Nazi Jews: A Historical Paradox

Would it surprise anyone to learn that there were upwards of 150, 000 soldiers of partial Jewish descent serving in the Nazi army during World War II? I had no idea until I attended a lecture by Bryan Mark Rigg discussing his book entitled Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers. What is even more startling is that Adolf Hitler was aware of this and for a while allowed them to serve. In most cases these soldiers had no knowledge of the Holocaust killing machine. From their point of view they were simple German patriots fighting for their country. Many did not even consider themselves Jewish. Some were unaware of their “Jewish blood”. According to his book, at least 20 soldiers of “Jewish blood” were awarded The Knights Cross. Included in the ranks were two field marshals and fifteen generals. The most prominently known of these commanders of Jewish descent was General Erhard Milch who had one Jewish parent. He was deputy to Herman Goring, the head of the Luftwaffe(German Air Force).

When I look back at my own Jewish Immigrant background, the “specter” of Jews fighting for the Nazis in the traditional sense sickens stomach. My ancestry is much like other Jewish immigrants. Both sides of my family immigrated to the Unites States from Czarist Russia in the early 1900′s. They came to escape the brutal exterminating pogroms of the Russian authorities much like the extermination of Jews by the Nazis. Czarist officials not only promoted pogroms to blame Jews for government failures and economic depressions but also to isolate jews and keep them fearful. They forced the “Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion,” a documents used the to justify persecuting Jews ans stil in circulation now in Middle Eastern Countries to “prove” that Jews controlled World Finance. Moreover, the Czars conscripted Jewish youth as young as 12 to serve 25 years in the army. Some Russian Jews immigrated to Poland only to be ultimately persecuted by both the Hitler regime and their very own. German born Jews treated Eastern Jews as inferior calling them “Ghetto Jews”. Jews of this background constituted the majority of the Jews massacred pursuant to “The Final Solution“.

The common public notion is that no one of Jewish descent would have ever been allowed to serve in the Nazi regime and, if discovered, would be immediately deported to a forced labor or extermination/concentration camp. This was not the case. The Nazi racial classification or “Nuremberg Lawswere complex and bizarre as to who was classified as a “Jew”. (see Nazi classification chart) This classification dispute is responsible for some controversy. Some scholars have complained that the title of Rigg’s book is sensational and misleading because it implies that these Nazi soldiers were Jewish when, in fact, many of them would not be classified as Jews under Jewish law (Young men were considered Jewish if their mothers were Jewish.). Many of the soldiers interviewed did not consider themselves Jewish at all and had been baptized into a Christian tradition. I view this as a simplistic criticism since the overall issue of how Hitler bent and twisted the racial laws of his regime to serve his own bizarre purposes in the face of the Nuremberg laws is a fascinating idea that Riggs explains from a unique perspective. Riggs demonstrates the willingness of the Nazis to bend their own laws of racial classification and Jewish persecution and documents Hitler’s extensive , obsessive involvement in deciding which “Jews” received a pass ,which would be discharged, and which would ultimately be deported. Riggs also explores the historical, religious and cultural individual personal conflicts of “The Jewish Identity”. A very interesting side-note to Rigg’s book is that his research has popped up on Holocaust Revisionist websites as support for their outrageously bizarre claim that there was substantial support for Hitler from parts of the Jewish Community.

While most of Jewish descent were ordinary Wehrmacht soldiers, some rose to very high ranking positions of authority in the Nazi Regime. Some either directly or indirectly participated in the Jewish killing machine. Germans of Jewish descent were fighting for a country whose official policy was that they were regarded as second-class citizens and, in most cases, not even human. Germans of Jewish descent were fighting for a country that was deporting their relatives to concentrations camps for eventual extermination. Germans of Jewish descent were fighting for a country who, some say, planned to ultimately exterminate them also when Germany won the war. How could these “Jews” fight for a country that planned their extinction? Why did Hitler allow this to take place? We know it is not due to the common misconception that Hitler was part Jewish. Scholars universally agree that there is no evidence of this. Rigg’s thesis certainly goes against everything I believed about my identity as a Jew and what it means to be a Jew. Does having “Jewish blood” in itself make you Jewish? While the simple answer seems to be no, it was quite complicated in Nazi Germany.

A fascinating aspect of the lecture and the book is the method by which the Nazis determined who was Jewish and who was not. For racial and military purposes, the Nazi Party classified Jewish people as full Jews, half Jews, and quarter Jews. Each classification was treated differently with regards to whether they could serve in the German military and what rights, if any, they had under German law. As previously mentioned, according to Jewish law, a person is determined to be a Jew if the person’s mother is Jewish.

