Neither Black Nor White: Intermarried Jews and Mischlinge during the Third Reich



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The Nuremberg Race Laws


The Nuremberg Race Laws, issued on September 15, 1935 after the Party rally in Nuremberg, laid the official grounds for the persecution of Jews. Hitler justified these laws by stating that the “legal regulation of the problem” of Jews in Germany was the only way to stop the “defensive actions of the enraged population” (Stoltzfus 68).

The Race Laws were comprised of two separate laws: The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor and The Reich Citizenship Law.

One of the most important aspects of these laws was the establishment of a legal definition for Jew. The Laws also outlined different levels of Jewish individuals, depending on the number of Jewish grandparents an individual had.

o                 An individual with three or more Jewish grandparents was classified as a full Jew.

o                 An individual with two Jewish grandparents was considered a Mischling of the first degree, or half Jew.

Mischlinge of the first degree were broken down into two sub-groups:

1)     Individuals who were married to a Jew or had been members in the Jewish community were referred to as Geltungsjuden. These people were treated as full Jews and subject to the same persecution and restrictive laws. They could only marry other Jews or other Geltungsjuden.

2)     Individuals with two Jewish grandparents who were baptized into the Protestant or Catholic tradition were known simply as Mischlinge. Under the original Nuremberg Laws, Mischlinge were able to keep their citizenship; however, eventually their rights were taken away and they were treated like the Geltungsjuden.

o                 Someone with one Jewish grandparent was considered a Mischling of the second degree, or quarter Jew.

    These individuals were allowed to keep German citizenship but experienced many handicaps in the workplace.  After Hitler issued an order on April 8, 1940, quarter Jews could not recieve promotions in the military (Stoltzfus 71). Also, they could be barred from educational establishments if their attendance would cause a problem for the facility. They were only allowed to marry Germans.

Nazi Race chart

The Nazis distributed charts like this one to educate the public about the different classes of Jews. (7)

The original Nuremberg Laws also:

o       took away German citizenship from all full Jews and Geltungsjuden

o       prohibited Jews from flying the German flag (in December 1936 this was extended to any Germans married to Jews)

o       prohibited Jews from employing Germans as domestic servants

o       prohibited sexual relations between Aryans and Jews

o       prohibited marriage between Aryans and Jews

The original Nuremberg Laws continued to be amended in the years 1935 to 1939, causing the Nazi regime to gain even more control over the lives of Jews living in Germany.

To see the original text of the Nuremberg Laws, click on the following links.

The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor

The Reich Citizenship Law