BBC Exclusive: – Germany’s Jewish soldiers who fought in Hitler’s Army
BBC Exclusive: – Germany’s Jewish soldiers who fought in Hitler’s Army
According to the BBC’s logic historians should question the extent of anti-Jewish
discrimination in Nazi Germany!
can only be described as a BBC propaganda piece on behalf of Israel’s claim
that there is equality between Jews and Arabs, the BBC today showed a programme’ Israel’s Arab Warriors on BBC Arabic
TV. The clear implication was that if Palestinians
were prepared to fight to the Israeli state it must be because it is a State of
equality between Jews and Palestinians rather than being a State of systematic racist
The army unit where Hermann Bendheim served in WWI. Credit Udi Bendheim
Why the Arabs are even allowed to serve in the
West Bank and share the privilege of participating in the occupation and repression of their own people. It is noticeable, by way of contrast,
that the BBC have never shown a programme which focussed on the inequality and
racism in Israeli society.
puff piece for the programme breathlessly tells us that ‘Over six months a BBC Arabic documentary team gained extraordinary
access to the Gadsar – an all-Arab unit of 500 within the Israeli Defence Force.’ Quite why it is extraordinary the BBC didn’t
say, since such a programme was in the interests of Israeli hasbara.
fact there is nothing new at all in racist states employing members of
minorities or, in the case of South Africa the majority Black population. The South Africa Defence Forces included
large numbers of Black and Coloured soldiers and the Police force was almost
equally divided between Black and White.
Of course the senior ranks were reserved for the White population just
as in the Israeli army the most senior ranks are almost exclusively Jewish despite
the Druze population having served in the Israeli Occupation Forces for years. [see The
Use of Blacks in the South African Armed Forces by Kenneth W. Grundy
Corbin, who has form on the question of Palestine/Israel (having previously
done a piece justifying Israel’s murderous attack on the Mavi Marmara – see Jane Corbin –
the BBC’s Prostitute of the Airwaves) tells us, in a section entitled ‘Aid to integration’ that ‘
On the Gadsar base Mahmud and the other new recruits take
the oath of allegiance to Israel. His parents and fiancee are there to see him
swear on the Koran as he is given his own gun.
“I’m proud of him –
this is his choice and we back him. We are happy and he is happy,” says
his father, Jamil Kashua.
at home in an Arab town in northern Israel there is a barbeque in Mahmud’s
honour. But he will only wear his uniform when he is in the family compound. “A few guys saw me
wearing the uniform and told me that I’m a traitor. I told them that’s my own
business but I don’t care what others say,” Mahmud says. “If I’m a traitor then
why is he living in this state?”
Indeed. Why is his detractor living in a Jewish state and criticising it at the same time?Corbin tells us that ‘In contrast to
many of his friends Mahmud gets a good salary as a soldier. Unlike Jewish
recruits he can apply for a grant of land to set up his own home.’ What we are not told is that his Jewish compatriots
have no need for a grant of land since it is theirs anyway as Israeli Jews. And just to emphasise the point, the BBC
helpfully quotes Jamil as saying that ‘“Guys
who go to the army have a good position and live comfortably,” says Jamil.
“The army supports them financially and their lives move forward.” Such
is the way of collaborators.
Haneen Zoabi MK
Israeli Palestinians the participation of Palestinians in the IOF is a source
of shame not pride, an example of collaboration with the enemy. As Haneen Zoabi, Balad member of the Knesset
(who the Zionists are trying to remove) said:
“Ninety per cent of the Arabs who serve in
the Israeli army don’t have equality with Israelis. Israel does not need them
to protect its security, it’s a political issue – first to divide and rule.”
It is, as Haneen Zoabi explains because “Fifty-two to 54% of our Palestinian people in Israel are under the
poverty line – and the government’s policy of creating poverty obliges people
to look for the only solution they can.”
is the point the BBC deliberately skates over.