I would have been a full Jew under Nazi laws. All four of my grandparents on both sides were Jewish. I am also of Russian descent. Not only would I have been prohibited from serving in the German military, I would have in all likelihood been on the first train out to to Auschwitz or some other extermination camp. Jews of Eastern descent or “Ghetto Jews” were also looked down upon and discriminated against by German born Jews as well as the Germans. It was a double whammy. (it was an upper vs lower class type discrimination as compared to the totalitarian discrimination of the Nazis)

Many of those of partial Jewish descent while Jewish by both Jewish law and Nazi racial classification had become so assimilated into the German-Christian society through mixed marriages that they did not consider themselves Jewish. Some were practicing Christians. This was only changed through Hitler’s racial classification system and the Nuremberg Laws which officially made the majority of people of full and partial Jewish descent second-class citizens called “Mischling“, meaning they came from a mixed marriage and had partial Jewish ancestry. Germans of partial Jewish descent who had practiced Christianity all of their lives, were suddenly classified as a “Mischling,” Jews under Hitler’s racial classification laws. They were suddenly stripped of most rights under German law.

Interestingly, the situation was not just a German/Jewish phenomenon. In 1941, Finland joined the war as a “co-belligerent” of Germany. (Finland refused to call itself an ally.) There were 250-300 Finnish-Jews fighting alongside Germany on the eastern front against Russia, and some of the Finnish-Jews were even awarded German battle decorations. Soldiers with Jew ish heritage also fought along side the Nazis when Romania was aligned against the Soviet Union as well as for Italy.

There was a huge ideology gap between what occurred in Finland and Nazi Germany. Finland was not under Nazi rule. Finland, from its perspective, was fighting for its independence from Russia rather than to support any anti-Semitic ideology or German persecution. Finland as a nation refused to endorse the Nazi anti-Semitic policies and refused to deport, persecute or discriminate against its Jewish population. It is quite the paradox that despite this policy their fighting alongside Germany certainly helped Germany achieve military goals and indirectly aided in the Jewish persecutions. The Finnish-Jewish soldiers were not blind to what was going on. It caused quite a bit of internal conflict and tension with the German soldiers. This was also not a racial classification issue. Finland did not discriminate against or classify their Jews. In this situation, full, practicing Jews were fighting alongside the Nazis against the Allies, fighting predominately at Leningrad.

The German racial classification system for Jews and the resulting disparate treatment with regards to military service in the Nazi army highlights some of the fundamental issues of Jewish Identify that exist even today. What does it mean to be Jewish? What qualities and beliefs make someone Jewish? If your mother is Jewish you are certainly a Jews by definition of Jewish Law but that may not be how you may look at yourself if you were not raised in the Jewish tradition. Are we as Jews defined by our culture, our religious practices or how other view us? As an example, several years ago I got into a heated argument when a person who was close to me told me in her opinion I was not Jewish because I did not adhere to Jewish religious practices. I was infuriated. It was and is my belief that my bond to Judaism is through culture, common history and suffering. The bond that all Jews share. That is what defines me as a Jew. She could not grasp this concept. This was the dilemma faced by many of the Mischling in Nazi Germany. This is a historical and religious conflict faced by Jews today as mixed marriages have become much more common and accepted in the United States. Jews argue among themselves over this issue. It is a conflict that transcends time.

*Thank you to my uncle and distinguished author Larry Cuban for helping me with the Russian History aspect of this piece.

* My apologies for a glaring and embarrassing historical error. The Fins fought in support of the Battle for Leningrad, not Stalingrad. My apologies to anyone of Finnish descent the error may have offended

©2009 Brian Cuban

Enjoy this piece?  Be sure to join the Cuban Revolution Fan Club and/or subscribe to my newsletter to stay abreast of future posts and live celebrity interviews on The Revolution Rant


32 Comments For This Post

  1. Amazon Herbs (1 comments.) Says:

    Albert Einstein considered himself a Jew but he was not a practicing Jew. In early America (1900s), they would use the term Jewish to refer to a practicing Jew and Jew to refer to one that did not follow the religion. Now they have the Reconstructionsit Jewish religion where you can not believe in God or the religion and yet still be practicing the religion.

