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The Mischling LawsNOTE: Originally posted by Rivka on rec.arts.comic.marvel.xbooks.
UPDATE: 3-28-07 -- edited to bring material up to date, and to correct mistakes. Rivka
Nazi Germany and the Mischling Laws
These are rather odious in their racist detail, but there have been several questions regarding Magneto's ancestry and background in relation to his and his family's experiences during the Holocaust.
Here is the Nuremberg Law that defined a Jew, in 1935. (The First Regulation to the Reich Citizenship Law, dated Nov. 14, 1935.) From Raul Hilberg's THE DESTRUCTION OF EUROPEAN JEWS:
"Everyone was defined as a Jew who is (1) descended from at least three Jewish grandparents (full Jews and three-quarter Jews), or, (2) descended from two Jewish grandparents (half-Jews) and (a) belonged to the Jewish religious community on September 15, 1935, or joined the community on a subsequent date, or (b) was married to a Jewish person on September 15, 1935, or (c) was the offspring of a marriage contracted with a three-quarter or full Jew after the Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor had come into force (September 15, 1935), or (d) was the offspring of an extramarital relationshp wtih a three-quarter or a full Jew, and was born out of wedlock after July 31, 1936. For the determinaton of the grandparents, the presumption remained that the grandparent was Jewish if he or she belonged to the Jewish religious community.
"Defined not as a Jew but as an individual of "mixed Jewish blood" was (1) any person who descended from two Jewish grandparents (half-Jewish), but who (a) did *not* adhere (or adhered no longer) to the Jewish religion on September 15, 1935, and who did not join it at any subsequent time, and (b) was not married (or was married no longer) to a Jewish person on September 15, 1935, and who did not marry such a person at any subsequent time (such half-Jews were called Mischlinge of the first degree), and (2) any person descended from one Jewish grandparent (Mischling of the second degree). The designations "Mischling of the first degree" and "Mischling of the second degree" were not contained in the decree of November 14, 1935, but were added in a later ruling by the Ministry of Interior.
"In practice, therefore, Losener [the doctor who who wrote up all the anti-Jewish decrees for Hitler] had split the non-Aryans into two groups, Mischlinge and Jews. The Mischlinge were no longer sujected to the destruction process. They remained non-Aryan under the earlier decrees and continued to be affected by them, but subsequent measures were, on the whole, taken only against "Jews." Henceforth, the Mischlinge were left out."
The fate of the Mischlinge was debated off and on for the next couple of years. The problem for Hitler was, too many of the single-grandparent Jews had lots of German family members, who wouldn't sit quietly by if their relatives were shipped to death camps. So, the Mischlinge had to endure the Nurember Laws, and had to operate under certain restrictions. But, for example, they did not have to wear the Star of David, and they could come and go as they pleased (the Mischlinge of the second degree, that is).
At the Wannsee Conference, on Jan. 20, 1942, the Final Solution was decided on, for the Jews. The fate of the Mischlinge was addressed. But the Nazi hierarchy couldn't agree on a course of action. It was proposed, and almost decided, that the Mischlinge of the second degree, if they looked like Jews, or, "behaved" and "felt" like Jews, they would be deported as Jews. But the only thing all the Nazis agreed on, was that the best course of action for the Mischlinge was sterilization. Still, nothing was implemented. Meanwhile, of course, the Final Solution for Jews, and now Gypsies, was well under way.
There was a second conference, on March 6, 1942, convened for the purpose of deciding the fate of the Mischlinge and the mixed marriages. The chairman of this meeting was Adolf Eichmann. They all agreed, again, that compulsary sterilization was the answer to the Mischlinge problem. But again, no one made any final decisions.
Next, the Nazi chiefs exchanged letters, back and forth, trying to convince each other. Dr. Stuckart, another early racist who helped formulate Third Reich racial policy in the early 1930s, wrote in defense of the Mischlinge, saying, "... that the interests of the German people must be the sole criterion to be applied." In other words, the Mischlinge of the second degree, especially, had become too intertwined with German culture and society, and had too many German relatives.
These letters each had a different slant on the problem. And things continued like this, until September of 1942, when rumors began to fly in the Interior Ministry that the RSHA was "preparing for the deportation of the Mischlinge of the first degree." Whether or not that rumor was true, Dr. Losener wrote a long letter to Himmler "to save his Mischlinge." It worked. There were no deportations.
Finally, on Oct. 27, 1942, the third "final solution" conference was convened. It was here decided that the Mischlinge of the first degree would be sterilized, but the Mischlinge of the second degree (the ones with one Jewish grandparent) "without exception, were to be treated as Germans."
But the sterilizations were never carried out. Hilburg says, "The upshot ... was that, after all their discussion and controversy, the Mishlinge were neither deported nor sterilized."
"To be sure, the anti-Mischling restrictions were somewhat intensified." Hilberg says. Mostly, it was like being a converso, or Marrano in Spain during the Spanish Inquisition. Throughout the greater Reich, and occupied countries, the Mischlinge could be deported if they acted or looked Jewish. Otherwise, they were merely kept from certain jobs, and schools, etc.
Here is Goring's decree for who was to be considered "privileged" among the Jews:
1.) The Jewish husband of a German wife, provided the couple had one or more children classified as Mischlinge of the fist degree.
2.) The Jewish wife of a German husband, provided that the children were classified as Mischlinge of the first degree, or that the couple was childless.
Here are the additional clauses, from Sept. 1, 1941: "At the time of the deportations, privileged status was consequently enjoyed in all cases by..."
1.) The Jewish parent of a Mischling child, regardless of the continuation of the marriage, and even if the only Mischling child had been killed in action.
2.) The childless Jewish wife in a mixed marriage for the duration of the marriage.
NOT privileged were:
1.) The Jewish parent whose half-Jewish children were classified as Jews. [Remember, because these children would have been active in the Jewish community and practicing the Jewish religion, they would be classified Jews even though they were Mischling of the first degree.]
2.) The childless Jewish husband in a mixed marriage.
As Lucy Dawidowicz says in her book, THE WAR AGAINST THE JEWS, regarding these classifications of Jew, Mischlinge of the first degree, and Mishlinge of the second degree, "For the time being  these distinctions affected marriage and offspring of that marriage. Within a few short years they were to decide between life and death."
So, Magnus' family would have to have been full Jews, or at least, if one one his parents was Jewish, and the other not Jewish by birth, they would have been practicing the Jewish religion. Otherwise, they would NOT have been deported, they would not have been shot, they would not have been sent to Auschwitz. Magnus would have been defined as Jewish by the Nazis, if (1) he had three to four grandparents who were Jewish, and (2) he had two grandparents who were Jewish AND his family was practicing the Jewish religion.