I was wondering, what happened to converts to Judaism after the Nuremberg laws? They weren’t Jewish according to the hereditary definition. Were they treated as traitors?
There were extremely few to begin with because most of the Rabbis strongly opposed converting gentiles when their community would have gentile allies otherwise. This is one of the few sources I found on the subject at all.
Yes, I know Judaism only converts very few people but it seemed logical that out of so many people there would be at least a really small number of people. Thanks for the source.
So brief notes, since cue sarcasm: we have to talk about geriut, or the Jewish conversion process, my favorite topic, because it’s contemporarily the biggest Jewish identity landmine on earth and it’s ww2s fault Blech
Up until the 1960s, Jewish people at large across movements have been relatively anti-conversion/put high barriers to conversion since roughly the fall of the second temple and DEFINITELY after Constantine converted due to the political dimensions of the ethno-religious thing. Traditionally, to this day, you are supposed to turn people away at least 3 times (though depending on the movement, this might be more Pro-forma than anything else). The dutch responsa mentioned in the bar ilan Shabbos shpil reflects this consensus opinion just to an extreme degree, but it doesn’t reflect the interwar behavior on what’s going on with converts.
I’m going to be nice and hopefully get everyone in Jewish politics land briefly agreeing in theory about the history of geirut, because from the perspective of the Nazis, the internal mechanics of agreeing who is Jewish on the subject of Jewish conversion DOES NOT MATTER, whereas it might have internally at the time. (and probably did, hence landmine…)
In theory, once you convert, you’re Jewish. You see this in naming patterns: Converts usually go by Hebrew name ben/bat (gender) Abraham u’Sarah (patriarch and matriach) because Avraham and Sarah are the father and mother of all Jewish people. So when we talk about geirim, we’re talking about other Jewish people. It’s rude to segment them out (outside of a set of very narrow categories which matters 0% here and matter almost 0% of time).
Jewish Conversion was VERY unpopular in the interwar years. Across all of Europe, you see the growth of various forms of Jewish secularism and reformation, a trend that started in Germany with Mendelsonn - So, in most cases, if we’re talking about conversion, it went the reverse direction to something else. In 1933, 44% of German Jews chose to marry non-Jews.
However, this is not to say conversions for various reasons NEVER happened. Since looking around for conversion records is a nightmare and a half, the smart answer is to ask: Let’s pretend you are the intermarried spouse - what happens legally if you join a synagogue even if you never converted? I mean, if you are a ger, you’re joining some sort of synagogue.
Turns out, the Nazis did think through that after the Nuremberg Laws were promulgated! sigh
They created a new category of discussion in 1935 as an addendum to the Nuremberg law called Geltungsjude
Here are the criteria:
ARTICLE 5 (2) A Jew is also an individual* [jüdischer Mischling] *who is descended from two full-Jewish grandparents if:
a) he was a member of the Jewish religious community when this law was issued, or joined the community later;
b) when the law was issued, he was married to a person who was a Jew, or was subsequently married to a Jew;
c) he is the issue from a marriage with a Jew, in the sense of Section I, which was contracted after the coming into effect of the Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor of 15 September 1935;
d) he is the issue of an extramarital relationship with a Jew, in the sense of Section I, and was born out of wedlock after 31 July 1936.
A covers the spouses and geirim. They had the same functional legal status as Michlings.
As to how gerim were seen internally inside the Jewish community(ties) during the interwar years into the war years.
- I have no idea
- please don’t make me look. Western and Central Europe is the biggest mumbles curses landmine of Jewish identity politics for today and I don’t want to get into a research problem because of how the actual conversion process works and who’s allowed/not allowed to do what in the process. There’s probably some landmine somewhere about orthodox vs reform jews and cross recognizing conversions in the preWW1 and interwar eras that I want to stay far far away from because it is still high drama and will cause a long long rant.
TL:DR Gerim are treated like mischlings because of a legal addendum to the Nuremberg laws. Don’t ask me questions about the conversion process during the war or before the war.
More on the coversion situation - this actually discusses cases involving converts and their children, but you’re going to see what I said, lots of secularization, lots of meh, far more conversion to christianity than vice versa
running away from mines
Thanks a lot. I know about the gyur, and that it was extremely uncommon. I just believe that there got to be some of them, and wondered how they were treated given that they aren’t ethnically Jewish.
There are but from the legal perspective of Nazis it doesn’t matter. And I am purposely trying to stay away from as much conversation on Jewish identity issues for certain elements because as I said, they were unresolved at the time and ww2 and the holocaust made the discussion even more of a landmine today because err, giyur as a process is currently a mess. Lawsuit levels ,international relations levels, and political decision making levels of mess.
(also I answer the way I do with details because most people here aren’t Jewish, so I assume very low levels of Jewish knowledge when writing because public forum, and my feelings about giyur as a process and in history right now are irrelevant.)
Thank you for the answer. My concern was about gerim and gyorot without Jewish ancestryand how they were treated by the nazi authorizaties.I gather that they were considered non Jewish, am I right?
Every piece of academic literature that I’ve seen puts a ger or a geira as Geltungsjuden, but I am going to say that you’re going to have a VERY hard time finding a ger or geira who randomly converted without marriage somewhere tacitly in the cards as a point of discussion or existing background
See this for example on the discussion of the Hahn’s https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6817312/
(The wife, who converted, ends up classified as Geltungsjuden in 1941)
Thank you for the information
you’re welcome good person (apparently, you can’t just type you’re welcome)