Becoming collaborators in the Israeli army won’t make Arabs equal with
Jewish citizens of what is a Jewish supremacist state.
As Mohammed Ayashi, says ‘”Sometimes
its hard because I am an Arab like them and they look down on me but in the end
I am doing my job and I have to do this,” Mohammed says. “Some people from the way they answer
us you can tell they can’t stand us – they look down on us with contempt.”
‘In the end I’m doing my job’ how many war crimes have taken place
under this rubric? Wasn’t that Eichman’s
defence in his trial in 1961?
Finnish Jewish soldiers outside a field synagogue a few miles from German troops
it wasn’t for the war between Britain and Nazi Germany and if TV had been
available, we could have expected a BBC feature that could have been broadcast
at the beginning of Operation Barbarossa on the extent of Jewish participation
in the German army.
television had been around in 1941 then we can confidently expect that the BBC,
true to its mission of impartiality, would have reported on the phenomenon of
the Jewish soldiers who served either in or for the Jewish army, as the
following story demonstrates.
As Wiki explains: ‘Goldberg’s story formed part of the 2006
documentary Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers,
a 58-minute film produced by Larry Price in association with the Israel Broadcasting Authority. Price
was inspired by the 2002 book Hitler’s
Jewish Soldiers by Bryan
Goldberg featured in an episode of the Yesterday TV series Nazi Collaborators,
first screened in the UK in December 2010.
at least in Goldberg’s case, the BBC rightly described him as a
collaborator. In the case of Israel’s
army, those Palestinians who collaborate are considered heroes.
was Finland alone as far as Jewish soldiers were concerned. Hungary, a Nazi ally, was the only Axis
country to send Jewish troops to the Eastern front [Hannah Arendt, Eichmann, The Banality of Evil, p. 195.
Leo Skurnik, a Jewish medical officer (second row, second from right), was awarded an Iron Cross
Ideal German Soldier”
hardly any people in the world is the instinct of self-preservation developed
more strongly than in the so called “chosen.”…What people, finally,
has gone through greater upheavals than this one – and nevertheless issued from
the mightiest catastrophes of mankind unchanged? What an infinitely tough will
to live and preserve the species from these facts.”
Unteroffizier Dieter Bergmann wrote to his Jewish grandmother, Elly Landesberg
The Jewish Blankett brothers, who all fought for Finland
“Don’t you realize how much
I’m with my whole being rooted in Germany. My life would be very sad without my
homeland, without the wonderful German art, without the belief in Germany’s
powerful past and the powerful future that awaits Germany. Do you think that I
can tear that all out of my heart?…Don’t I also have an obligation to my
parents, to my brother who showed his love to our Fatherland by dying a hero’s
death on the battlefield….Someday, I want to be a German amongst Germans and no
longer a second-class citizen only because my wonderful mother is Jewish.”5
“Under traditional Jewish
law, a child born to a Jewish mother, no matter whom the father may have been,
is Jewish…. I am confused…. Who is a Jew? What is a Jew? When are you a Jew?
What if you do not want to be a Jew? Can we choose?”
Nuremberg Laws, as they became known, did not define a “Jew” as
someone with particular religious beliefs. Instead, anyone who had three or
four Jewish grandparents was defined as a Jew, regardless of whether that
individual identified himself or herself as a Jew or belonged to the Jewish
religious community. Many Germans who had not practiced Judaism for years found
themselves caught in the grip of Nazi terror. Even people with Jewish
grandparents who had converted to Christianity were defined as Jews.”6
Leo Skurnik, left, and Salomon Klass
of a clear legal method of defining who was Jewish had, however, allowed some Jews
to escape some forms of discrimination aimed at them. The enactment of laws
identifying who was Jewish made it easier for the Nazis to enforce legislation
restricting the basic rights of German Jews….