  2. Omri (1 comments.) Says:

    I found this article very interesting, albeit factually over-simplified in many places.
    As to your argument with your friend, I can only assume her view was due to the childish misconception that one is christian by default, and unless you follow another religion to the strictest standards, you have no reason to depart your identity from the default.
    For most jews here in Israel, the connection they hold to Judaism is that of pain. My grandparents suffered incredibly for their jewish identity, I refuse to give up mine and erase their pride of surviving, coming to Israel and starting a new jewish family, despite the fact that I eat non-kosher and have a sex life most religions, judaism included, wouldn’t agree with.

    Omris last blog post..Another mistake

  3. James Says:

    Interesting stuff. You should check out the film Europa Europa. It is based on the 1989 autobiography by Solomon Perel, a Jew who escaped persecution by the Nazis by masquerading as an Aryan.

  4. Kayzah Says:

    Very fascinating historical facts!

  5. Rokka Says:

    Please find me a source where it says that Finns fought in Stalingrad. The fact is, Finns never wanted to go that far. They didn’t even directly participate to the siege of Leningrad [1], which was much closer to Finland.

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Leningrad#Finland_and_Germany

  6. Jimmy Darn Says:

    Wow, now THAT is some fascinating stuff!

    JT
    http://www.Ultimate-Anonymity.com

  7. yttrx Says:

    You’re confused. The german army was not the same thing as the SS. There were no nazi Jews, but there were indeed German Jews.

    Revisionist history is the most horrific when it’s a result of innocent ignorance.

  8. Brian Cuban (138 comments.) Says:

    Rokka Says:
    July 1st, 2008 at 11:48 am e

    Please find me a source where it says that Finns fought in Stalingrad. The fact is, Finns never wanted to go that far. They didn’t even directly participate to the siege of Leningrad [1], which was much closer to Finland.

    That was a terrible historical error that I missed. It should have read Leningrad. Here was my source and I never meant to imply that they fought directly.

    http://www.jewishquarterly.org/article.asp?articleid=194

  9. Brian Cuban (138 comments.) Says:

    # yttrx Says:
    July 1st, 2008 at 12:04 pm e

    You’re confused. The german army was not the same thing as the SS. There were no nazi Jews, but there were indeed German Jews.

    Revisionist history is the most horrific when it’s a result of innocent ignorance.

    I am using the term in a “generalist sense” the term “Nazi Army” is widely used as a popular term in the United States to refer to the German army as a whole. I do not recall implying anywhere in the piece that Jews made up any portion of the SS. This would have been highly unlikely since to be a member of the SS, the “nazis” checked your blood line back hundreds of years. You are also VERY confused if it is your position that only SS members were in the Nazi party.

    This link will give you some context that “Nazi Army” is a commonly used term even among scholars

  10. Dan Says:

    No jew should be judged by their actions during the Holocaust. They did what they did to survive!

  11. sil Says:

    Dan Says:

    No jew should be judged by their actions during the Holocaust. They did what they did to survive!

    Even if it means joining the enemy?

  12. whatever Says:

    No SS guard should be judged by their actions during the holocaust. They did what they did to survive!

    Most people will do anything they can to survive. That doesn’t make doing the wrong thing any less wrong.

    I believe that all life is worthy and its not my place to take it. If someone raped my daughter I would kill them if I could. If I did, it would still be wrong but I would do it anyway. That doesn’t make it less wrong.

  13. Linz Rose Says:

    sil Says:
    July 1st, 2008 at 1:57 pm
    Dan Says:

    No jew should be judged by their actions during the Holocaust. They did what they did to survive!

    Even if it means joining the enemy?

    Joining the enemy was ONE way to survive. Perhaps those who did join, helped their friends/family. Judgement is from your EGO.

  14. darrell Says:

    sil Says:
    July 1st, 2008 at 1:57 pm
    Dan Says:

    No jew should be judged by their actions during the Holocaust. They did what they did to survive!

    Even if it means joining the enemy?

    Joining the enemy was ONE way to survive. Perhaps those who did join, helped their friends/family. Judgement is from your EGO.

    This is interesting BUT come on 70 years ago. No one leaving messages here knows anything first hand so stop acting like it. Your grandfather or parents may have told you “stories” of what happened but things get exaggerated and twisted over time, especially over 70 years. There very well could have been and most likely were full out nazi Jews. The Jews themselves, they did not know that Jews were being exterminated so why wouldn’t there have been nazi Jews? Hell, there may have even been some Jews serving right at the death camps. What, are Jews beyond lying to survive? Are they beyond betrayal of their own people? NO. Jews, as every other race, sells out their own kind EVERYDAY.

