlin contains 505 fragments ranging from one to three hundred pages. Kurt Mayer's subordinates were still working on many of these cases at the end of the war. A considerable number of these files contain complaints against previous rulings that often took a long time to complete.44 Given the more than 52,000 wartime requests processed by RSA officials,45 this collection can hardly be regarded as representative. Yet these cases give valuable insights into the transformation and impact of the competing discourses of Nazism. They also shed light on key patterns in the practices of RSA officials and petitioners.

The collection of RSA cases suggests that RSA employees worked on noticeably more applications by men than women. Women comprised only 41.2 per cent of the sampled petitioners. According to the 1939 German census, however, 51.5 per cent of the population was female. This male over-representation points to a greater concern for male soldiers, party activists and professionals in the RSA's practices and regulations. The figures likewise express the continued androcentrism of German society, in which bourgeois men in particular had enjoyed more powerful public roles. The largest groups of petitioners – some 36.6 per cent – were born between 1910 and 1930. This prevalence of teenagers and adults under the age of thirty-five reveals the impact of the Nazi state's requirement of proof of descent for army draftees, party applicants and persons wishing to marry.

RSA employees, moreover, accepted a large number of cases from a small number of metropolitan areas. Of the office's sampled applicants, 29.3 per cent lived in either Berlin or Vienna, although they held only 6.9 per cent of the country's residents.46 Since these cities had been home to the largest Jewish communities of the prewar era, with a substantial intermarriage rate, a significant number of residents were of partially Jewish ancestry. Likewise, many Germans with white-collar jobs lived in urban areas. More than half the RSA examinees with discernible occupational status (or 21.6 per cent of the entire sample) were employed in this sector. The fragmentary data shows that only 8.8 per cent of the applicants belonged to the working class. By contrast, workers totalled 50.7 per cent of the population at large, while white-collar employees constituted only 18.9 per cent.47 These figures indicate that officials related more easily to members of social groups with greater financial means and schooling who could afford to hire lawyers or genealogists and master the bureaucratic parlance more adequately.

The initial ‘racial classification’ of these examinees suggests that RSA officials encountered a majority of ‘people of German or kindred blood’ during the war. Only a relatively small number of persons whom Nazi decrees designated as ‘Jews’ were among the accepted cases. On the one hand, this proportion between ‘German’ and ‘Jewish’ examinees shows the Nazi state's obsession with hidden ‘enemies’. An imagined opponent could emerge in the shape of the most ‘German’ activist. In cases of doubt, officials therefore had to analyse these persons’ ancestry.

On the other hand, there were fewer and fewer German Jews who faced increasing obstacles in their attempts to petition the RSA. When the Nazis began systematically to deport and murder the Jews of Europe in late 1941, German-Jewish religious communities had shrunk to merely 163,700 members in the Altreich. After February 1942, Gestapo officials also reduced the number of petitions by enforcing a decree by Reichsführer-SS and Chief of German Police Heinrich Himmler that prohibited Jews from applying directly to state agencies. Instead, Nazi-supervised officials of the truncated Jewish community had to check the ‘admissibility’ of the petitions before sending them off.48 Many German Jews also regarded petitions to the RSA as an act of treason. After all, claims to Germanness generally evolved around the rejection of a Jewish parent or grandparent.

The considerable number of ‘Mischlinge’ among RSA applicants, by contrast, demonstrates the conceptual space for members of this arbitrary group in the RSA's discourses and practices. Many ‘Mischlinge’ likewise perceived applications as part of an increasingly desperate survival strategy. In her early postwar testimony, Marie Sauer, for example, described her family's petitions to the RSA as an attempt ‘to gain time’. These petitions followed the Gestapo's reclassification of her mother-in-law as a ‘Jew’. This recategorisation also changed the ‘racial status’ of Sauer's husband to that of a ‘designated Jew’, since Sauer herself was a member of the Jewish community.49

Fewer than 10 per cent of the analysed examinees ‘improved’ – according to Nazi thinking – their ‘racial classification’. In the beginning, RSA officials had encountered most of these examinees as ‘Mischlinge’. The surveyed wartime petitions only rarely changed the status of Jews. It would be short-sighted, however, to interpret these figures as testimony to the office's limited impact. As Table 1 shows, at least 44.1 per cent of the examinees were of ‘German blood’. By reaffirming the petitioners’ racial descent in a minimum of 36.2 per cent of the cases, the RSA helped to change the daily lives and prospects of thousands of Germans whose racial status the Nazi bureaucracy had come to consider as ‘uncertain’. These Germans could generally proceed with their schooling, professional careers or military service.

