HALF-JEWISH PEOPLE AND THE HOLOCAUST
There are apparently two equal and opposite myths about the adult children and other descendants of intermarriage during the Holocaust. One myth says that Hitler intended to systematically kill all of the descendants of intermarriage.
Another myth suggests that we were in no danger at all, thanks to our good connections with the Christian world, and were able to save ourselves while our fellow born Jews died by the millions. The actual truth falls between these two myths, and is stranger than any fiction.
THE WANSEE CONFERENCE, 1942
First, we need to look at the (formerly) “top secret” meeting minutes of the Wansee Conference, a famous gathering of Nazi officials held in the Wansee district of Berlin on January 20, 1942 to discuss the details of the “final solution.” Included in the summary of their recommendations were comments on the fate of adult children and grandchildren of intermarriage:
“IV. In the course of the final solution plans, the Nuremberg Laws should provide a certain foundation, in which a prerequisite for the absolute solution of the problem is also the solution to the problem of mixed marriages and persons of mixed blood.
The Chief of the Security Police and the SD discusses the following points, at first theoretically, in regard to a letter from the chief of the Reich chancellery:
1) Treatment of Persons of Mixed Blood of the First Degree
Persons of mixed blood of the first degree will, as regards the final solution of the Jewish question, be treated as Jews.
From this treatment the following exceptions will be made:
a) Persons of mixed blood of the first degree married to persons of German blood if their marriage has resulted in children (persons of mixed blood of the second degree). These persons of mixed blood of the second degree are to be treated essentially as Germans.
b) Persons of mixed blood of the first degree, for whom the highest offices of the Party and State have already issued exemption permits in any sphere of life.
Each individual case must be examined, and it is not ruled out that the decision may be made to the detriment of the person of mixed blood.
The prerequisite for any exemption must always be the personal merit of the person of mixed blood. (Not the merit of the parent or spouse of German blood.)
Persons of mixed blood of the first degree who are exempted from evacuation will be sterilized in order to prevent any offspring and to eliminate the problem of persons of mixed blood once and for all. Such sterilization will be voluntary. But it is required to remain in the Reich. The sterilized “person of mixed blood” is thereafter free of all restrictions to which he was previously subjected.
2) Treatment of Persons of Mixed Blood of the Second Degree
Persons of mixed blood of the second degree will be treated fundamentally as persons of German blood, with the exception of the following cases, in which the persons of mixed blood of the second degree will be considered as Jews:
a) The person of mixed blood of the second degree was born of a marriage in which both parents are persons of mixed blood.
b) The person of mixed blood of the second degree has a racially especially undesirable appearance that marks him outwardly as a Jew.
c) The person of mixed blood of the second degree has a particularly bad police and political record that shows that he feels and behaves like a Jew.
Also in these cases exemptions should not be made if the person of mixed blood of the second degree has married a person of German blood.
3) Marriages between Full Jews and Persons of German Blood.
Here it must be decided from case to case whether the Jewish partner will be evacuated or whether, with regard to the effects of such a step on the German relatives, [this mixed marriage] should be sent to an old-age ghetto.
4) Marriages between Persons of Mixed Blood of the First Degree and Persons of German Blood.
a) Without Children.
If no children have resulted from the marriage, the person of mixed blood of the first degree will be evacuated or sent to an old-age ghetto (same treatment as in the case of marriages between full Jews and persons of German blood, point 3.)
b) With Children.
If children have resulted from the marriage (persons of mixed blood of the second degree), they will, if they are to be treated as Jews, be evacuated or sent to a ghetto along with the parent of mixed blood of the first degree. If these children are to be treated as Germans (regular cases), they are exempted from evacuation as is therefore the parent of mixed blood of the first degree.
5) Marriages between Persons of Mixed Blood of the First Degree and Persons of Mixed Blood of the First Degree or Jews.
In these marriages (including the children) all members of the family will be treated as Jews and therefore be evacuated or sent to an old-age ghetto.
6) Marriages between Persons of Mixed Blood of the First Degree and Persons of Mixed Blood of the Second Degree.
In these marriages both partners will be evacuated or sent to an old-age ghetto without consideration of whether the marriage has produced children, since possible children will as a rule have stronger Jewish blood than the Jewish person of mixed blood of the second degree.
SS-Gruppenfuehrer Hofmann advocates the opinion that sterilization will have to be widely used, since the person of mixed blood who is given the choice whether he will be evacuated or sterilized would rather undergo sterilization.
State Secretary Dr. Stuckart maintains that carrying out in practice of the just mentioned possibilities for solving the problem of mixed marriages and persons of mixed blood will create endless administrative work. In the second place, as the biological facts cannot be disregarded in any case, State Secretary Dr. Stuckart proposed proceeding to forced sterilization.
Furthermore, to simplify the problem of mixed marriages possibilities must be considered with the goal of the legislator saying something like: ‘These marriages have been dissolved.’ “
(thanks to Professor Al Filreis of the University of Pennsylvania at http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/Holocaust/wansee-transcript.html for permission to copy this information).
BOOKS ABOUT HALF-JEWISH PEOPLE AND HOLOCAUST
- Rev. Heidi B. Neumark has written a fascinating memoir of family secrets “Hidden Inheritance.” Rev. Neumark, a Lutheran pastor in New York City, had always assumed that both of her parents were of German Lutheran descent. She was astonished to discover, as an adult, that her father had been a German Jewish refugee who escaped Germany just before the Holocaust. Apparently her father never told her American German Lutheran mother that he was Jewish.
This discovery led Rev. Neumark on a complex journey of discovery, including connecting with living relatives she had never known, and making some startling discoveries about her Jewish grandfather’s death during the Holocaust and the complicity of the Nazi-era German Lutheran Church in some aspects of the Holocaust.
- “The Unbelonger: The Autobiography of a Half-Jewish Girl in Hitler’s Berlin” by Ellen Ubelaker, describes her childhood experiences during the Holocaust, and her eventual (much happier) adult life in another country. It has an immediacy — “you are there” — in its recounting of her experiences.
Ms. Ubelaker was assisted by Brian Wynn, a professional writer. Here is a quote from the book that he sent the Half-Jewish Network:
“Ellen now felt she did not belong in the Christian community. The German Jews were in no position to help, either. In any case, they had made it clear that there was no such thing as a “half-Jew”. If your mother was not Jewish, you could not be a Jew. Once again, Ellen just did not belong.”
We will have more information to share about half-Jewish people and the Holocaust as our website grows.