gebhk wrote: ↑
17 Jan 2021 16:13
The Germanisation policies were all over the place and in constant flux.
Indeed, very much the conclusion we came to.
Do you have a link to the thread? I'm interested in other people's opinions about the Third Reich's Germanisation policies.
Hitler himself during WW2 stated that he was happy with Germanising people as long as their blood would improve the German people:
There is one cardinal principle. This question of the Germanisation of certain peoples must not be examined in the light of abstract ideas and theory. We must examine each particular case. The only problem is to make sure whether the offspring of any race will mingle well with the German population and will improve it, or whether, on the contrary (as is the case when Jew blood is mixed with German blood), negative results will arise. Unless one is completely convinced that the foreigners whom one proposes to introduce into the German community will have a beneficial effect, well, I think it's better to abstain, however strong the sentimental reasons may be which urge such a course on us. There are plenty of Jews with blue eyes and blond hair, and not a few of them have the appearance which strikingly supports the idea of the Germanisation of their kind. It has, however, been indisputably established that, in the case of Jews, if the physical characteristics of the race are sometimes absent for a generation or two, they will inevitably reappear in the next generation.
The fact that there was no universal agreement on who should be Germanised caused so many problems that it goes without saying really!
The Deutsche Volksliste (German People's List) caused many problems for the Nazis and was never fully settled.
The interesting point was that by and large the desire
to be a German counted for a lot more than actually being
one (ie having German 'blood') when it came to stratifying the Volksliste.
Exactly. The Nazis had an extremely difficult time in determining who was an 'ethnic German' so it allowed pretty much anyone who wanted to be a German to be a German.
People joined the German People's List because of the special privileges and status it gave them.
I should point out that even before WW2 had started and the Nazis had carried out ethnic cleansing against the Poles, deporting Poles from their homes, created the German People's List, etc, in March 1939 the Nazi Karl Frank said:
Whoever professes himself to be a member of the German nation is a member of the German nation, provided that this profession is confirmed by certain facts, such as language, upbringing, culture, etc. Persons of alien blood, particularly Jews, are never Germans. . . . Because professing to be a member of the German nation is of vital significance, even someone who is partly or completely of another race—Czech, Slovak, Ukrainian, Hungarian, or Polish, for example—can be considered a German. Any more precise elaboration of the term "German national" is not possible given current relationships.
Thus, the Nazis themselves allowed the option for a non-Jewish European to become a "German national".
The Nazis did that because they never actually defined who was a "German":
By 1942, the mind-boggling complexity and multiplicity of peoples in Eastern Europe had led to many racialists to declare that the "Slavs" were not a race. No unambiguous definition of what made a German existed, however. Nazi legal experts had defined "German member of the state," "citizen of the Reich," "[legal] member of the German Volk," "ethnic German," "German abroad," and many more terms, but rarely, if ever, did they decide what made a German. "Race" promised Nazi officials positive, concrete criteria based on biological precepts that could determine what made, or could make, a person German. Yet, like the word "German," it was equally unclear what "race" really meant.
Chad Bryant, Prague in Black: Nazi Rule and Czech Nationalism
, page 155.
In practice, however, the first term to be widely employed was of Aryan descent; yet from 1935 on, the expressions German or related blood or German-bloodedness were substituted, as the term Aryan was purely linguistic in origin and not capable of even pseudoscientific justification. But these terms were just as imprecise as the terms previously used, Aryan and non-Aryan, for they either exhausted themselves in purely negative definitions (non-Jewish, noncolored), or else they defined German blood as being the "blood of the various races" of which the German yolk was composed, as the blood of "peoples racially related" to it; but they never did define what race or racially related actually meant.
Diemut Majer, "Non-Germans" Under the Third Reich
, page 40.
Whereas the earlier provisions under special law had used the terms Aryan descent or non-Aryan descent, after the Nuremberg Laws of September 15, 1935, took effect, the only term in use was German or racially related blood or non-German or racially unrelated blood—even though these terms were never officially defined. Persons of "German or racially related blood" were in future to be grouped together under the expression German-blooded, a term, however, that did not take hold to any great extent until the relevant regulations were promulgated beginning in 1939.
Ibid, page 113.
Forster certainly had a point about Heinrich Himmler's physical appearance and his racial ideas when he remarked, "if I looked like Himmler, I wouldn't talk about race".