Table 1.
Initial ‘racial status’ of petitioners

Please use link to view tables

Table 2.
Changes of petitioners’ ‘racial status’ as the result of RSA work

Please use link to view tables

While the figures discussed in this section depict RSA decisions for the entire duration of the war, a more qualitative focus suggests crucial changes in the office's practices and language that greatly affected the acceptance and outcome of its cases.


In February 1941, Friedrich A. Knost countersigned a decision on the descent of Horst Springer that designated this illegitimate offspring of a Gentile woman as a person of ‘German or kindred blood’. Knost ignored earlier findings of a German court that had identified a retired Jewish district court judge as the biological father and that underpinned Springer's previous classification as a ‘Mischling’.50 Knost based his decision on the claim by the anthropological institute that had conducted Springer's racial examination. In its report to the RSA, the institute asserted that the examinee ‘hardly’ (kaum) showed ‘well-developed Jewish racial features’. This statement itself represents a direct answer to the RSA's inquiry and illustrates the limits of the RSA's standardised questions. More importantly, Knost's use of this statement reveals a distinct practice that was characteristic of RSA officials during the early war years.

Knost operated within the June 1939 interior ministry's ruling that forbade identifying an applicant as Jewish, if ‘Jewish descent was not certain’. He utilised the anthropological institute's reservations to document uncertainty and rule out a designation of Springer as Jewish. By citing the word ‘hardly’ and the meanings it conveyed, the skilled administrator intervened in the discourses that guided the RSA's work. The Swiss historian Philipp Sarasin has described an ‘intervention’ as a movement that disturbs the ongoing flow of discourses, causing a ‘rupture’ and space for reinscription.51 Knost's practice inserted the vague notion ‘hardly’ in this rupture and replaced a strict ‘no’ to establish uncertainty in general. Evoking the office's authority, the RSA deputy director's intervention subsequently helped to prompt a slight shift in the imagined boundaries between Germanness and Jewishness.

Other RSA men such as the professional genealogist Max Prowe took these practices to another level. Reading and reassembling fragments of Nazi legal discourses,52 Prowe helped to coin new categories such as ‘designated Mischlinge [Geltungsmischlinge] of the first degree’ to denote the descent of examinees with one ‘Jewish’ grandparent and another one ‘of German blood who had been Mosaic’.53 Notwithstanding the violence inherent in the imposition of this term, Prowe's designation signalled the possibility of a future change in the examinees’ ‘racial status’ by moving them closer to ‘Mischlinge of the second degree’ and further away from the prospect of arrest and deportation.

RSA officials also used and rephrased the office's language in collective social activities and not merely in their offices in Berlin and, as of autumn 1943, Thuringia. On the occasion of the October 1941 outing to the Rüdesdorfer limestone quarries, lower-level RSA employees put together a ‘Moral Kinship Review’ (Sippensittliche Rundschau).54 The mock paper included the outline of a RSA request for certificates of one ‘Israel Moses Abraham’ to a Jewish community, and the latter's response that its archives were already in the possession of the RSA. These two altered documents appeared under the headline ‘The right hand is not supposed to know what the left hand does. Examples of daily work’. In this excerpt, the author mildly ridiculed the RSA and its alleged disorganisation. Furthermore, by using a form of humour, he completely downplayed the often devastating repercussions of the RSA's wartime decisions and mocked the office's victims. The composition and inclusion of these texts also amounted to yet another intervention in existing RSA guidelines on Jewishness. This practice affirmed the use of names as evidence in the office's task of detecting Jewish ancestry. It likewise strengthened related regulations that a ‘Jewish-sound[ing]’ family name of grandparents without birth certificates pointed to ‘Jewish descent’.55

Other RSA specialists composed formal decisions that prompted even more significant shifts in the application of guidelines and discourses. By changing the ‘racial status’ of Martha Schulz from ‘Jew’ to ‘Jewish Mischling’, Section 1.7's Jordan gave legitimacy to Schulz's argument that she was not the child of her legal Jewish father, but the offspring of an extramarital affair between her Jewish mother and an unknown ‘man of German blood’. Jordan had forwarded the case to Berlin's Poliklinik for Genealogical and Racial Maintenance. He had asked specifically if Schulz showed ‘Jewish racial features in large numbers so that full Jewish descent was without a question’. In his reply, the Poliklinik's expert argued that ‘[o]n the basis of the outward appearance, it c[ould] not be out of the question that a man of German blood had been the begetter’. At the same time, it could also not be assumed in all probability’ that ‘the examinee was the descendant of her legal father’.56 Jordan's decision not only read substance into the expert's elusive statements and accepted an examination based merely on a comparison of the examinee, her daughter and photographs of her deceased legal parents. It also aided in the expansion of the 1939 interior ministry directive by including people who had initially been classified as ‘Jews’. Jordan's decision was dated 28 October 1941. Ten days earlier the Gestapo had forced German Jews on to the first deportation trains from Berlin to the east. Schulz's reclassification did not end her experiences of discrimination and stigmatisation, but it excluded her from being sent to her death.