Nurmberg Laws, intended to define who is a Jew and who is an Aryan, were deeply
flawed. They were flawed, not just because of the “racial” separation
they were intended to create between the Jew and the non-Jew, but because they
failed to make clear what to do with the Mischlings.
word Mischling means ‘half-caste, mongrel or hybrid’….The term was first
applied to people with one black and one white parent in Germany’s African
colonies. Some Germans at the time called these children the ‘Rehoboth
bastards.’ In the 1920’s, when French colonial soldiers had affairs with women
in German territories they occupied, the children who resulted were called
Mischling. Hitler believed that the Jews brought these French Blacks to Germany
to destroy the ‘White Race.’
the Nuremberg Laws created two new “racial” categories: the half-Jew
(Jewish Mischling first degree), and the quarter –Jew (Jewish Mischling second
degree). A half-Jew had two Jewish grandparents; a quarter –Jew had one. Since
Nazi racial policy declared anyone of the Jewish religion a full Jew regardless
of ancestry, most were by definition Christians.”
the advent of Nazi rule in 1933, the process of assimilation came to a halt,
but the results of that assimilation, namely Mischlings, confounded many Nazis.
were confused about Mischlings, since they were both Jewish and German. Adolf
Eichmann, SS-Obersturmbannfueher and chief of the Jewish Evacuation Office of
the Gestapo, acknowledged that the unclear racial position of Mischling
temporarily protected them. For the Nazis, Mischling were also half or
three-quarters German, and thus 50 percent or 75 percent valuable.”7
confused status of the Mischling resulted in confused responses. Werner Eisner,
a half-Jew and severely wounded Wehrmacht veteran was deported to Auschwitz for
sleeping with an Aryan. Dr. Hans Serelman, a German Jew, was also sent to a
concentration camp. His crime, he donated his own blood to save a non-Jewish
practice Mischlings German citizenship was stripped away. They were denied
access to certain universities for advanced degrees including medicine and law.
They were denied access to recreational facilities and civilian jobs.
Mischlings were denied positions of authority over Aryans. They were excluded
from some churches, even
though they were baptized Christians. They were
“The Evangelische Landeskirche officially announced that “racially
Jewish Christians have no place and no rights’ as members in the Protestant
Jewish, or only 25% Jewish, did not protect the Mischlings. Growing
“racial” restrictions on Mischlings slowly constructed a bleak
future. The sudden grouping of the Mischling with the Jew logically should have
created a common link of sympathy and mutual support between the Mischling and
the Jew. It did not.
Mischlings did not identify with the Jewish community. Many had grown up as
baptized Christians and even were themselves very anti-Semitic. They preferred
to think of themselves as normal, as part of the whole of German fabric, as
part of the “Volk”. Their language, their culture, the societal
relationships and schooling all had been German. Even for those who grew up
knowing that they had had a parent who was Jewish, they preferred not be left
behind and identified as Jewish. They yearned, worked and did everything within
their capabilities to prove themselves as good, loyal members of the Germanic
peoples. They needed to show the German world that their German blood was the
dominant force that flowed in their veins.
other hand, the pure Germans without the taint of Jewish blood, kept a closer
eye on the Mischling. They kept an eyeto see if any of the corrupting
influence of Jewish blood showed itself.
one of the ways for Jews to prove themselves more German than Jewish was to
fight for the “Fatherland”.
had served in the German and Austrian armies during World War I. Tens of
thousands had died in that conflict, laying down their lives for the Kaiser and
the Emperor. A large number of Jews rose to officer ranks, especially in the
Austrian army. Thousands of Jews, in both armies, were decorated for bravery
with the highest honors. Service in the armed forces, during World War I, had
been a way for the Jew to gain access to greater acceptance, opportunity and to
prove their loyalty to everything Germanic.
