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Old 07-07-2019, 12:35 PM
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During the holocausts, weren't the "Jews" being murdered the distant relatives of the Germans?


I had a thought the other day. If you're an oppressed minority, perpetually subject to discrimination, and you look the same as the people oppressing you, there's an obvious thing to try.

Just convert to the dominant culture, and teach your children it's mannerisms. Marry off your children into the dominant culture's families. In a generation or 2, nobody will know the difference.

This is the fundamental "problem" black people face with discrimination, which other persecuted "white" minorities don't face. There used to be heavy discrimination against Irish and Italian and other white people immigrants, right, but that's mostly gone now. Not because those people all died or people stopped discriminating, but because nobody can tell "their" children apart from the dominant group, and thus nobody can discriminate.

Anyways, it occurred to me that probably many "Jewish" families did exactly this. And some of their distance decedents were probably drafted and served as concentration camp guards.

Is this an accurate model of what happened?

Last edited by SamuelA; 07-07-2019 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 07-07-2019, 12:52 PM
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Okay, so you found a way to blame Jews for the Holocaust. Oddly enough, I am not surprised.
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Old 07-07-2019, 12:58 PM
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No.

Secular people of Jewish heritage who had intermarried with non-Jewish Germans and thought they were fully integrated into German society were also murdered.

Obvious differences in appearance have very little to do with it. Christians murdered Muslims in what used to be Yugoslavia. Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants murdered each other.

In addition, being required to abandon your identity, for those who don't want to, as a condition for not being murdered is generally considered an entirely unreasonable violation of human rights. To convert themselves and their children to the dominant culture comes across to many people as a matter of 'just stop being you'; especially when they feel that their own culture is the preferable one -- which is made rather more likely when the dominant culture is discriminatory, because that's at least one thing seriously wrong with it in itself. Some people do make that choice; but it's not remotely a reasonable thing to expect, and it's never a thing that the word "just", in the sense that you use it, applies to.

When the dominant culture is accepting rather than discriminatory (as the German culture, relatively speaking, had been to Jews for some time before the leadup to the Holocaust), people are actually more likely to assimilate.
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Old 07-07-2019, 01:01 PM
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Hey, why don’t you just stop being a minority?

Not to mention all those minority groups that can’t pass. It’s a real “stop hitting yourself” OP.

https://youtu.be/fvegsM0lHf8
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Old 07-07-2019, 01:31 PM
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Just convert to the dominant culture, and teach your children it's mannerisms. Marry off your children into the dominant culture's families. In a generation or 2, nobody will know the difference . . . Is this an accurate model of what happened?
Many Jews in German considered themselves 'German', completely assimilated. Many were the descendants of Jews who had converted to Christianity generations ago. Both groups felt generally safe, especially the latter.

Then, in 1935 and 1936 came the Nuremberg Laws and it didn't matter what you considered yourself - what mattered was where you fit in to the racial classification.

In any case, yes, obviously some 'pure' Germans must have been descendants of Jews who had converted long ago. But that seems utterly irrelevant to the greater truth.

As an aside, I believe that over the last fifty years or so, the massive immigration of non-Caucasians to erstwhile bastions of whiteness such as Western Europe and Canada has caused Jews to no longer be the default 'other'. Before brown faces were common, the relatively-readily-identifiable (and hence blamable) Jew was easily also identified as a 'dirty Jew'. Nowadays, those looking to blame others for their misfortune can pick among many other 'dirtys' - from the subcontinent, Africa, southeast Asia, wherever. The current resurgence of European antisemitism is an anomaly, and in my opinion is due almost exclusively to the unfortunate conflation of Jews as a group with Israel as a country by certain Arabic speaking immigrants who've arrived there.
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Old 07-07-2019, 01:33 PM
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"Jews" as opposed to Jews? Hundreds of thousands of people murdered were Germans, not distant relatives. Anyway, it's not an "accurate model of what happened", since when the dominant culture is Nazis, the Nazis pretty much know who are the undesirable Untermenschen they want to get rid of (i.e., murder, not "discriminate"), so adopting Nazi "mannerisms" will not get you very far.
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Old 07-07-2019, 01:40 PM
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The "Jews"?
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Old 07-07-2019, 01:48 PM
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If the O.P. would like a specific example, there's Fritz Haber: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_..._and_education

He was born in a well-respected, thoroughly socially integrated family, in a time and place where that was documented and well accepted. He worked as a scientist for his native Germany, and was hated by the French and British for the help he gave Germany in World War I. And that all meant nothing to the doctrine of National Socialism.
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Old 07-07-2019, 01:50 PM
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This is such a confusing and strangely-written OP I barely know how to begin to answer any of the questions it seems to pose.