Indeed - taking it further, I am desperately trying to remember the definition of the perfect Aryan and who first said it. It went something like: the perfect Aryan was a man blond like Hitler, slim like Goering, tall like Goebbels and handsome like Himmler.......
What's also important to note is that Hitler himself wanted to distance himself and the Nazi Party from Himmler's "race mysticism" and despite the fact that Hitler previously described the Slavs as an "inferior race" in Mein Kampf
, he later changed his mind:
Hitler himself thought Himmler’s race mysticism was impractical and, while hostile to Serbs and Russians in general, he felt differently about other groups of Slavs. He praised the Czechs as “industrious and intelligent workers” and speculated that blue-eyed Ukrainians might be “peasant descendants of German tribes who never migrated.” In fact, he came round to the view – common among German anthropologists – that there was, racial speaking, no such category as “Slavs”; it was a linguistic term, nothing more.
Mark Mazower, Hitler's Empire: Nazi Rule in Occupied Europe
, page 198.
Nevertheless, Hitler wanted to separate Germanic people and Slavic people:
The real frontier is the one that separates the Germanic world from the Slav world. It is our duty to place it where we want it to be. If anyone asks where we obtain the right to extend the Germanic space to the east, we reply that, for a nation, its awareness of what it represents carries this right with it. It is success that justifies everything. The reply to such questions can only be of an empirical nature. It is inconceivable that a higher people should painfully exist on a soil too narrow for it, while amorphous masses, which contribute nothing to civilization, occupy infinite tracts of a soil that is one of the richest in the world ...
We must create conditions for our people that favour its multiplication, and we must, at the same time, build a dike against the Russian flood ... Since there is no natural protection against such a flood, we must meet it with a living wall. A permanent war on the eastern front will help form a sound race of men, and will prevent us from relapsing into the softness of a Europe thrown back upon itself. It should be possible for us to control this region to the east with two hundred and fifty thousand men, plus a cadre of good administrators ...
This space in Russia must always be dominated by Germans.
What's actually interesting is that although the term 'Aryan' was still used by the Nazis, racial anthropologists who influenced Nazi ideology consistently rejected the term 'Aryan' as a racial concept. In fact, the Nazis listened to them because during the Nuremberg Laws they had replaced 'Aryan' to 'German or related blood' and the latter was what mostly appeared on documents.
In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws established a new term for racially acceptable origin: German or related blood. This remained the standard wording in legal documents until the end of World War II. Nevertheless, even experts continued to use the term Aryan well after 1935.
In any event, changing Aryan to German or related blood did nothing to clarify who was racially acceptable and who was not. The "racial status" of Finns, Hungarians, and other Eastern Europeans, for example, was in constant flux during the Nazi era. In October 1934, while evaluating the naturalization of a Hungarian citizen, the Interior Ministry informed the Saxon State Chancellery in Dresden that not all Hungarians were "non-Aryans." According to the Interior Ministry, Hungarians are "tribally alien" (fremdstammig) but not necessarily "blood alien" (fremdbliitig)—two additional terms adding to the definitional confusion. On the other hand, a 1934 brochure from the series Family, Race, Volk in the National Socialist State simply stated that the Magyars (which it did not define) were Aryans. Four years later, a major commentary to the Nuremberg Laws likewise baldly stated that “the overwhelming majority” of present day Finns and Hungarians were of Aryan blood. Yet the following year an article in the Journal for Racial Science, on the “Racial Diagnosis of the Hungarians," noted that "opinions on [t]he racial condition of the Hungarians are still very divided."In 1942, Hitler decreed that the Finns, at least, were definitely "racially related Germanic neighboring peoples." There is no indication, however, that this determination was based on new racial-scientific findings. And as late as 1943, no less than four agencies became involved in a dispute over whether a private first-class should receive permission to marry a Hungarian woman. They debated whether the woman was, as initially determined, "German-blooded (Aryan)."
