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Old July 11th, 2018, 03:26 PM   #1

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Converts to Judaism during Third Reich

How were Jewish converts treated in the German Reich (1933 to 1943)? I am referring to those who were considered 'racially Aryan' (and without a Jewish mother or Jewish grandparents), but were religiously and culturally Jewish. Specifically, were they accepted by Jewish communities? Were they rejected by the general public? And was there any law directed at converts? I guess I am confused because Nazism defined Jewishness through its pseudo-scientific racial policy, but Jewishness also pertains to a culture and a religion.
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Old July 11th, 2018, 03:58 PM   #2
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The Nuremburg Laws banned marriage between non-Jewish Germans and Jews. Sexual relations between members of the two groups were also banned. Apparently violation of either ban was grounds for being sent to a concentration camp (probably not an extermination camp). I haven't found anything that says if the laws were retroactive or not. Did they only ban new marriages or did they also ban marriages that had been consumated many years in the past?

You are correct that the Nazis did not define Judaism as a religious or cultural practice. They defined it by genealogy. Anyone with Jewish grandparents was Jewish under the law. Initially it was three or more Jewish grandparents. Later it was reduced to as little as one grandparent made a person Jewish. This defined many people as Jews who had never been in a temple or had never done anything else specifically Jewish. If parents or grandparents had converted to Christianity and the child or grandchild had been raised thoroughly Christian they could still be defined as Jewish. A Jewish grandparent was anyone born into a Jewish community so even converted grandparents still made the grandchild Jewish.

I did come across a reference that during the Nazi era German rabbis had actively discouraged anyone converting to Judaism. I'm sure it still occurred.

But I haven't found any mention of Nazi policy toward recently converted Jews. Given the Nazi fixation on race and genealogy, it's possible that converted Jews slipped through the cracks.
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Old July 12th, 2018, 04:04 PM   #3

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This is a very interesting question. I'm interested in learning what people have to say.
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