    Look at it this way, homosexuals lie about not being homosexual in order to get into the US military, correct? Well, do you not think is possible for a Jew back then to lie about not being a Jew in order to serve? There were many poor Jews that were offered a better way of life when serving in the military. Get your heads out of denial .

  15. Kyle Says:

    I love Germany and I am fine with Jews. Just, stop talking about it.

    (A German-American)

  16. darrell Says:

    I love Germany and I am fine with Jews. Just, stop talking about it.

    (A German-American)

    AMEN!

  17. Mitchell Says:

    I also know that many Russian and Polish widowed Jewish women were taken to the middle east and sold to middle eastern men! lots of them lived under middle eastern laws, and were forced to change their religion and forbidden to talk about their Jewish backgrounds forever! Source of this may be found in some articles published at the time of Nazi influence in the oil rich countries of central and middle asia!

  18. Logical Thinker Says:

    “No jew should be judged by their actions during the Holocaust. They did what they did to survive!”

    According to the Jewish Talmud, no Jew should be held accountable for anything ever, unless it is a crime against another Jew.

    The Jewish religion says you can not be a Jew unless your mother was a Jew. The Jewish religion says that if you are not a Jew, then you are not human, but that you are a beast without a soul like any other animal. The Jewish religion calls non-Jews “goy”. The Jewish religion says that 10,000 goy are not worth a fingernail of a Jew and that the best of goy deserves death. The Jewish religion goes on to say that goy can be enslaved, used and abused like any other animal.

    Perhaps we should hold a mirror up to the Jews and treat them as the Jewish Talmud would have the goy be treated.

    A friend announced herself to be Jewish. I asked, “Ashkenazi or Sephardi?” She said “Ashkenazi.” I asked if she was practicing and she said “yes”. So then I asked, “Does this mean you consider me to be an animal and that 10,000 of me are not even worth your fingernail and that the best of my kind deserves death.” She said “Of course not”, but I didn’t know if I could believe her because her religion teaches to lie to the goy and to deny that nature of the Talmud.

    Being a Jew has nothing to do with believing in God and any Jew who tells you otherwise is misleading you.

  19. David Appletree (6 comments.) Says:

    if you think THAT’s interesting, check out the book “Perfidy” by Ben Hecht.

    David Appletrees last blog post..Terrorist previously convicted of raping Jewish girl

  20. David Appletree (6 comments.) Says:

    wanted to write a bit more actually…

    one of my favorite Biblical quotes:

    Are you for us or for our adversaries?
    - Joshua (Yehoshua) 5:13

    in light of everything happening today, i can see how this phenomena happened back in the day— for example, one needn’t have to look much further than the abandonment of Jews from Gush Katif to see these elements of perfidy in many Jewish personalities. Or look at Jews like the Neturei Kartei, Noam Chomsky, Stanley Cohen—all of whom deal with enemies of our people who want to kill Jews (by wiping out Israel..)

    So you ask—”Would it surprise anyone to learn that there were upwards of 150, 000 soldiers of partial Jewish descent serving in the Nazi army during World War II?”

    No, it does not surprise me anymore.

    However, I partially agree with Dan who said “No jew should be judged by their actions during the Holocaust. They did what they did to survive!”

    But by the same token, perhaps Jewish action at that time should be judged even MORE closely. American Jewry in 1942, for example.

    Did they really do all they could do to save their European brethren?

    All of these issues speak of a very sadly fragmented Jewish people— which makes sense in light of the Exile (galus) and the consequences thereof.

    Good post!

    Kol Hakovod.

  21. Rachael Says:

    Enough of the JEWs – lets talk about the indigenous peoples of this land America who was EXTERMINATED – we hear about the jews ll the time and i for one am sick of hearing about the poor jews, they are RICH enough, they own hollywood, Mel Gibson Hurray for him for the ‘FREEDOM OF SPEECH”

    make the real story of the indigenous people of this land whom they stold all of the land, mass exterminated the people and took away their freedom of religious

    read hitler’s book and he will explain how he took directive from the americans on wiping our the red race – so he decided to wipe our the jews -

  22. paul Says:

    One had to be in the situation to understand the actions whose life was threatened to be exterminated.

  23. Tracy Lubbehusen Says:

    As a German-American who has a degree in German, and will soon be moving to Germany to obtain a professional German teaching degree, you have to realize that what the jews did what they could to survive. Germany had a bad economy and was failing after the first world war. These people saught hope in anything that could help. Unfortunately their faith had laid in Hitler just as how Americans looked upon GWB after the terrorist attacks that had occured in the US in 2001. It is sad how politics turn out. The jews had to do what they could back then to survive, most of the time falling of deaf ears. I have an older friend, A German-Jew whose family had been through this and had moved to Israel after the war and had since moved back to Germany because it is home.