Such arbitrariness and imprecision in classification could also be construed as an indication of the “unscientific” nature of the theory undergirding the racial laws. Nazi "racial experts," however, sought to address this problem. A standard explanation was that: "[o]ne cannot pose the question to which race this or that Volk belongs but rather, one can only correctly ask to which race this or that individual member of a Volk belongs." Thus, as early as October 1934, in relation to the case of the Hungarian citizen, the Interior Ministry informed the Saxon State Chancellery that racial decisions, for Hungarians at least, needed to be made on an individual basis. Similarly, a November 1940 decree of the office of Hitlers deputy for party affairs held that no party member, or member of a party organization, could marry a person who had at least two grandparents who were members of the Czech, Polish, or Magyar "Volk groups" without permission of the regional party official (Gauleiter). Indeed, even with regard to "Gypsies," another expert, writing in 1941, noted that while they "cannot be seen in their totality as [German or] related-type blood," nevertheless, "[t]o the degree persons of German or related blood appear amongst vagrants living the Gypsy lifestyle, they are to make an ancestral proof."
Yet, in direct contradiction to that policy, racial laws invariably treated "Jewish" as if it were a pure race despite the Jews’ "racial-scientific" status as a Volk. The Nuremberg Laws, for example, distinguished between persons of "German or related blood" and "Jews." This foreclosed the possibility of a person with three or more "Jewish" grandparents from proving their individual "racial makeup." A 1941 work on the ancestral proof indicated that "[t]hose of foreign race, in first place the Jews and Negroes, are excluded from the concept of German or related blood." The authors explanation for this apparent disregard of racial-scientific findings was that the Jewish Volk was composed of "foreign races." But this directly contradicted the assertion that one could only determine an individual’s racial composition by examining the individual, not through his Volk affiliation.
Eric Ehrenreich, The Nazi Ancestral Proof: Genealogy, Racial Science, and the Final Solution
, pages 8-11.
The notion that Nazi race theorists promoted the notion of a superior Aryan race is deeply embedded in academic and popular perceptions of Nazism. The term 'Aryan' was widely used in Nazi Germany, and 'non-Aryan' became in many contexts a synonym for 'Jewish'. However, Nazi race theorists opposed the promotion of 'Aryan' as a racial concept. By 1935, the National Socialist regime had accepted that this use of the term was unscientific. Almost every academic commentary - outside specialist writings on race science in the Third Reich - fundamentally misrepresents the intellectual history of this question. The notion that the Nazis 'confused language with race' or Volk with Rasse in relation to the Aryan question is completely false.
In the early years of Nazi rule, there was a collision between this populist-political term and the basic tenets of racial anthropology. From the point of view of the National Socialist regime, there were a number of fundamental problems with the term 'Aryan'. Firstly, if used in a positive sense ('of Aryan descent'), it failed to distinguish between Germans from non-Germans, since the concept 'Aryan' was much wider than 'German'. Used in the negative, the term also caused problems in relations to the status of foreign nationals resident in Germany. Though it was primarily targeted at Jews, it actually failed to pick them out in any precise or legally defined way, even if everyone knew what 'non-Aryan' intended to mean. There was the question of long-standing European populations such as the Finns and the Hungarians who did not speak an Indo-European or Aryan language. Furthermore, it had been long argued by scholars that the term 'Aryan' referred to a language family and connoted a linguistic not a racial identity. In short, the term 'Aryan' was unable to make the required racial distinctions, though one suggestion was to reject use of 'non-Aryan' for Jewish but retain 'Aryan' for peoples which consisted of predominantly Nordic racial elements.
The term 'Aryan race' (arische Rasse) was not favoured in official documents in Nazi Germany, and instances of this phrase are extremely rare, though it is used in reporting the views of earlier race theorists. Laws passed in the early years of the Nazi regime used the notion of 'Aryan descent', but exclusively in its negative form, so that those 'of non-Aryan descent' were excluded from different aspects of public life. In the Law for the Restoration of the Civil Service (Gesetz zur Wiederherstellung des Berufsbeamtentums, 7 April 1933, Reichsgesetzblatt I s. 175), civil servants who were 'of non-Aryan descent' ('Beamte, die nicht arischer Abstammung sind') were to be compulsorily retired (with exceptions made for those who were appointed before 1 August 1914, or who had served at the front in the First World War, or whose father or son had been killed in the war). Non-Aryan descent was defined so as to include those with one (or more) Jewish grandparent(s). The Minister of the Interior also had discretionary powers to make recommendations in other cases (ss. 3.1, 3.2). Similarly, the Defence Law (Wehrgesetz, 21 May 1935, Reichsgesetzblatt 1935 I, s. 609) made Aryan descent a prerequisite for active miliary service, and for the taking of positions of authority (ss. 15.1, 15.3) But the racial use of the term 'Aryan' was politically and legally problematic.
