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Did some Jews vote for Hitler?


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Answered 2011-01-02 01:51:02

Most German Jews were patriotic Germans, especially the families of those who fought in World War I. Berlin had tens of thousands of Jews living there in the 1930s, and some Jews undoubtedly supported NSDAP candidates.

However, by 1933, Jewish professionals were boycotted, and the Nuremberg laws of 1935 deprived them of the vote. In any case voting in Nazi Germany became meaningless after the rise of Hitler. The Nazis, in particular, would not have wanted any connection with the Jews.

A few Jews, however, served and won honors fighting for Hitler, notably Erhard Milch (FM Oberkommando der Luftwaffe) and Emile Maurice (Schutzstaffel party #2 Begleitkommando/Leibstandarte). There were members of the Wehrmacht who were either Mischling or full-blood Jews who held the Ritterkreuz (Knights Cross- the Wehrmacht's [Heer, Luftwaffe, and Kriegsmarine] highest military award for gallantry in battle), some upgraded with swords and oakleafs.

German Jews Between the Wars

Many practising and non-practicing German Jews had assimilated into German culture fought gallantly and bravely during the First World War. Some were awarded the Blue Max - the Pour Le Merite. In the process, roughly 12000 Jewish Germans died fighting for the Kaiser and Germany. After the war, many of the veteran German Jews identified themselves as German nationalists, and were disheartened by what they perceived as an unfair and unjust punishment cast on Germany in the form of the Treaty Of Versailles as well as the French/Belgian occupation of the Ruhr in 1923. During the interwar years, the Weimar era, Germany was in a state of anarchy. Various groups fought and vied for power. Communists clashed with Socialists, Nationalists clashed with Communists and Germany experienced hyper-inflation.

Most Germans chose sides, with many of the Jewish WW1 veterans siding with the Nationalists who eventually morphed into the National Socialists. Great War Veterans were a proud group of patriots, comprised of veterans from all walks of German life. During this time, the Freikorps arose and was like wise comprised of many WW1 vets, including many Jews. The Friekorps were mostly Germans who identified themselves as patriotic nationalists, and were comprised of Germans representing all religions : Lutherans from Prussia, Roman Catholics from Bavaria and Jews from the various states in the Weimar Republic. Many members of the Freikorps (but not all) went on to side with the Workers Party which eventually gave rise to the National Socialists (it must be understood that the FreiKorps and Ehrhardt did not support Hitler and Ludendorf during the "Beer Hall Putsch" (Hitler-Ludendorff-Putsch) and the subsequent events which transpired at the Mareinplatz). Although the early National Socialists preached moderate anti-semitism (something that Jews had experienced for centuries in Europe), many patriotic Jews threw in their support to the "cause", believing the anti-semitic rhetoric was nothing more than what they had experienced in the past, and believed this rhetoric to be innocuous. The German Jewish Veterans Association worked to ease some of this anti-semitism through campaigns to convince the German public they identified themselves as culturally German, not culturally Jewish.

Germany was a powder keg during the Weimar era. The NSDAP was successful in capturing seats in the Reichstag because the German citizenry were scared by the social unrest, were upset by the Treaty of Versailles, and Germans believed the Nazi Party would offer the ability to regain German pride, and restore order in the country. Counted among the citizens who voted for the party were many Jews. It wasn't until 1935 and the Nuremberg Race Laws were enacted did the Jewish population as a whole realize what was actually happening. The SA bullied Jews and the 1938 Kristallnacht cemented the future of what was to come in Germany. Still, German Jewish veterans believed that their association with Nationalism (and their heroic service during the Great War) would be considered and they wouldn't be victimized by Nazism and the Nuremberg Laws.

So many German Jews supported the NSDAP in the early days. And a number of full-blood Jews remained in the service of the Reich, holding positions in the Wehrmacht high-command, and other positions in government even in spite of the Nuremberg Laws. Mischlings (which literally translates to half-breed) often practiced aspects of Judaism as well as Roman Catholicism/Protestantism and were active in all forms during the Reich. The vast majority of German Mischlings were exempted from the Nuremberg laws and persecution. However, it would be remiss, and a complete distortion of historical fact not to explain that in the occupied regions of the Sudetenland, Annexed Austria, occupied Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, and the Western Soviet Caucasus, Jews, regardless of religious affiliation and regardless of their status as Mischlings, were subject to the Holocaust. Non-Jewish spouses of Jews (Roman Catholics, etc.) in the occupied areas were viewed by the Reich as "Jewish", as were Mischlings of any percentage, and again subject to the Nazi pogroms. A distinction existed during this tumultuous time between German Jews and Mischlings as opposed to Jews and Mischlings of other nationalities. This was another example of the endemic sickness of German National Socialist policy.

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This issue has caused historical debate for decades since the war. It's also an issue which is uncomfortable for many to discuss. For a better understanding of what transpired in this complex issue, the curious are encouraged to consult the historical research by Mark Rigg and Ian Kershaw. There are autobiographies of Germans who served the Reich : Milch, Speer and so forth.

Comments

1. A few German Jews 'of mixed race' (half or quarter Jews) applied for 'Aryanization', and a small number of applications were accepted. The number of Jews accepted to the Germany Army in World War 2 (forbidden to Jews in 1935) was a drop in the ocean given the size of the German army. 'Full Jews' (as defined by the Nuremberg Laws, that is people with three or four Jewish grandparents) were rarely accepted into the German armed forces by the Nazis.

2. Some German Jews had been brought up to be '101% German'. A very small number of these were initially attracted to Nazism. One such example is the educator Kurt Hahn (1886-1974). However, by 1933 he saw what the Nazis were really like; he saw stormtroopers viciously beating up opponents in the street. He criticized them, was briefly imprisoned, and on his release fled to Britain. These experiences were a rude awakening for him, to put it mildly.

4. As for claims that any significant number of German 'half Jews' practised some mixture of Judaism and Christianity, that is so fantastical that it needs backing with really hard evidence.

5. The Nazis did not want Jews as supporters, let alone as party members.

6. As far as Mark Rigg's work is concerned it has been said that he dashed into print too early ... In other words, much more work has still to be done on the subject.

Notable among Jewish World War I veterans

Helmuth Wilberg, an early aviation warfare pioneer and soldier during the First World War, was an architect of the tactics of "Blitzkrieg" as well as helping the National Socialist government develop the Luftwaffe after Hitler's assumption of power. (Goring made sure that Wilberg was exempt from racial targeting and from the Nuremberg laws).

Did some Jew's vote for Hitler,

I need to double check but there were about 100,000 thousand Jews, half-Jews and more over self hating Jews that supported Hitler either from racial beliefs or out of fear of others.

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