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Michael Mills writes from Australia, Saturday, March 20, 1999 quoting an example of the use of the word "Sonderaktion"

THIS IS from a letter written by a German Jewish woman deported to the Lublin area, contained in the collection "Lebenszeichen aus Piaski: Briefe Deportierter aus dem Distrikt Lublin 1940-1943", published in 1968 by Biederstein Verlag, Munich. It is dated 13 September 1940, and was written by a Frau G M, deported with her husband and son on 12 February 1940 from Stettin to Piaski, near Lublin; it is addressed to her daughter, who emigrated from Germany in May 1939.

Frau G M had married a Jew and converted to Judaism. Her son and daughter had decided to return to the Evangelical faith, but the process of official registration of their conversion had not been completed by the time of the issuing of the "Erste Durchführungsverordnung zum Reichsbürgergesetz" on 14 November 1935, so they were considered "Geltungsjuden" due to their membership of the Jewish religious community on that date. A clear case of bureaucratic inflexibility!

The extract is found on page 105 of the book, and reads as follows:

"Das Neueste vom Tage ist, es besteht jetzt eine Möglichkeit zur - Auswanderung! Und zwar nach Amerika, es ist diese Sache aber erst im Entstehen, doch eingetragen sind wir alle schon. So lieb wie ich meine Heimat habe, so glücklich sind wir, wenn es heisst auswandern, da haben wir doch einen kleinen Lichtblick, endlich wieder mit Dir zusammen zu kommen, Lotting, freust du Dich auch ein bisschen? Nach welchem Ort ist noch nicht bestimmt, es soll wohl für uns Ausgewiesene eine Sonderaktion sein. Sowie ich etwas Näheres weiss, schreibe ich Dir darüber, es ist doch nur erst der Anfang!"

It is clear that in this context the word "Sonderaktion" does not refer to a killing action, but to special measures being put in place to facilitate the emigration of a particular group of deportees, outside the normal official emigration process.

Unfortunately for Frau G M and her son, the "Sonderaktion" did not succeed, for unknown reasons. After the death of her husband in February 1941, Frau G M decided to leave the Jewish community, and made repeated applications to the authorities, supported by friends and relations back in Germany, to have her German status recognised, and her son reclassified as a "Mischling ersten Grades", which would allow both of them to return to Germany. Her efforts seemed to be succeeding, but the process was delayed, and in October 1942 both she and her son apparently were arrested in Lublin while reporting to the authorities in pursuance of her application. Thereafter they both disappeared.

Michael Mills

 © Focal Point 1999 David Irving