Nazi political and war machine rumbled into life and rearmament, only fifteen
years after the end of World War I, existence for the Jew and the Mischling
became more threatening, more tenuous. For the full Jew, little could be done
in the “racist” mania of authoritarian Germany. The Mischling faced a
paradox. “During the war, many felt torn between the desire to belong,
regain some of their lost pride, and protect themselves and their families
through military service and the realization that to do so, they had to serve
Half-Jew Horst Geitner
service, in the early years of the war, protected them from the Gestapo. Ilse
Korner wrote of her deceased husband, half-Jew and Lieutenant Hans Joachim
Korner, ‘He wanted to distinguish himself through his bravery and willingness
to fight as a soldier and thus, escape the persecution of the Nazis’…… their
sense of pride made them seek every opportunity to be like everyone else.
believed their meritorious service would convince their comrades and society to
accept them as “normal.”9
Mischlings disproportionally risked their lives on the battlefield to prove
themselves to their comrades, officers and Nazi masters. Many were decorated
with Nazi Germany’s highest military honors, including 20 who received the Ritterkreuz.10
soldier Helmut Kruger’s mother was Jewish. “He did all he could to prove
his loyalty to Germany by showing his bravery in battle. He won the EKII, the
EKI, and the Golden Wound Badge. His brother, Reinhardt, claimed that he was
brave soldier only because he was a Mischling fearing to be called a
“cowardly Jew (feiger Jude)’.
ironic paradox; ‘Kruger stated that if it was not for his Jewish mother he
would have joined the Party and the SS.”11
status greatly restricted upward mobility in German society and in the army.
Mischlings, with the cooperation of their families, sought to change the
official classification of who they were. They wanted to be recognized as
Germans. One of the methods was to obtain legal waivers, Genehmigungs,
granted by German officialdom – a toleration of their Mischling status because
of their particular service and benefit to the Reich. The most sought after
legal solution to Mischling disqualifications was for a legal review and
determination of pure blood, racially untainted with Jewish blood, the
Goering had said it was he who decided who was a Jew or not. The reality, the
decision as to who ultimately was a Jew could only be granted by Adolf Hitler.
Hitler reviewed each situation personally. With the Deutschblutigkietserkarung
, formerly classified Mischlings were cleared of any Jewish taint. They could
and did advance to high administrative and military positions.
Half –Jew Field Marshall Erhard Milch
1933 Frau Clara Milch went to her son-in-law, Fritz Heinrich Hermann, police president
of Hagen and later S.S. general, and gave him an affidavit stating that her
deceased uncle, Carl Brauer, rather than her Jewish husband Anton Milch, had
fathered her six children. After SA Colonel Theo Croneiss denounced (Erhard)
to Goering, Goering took Milch’s mother’s affidavit to Hitler. In 1935, Hitler
accepted the mother’s testimony and instructed Goering to have Dr. Kurt Meyer,
head of the Reich Office for Genealogy Research, complete the paperwork. On 7
August 1935, Goering wrote Meyer to change Milch’s father in his documents and
issue him papers certifying his pure Aryan descent. After the war, according to
one Goering’s interrogators, John E. Dolibois, Goering was proud of his action
to help half Jew Milch remain in Luftwaffe…. Milch became a Field Marshall who
ran the Luftwaffe – in charge of planning, production and strategy.
number of former Mischlings rose to high rank: 2 Field Marshals, 15 Generals, 2
full Generals, 8 Lieutenant Generals, and 5 Major Generals. Former Mischling
were Nazi party members – 4 were full Jews, 15 were half Jews and 7 were
estimated 150,000 Mischlings, half Jews and quarter Jews, in the Nazi armies,
most never rose to officer levels.
