The racial features of Holocaust victims

Discussions on the Holocaust and 20th Century War Crimes. Note that Holocaust denial is not allowed. Hosted by David Thompson.
ThomasG
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Post by ThomasG » 04 Oct 2007 06:50

Penn44 wrote: I suspected you hadn't read the book you were referencing. Be more up front and admit such things.

There is a difference between "aryanization" and waivers for participation in certain professions, activities, or organizations barred to Mischlinge.

Penn44 .
I think I made myself clear enough un my first post:

"Bryan Mark Rigg has published some information in his book about "Hitler's Jewish soldiers" about the "aryanized" Jews who served in the Wehrmacht. I don't own the book but I would be glad if somebody has it in his possession and could give some numbers."

Please don't waste my time with such accusations. I asked in this thread about the importance of typological racial features in the treatment of Mischlinge. They obviously did have some meaning as according to Rigg pictures for anthropological classification had to accompany applications for exemption:
http://www.bryanrigg.com/jewish_soldiers_pics.htm

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David Thompson
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Post by David Thompson » 04 Oct 2007 11:25

For interested readers -- Many of the racial laws of Nazi Germany can be seen at:

Nazi Anti-Semitic Legislation in Germany
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=61972

For the powers of the Fuehrer under German law, see this thread:

The development of German law in the Third Reich
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=70906

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Post by Ahf » 04 Oct 2007 14:28

Mr. Holmes:

I don’t remember her name but she was a friend of Traudl Junge and she briefly discusses the incident in her autobiography. There is a photo of her in the book, too. I vaguely remember that the woman left Hitler’s entourage to get married to a SS officer and that is when they discovered her Jewish roots. Bormann was called on to intercede on her behalf and it failed. Again, I’m going by memory here. I’m sure someone has the book handy and can quickly look it up.

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Mr Holmes
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Post by Mr Holmes » 05 Oct 2007 02:26

Thanks Ahf, that gives me something to go on with.

Nick

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Post by Penn44 » 05 Oct 2007 03:18

ThomasG wrote:"Bryan Mark Rigg has published some information in his book about "Hitler's Jewish soldiers" about the "aryanized" Jews who served in the Wehrmacht.
An interesting review of Rigg's book by a David J. Fine:
Bryan Mark Rigg's Hitler's Jewish Soldiers uncovers a wealth of oral history and personal documents relating to German soldiers of partial Jewish ancestry who served in the Wehrmacht. Rigg interviewed hundreds of these men labeled "Mischlinge" by the Nazi regime. He sought and received access to many of their personal records, both in their possession and in military and government archives. By tracing their histories through interviews and documents, Rigg is able to reconstruct the historical experience of the "Mischlinge." His fascinating discussion nonetheless occasionally leaves the reader wanting.

Law, like most cultural edifices, is defined by its boundaries, and the boundaries are often gray. A clear legal definition of who is a Jew was required by the Nazi state, guided by a basic principle of discrimination against, and ultimate extermination of, the Jews. And yet, given the centuries of Jewish integration in Germany, it was not always clear who was a Jew and who was not. The first two chapters of Rigg's work analyze the various definitions of Judaism, both full and partial, from the Jewish and Nazi perspective. The third chapter offers a useful overview of Jewish assimilation in Germany as well as Jewish participation in the German army from the eighteenth century through World War I. But the heart of the book is found in chapters 4, 5 and 6 where Rigg recounts the history of conflicted racial policy vis-a-vis "partial Jews" throughout the period of the Third Reich. While all "non-Aryans" were ordered dismissed from military service in 1933, the status of "partial Jews" did not receive significant clarification until the Nuremberg laws of 1935, which created the categories of "Mischling ersten Grades" (first degree), which included those with two Jewish grandparents, and "Mischling zweiten Grades" (second degree), or those with one Jewish grandparent. Three or four Jewish grandparents made one a Volljude regardless of religious confession. But the attempts at clarification only created more difficulties. Various orders over the years commanded the expulsion of "partial Jews" from the Wehrmacht. Some orders distinguished between first and second degree "Mischlinge." Some distinguished between positions of authority in the Wehrmacht and the enlisted ranks. Racial polices in the army relaxed with the onset of war in 1939, but were enforced anew after the conquest of France. In the final years of the war, the Wehrmacht ordered "partial Jews" still in its ranks to forced labor camps. But some commanding officers are documented as having tried to protect such individuals under their command. In addition, policy confusion persisted due to a system of exemptions under which "partial Jews" could request "Aryanization," which could only be certified personally by Hitler. Rigg documents the surprising amount of time Hitler spent on exemption requests from "partial Jews." Chapters 7 and 8 recount the vagaries of the exemption process. The final chapter addresses the question of the extent to which such individuals serving in the Wehrmacht understood the dimensions of the Holocaust during the war. Rigg argues that while his interview subjects admitted to witnessing acts of deportation, torture, and murder, they did not generally understand that what they witnessed was part of a systematic genocide.