These 1941 decisions, language and practices of the RSA often stand in stark contrast to those of late 1942 and 1943. In a January 1943 letter to the court in Kiel that had requested the RSA's help, Friedrich Knost evaluated the racial examination of the ‘Mischling’ Franz Kahn. Together with his Gentile mother, Kahn had filed a paternity suit that questioned the identity of the father, claiming that the plaintiff was the descendant of an ‘Aryan’ rather than the legal Jewish father. In December 1942, Hans Weinert, a professor of anthropology at Kiel University, concluded that Kahn ‘did not exhibit any Jewish racial features’ and had to be recognised as a ‘full Aryan’. Weinert stressed Kahn's ‘strikingly blond’ hair, employing a popular construct of Aryanness. He added that the examinee's nose ‘also showed nothing Jewish at all'. Knost, however, rejected these statements. He shifted the focus to Weinert's similarity analysis and asserted that using two amateur pictures of the deceased men was insufficient for a proper examination.57 The deputy head also ignored the testimony of Kahn's mother, who pointed out that her son had had ‘purely Aryan looks and behaviour throughout his entire developmental period’.58

Fifteen months after Jordan's decision on Schulz, very similar circumstances led to an almost opposite response by officials. Citing Knost's invalidation of ‘Jewish’ and ‘Aryan’ looks as the deciding factor underlying RSA rulings, RSA employees now increasingly discounted claims based on this discursive construction. The actions of these officials prevented many petitioners from attending initial racial examinations that might have led to findings in support of the examinees’ case for non-Jewish ancestry.59

The November 1943 petition by a baptised watchmaker, Andreus Manowitz, exemplifies this larger trend. The Viennese-born Manowitz lived with his Catholic foster parents in Baden. Since Manowitz's late biological mother belonged to the Jewish community and his deceased biological father's ‘racial' background was unknown, Gestapo officials classified him as ‘Jewish’. In the light of the expanding deportation programmes, the Secret State Police had ordered him back to Vienna in 1942. In his petition to the RSA, Manowitz claimed that his Russian father had to be of ‘German’ or ‘at least kindred blood’ which necessitated his own recategorisation as a ‘Mischling of the first degree’.60 Unable to produce documents on descent, the petitioner based his case on his father's last name. ‘Mironowitsch’, he stressed, did not permit the conclusion that his father had been a ‘Jew’. The RSA, however, no longer accepted the significance of ‘Jewish-’ and ‘German-sounding’ names. In the absence of certificates, RSA officials rejected Manowitz's construct and did not grant him a racial examination.

Still, even during the second half of 1942 and 1943, some RSA employees took more flexible positions on a number of occasions and demonstrated a limited continuity of previous practices that included, among others, the use of more inclusionary categories. RSA leaders, however, overturned many of these decisions in subsequent months. Examining Martha Lang and Annelies Klein in the course of their paternal suit, the court-appointed Dr Karl Tuppa stated that the petitioners’ ‘Jewish’ traits could be exclusively attributed to the ‘genetic make-up’ of their late Jewish mother. The sisters’ deceased father meanwhile showed ‘no features typical of the Jewish Volk’.61 These conclusions by Tuppa, the acting head of the Anthropological Institute of the University of Vienna, supported the sisters’ case against their classification as ‘full Jews’. Reviewing Lang and Klein's files in mid-1942, RSA officials also encountered the testimony of several Gentile witnesses that assisted the petitioners’ case for their father's non-Jewishness. Moreover, the two middle-class women publicly employed the regime's language and blatant antisemitic imagery. In these efforts, they enjoyed the support of a Gentile lawyer whom they were able to hire.62 The combination of these factors led the RSA to declare the two women ‘Mischlinge of the first degree’ by early October 1943.

This seeming continuity of earlier practices, however, did not last. Shortly afterwards RSA leaders once more overturned the decision and requested another examination. Tuppa's evaluations had come under attack from another quarter, prompting an investigation. In late 1942 a senior lawyer at the German Supreme Court accused Tuppa of consistently ‘giving a slant to the concluding formulations of his reports according to which Jewish descent was more or less improbable’.63