soldier Joachim Lowen told his story. “My own brother (Heinz) went to the
Gestapo and claimed that our mother was a slut and had been a prostitute. The
Gestapo reviewed our case and declared us Deutschblutig (of German
blood).” Mother was destroyed – Heinz died on the Russian front, he was a
oberscharfuher of the Waffen SS.”14
Mischlings and their families refused to abandon their own but were abandoned
by the Jewish world. Of the many ironies of life in pre-Nazi and during the 12
years of Nazi Germany’s existence, Jewish attitudes towards the Mischling were
equally confused. Bryan Mark Rigg, the noted historian, in his book, Hitler’s
Children, interviewed 1,671 Mischlings. 60% were Halachicly Jewish. He
commented about those who had Jewish self identification:
with Jewish fathers were more likely to feel a connection with Judaism than
those with Jewish mothers, who by Halakah were Jews. This fact shows that
Halacha in many respects was out of step with social reality – namely, that a
father’s religious convictions influenced a child’s upbringing more than the
mother’s did. Perhaps this was because of the generally patriarchal nature of
most German households. This corroborated by the fact that most in this study
who were circumcised had Jewish fathers. “15
traditional values frowned on intermarriage.
Kopp remembered how, on the few occasions he saw him during the 1920’s and
early 1930’s, his Jewish grandfather, Louis Kaulbars, hit him with a whip and
called him goy. Although he had a Jewish mother, his grandfather did not
consider him Jewish. One day his grandmother protested this treatment, telling
her husband, “That’s our daughter Helen’s child!” The grandfather
replied, “No that’s Wilhelm’s goy!” My soul was damaged, Kopp said in
1995. Mother died in 1925, he went to live with his Jewish aunt and uncle. He
attended orthodox school, and had a belated bris. He entered the Wehrmacht in
resources to aide Jews within Germany became strained, Jewish responses became
twisted as well.
the youthful Hannah Klewansky went ot the Gestapo office on the November
morning after Reichskristallnacht. In 1938, to inquire where the Nazis had
taken her Jewish father Eugen, a sign informed her that the Jewish Community
Center was processing such inquiries. She went there and waited in a long line
of anxious people looking for loved ones. When her turn arrived, the Jewish
secretary got out her family’s file. “Is your father Christian?”
Hannah answered that yes he was a converted Jew. Then the official asked if she
was Jewish. She answered that her mother was not Jewish and that she herself
had been raised Christian. The secretary then sent Hannah away saying, “We
don’t deal with your kind.” Hannah then boldly returned to the Gestapo to
ask how she could locate her father. The officer took her to a back room where
two SS men were playing cards. The officer asked the men if they like what they
saw and left. “They raped her.”17
for the Mischlings, the war ended with Germany’s defeat. Hitler had planned to
exterminate them, completely cleansing the German blood line after
German victory. The surviving Mischlings returned home. They all, like the
general population of Germany and Europe, claimed to have known nothing of the
Holocaust. Many of the Mischlings were aware of rumors and stories. They had to
know something as their own families were exterminated. Uniformly, they chose
to know or acknowledge nothing. None admitted to being involved in atrocities
against Jews. None admitted to being involved in atrocities but some of the
highest ranking Mischlings were very aware of the murders and even
administratively aided the logistics of the processes.
Mischlings, the return home was as confused and difficult as it had been to be
part of the Nazi story itself.
the war Mischlings tried to learn about their Jewish ancestry. (Some fought for
Israel in the War of Independence.) Some converted, many visited Israel,
Half-Jew Werner Eisner’s son Mijail (Michael) not only immigrated to Israel but
also served in the Israeli army. He must have converted, since his mother was
not only not Jewish, but was a daughter of an S.S. man.”18
Hanns Rehfeld told Riggs:
have been discriminated against in my life for three things I could do nothing
about. First, my Jewish relatives discriminated against me because I had a
Christian mother (Schickse). Secondly, the Germans discriminated against me because
I had a Jewish father. And (after the war), when I worked in the foreign
service for many years, people discriminated against me because I was a German
(i.e., I must be a Nazi.). – His father died in a Gestapo prison.”19
legacy and the Nazi thinking continued to cloud many Mischlings views of Jews.
