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Intermarried Jews in German Reich

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  • Gertrud Schulze (1877 - d.)
    May 1939 at Berlin address, the only SCHULZE: Deported Jan 1944 to Theresienstadt; liberated:
  • Ewald Lewin (1893 - 1945)
    Sterbe: May 1939 at Berlin address, with wife + daughter Kaete: He JJJJ, wife NNNN (christian), daughter JJNN. Daughter not deported. Bundesarchiv Gedenkbuch: Lewin, Ewald
  • Erna Günther (1894 - d.)
    Married 1917. May 1939 at Berlin address, with husband + daughter Margot: She is JJJJ, husband NNNN (christian). No deportation or emigration information. We make the assumption she survived.
  • Berta Braunsdorf (1881 - 1942)
    Married 1909. May 1939 at Berlin address, with husband: She JJJJ, he christian (NNNN). He dies 1940. Bundesarchiv Gedenkbuch: Braunsdorf, Berta name at birth Lewin born on the 18th April 1881 in...
  • Schmul Biwalski (1852 - 1923)
    Heirat_1880: Sterbe:

Jewish persons marrying "outside the faith" was far from uncommon in the Germany of the Reich, 1871-1945.

This is a Wikipedia page on the subject:

As an indication of the scale of intermarriage..... The introduction to the Bundesarchiv Gedenkbuch notes that "The Reich Statistical Office reported that, at the time of the [17 May 1939] census, the analysis showed 330,892 “full Jews” [this would have included intermarried Jews] (“Volljuden”), 72,738 Jews of “mixed race, 1st degree”.. [the children of intermarried Jews] and 42,811 Jews of “mixed race, 2nd degree” ... [the grandchildren of intermarried Jews]." These numbers include Austria, Sudetenland and Saarland.

The project aims to assemble profiles for a sizeable number of jewish persons who married christian persons between 1871 and 1945. This may help someone to understand this "phenomenon" a little better. The approach that I am following is to apply the "Project Badge" to the jewish person in the marriage. And I also apply the "Project Badge" to any children of that marriage who were themselves deported.

The main sources of information are:

  1. Marriage certificates up to early 1920, when the German form had a section for the religion of each person.
  2. Information from the 17 May 1939 supplementary census cards, in Mapping the Lives. This shows the "race" classification of each person. 'JJJJ' signifies 4 jewish grandparents; 'NNNN' signifies that no jewish grandparents (ie christian); NNJJ signifies jewish grandparents on the mother's side only; NNJN signifies only mother's father is jewish; etc..

Robert Tomski
30 May 2023

Emerging themes:
1) 1945 deportations
Towards the end of the Second World War, the Jewish partners of "mixed marriages" were persecuted more and more frequently. In mid-January 1945, the Reich Security Main Office issued a decree that all Jews living in mixed marriages were to be taken to the Theresienstadt concentration camp for "work assignments". This decree was issued to all offices of the Gestapo. From mid-February to March 1945, 2,600 Jews from mixed marriages were deported there.

Note: Mapping The Lives shows a total of 1636 persons deported to Theresienstadt in Feb and March 1945. Of these, 34 persons show a death date before the end of WW2. The great majority of the Intermarried jews deported at this time survived.

2) Divorces
Many of these mixed marriages ended in divorce; often within a small number of years.
Whether that divorce rate is higher than for jewish-jewish marriages, and by how much, is unclear.
There was a significant level of divorce in jewish-jewish marriages in the twentieth century.

3) Sticking Together
Despite pressures / inducements from Nazi officialdom to end mixed marriages, the sample of profiles shows that many christians in mixed marriages in the mid-1930s did resist these pressures.

4) Emigration
In a few instances we see the christian spouse emigrating with their jewish partner. But in the great majority of mixed marriages at May 1939 the couple stayed in Germany.
Of Jews who stayed in Germany and survived the holocaust, the substantial majority are likely to be intermarried Jews.

5) Risks
Death of the christian partner greatly increased the risk of deportation and murder for the jewish spouse.
The children of the marriage also became more vulnerable to deporation; albeit few deaths arise in the profiles we have collected.