The case of Werner Buschlaube further illustrates the existence of occasional flexibility in the RSA's practices and constructions of race, producing more ‘lenient’ decisions which officials soon revisited. In August 1941 a high school teacher, Georg Wild, requested a decision on the descent for Werner Buschlaube, the legal son of Wild's wife and her former Jewish husband. Wild stated that he had been in an intimate relationship with his current wife that began prior to her first marriage. He declared that the conception of Werner resulted from this relationship, stressing that Werner's ‘mental and spiritual development’ supported his claim.64 Kinship officials accepted the case and requested a racial examination. In the December 1942 report of the Anthropological Institute of Breslau University, Professor Freiherr von Eickstedt concluded that Werner showed an ‘approximation of Jewish racial traits’. Yet von Eickstedt quickly added that these traits, especially Werner's ‘large sides of the nose’ and ‘thick lips’, were rather ‘pseudo-Jewish’. They could be explained by a ‘combination of the features’ displayed by his mother and Wild. Like his Viennese colleague Tuppa, von Eickstedt operated within the limits set by the RSA's questions. By introducing the notion of ‘pseudo-Jewish’ and linking it to the two ‘German’ examinees, the report prompted a slight rupture in the reigning discourses and created a small space for reinscription. In its January 1943 decision the RSA concurred with the institute's evaluation and changed Werner's racial status to that of a ‘person of German blood’.65 Yet a year and a half later RSA officials reopened the case and ordered a new racial examination.

The decisions in these 1942–43 cases are indicative of three sets of changes within the RSA's language use and practices that were crucially interlinked with the shifting power relations in Nazi Germany at the height of the war. First, RSA officials came to operate within stricter and more radical guidelines predominantly spelled out by the supervising interior ministry. In autumn 1942, new ministerial decrees and internal regulations undermined the construct of petitioners’ ‘racial outward appearance’ as the sole or even main factor in permitting racial examinations. Instead, these new rules strengthened the ‘comparison between inherited features’ of the examinee and his legal and assumed biological parent and the importance of these persons’ availability for an examination. As a result, Franz Kahn's case, that rested to a great extent on his ‘Aryan’ features, did not lead to the decision desired by the examinee. Likewise, the new regulations invalidated ‘testimonies by Jews’ and weakened the construction of ‘Jewish-sounding’ names, directly affecting the outcome of petitions like that of Andreus Manowitz. These guidelines also prescribed stricter standards for interpreting the language of the examination reports. The construct ‘sufficient certainty’ replaced notions such as ‘hardly’, with which RSA men had previously operated, for example, in Horst Springer's early 1941 case.66

Moreover, the new 1942–3 RSA guidelines increasingly challenged the discursive strategy, particularly widespread among examinees in the early 1940s, of questioning the identity of a ‘Jewish’ father. In this study's sample of case files, 18.6 per cent of the petitioners, including Horst Springer, Franz Kahn and Werner Buschlaube, denied descent from their legal father, whereas only 1 per cent sought to undermine the identity of their legal mother. This statistic offers some insights into the prevalent gender hierarchies in Nazi Germany that also structured the work of the RSA. Legal changes in the late 1930s had expanded the right to initiate court challenges to the legitimacy of children. The new regulation no longer limited this right to the children's father, but also allowed public prosecutors to start proceedings. These challenges only had to be in the interest of the children or the general public. RSA officials like Knost emphasised that this interest ‘always’ existed ‘if a child was born by an Aryan mother into a marriage of mixed race and the begetter was of Aryan descent’.67 RSA practices helped to reify a gendered and racialised behaviour pattern in which children of women ‘of German blood’ questioned the identity of their legal Jewish fathers. This construct relied on much wider corresponding cultural images of German male strength and sexual potency and Jewish male weakness. Georg Wild's aforementioned 1942 petition to the RSA, for example, directly illustrates this case. ‘Already, half a year after the first wedding of my wife [and a Jewish man]’, Wild wrote, ‘I frequented the house of the family Buschlaube. Our relationship again became very intimate’.68 The normative notion of female frailty easily seduced by strong male German suitors propagated by this image further aided its impact on the work of RSA employees. The office's 1942–3 shifts to narrower guidelines gradually invalidated this gendered strategy and limited officials’ room to manoeuvre.

This first set of changes interacted with an important second one. Shifts in the composition of the office's personnel significantly altered RSA practices. By 1942–3, officials with the greatest expertise had been largely replaced by often poorly skilled employees. By 1942, Ulmenstein was serving in the Wehrmacht. Schircks received a draft notice in the following year. In July 1943 Knost left for the Regierungspräsidium in Osnabrück. The transfer resulted from renewed pressure by the party chancellery, whose officials considered Knost's approach to the ‘Jewish question’ as insufficiently radical. Remaining RSA personnel such as Max Prowe adopted a more extreme course.69 Many of the newly hired staff who came to play a more prominent role in decisions on descent were female and, in the androcentric culture of the German civil service, most of them lacked training. They mostly intervened in less elaborate ways in the RSA's guidelines and perpetuated more radical constructs of Jewishness. In February 1943, the RSA's Frau Wetzel, for example, issued a decision on Gertrud Bogen that categorised the baptised Catholic examinee as a ‘Jewish woman’. Wetzel rejected Bogen's claim that her single Jewish mother had identified a Jewish man as the child's father in 1906 because he was wealthier than the actual Gentile begetter. The RSA employee strictly referred to the office's regulations that required categorising the offspring of a single Jewish woman as ‘Jewish’ unless ‘special circumstances’ suggested otherwise.70