Rigg explores the personal dramas of secrecy, shame, and endless bureaucratic attempts at "Aryanization" that were the common experience of so many of his subjects. Most of the men Rigg interviewed managed to hide their Jewish ancestry for years. Many had various "protections." Marriages to "Aryans," decorated war service, friends in high places, and membership in the Nazi party all served to mitigate persecution. Nevertheless, the stress of carrying a secret, the shame of discovery, the concern for Jewish family members, and the sense of injustice, all mark a particular experience of Nazi Germany that enriches our understanding of the period.

Despite these valuable discussions, however, the very title of the book is a misnomer. The subjects of Rigg's study were not Jewish. With but a few exceptions, they were Jewish neither by their own identity, by Jewish religious law, nor Nazi laws. That is, the very existence of the legal category "Mischling" means that even the Nazis recognized that Jewish ancestry was not always the dominant factor in defining Jewishness. The curiosity of Jews fighting for Nazi Germany, a teaser implied by the book's title, is therefore misleading. These "Jewish soldiers" were self-identified Germans, many of them Nazi party members, a number of them even "proud" anti-semites.

According to Jeremy Noakes's 1989 seminal essay (upon which Rigg bases his work), less than 10 percent of first degree "Mischlinge" and only 1.2 percent of second degree "Mischlinge" considered themselves Jewish.[1] It is disappointing that Rigg does not explore the nature of their identity beyond Nazi legal definitions. While acknowledging that the term "Mischling" itself is derogatory, Rigg himself consistently uses it throughout his book. The use of the term, especially without quotation marks, strikes me not only as glaring but also as an uncritical ascription of identity. "Mischling" is a pejorative legal fiction based upon racist assumptions that can tell us much about Nazi ideology and policy but little about the people whom it describes. The extent to which a group can be formed by being collectively targeted by an oppressive regime is an interesting question. However, Rigg notes again and again that almost every one of his subjects thought his case was unique. Such individuals knew of the existence of other "partial Jews" but thought that their own circumstances were special, hence undermining any collective identification. But Rigg must believe that there was some kind of group consciousness, otherwise there is no subject for the book besides the group or its individuals as objects of Nazi laws. The claim of unique experiences applies to the final chapter on knowledge of the Holocaust. In that chapter, Rigg reports that, with few exceptions, none of the men he interviewed had any idea that the discrimination, abuse and massacres they saw were part of an overall systematic attempt to destroy German and European Jewry. The fact that they all claim, fifty years after the fact in oral conversations, that they thought that what they saw constituted aberrations should not be terribly surprising. Here a discernable pattern develops. The overwhelming majority of Rigg's subjects are quick to assume the experience of being victimized and yet are reticent to assume any knowledge of (or needless to say, responsibility for) the horror that went on around them.

While Rigg's study uncovers fascinating threads of archival and oral history, it does not add to the historiographical interpretation of Nazi Germany except in showing how concerned Hitler was with particular points of racial doctrine and how that concern was translated and executed by military command and in the ranks. Rigg, while expanding our knowledge of the military experience, does not differ in his understanding of the "Mischling" experience from Jeremy Noakes's 1989 essay that served as the starting point for Rigg's research. This book will be of interest to students of the Wehrmacht and Nazi racial policy. It falls short of exploring the bigger questions of the role of Jews in supporting the Nazi state or of German soldiers' acknowledgment of their role as perpetrators in the Holocaust.

Note
[1]. Jeremy Noakes, "The Development of Nazi Policy Towards the German-Jewish 'Mischlinge' 1933-1945," in Leo Baeck Institute Year Book 34 (1989): p. 294, Table II.
http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.cg ... 1093869821

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Post by David Thompson » 05 Oct 2007 03:29

Thanks, Penn44, for that sourced reference for our readers.