The Nazis had very specific laws about who was considered Jewish and who wasn't, based on your ancestry and the ethnicity of your grandparents. Here is a chart of how they determined whether someone was a full Jew, a partial Jew (Mischling) or a full German. It went back to the generations of your grandparents, apparently. Depending on whether you had one or two Jewish grandparents you were either a second or first degree Mischling. The wikipedia article on Mischling seems to indicate that many such people essentially got a pass and were not persecuted, indeed a lot of them appear to have actively participated in the Nazi regime.

Based on this I have to assume that Germans with Jewish ancestry further back than their grandparents, i.e. more than two generations, were probably not persecuted at all, if anyone (including themselves) were even aware of this ancestry.

Note that this only applied within Germany. In other countries invaded by the Nazis, they didn't care whether you were partially Jewish, fully Jewish, or really even whether you were Jewish at all...if they wanted you gone, for whatever reason, you were gone.
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Old 07-07-2019, 02:00 PM
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The Nazis had very specific laws about who was considered Jewish and who wasn't, based on your ancestry and the ethnicity of your grandparents. Here is a chart of how they determined whether someone was a full Jew, a partial Jew (Mischling) or a full German. It went back to the generations of your grandparents, apparently. Depending on whether you had one or two Jewish grandparents you were either a second or first degree Mischling. The wikipedia article on Mischling seems to indicate that many such people essentially got a pass and were not persecuted, indeed a lot of them appear to have actively participated in the Nazi regime.
And, prospective SS members had to have documentation of no jdisches Blut in the family for 150 years. And don't forget the Ahnenpass could be your friend.
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Old 07-07-2019, 02:02 PM
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As I recall from assorted museum visits and TV documentaries, Nazi propaganda had always stated as a basic article of faith that Jews could not be considered German citizens (it's in the early posters from 1920 or so, on display in the NS Documentation Centre in Munich). A film like "Der Ewige Jude" ("The Eternal Jew", released in 1940) held up assimilated Jews in the professions and in high society as examples of a sneaky conspiracy to undermine German culture, since "underneath" all Jews (assimilated urban professionals, casual labourers living in squalif poverty, rural Polish peasant farmers and devout Talmudic scholars alike) were no different (according to the Nazis) from rats.

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Old 07-07-2019, 02:17 PM
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A and B marry and have kid K.
B and C latter marry and have kid L.

A was considered full Jewish by the Nazis, B and C aren't. So K goes to the camps while L doesn't.

I don't see how a half-sibling can be considered a "distant" relative. K could have been a lifelong Catholic and never stepped into a Synagogue. That didn't matter.

People are people. They get attracted to someone, get married, have kids. Groupings by bigots has no relation to reality.
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Old 07-07-2019, 02:38 PM
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Okay, so you found a way to blame Jews for the Holocaust. Oddly enough, I am not surprised.
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Let's refrain from personal attacks in General Questions. If you want to accuse the OP of antisemitism, take it to the Pit. No warning issued, but don't do this again.

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Old 07-07-2019, 02:53 PM
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The "Jews"?
The quotes are because calling people who are the same as nearby people a specific name just because they thump a specific edition of a bible seems rather arbitrary, actually.
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Old 07-07-2019, 03:09 PM
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Okay and apologies.
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Old 07-07-2019, 03:16 PM
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The quotes are because calling people who are the same as nearby people a specific name just because they thump a specific edition of a bible seems rather arbitrary, actually.
It’s arbitrary to divide people into groups based on any criteria, including whether they’re thumping a different version of the Bible, or something other than a bible, or their place or date of birth, language, accent, religion, dietary choices, skin-color, appearance, sexual preference, gender, or anything else.