Still, RSA officials of both sexes did not speak with one voice. In an October 1944 letter to the RSA branch office in the Harz mountains, Section 1.2's Frau Maschke urged a colleague to complete an ‘intermediary decision’ (Zwischenbescheid) for Fritz Koelscher. Maschke did not include any elaborate constructs or arguments on his descent. She simply stressed the necessity for such a decision, since Koelscher was about to be drafted into the Organisation Todt.71 More pragmatic female employees such as Maschke did not exhibit the strictness of officials such as Wetzel. Yet both groups were outdone by fervent male party members such as Kurt Mayer, who portrayed the office's work as a ‘result of the party programme’ and announced a struggle against leniency.72

Third, and most important, the RSA had increasingly been subjected to the political influence of the SS and police apparatus and the impact of the more radical practices and discourses of this apparatus. Throughout the 1930s, the SS leadership had begun to expand its organisation in competition with other state and party institutions such as the SA and the Reich interior ministry. During the war years Heinrich Himmler and his subordinates succeeded in further increasing the SS's political power by placing it at the centre of the Führer regime's ongoing radicalisation in Germany and the occupied territories.73 With the backing and authority of Hitler, SS leaders pursued their vision of an elite ‘Protective Corps of the State’ (Staatsschutzkorps), rapidly enlarged the Waffen-SS to a major military force and engaged in massive resettlement programmes in eastern Europe for ethnic Germans.

In the aftermath of the November 1938 pogroms, the Gestapo and SD, the SS's security service, had become the leading bodies in the co-ordination of the regime's anti-Jewish policies. Beginning in late 1941, the SS and particularly the Reich Security Main Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt – RSHA) functioned as the main forces in perpetrating the Nazi regime's ‘final solution’.74 In this context, SS leaders and party radicals intensified their efforts to shift the boundaries between Germanness and Jewishness. They eagerly renewed their prewar struggles with the interior ministry that had resulted in the creation of the in-between construct of ‘Mischling’ in the Nuremberg Laws. These leaders particularly aimed at remaking the category of ‘Mischlinge of the first degree’ by equating it with the term ‘Jews’. Their project directly called into question the validity of the RSA's practices and language. The Wannsee conference in January 1942, for example, not only served Reinhard Heydrich, the RSHA head, as a key meeting to secure the collaboration of the ministerial bureaucracy in the ongoing genocide; a substantial part of the conference also dealt with attempts to revise the existing definition of Jewishness in Nazi Germany.75

SS wartime discourses projected an image of ‘the Jew’ as a ‘counter-race’ (Gegenrasse) and ‘arch enemy’, who led all the German people's enemies. According to these discourses, ‘international Jewry’ had instigated the ongoing war. More importantly, the SS portrayed Jews as engaged in a ‘racial struggle’ that aimed at a people's ‘racial death’ (Rassentod) by ‘mix[ing]’ its members with ‘alien [artfremde] races’.76 While the discourses operational within the RSA overlapped with these constructions, they differed strikingly on the significance of this ‘mixing’. The working definitions of Jewishness of the SS and police apparatus were considerably broader than the gradually more inclusive concepts of the RSA. In radical SS parlance, persons of partial Jewish ancestry were not ‘racially valuable’, but ‘enemies of the Volk’ (Volksfeinde) who belonged to the Jewish people. There was no conceptual room for RSA-minced terms such as ‘Geltungsmischlinge’ or related concepts that indicated Germanness in spite of ancestors who had been members of a Jewish religious community. As reiterated in a July 1944 memo by the Persönliche Stab of the Reich Leader SS on the ‘Mischling question’, SS discourses constructed an image of the ‘Mischling’ as cunning and engaged in all means. According to the memo, the sole intention of ‘half Jews’ was to have their status changed to that of persons ‘of German blood’.77

This language underpinned the national-level project of the SS and police apparatus to remake the boundaries between Jewishness and Germanness at the height of the war. The project found its local expression in increased attempts by Gestapo and party officials to change the ‘racial status’ even of those people whose official racial identity the RSA was in the process of determining or had already established.78 The RSA's mid-1944 reopening of Werner Buschlaube's case, mentioned above, is a direct result of these developments. These actions followed a letter by the regional office of the Race Policy Department at the Nazi district leadership of Lower Silesia in which Buschlaube's Germanness was questioned. Directly reflecting SS discourses, the letter's author reminded the RSA that people in ‘mixed marriages now tr[ied] everywhere to Germanise [eindeutschen] children’.79