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Post by Penn44 » 05 Oct 2007 03:38

Jewish Life in Germany: How Some Mischlinge Survived the Holocaust
by Mark Enmeier

Jews in the German Army
In the story Europa Europa, Shlomo Perel tells an extraordinary tale of how he survived the Nazi Holocaust. After escaping the German occupation of Poland by fleeing to the Russian side, he was later captured by the Germans as they advanced into Russia. Once captured, he pretended to be German and was recruited as a German soldier. The commander of his unit liked him so much that he was sent to a prestigious Hitler Youth program, keeping his identity secret until the end of the war. It is a tale of survival at the cost of disowning one’s own heritage and of helping those who ultimately persecute your relatives. My question is, was this a single case? Did other Jews join the ranks of the army or deny their heritage in order to survive? In his book Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers, Bryan Rigg: Hitler's Jewish Soldiers." In his book Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers, Bryan Rigg looks at the particular case of the Mischlinge (the half-Jews and quarter-Jews), and how they lived and were treated during the Nazi Regime. His book gives new insight into how this large ethnic population was viewed during the Holocaust, and how they viewed themselves. In focusing on the Mischlinge who served in the Nazi army, we come to a realization of how deep personal beliefs in one's heritage will go, as well as what others will do in order to survive.

Many people assume that there were no Jews in the Wehrmacht . Rigg adequately proves that this is far from the truth. "Although the exact number of Mischlinge who fought for Germany during World War II cannot be determined, they probably numbered more than 150,000." (Rigg, Mark. Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers, University Press of Kansas, 2002) Rigg came to this number by searching through hundreds of German documents which listed names of men in the army with ‘half-Jewish’ ancestry, as well as lists of exemptions for these Mischlinge. If this number is correct, the question arises as to why these Mischlinge would help to fight for a regime that openly persecuted them? Rigg tries to answer that question by answering other questions and issues such as, who is a Jew? Who is a Mischling? Jewish assimilation in Germany, a history of German and Austrian Jews who served in their countries’ armed forces, the regulations for Jews and Mischling in the Wehrmacht, and official exemptions from racial persecution offered by Hitler himself.

The Nazi regime had sole control in deciding who was Jewish and who was not when it came to their documentation in identity, as well as who was a Mischlinge. However, an individuals definition of what it meant to be Jewish may be different. For instance, Hitler argued that the Jewish father passed as much Jewsihness to a child as a Jewish mother (Rigg, 16). However, the Jewish tradition of Hekel states that they inherit their Jewishness from the mother’s side (Rigg, 7) Mischlinge, was an even more confused definition, as it implied that one was also half German. It was in determining which half was more "prominent" that determined one’s identity.

One answer to why some "half-Jews" joined the army may be that some of the Mischlinge did not think of themselves as Jewish. Rigg summarizes what one "half-Jewish" survivor, Helmut Kruger, had to say about his ancestry:

He struggled for twelve years to convince the Nazis he was not Jewish but rather a loyal German Patriot…Kruger insists that he had nothing to do with his mother’s Jewishness. He was born German and raised as a Christian. Kruger dislikes being called a Jew, not because he is anti-Semitic, but because he does not feel Jewish. Kruger believes that he is just Helmut Kruger, born a German not by choice but by chance to a German-Jewish mother who, like many Jews, assimilated and shed her Jewishness to integrate fully into the dominant society. Krguer’s opinion is common among Mischlinge. (Rigg, 11)

Apparently many Mischlinge did not feel that half of their ancestry should be reason enough to be considered a Jew over being a German. Moreover, they were truly passionate Germans. Many like Kruger joined the ranks of the Wehrmacht in order to prove their "Aryanhood," and be considered normal. One German Mischling wrote this to his grandmother, "Don’t you realize how much I’m with my whole being rooted in Germany. My life would be very sad without my homeland, without the wonderful German art, without the belief in Germany’s powerful past and the powerful future that awaits Germany." (Rigg, 28) These Mischlinge thought of themselves as fully German, they were not trying to hide their ancestry, but mainly trying to show that they did not believe in it. One "half-Jew," Hans Pollack, learned of his Jewish ancestry in 1935. Rigg writes:
He had read about Jews in school and the press and felt upset to be associated with the. ‘I tell you honestly, I don’t like Jews…That’s correct. I would never do anything to a Jew, I must also tell you that, because the Jew is also a human being…When I get to know a Jew, he’s no longer a Jew, but a mensch like you and me. (Rigg, 24)

Hans, like so many others, did not identify himself as being Jewish. They went to join the ranks of the Wehrmacht to prove their loyalty to the German people as faithful Germans, not to escape the fate of being Jewish.