Walter Schonewald “A Jew is only a religion; everything else is Hitler;
everything else is racism. “Schonewald claimed that Israel has its own
racial laws in that rabbinical courts prevent marriages between Jews and
non-Jews and do not recognize the Reform or Conservative movements.”20
footnotes noted that some orthodox Jews had welcomed the Nazi Nuremberg Laws as
they prevented intermarriage and assimilation.
of their experiences with some religious Jews, many Mischling blame Orthodox
Jews for anti-Semitism. Quarter Jew Fritz Binder claimed that Orthodox Jews, by
maintaining they are the only ones with have found the “truth” and
that their “lifestyle is the best, are just as bad as the Nazis.”
Half-Jew Bergmann said, “The fact that the religious Jews pray each day
and thank God that He did not make them gentiles is disgusting.” Quarter
Jew Horst von Oppenfeld, a descendant of the Jewish Oppenheim family, who was a
captain and an adjutant to Stauffenberg, said that Orthodox Jews experience so
many problems because they do not assimilate. “Their problem” he
claims “is due to the fact that they want to be different. Consequently,
many Mischling avoid contact with very religious Jews.” 21
“many Mischling, especially in Vienna, refused to meet, stating that they
had not discussed their past even with their own families and saw no reason to
do so…Some still fear that people will reject them once they learn they are
“partially” Jewish. For example, Rolf Zelter, whose 75 percent Jewish
father Obergefreiter Joachim Zelter fought on the Russian front, found out
about his Jewish past after the war. When he confronted his mother, she quickly
told him, “Don’t let your children know. It can only cause them
problems.” For the Zelters, like many families documented in this study,
Jewish ancestry should simply be concealed and forgotten.”22
American Christian – Jewish intermarriage rates are near 50%. There are an estimated
400,000+ children living in households of mixed religious backgrounds. The
numbers are estimated because, as was explained by the director of a major
Northeastern United States Jewish Federation director, when asked how do you
know how many Jews are there in your State, he said “we guesstimate.”
do you mean – guesstimate?”
a household joins Federation and says they are Jewish we assume that both
mother and father are Jewish.”
do you know?”
don’t. We don’t ask.”
problem of Jewish identity in Israel is extremely murky, especially since
800,000 Russians immigrated in the 1990’s and 2000’s. Many of the Russian
immigrants to Israel came because of Israel’s Right of Return Law. With little
doubt many of the Russian immigrants could not clearly and conclusively prove
they were Jewish – being born of a Jewish mother. Many arrived only knowing, or
claiming, that they had one grandparent that was Jewish. The resultant
“don’t ask, don’t tell” policy has severely disrupted inter-Jewish
relations in Israel. It has added significantly to present and future tensions
for Jewish marriage, divorce and life cycle events such as death and burial
which are controlled by the Orthodox Rabbinate.
the terrible tragedy happened more than ten years ago, the story still
resonates within Israel today.
debate over burials has gone on in Israel for years, picking up steam in the
early 1990s with the wave of Soviet immigration. The Israel Religion Action
Center estimates that 150,000 to 200,000 of the 700,000 new arrivals are not
the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that cemetery lands should be allotted for
people unwilling or unable to meet the requirements of the Orthodox burials. A
Knesset bill last year made a similar directive.
development of alternative cemeteries has been stalled by staunch resistance
from the Orthodox rabbinate.
religious establishment is afraid that the stronghold of Orthodoxy will
dissipate rapidly if alternatives are offered,” said Rabbi Regev of the
Religious Action Center.
“They want to control everything that is Jewish.”
arose in 1993 over the burial of Lev Pisahov, an Israel army corporal killed by
Hamas terrorists at a checkpoint. Initially buried outside a Jewish cemetery,
his body was moved inside after then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin intervened.
Last year, when a 19-month-old killed in a car accident was about to be buried
in the town of Sderot, an Orthodox rabbi disrupted the funeral, demanding that
the grave be dug outside the cemetery because the boy’s mother was not