The fate of Martha Lang further illustrates these practices and the impact of changing discourses. After her former Gentile husband had denounced Lang to the Viennese Gestapo for pretending to be an ‘Aryan or Mischling’, the Secret State Police and Nazi district leadership designated her as a ‘Jewish woman’. Since the interference of local Nazi officials greatly diminished the prospect of the legal categorisation of Martha Lang and Annelies Klein as ‘Mischlinge’, the two sisters withdrew their two-year old paternity suit at the district court in Vienna in July 1942 and immediately petitioned the RSA in Berlin, in the hope that they might still obtain the desired reclassification.80 Ignoring the new RSA investigation, Gestapo officials forced Lang on a deportation train to Maly Trostinec near Minsk on 30 August 1942. A firing squad of German Security Police and SD men murdered her on her arrival.81 The RSA's files do not reveal whether her sister Annelies Klein ultimately survived, but further evidence suggests that Lang's murder was not a unique occurrence among RSA examinees.82

As in the case of these other RSA petitioners, a rival Nazi institution had intervened in the RSA's work and drastically altered the fate of Annelies Lang and Martha Klein. In fact, the very practices and terms that underpinned the sisters’ 1941 petition to the RSA helped to establish their Jewishness in the more radical SS parlance. In September 1942, SS-Hauptsturmbannführer Alois Brunner replied to the RSA's inquiry relating to Lang that ‘the Jewess’ attempted to ‘stage a case on her descent’.83 In the competing SS discourses, the skilful use of language, therefore, emerged as constitutive of being Jewish. These constructs were rooted in the political power of the SS and police apparatus. In the expanding ‘prerogative state’ (Maßnahmenstaat) of wartime Germany, the apparatus's leadership worked and spoke with greater dynamism and loyalty for ‘the Führer’ and thus derived more and more power from the Nazi leader's authority. In contrast, the RSA, with its slow-moving bureaucratic culture, increasingly struggled to maintain its share of power. As a result, RSA officials could do less and less to disrupt the SS discourses in the second half of the war.

With the help of officials in other state and party agencies, RSA employees contested a number of reclassifications of their former examinees as part of an effort ‘properly’ to bring their work on these cases to a close. These actions repeatedly led to a postponement of deportations. Stays were particularly likely when examinees applied RSA categories to their petitions and developed these discursive practices in distinct contexts such as incomplete certificates or support by figures with political authority in the regime. Even keeping petition processes open and examinees’ ‘racial status’ in flux could aide often desperate men and women who tried to save themselves or their children. In his complaint against a RSA decision, Johannes Jakob Vrieslaender not only used Nazi racial categories and statements, he also sought to authorise his language by identifying himself as a holder of the golden party badge. The RSA's June 1942 ruling designated his supposed illegitimate daughter Anna Maisfeld as a ‘Jewish woman’. In September, Vrieslaender received assurance that Maisfeld would not be subjected to any Gestapo ‘measures’ until the interior ministry made a final decision. In February 1945, her case was still pending.84 Vrieslaender noticeably benefited from speaking the regime's language and evoking the symbolic power of an ‘old fighter’.


In determining the ‘racial status’ of its examinees, the RSA exercised linguistic violence that ensured the exclusion of thousands of fully acculturated Germans of real or imagined Jewish ancestry. RSA employees inflicted injuries of speech that turned many into targets of physical Nazi violence and, beginning in autumn 1941, genocide. In speaking for ‘the Führer’ and drawing on ministerial decrees, these officials imbued their practices with the authority and political power of the Nazi state. RSA employees were an integral part of this state's vast project of reconfiguring the country's social landscape through racialised categories. They played a crucial role in the Nazi regime's often striking attention to individual cases even at a time when this regime needed to devote all its available resources to its military forces.

Parallel with their exclusionary practices, RSA employees also declared the non-Jewishness of many of their petitioners. During the war, more than 4,100, or at least 7.9 per cent, of the total number of cases encompassed ‘Mischlinge’ to whom the office granted the desired reclassification. For many more ‘Mischlinge’ and Jews, the acceptance of their cases translated into a much needed reprieve in their struggles for survival. Furthermore, the RSA affirmed the Germanness of tens of thousands of petitioners initially categorised as of ‘German blood’ whose social, professional and increasingly physical well-being depended on this proof of descent in the racial state. The racialised discourses perpetuated by the RSA, moreover, left a noticeable imprint on RSA officials and many petitioners who incorporated notions of race into their public and private self-perceptions.