    When I studied abroad in Germany and we were studying the second world war, My history instructor had reinacted what went on back then, and showed the Nazi racial profiling, I was very embarassed as I was the only one out of a class of 250 people who fit that profile, blond, blue eyed fair skin and german speaking, and it just only makes me think about how sick this regime was. Every one regardless of race, social class, and cultural beliefs have the right to live.

    I don’t know if anyone on the panel had heard of the group The Comedian Harmonists, a 1930s German band whose members were three aryans and three jews. There is a movie out about them and the rising sentiment against Jews. It is worth checking out.
    Sorry about the long post

  24. brad Says:

    wir konnen nicht noch stehen bis alle tot sind

  25. Alan Says:

    Rachael: Hooray for Mel Gibson? Horray for the freedom to get drunk and spew ignorant, indiscriminate hate? Sick about hearing about the poor Jews? You haven’t read enough. According to you, Jews are now RICH nd therefore unworthy of your sympathy?

    Yeah, we have brutalized indigenous peoples everywhere. Suppose I said, “I’m sick of hearing about the poor blacks, they have their own presidential candidate now.” Or”I’m sick about hearing of the poor native Americans, they have enough books out on the subject.”

    Hooray for Mel Gibson? That is not a rational response: that is incitement to hatred.

    Tell me, Rachael: aside from applauding racism against the groups you clearly hate, what the hell are YOU doing for indigenous people? Buying mocassins?

  26. T Says:

    Enough of the JEWs – lets talk about the indigenous peoples of this land America who was EXTERMINATED – we hear about the jews ll the time and i for one am sick of hearing about the poor jews, they are RICH enough, they own hollywood, Mel Gibson Hurray for him for the ‘FREEDOM OF SPEECH”

    make the real story of the indigenous people of this land whom they stold all of the land, mass exterminated the people and took away their freedom of religious

    read hitler’s book and he will explain how he took directive from the americans on wiping our the red race – so he decided to wipe our the jews -

    WOW YOU ARE A DUMB BITCH…WISH YOU WERE IN A DEATH CAMP INSTEAD OF MY ENTIRE FAMILY LESS THREE MEMEBERS HAVING BEEN GASSED THERE.

  27. Ted (1 comments.) Says:

    the zionists were running the nazis

  28. Sha'rius Says:

    Kinda sad how jews would do anything to further themselves – even lie about their identity – you will never catch me saying Im something Im not just to save my ass – while jews do anything to stay alive and make money

  29. Mark Raz Says:

    So your father is a Jew are you a Jew? According to Jewish law no. However you could be half semitic/Hebrew,that can not be taken from you.

  30. Andrew Says:

    "The Jewish religion says that 10,000 goy are not worth a fingernail of a Jew and that the best of goy deserves death."

    The problem stems from a misunderstanding, or a perversion, of the literature of the Talmud. The Talmud is a collection of discussions on various topics of Jewish law, but not all of the material in every discussion: 1) represents the majority view; 2) applies today; 3) was meant to be taken seriously. The statement that "whosoever disobeys the rabbis deserves death and will be punished by being boiled in hot excrement in hell [Erubin 21b]" is not even found in the Talmud. The correct statement is "whosoever transgresses the words of the Scribes is liable for the death penalty."
    http://www.rense.com/general69/notz.htm

  31. Adolf Says:

    I would imagine the worst aspect of those belonging to Auschwitz would be the displeasure of being surrounded by all those Jews. That would be miserable having to watch your back as well as your meager belongings because of these back stabbing cockroach like beings.

  32. Andersonsue Says:

    You are right. I am, by birth, a daughter of a Jew. My husband is the grandson of a Jew who was conscripted into the Nazi party. His mother is a full-blooded Jew. I have done the research and I have seen the pictures. My grandmother was a Jew. The Jews would lie about their background in order to survive.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

Follow Me



Who’s Reading Shattered Image?

Newsletter

Sign up for The Revolution Rant! Stay up to date on the great guests and provocative topics on my weekly web-cast!
Viva la Revolucion!


powered by MailChimp!

Related Sites

  • NightcapTV Catch The Cuban Revolution Every Thursday at 9pm(CT) On NightcapTV!
google-site-verification: google17190a1b860a2726.html