Unless correspondents ask us not to, this Website will post selected letters that it receives and invite open debate.
Gerhard Rohringer of Santa Barbara, California, corrects misapprehensions about Mischlinge and half Jews under German law
Nazis and Knesset on "Who is a Jew?"
Re Mr. Roger Boyes' story about the film "Rosen Strasse" - "Film casts doubt on the women who defied Hitler".
MISLEADING statements are often made when journalists and others write about the Germany of Adolf Hitler. Some of these statements are based upon thoughtless repetition of what has been heard and read before. Others are written to demonstrate political correctness.
Robert Boyes discusses the film "Rosenstrasse" -- a film which deals with the detention of thousands of German Jewish men in 1943 in Berlin.
I do not, of course, know which of the two versions is the correct one. I do take issue however with Boyes' misleading statement:
"They [ i.e. the Jewish husbands of German wives ] survived thanks to the partial immunity granted by a German Aryan wife in a society that made a cult out of German womanhood."
The statement implies that a German wife on account of her German Aryan womanhood could give partial immunity to her Jewish husband, but that a German Aryan husband could not do the same for his Jewish wife. This statement generates misunderstandings regarding the historical facts underlying the position of German women and men in mixed marriages and of German women in general and should be corrected.
If one looks at the laws regarding the treatment of members of mixed marriages in the widely quoted protocol of the Wannsee conference, no asymmetry towards the members of such a marriage can be found. The English translation reads as follows:
"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."
Even in this translation, which leaves to be desired, it is clear that the regulation contradicts Mr. Boyes' statement that a cult of German womanhood is reflected by a preferential treatment of Jewish husbands married to German Aryan women. A proper translation of the German text reads as follows: \
"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, considering the effects of such a step on the German relatives of this mixed marriage, the Jewish partner shoud be sent to an old age ghetto."
Here it is even clearer that the law required a perfect symmetry regarding the immunity, whether being married to a German Aryan man or woman.
It is worth stating that a clear preference for womanhood does indeed appear elsewhere, namely in the Israeli Law of Return. This is explicit in point 4B of the "Law of Return 5710-1950" passed by the Knesset on 2nd Adar Bet, 5730 (March 10, 1970). One reads:
"Definition 4B. For the purposes of this Law, 'Jew' means a person who was born of a Jewish mother or has become converted to Judaism and who is not a member of another religion."
The father's racial or religious background is immaterial. Jewishness is conferred by the mother, granting a true exceptional status to Jewish womanhood.
Thank you for your informative website.
Santa Barbara CA
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