In their de-Nazification hearings, former RSA men portrayed many of these decisions as conscious efforts to help victims of Nazi persecution. In a 1946 letter to a past examinee, Friedrich A. Knost characterised the office's director as the only driving force and ‘really evil' (böse).85 Yet, as Ulrich Herbert has demonstrated in his biography of Werner Best, the deputy head of the Main Office Security Police (Hauptamt Sicherheitspolizei), the employment of images such as the mere civil servant coming to the aid of the persecuted were part of a distinct strategy by former party members to lessen, if not avoid, punishment.86

More importantly, the discursive interventions by RSA employees constantly cited and further legitimised the regime's often violent categories. In their official and even collective social practices, RSA officials strengthened the legitimacy of these categories and the racialised statements that grounded their decisions and fully directed this parlance against those people whom they classified as ‘Jews’ and ‘designated Jews’. Unlike the Reich Security Main Office and other agencies of the SS and police apparatus, the RSA was not involved in the actual killings of Jews, but its exercise of linguistic violence played a crucial role in the emergence of genocide and in bringing about a political culture in which mass murder became possible.

The focus on the RSA likewise demonstrates the existence and significance of competing discourses and languages of race in Nazi Germany. These conflicts on what Gerhard Bauer aptly described as a ‘battleground’ of language in the Third Reich kept the meanings of categories of Germanness and Jewishness in flux and open to contestation.87 In the context of an increasingly brutalised war, the RSA's slow bureaucratic culture clashed more and more with the growing radicalisation of the SS and police apparatus. Increasingly imbued with Hitler's personal authority and thus growing political power, the discourses of this apparatus gradually undermined the RSA's practices and language use. In the light of Himmler's appointment as Reich interior minister in August 1943 and signs of integrating the RSA into the SS's Race and Settlement Main Office (Rasse- und Siedlungshauptamt),88 the RSA lost much of its remaining influence in 1944 and 1945. It continued its work, however, following instructions from Berlin's Prince-Albrecht-Strasse 8, the seat of the Reich Security Main Office.89 Only the approaching defeat of Nazi Germany in the racial war it had launched without provocation saved many of the office's examinees.


1 Bernhard Lösener and Friedrich A. Knost, Die Nürnberger Gesetze, 5th edn (Berlin: Verlag Franz Vahlen, 1942), 58.

2 ‘Erste Verordnung zum Reichsbürgergesetz vom 14. November 1935’, Reichsgesetzblatt 1 (1935), 1333–4.

3 Lösener and Knost, Nürnberger Gesetze, 23.

4 Geoffrey Galt Harpham, Language Alone (New York: Routledge, 2002), 2. On the notion of fixity, see Judith Butler, ‘Contingent Foundations’, in Seyla Benhabib et al., eds., Feminist Contentions (Routledge: New York, 1995), 50.

5 Ian Kershaw, Hitler, 1889–1936 (New York: W. W. Norton, 1999), 527–29. On language and authority see Pierre Bourdieu, Language and Symbolic Power (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991), 172.

6 Runderlaß des Reichsministers des Innern, 26 July 1933, Ministerial-Blatt für die Preußische innere Verwaltung 94 (1933), 887, and Reichsminister des Innern, ‘Bekanntmachung’, Reichsministerialblatt 68 (1940), 493.

7 Runderlaß des Reichsministers des Innern, 26 Oct. 1934, IfZ, Munich, F 71/1; Runderlaß des Reichs- und Preußischen Ministers des Innern, 27 Aug. 1937, Bundesarchiv Berlin, R 3001/769, and Runderlaß des Reichsministers des Innern, 25 June 1938, National Archives, RG 242, T-70, reel 14, frame 3517885.

8 Diana Schulle, Das Reichssippenamt – Eine Institution nationalsozialistischer Rassenpolitik (Berlin: Logos Verlag, 2001); Horst Seidler and Andreas Rett, Das Reichssippenamt entscheidet (Vienna: Jugend und Volk, 1982); Cornelia Essner, Die ‘Nürnberger Gesetze’ oder die Verwaltung des Rassenwahns 1933–1945 (Paderborn: Schöningh Verlag, 2002), and Beate Meyer, ‘Jüdische Mischlinge’. Rassenpolitik und Verfolgungserfahrung 1933–1945 (Hamburg: Doelling und Galitz, 1999). See also Eric Ehrenreich, ‘Genealogy and Genocide: The Nazi ‘Ancestral Proof’ and the Holocaust’, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2004.

9 Victor Klemperer, The Language of the Third Reich (London: Athlone Press, 2000), 192.

10 Philipp Sarasin, Geschichtswissenschaft und Diskursanalyse (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2003), 37.

11 Judith Butler, Excitable Speech. A Politics of the Performative (New York: Routledge, 1997), 4–5.

12 Michael Burleigh, The Third Reich. A New History (New York: Hill & Wang, 2000), 18.

13 See the RSA statistics, 1941–3, Bundesarchiv Berlin, R1509/17 and the 1941 reports to the Interior Ministry, Bundesarchiv Berlin, R1509/alt R 39/9.