Many Mischlinge, however, followed the same path as Shlomo Peril, that is, hiding by disowning their religious affiliation.

Field Marshal and State Secretay of Aviation Erhard Alfred Richard Oskar Milch’s "Aryanization" was the most famous case of a Mischling falsifying a father. In 1933, Frau Clara Milch went to her son-in-law, Fritz Heinrich Hermann, police president of Hagen and later SS general, and gave him an affidavit stating that her deceased uncle, Carl Brauer, rather than her Jewish husband, Anton Milch, had fathered her six children.… In 1935, Hitler accepted the mother’s testimony… (Rigg, 29)

This testimony of incest was accepted as a means to save her son’s life, thus making him pure Aryan and able to serve the Luftwaffe. Ironically, Brigg later says that there was suspicion that Milch’s mother was also Jewish, making the Field Marshal and Secretary of Aviation a full blooded Jew. It is also interesting to note that incest was seen as more socially acceptable then being a Jew. Through his mother’s own testimony Milch was able to hide his ancestry, and thus survive the war as a top commander.

Many more Mischlinge soldiers had to hide their ancestry in order to stay in the army and avoid persecution. Many Aryan mothers would testify that they had affairs with other Aryan men instead of their Jewish husbands. Others, like Joachim Lowen, decided to attack their mother’s virtue in order to hide their blood. "My own brother went to the Gestapo and claimed that our mother was a slut and had been a prostitute. The Gestapo reviewed our case and declared us deutschblutig (of German blood)." (Rigg, 31) These two brothers were then able to hide their ancestry by defaming their mother and continuing to serve in the army.

Other Mischlinge went to serve in the army not to save or hide themselves, but rather to save their Jewish relatives. Three Mischlinge brothers joined the army in order to save their Jewish mother, whom their Aryan father had divorced her because she was Jewish and he might have lost his business. "He (Unteroffizier Gunther Scheffler) hoped that as long as one of them served in the Wehrmacht, the Gestapo would leave their mother alone. Helena survived the war." Through proving themselves as strong soldiers and valuable to the German people, these three brothers were able to save their mother.

In the end there are numerous examples of Mischlinge who decided that the best way for survival was to prove their Aryanhood. The army, for many, was one successful way to prove their worth to society, and consequently, to survive.
http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/mar ... rsMark.htm

Interesting how Milch's mother falsified his parentage by claiming incest.

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Post by Penn44 » 05 Oct 2007 06:07

A German Blood Certificate (Deutschblütigkeitserklärung) was a document provided to Mischlinge (those with partial Jewish heritage) during the Second World War that allowed exemption from Germany's racial laws. The certificate was conditional, and had a clause stating that it would be reconsidered after the cessation of hostilities.

Hitler insisted on reviewing each application personally, and would reportedly pore over military records, letters of recommendation and study the photographs of those seeking a Certificate.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Blood_Certificate

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Re: The racial features of Holocaust victims

Post by Panzerkampfwagen » 18 Jul 2011 11:34

Ahf wrote:Mr. Holmes:

I don’t remember her name but she was a friend of Traudl Junge and she briefly discusses the incident in her autobiography. There is a photo of her in the book, too. I vaguely remember that the woman left Hitler’s entourage to get married to a SS officer and that is when they discovered her Jewish roots. Bormann was called on to intercede on her behalf and it failed. Again, I’m going by memory here. I’m sure someone has the book handy and can quickly look it up.
Her name is Marlene Von Exner. She was from Vienna and Hitler's dietician. Hitler fired her from service and said that she was welcome back after 6 months, once she and her family were aryanized, and then she was welcome any time at the Berghof. Obviously, the Nazis had this policy of descendants of jewish blood who were important to the Reich were aryanized. Can i know more about this process and what it involves?

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Re: The racial features of Holocaust victims

Post by Sid Guttridge » 18 Jul 2011 13:21

The fact that Nazi racial theory placed so much emphasis on superficial appearance shows how scientifically shallow and lacking in real substance it was.

Nazi racial theorists couldn't even agree on whether Jews were a threat because the superior characteristics of westernized Jewish middle class professionals would allow them to dominate Germans, or a threat because the inferior characteristcs of poor working class Jews from eastern Europe would pollute what would now be called the German gene pool. The discussion at the Wansee Conference shows up this conflict well.

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