The Mischlinge: The Forgotten Victims of The Holocaust

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Those of half and quarter Jewish descent remain largely forgotten in the history of the Third Reich and genocide of the Holocaust. Known as Mischlinge, persons of deemed “mixed blood” or “hybrid” status faced extensive persecution and alienation within German society and found themselves in the crosshairs of a rampant National Socialist racial ideology. Controversially, these people proved somewhat difficult to define under Nazi law that sought to cleave the Volk from the primarily Jewish “other”, and as the mechanization toward Hitler’s “Final Solution” the Mischlinge faced probable annihilation. The somewhat neglected status of Mischlinge necessitates a refocusing on German racialization as well as reconsideration of the implications wrought by the alienation and ultimate persecution of the thousands of half and quarter Jews subjugated in Nazi Germany.

An exploration of Jewish mixed blood status in Nazi Germany renders a brief history of anticipatory racial conceptions leading up to the Third Reich. The use of Mischlinge as well as other labels intended to denote mixed blood naturally evolved out of well-established racial conceptions central to Germany and the Third Reich ideology. This ideology, which existed as “an uneasy fusion of different strands of racial elitism and popularism,” defined persons as according to not only their Rasse or racial identity, but also membership of the German people or Volk (Hutton 15, 18). The idea of the Volk denoted not only shared language and heritage as well as right of citizenship, but the ordained right to inhabit German lands. Above all, this idea concerned triumphant unification of a German people perceived to be under threat of dissolution by ethnic and religious groups such as the R...

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