14 Kurt Mayer, ‘Betrifft: Steigerung der Dienstleistungen in der Reichsstelle für Sippenforschung’, Haus-Nachrichtenblatt (1939): 39, Bundesarchiv Berlin, R1509/17, 89, and Schulle, Das Reichssippenamt, 168.

15 See ‘Dritte Verordnung zur Durchführung des Deutschen Beamtengesetzes vom 27. September 1939’, Reichsgesetzblatt 1 (1939), 1982 and Party Chancellery, ‘Anordnung A 43/41’, 26 Sept. 1942’, in Bundesarchiv Berlin, R 1509/36, p. 76.

16 Stuckart to Reich Minister of Finance, 14 April 1942, Bundesarchiv Berlin, R1501/136 and Kurt Mayer to Party Chancellery, 6 Sept. 1943, Bundesarchiv Berlin, R1509/alt R 39/21.

17 Jeremy Noakes, ‘>The Development of Nazi Policy towards German-Jewish “Mischlinge” 1933–1945’, Leo Baeck Institute Year Book, 34 (1989), 328–36 and Mark Rigg, Hitler's Jewish Soldiers (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2002), 116–55.

18 Friedrich Knost joined the party in April 1933, while Christian-Ulrich Freiherr von Ulmenstein waited until May 1937 and Max Prowe even until November 1939. See Knost's ‘Fragebogen’, 28 June 1933, Bundesarchiv, Zwischenarchiv Dahlwitz-Hoppegarten, ZA VI/429, A. 8; Ulmenstein's ‘Personalbogen’, Bundesarchiv, Zwischenarchiv Dahlwitz-Hoppegarten, ZA VI/394, A. 1; and Prowe's membership file, 1 Dec. 1939, National Archives, RG 242, A3340, series MFOK, reel R 030.

19 On Prowe's more radical role during the last two years of the RSA see Friedrich Knost to Aichinger, 19 Aug. 1946, Bundesarchiv Koblenz, N 1428/7.

20 Gestapo to Regierungspräsident, Kassel, 11 Feb. 1936, and Friedrich Knost to Preußische Bau- und Finanzdirektion, 4 May 1936, Bundesarchiv, Zwischenarchiv Dahlwitz-Hoppegarten, ZA VI/429, A. 8.

21 A. Schultze-Naumburg, ‘Die Tätigkeit der Reichsstelle für Sippenforschung’, Zeitschrift für Standesamtswesen 17 (1937), 283. [OpenURL Query Data]

22 Kurt Mayer to Reich Interior Ministry, ‘Haushaltsentwurf 1942’, 25 Oct. 1941, Bundesarchiv Berlin, R1501/136.

23 See the 1942 index of the genealogical paper Familie, Sippe, Volk. Hans Hinkel recruited most of the male employees of his propaganda ministry office to the SS. Cf. Volker Dahm, Das jüdische Buch im Dritten Reich, vol. 1 (Frankfurt am Main: Buchhändler-Vereinigung, 1979), 72–99.

24 Helmut Heiber, Goebbels (New York: Hawthorn Books, 1972), 112–13, 122–3.

25 Kurt Mayer to Party Chancellery, 17 Aug. 1943, Bundesarchiv Berlin, R1509/alt R 39/21; idem to Reich Interior Ministry, 14 May 1937, Bundesarchiv Berlin, R1509/alt R 39/72 and idem to Party Chancellery, 6 Sept. 1943, R1509/alt R 39/21.

26 Kurt Mayer, ‘Geschäftsverteilungsplan’, Haus-Nachrichtenblatt (1939), 43, Bundesarchiv Berlin, R1509/alt R 39/837.

27 Gesamtarchiv der Juden in Deutschland to RfS, 10 May 1937, Bundesarchiv Berlin, R1509/alt R 39/837; and Jacob Jacobson, ‘Bruchstücke 1939–1945’, Jacob Jacobson Collection; ME 329; Archives of the Leo Baeck Institute, New York, 11–12, 23–4.

28 Freiherr von Ulmenstein, Der Abstammungsnachweis (Berlin: Verlag für Standesamtswesen, 1936), 14; and Mayer to Party Chancellery, 17 Aug. 1943, Bundesarchiv Berlin, R1509/alt R 39/21.

29 Reichsjustizministerium, ‘>Beteiligung der Reichsstelle für Sippenforschung bei erb- und rassenkundlichen Untersuchungen’, Zeitschrift für Standesamt
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Postby David Thompson on 10 Oct 2006 15:08

Andy H -- Your post ran up against the dread AHF length limitation feature, which cut off about 2/3 of the footnotes to that very interesting article.
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