Using this criterion, words like “American,” “white,” “Christian,” “English-speaking,” “native-born,” “citizen,” “man,” “heterosexual,” “adult,” etc., should always be presented in scare quotes.
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Old 07-07-2019, 03:21 PM
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Using this criterion, words like American, white, Christian, English-speaking, native-born, citizen, man, heterosexual, adult, etc., should always be presented in scare quotes.
Indeed, and as this thread shows, 'sunshine is the best disinfectant'.
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Old 07-07-2019, 04:08 PM
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Hey, why dont you just stop being a minority?
Applies even to obviously separate races: "We're standing for the truth that Negroes can change."
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Old 07-07-2019, 06:18 PM
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I had a thought the other day.
I wouldn't dignify it as a "thought".
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Old 07-07-2019, 06:39 PM
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I had a thought the other day. If you're an oppressed minority, perpetually subject to discrimination, and you look the same as the people oppressing you, there's an obvious thing to try.

Just convert to the dominant culture, and teach your children it's mannerisms. Marry off your children into the dominant culture's families. In a generation or 2, nobody will know the difference.
As an interesting aside, the English were divided by class, not race. And the one thing the English really hated was people copying their mannerisms, or trying to marry out of their class.
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Old 07-07-2019, 06:48 PM
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Applies even to obviously separate races: "We're standing for the truth that Negroes can change."
Uh....is this a joke, or is this poe's law?
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Old 07-07-2019, 06:53 PM
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I wouldn't dignify it as a "thought".
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This being GQ, let's refrain from jabs at other posters. No warning issued.

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Old 07-07-2019, 06:54 PM
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Uh....is this a joke, or is this poe's law?
It's obviously a joke.
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Old 07-07-2019, 06:58 PM
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It's obviously a joke.
But it's on the line of plausibiilty. I've wondered about Bob Barr myself.
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Old 07-07-2019, 08:50 PM
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Now, what about the "homosexuals"?
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Old 07-07-2019, 09:21 PM
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Now, what about the "homosexuals"?
Or the "disabled"? Or "mentally ill"?


Oh, and don't forget the "Roma"!

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Old 07-07-2019, 09:59 PM
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The quotes are because calling people who are the same as nearby people a specific name just because they thump a specific edition of a bible seems rather arbitrary, actually.

Well, since that's not how someone is determined to be a Jew, your parsing is irrelevant.
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Old 07-07-2019, 10:55 PM
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The Nazis believed in racial purity. Pure Aryans would make Germany superior.

I certainly don't think that way.

Sadly the desire for racial purity made assimilated Jews and their descendants priority targets.

It was a catch twenty-two. Unassimilated Jews in Eastern Europe suffered the pogroms because they stood out and were easy targets of hate.

So, many Jews assimilated in Germany, served in the military, owned businesses and were relatively safe until Hitler came to power.

I was fortunate to take a class on the Holocaust taught by a professor whose family escaped just before the visas ended. Some of his extended family died in the camps

Last edited by aceplace57; 07-07-2019 at 11:00 PM.
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Old 07-08-2019, 10:58 AM
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The point to make is that we look at these things from the viewpoint of very mobile, very anonymous 20th/21st century North America. It doesn't work that way in places where people have lived in the same place for 1000 years. Regions have accents (there is no one "British" accent, for example.) You would have to try very hard to disguise where you came from when you moved to say, Munich or Vienna. Those societies were very closed - there were papers required for all sorts of things, it wasn't like America where the authorities tended to leave you alone. Before most people had automobiles, any neighbourhood was a small gossip factory - you couldn't do much without all the housewives and old biddies knowing all about you. You shopped locally, your landlord was local, your job was local or known about, your medical problems, where you go to church or not, etc. (It's a modern North American conceit to live in an apartment tower and never know your neighbours). Religion was an important part of life - neighbours noted where you did or did not go to church. The government knew about your birth certificate and listed your parentage. You couldn't just move to a new neighbourhood, call yourself Franz Schmidt, and carry on. Plus, it's a small world after all - you were at risk to encounter someone from near your old (or alleged) home town who would know whether your back story was true...

