Microcosms of the Holocaust. Intermarried Families in Berlin, Vienna and Zagreb during the Time of Nazi Persecution

Chair: Heidemarie Uhl (Wien)

Donnerstag, 16. April 2020, 10:50–12:20, U 3

Nazi ideology rested on the imagined dichotomy of Aryan and Jewish. Therefore, intermarried families, who impeded the separation of Jews from their non-Jewish surroundings per definition, represented a permanent threat to the integrity of the Nazi regime. This “unsolved problem” played an important role at the infamous Wannsee conference 78 years ago. Internal differences within the Nazi party and concerns that Aryan family members would cause public unrest ultimately spared this group from the full force of radical measures applied to the rest of the Jewish population, even if plans for the inclusion of mixed families in the Final Solution were never abandoned. While many intermarried families therefore were able to survive, they nevertheless faced increasing persecution and threat of deportation. Focusing on the specific local context in Berlin, Vienna and Zagreb, this panel seeks to explore differences and similarities in the situation of intermarried families in these three cities.

The Dissolution of Intermarried Families in Berlin

Maria von der Heydt (Berlin)

While persecution measures generally acknowledged family ties in accordance with contemporary ideological concepts of “family”, mixed families encountered determined attempts to dissolve them: Aryan spouses were frequently pressured by local Nazi officials and family members to get a divorce. At the same time, non-Jewish family members often broke off contact – sometimes, however, only to disguise ongoing help. With the beginning of deportations, adult Geltungsjuden (children of intermarried families registered with the Jewish community) who did not live in the household of their non-Jewish parent were included in the deportation transports. Building on Beate Meyer’s work on the dissolution of intermarried families as result of Nazi persecution, I will examine survival strategies and everyday lives of intermarried families in Berlin, exploring how persecution effected immediate and extended kinship and how the experiences of persecution shaped family relations after the war.

Friends, Neighbors, Strangers: Everyday Lives of Intermarried Families and their Interactions with their Non-Jewish Environment During the Nazi Regime in Vienna

Michaela Raggam-Blesch (Wien)

In this presentation, I will focus on the everyday life of intermarried families in Vienna during the time of Nazi oppression – aiming to outline, how the Nazi take over affected these families in their day to day encounters with Gentiles as well as their relationships with friends and family members. Intermarried families navigated between Jewish and non-Jewish worlds, usually not fully belonging to any side. Thus, most of them experienced social isolation and a lacking sense of belonging, while others – mostly younger generations – sometimes found new forms of community. During the last years of the war their protection became more precarious and even trivial infractions against Nazi laws could lead to imprisonment and deportation. Since intermarried families did not officially learn about the key factors of their safeguarding, they were left to their own instincts on how to uphold their protection.

“Mixed Marriages” in Zagreb, 1941–1945

Naida-Michal Brandl (Zagreb)

This paper addresses families in “mixed marriages” in Zagreb during the Second World War. After the German occupation, The Independent State of Croatia (NDH) was proclaimed on April 10, 1941. Anti-Jewish measures were implemented swiftly and on April 30 the Racial laws were proclaimed, based on the Nuremberg Laws – with some slight modifications. As a result, Aryan spouses or parents, regardless of her/his present religious affiliation, were in general able to protect her/his family. Children of these marriages raised in the Jewish religion as well as those raised in Christian/Muslim religions were effectively treated the same. Honorary Aryans and Croat Mischlinge (half- and quarter-Jews), on the other hand, were supposed to eventually disappear through a complete biological assimilation. I will present part of the research in progress that aims to show structures of intermarried families and the shift in family dynamics during the racially shaped persecution in Zagreb.


Nach oben scrollen