The question of how a non-Aryan was to be defined in relation to this and subsequent laws was controversial. There was concern from some of the bureaucrats responsible for policy that valuable and hitherto loyal racial elements were being alienated from the Volk. Someone who was a quarter Jewish was also three-quarters 'Aryan'. For Party radicals such as Julius Streicher this was much too lenient; there were calls for the compulsory sterilization of Mischlinge. The expert on Jewish affairs in the Ministry of the Interior, Bernhard Lösener, wrote an account of the behind-the-scenes debates about how official anti-Semitism was to be translated into legal form. Lösener subsequently defined his role as that of trying to moderate policy with regard to Mischlinge, since in this regard there was room for flexibility that was absent with the 'full-blooded' Jews (Volljuden). What is clear is the fundamental confusion about the nature of the racial hybridity involved. In contrast to the 1933 law, the 1935 laws defined any individual with three Jewish grandparents as a Jew. In the case of the Mischlinge with one Jewish grandparent (Mischling 2. Grades) or two (Mischling 1. Grades), the definition of who counted as a Jew merged the ostensibly 'race-biological' and cultural criteria, including membership of the Jewish community and marriage to a Jew.
In late 1935, a terminological shift took place in the language of the law, and the term' Aryan' ceased to be used. The Citizenship Law (Reichsbürgergesetz. 15 September 1935, ReichsgesetzblattI 1935 1 s. 1146) restricted citizenship to those of 'German or cognate blood' ('deutschen or artverwandten Blutes', s. 2.1), and the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour (Gesetz zum Schutze des deutschen Blutes und der deutschen Ehre, 15 September 15 1935, Reichsgesetzblatt I. S. 1146) forbade marriage and sexual intercourse between Jews and those 'of German or cognate blood' (ss. 1.1, 1.2). These laws did not speak of a 'Jewish race', but of Jews defined 'according to race' ('der Rasse nach'), as opposed to converts to Judaism ('Erste Verordnung zum Reichsbürgergesetz, 14 November 1935, Reichsgesetzblatt I s. 1333). This law also evoked the concept of 'the purity of blood' ('die Reinheit des Blutes', ss. 6.1, 6.2). The phrase 'of German or cognate blood' was used in the later Civil Service Law ('Beamtengesetz, 26 January 1937, Reichsgesetzblatt I s. 41 ss. 25.1, 72.1).
The official solution was to replace the problematic term 'Aryan' with the notion of 'German blood ties'. Setting out the argument for a Sippenamt (Genealogical Office), Achim Gercke (1934) argued that such an office would 'water over the purity of the blood' (Blutsreinheit) of the Volk. Its task would be to awaken the 'racial will of the people', and those who worked in the office should represent the best 'German blood' (deutsches Blut). Dr Ernst Brandis, a senior legal bureaucrat, in his commentary on the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour and the Law for the Protection of the Hereditary Health of the German people Gesetz zum Schutze der Erbgesundheit des deutschen Volkes or Ehegesundheitsgesetz, 18 October 1935), defined 'German blood' in the following terms:
"The German people is no unitary race, rather it is composed of members of different races (of the Nordic, Phalian, Dinaric, Alpine, Mediterranean, East-Elbian race) and mixtures between these. The blood of all these races and their mixtures, which thus is found in the German people, represents 'German blood’."
Günther consistently rejected the racial use of the term 'Aryan', fearing that it would lead to the misleading classification of non-Nordic racial elements. Günther argued against its use in any scholarly context, including linguistics, ethnography and racial anthropology. The juxtaposition of 'Aryan' with 'Semitic' confused linguistic with racial identity. The use of 'Aryan' in linguistics instead of Indogermanic was also ill-advised, as the term would be again used to designate anthropological race in a confusing way.
Christopher Hutton, Race and the Third Reich: Linguistics, Racial Anthropology and Genetics in the Dialectic of Volk
In French propaganda:
In Russian propaganda:
What I do think is funny is when you get neo-Nazis/Holocaust deniers/revisionists who use the argument that because there were some Waffen-SS divisions made up entirely of Slavic people that means that the Nazis weren't anti-Slavic!