Consider that even in Amsterdam, someone told the Gestapo about Ann Frank's family, despite their efforts to hide. I suspect someone notice collecting food for half a dozen people, or noises at night, or something. nothing's a secret in a crowded neighbourhood.

The moral of the story was that most of the time, until 1933 most people could not be bothered making the extreme effort to fully disguise their identity, and after that it was too late; there were too many controls in place and people looking for anyone tryig to create false identities.

Plus, as for assimilation - while I'm sure there were instances of intermarriage, the general feeling was that people "stuck with their own group".
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Old 07-08-2019, 02:02 PM
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On the other hand, there's the rumors that Hitler himself had a Jewish grandparent, and nobody cared. The moral of which story is that Nazis aren't particularly concerned about logic or consistency.
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Old 07-08-2019, 02:13 PM
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According to my ex (who, while he got his degree in history, is not a truly reliable source of information) Germany conducted censuses in the time period before the Holocaust that asked if your parents, grandparents or (IIRC) great-grandparents were Jewish.

So, no matter how lily white you were, if you or any of your relatives answered "yes", you were targeted for the concentration camps.

If anyone has better sources to verify or refute this, I would appreciate it.
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Old 07-08-2019, 11:28 PM
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According to my ex (who, while he got his degree in history, is not a truly reliable source of information) Germany conducted censuses in the time period before the Holocaust that asked if your parents, grandparents or (IIRC) great-grandparents were Jewish.

So, no matter how lily white you were, if you or any of your relatives answered "yes", you were targeted for the concentration camps.

If anyone has better sources to verify or refute this, I would appreciate it.
I assume they had several decades of census data, plus birth records. Europe was a hive of bureaucracy. Among the details on your identity papers would be your religious affiliation. (As I understand it, there is still this sort of thing today, to determine whether your taxes support catholic or protestant schools?)

The only real question is how much effort they put into digging into mounds of paper data and correlating things, in the days before computers.

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Old 07-09-2019, 12:47 AM
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The only real question is how much effort they put into digging into mounds of paper data and correlating things, in the days before computers.
IBM was there to help with that
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Old 07-09-2019, 07:37 AM
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If the O.P. would like a specific example, there's Fritz Haber: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_..._and_education

He was born in a well-respected, thoroughly socially integrated family, in a time and place where that was documented and well accepted. He worked as a scientist for his native Germany, and was hated by the French and British for the help he gave Germany in World War I. And that all meant nothing to the doctrine of National Socialism.
Another good one is Edith Stein. She was a Catholic Nun--she was baptized in 1922 and took Holy Orders in 1933. She was killed at Auschwitz (and later canonized).
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Old 07-09-2019, 09:11 AM
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So, no matter how lily white you were, if you or any of your relatives answered "yes", you were targeted for the concentration camps.
This seems rather unreliable. Also, by modern standards almost every citizen of Germany was 'white'.
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Old 07-09-2019, 09:19 AM
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What the fuck do modern standards have to do with 1930s Germany?
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Old 07-09-2019, 09:32 AM
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People don't, when it comes down to it, really care what the "reason" is or even whether it makes any kind of sense. Give them somebody to hate, someone to scapegoat, someone to lynch, a significant percentage of the population will buy into whatever "justification" the rabble rousers dream up. They don't actually care. Jews? Socialists? Homosexuals? Whatever, give them an "other" to attack and they'll jump to it and thank you for the opportunity.

I'm 1/4 Ashkenazi Jew. I'm 3/4 Scottish & Irish. Nazis would murder me for my "Jew blood" if they could. There are people in my own country who would gladly murder me for my grandfather's ethnicity.

Neighbours? Work colleagues? Distant relatives? Doesn't matter. Give the people a scapegoat and they'll thank you for it.

Don't try to make sense of it. It's not about making sense. It's not about logic, it's not about even being a consistent viewpoint. It's just hatred. Haters want to hate. Victimisers want victims. That's all it is. Bloodlust.
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Old 07-09-2019, 11:13 AM
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Fritz Haber


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If the O.P. would like a specific example, there's Fritz Haber: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_..._and_education

He was born in a well-respected, thoroughly socially integrated family, in a time and place where that was documented and well accepted. He worked as a scientist for his native Germany, and was hated by the French and British for the help he gave Germany in World War I. And that all meant nothing to the doctrine of National Socialism.
Haber the Jewish wannabee Prussian, who developed the gases used in WW1 and died of natural causes shortly after Hitler came to power. Some of his relatives were gassed, because they were Jewish. Talk about ungrateful. Or ironic.
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Old 07-09-2019, 11:18 AM
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Hitlerstein


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On the other hand, there's the rumors that Hitler himself had a Jewish grandparent, and nobody cared. The moral of which story is that Nazis aren't particularly concerned about logic or consistency.
There were rumors that Hitler's daddy was not Alois, but a Jewish businessman. However, there is no proof that his mum even met the guy. Hitler went to great efforts to conceal his past, but probably because of concerns that his family tree didn't branch at certain points, just like the hillbillies.

Several leading Nazis were suspected of being Jewish, such as Heydrich, and some such as Erhard Milch had to be aryanized in a rather contrived way. Logic? Not a strong feature of Nazism.
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Old 07-09-2019, 11:26 AM
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This is such a confusing and strangely-written OP I barely know how to begin to answer any of the questions it seems to pose.

The Nazis had very specific laws about who was considered Jewish and who wasn't, based on your ancestry and the ethnicity of your grandparents. Here is a chart of how they determined whether someone was a full Jew, a partial Jew (Mischling) or a full German. It went back to the generations of your grandparents, apparently. Depending on whether you had one or two Jewish grandparents you were either a second or first degree Mischling. The wikipedia article on Mischling seems to indicate that many such people essentially got a pass and were not persecuted, indeed a lot of them appear to have actively participated in the Nazi regime.

Based on this I have to assume that Germans with Jewish ancestry further back than their grandparents, i.e. more than two generations, were probably not persecuted at all, if anyone (including themselves) were even aware of this ancestry.

Note that this only applied within Germany. In other countries invaded by the Nazis, they didn't care whether you were partially Jewish, fully Jewish, or really even whether you were Jewish at all...if they wanted you gone, for whatever reason, you were gone.
Yup, entirely true. One Jewish grandparent was not enough enough to get you in trouble, although arguably that could have changed over time once Germany no longer a war to worry about.

Someone said that the Jews were identifiable. Mostly, no, they often looked just like the non-Jewish Germans. There were of course names that indicated probable Jewish origin. The problem in Germany was that all the citizens were registered somewhere, but again, in the chaos of war some could slip away and move to another town, claiming they had been bombed out.
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Old 07-09-2019, 12:29 PM
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I also take issue with OP's "just stop being so murder-able" stance; it's inhuman and just plain irrational, for the reasons already stated. But if anyone is interested in hearing what it was like for the people who did just that, you might be interested in this memoir:
After Long Silence

To the best of my recollection, it's about a woman who unearths her family history and is shocked to discover her parents were Jewish, and that they escaped the Holocaust by pretending otherwise, then never dropped the charade. I read it in college and don't care to read it again; I found the author's attempts to connect her experiences of being cold after playing in the snow to her father's harrowing train ride through Siberia in winter hanging off the side of a train with a broken arm to be rather...cringeworthy. But the parts about what her parents endured divesting themselves of their identity, and their steadfastness in continuing to reject it, are pretty heart-wrenching.

Last edited by Esprise Me; 07-09-2019 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 07-09-2019, 01:33 PM
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I also take issue with OP's "just stop being so murder-able" stance; it's inhuman and just plain irrational, for the reasons already stated. But if anyone is interested in hearing what it was like for the people who did just that, you might be interested in this memoir:
After Long Silence .
You could advise a young woman who goes to frat parties and gets drunk to 'stop being so rape-able'. This doesn't make the frat boys not criminals but it is a simple fact that the woman can reduce her chances of being assaulted significantly by changing her behavior. If it was possible for Jewish Germans to assimilate and make themselves not targets it's a valid and compelling thing to do. Regardless of the criminal guilt of their government.
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Old 07-09-2019, 01:40 PM
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You could advise a young woman who goes to frat parties and gets drunk to 'stop being so rape-able'.

No, you cannot advise a young woman to "stop being so rape-able". In fact, on the list of "Top Ten Things NOT To Say To A Young Woman", that would be in the top three.
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Old 07-09-2019, 01:45 PM
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No, you cannot advise a young woman to "stop being so rape-able". In fact, on the list of "Top Ten Things NOT To Say To A Young Woman", that would be in the top three.
Literal language or meaning?
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Old 07-09-2019, 02:00 PM
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[Moderating]

It's going to be hard enough to keep this thread on track as it is. We don't need to be dragging rape into it, too. Drop it.
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Old 07-09-2019, 02:07 PM
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[Moderating]

It's going to be hard enough to keep this thread on track as it is. We don't need to be dragging rape into it, too. Drop it.
Apologies but posters are arguing the identical argument to ones saying that young women could dress conservatively, avoid being alone with platonic male acquaintances, and especially avoid getting drunk when not in the presence of an intimate acquaintance.

"Well they shouldn't HAVE to do that and this is victim blaming."

Sure, in a perfect world, they shouldn't. But the world will never be perfect and there are things an individual can do to help their odds. It took 20 years for the Nazis to be brought down. It might take a lot longer than that before women in the USA can live without the slightest fear of assault. (probably achievable with smart devices with cameras monitoring everywhere)

Last edited by SamuelA; 07-09-2019 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 07-09-2019, 02:13 PM
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I already said to drop it. If that's not clear, let me make it more so: Anyone continuing with the rape analogy will be given a Warning.
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Old 07-09-2019, 03:10 PM
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... If it was possible for Jewish Germans to assimilate and make themselves not targets it's a valid and compelling thing to do. Regardless of the criminal guilt of their government.
Keep in mind that in the history of Europe, most countries deliberately singled out minorities and stopped them from assimilating. Socially, only the most liberal elements of society were tolerant enough to consider intermarriage. Much of society (and this goes for Jewish social circles too) considered marrying outside your social circle a big no-no, whether religious or class. There may have been an opportunity for someone who really wanted to, that they could escape the pigeon-hole society put them in during the early 20th century in the big cities, but that certainly wasn't the majority of the population.

And until the Nazis took over, there was not even a great motivation to assimilate especially to the point of being unidentifiable. First, everyone knew who/what you were in those limited social circles, and things had actually loosened up enough that there was hope for an open society, even if it wasn't the (allegedly) tolerant society we have here today - so no great motivation.

If someone had told them in say, 1900 or 1880 "Shitstorm coming in 1940" maybe the persecuted minorities could have made an better effort to hide. But they didn't know until it was too late.
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Old 07-09-2019, 03:30 PM
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. If it was possible for Jewish Germans to assimilate and make themselves not targets it's a valid and compelling thing to do.


[incoherent rage]

I'll try to get it into coherent form. But it might take a while; and I might not bother, as in any case I thought I'd already managed it, in post #3 in this thread. This appears to not be just a matter of plain ignorance on your part.


(My father's side of the family, by the way, lost some 40 members; though in Poland.)
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Old 07-09-2019, 04:01 PM
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By the way, thought of a new analogy for those who keep falsely claiming I am apologizing for the Nazis.

Everyone knows you would be an utter moron to take a tourist visit to North Korea. This doesn't make one a "Kim Jong" apologist to give that advice. Don't be an idiot. Don't voluntarily go to North Korea, even if you intend to be on your best behavior. Their government can just lie and claim you committed some crime and kill you.

You will not be treated fairly and there is no higher authority.

So, "avoiding North Korea" would be similar to advice to "GTFO if you're Jewish from Nazi Germany". Doesn't make one an apologist. Nazis and north Koreans are still criminals.

Last edited by SamuelA; 07-09-2019 at 04:03 PM.
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