Association of German National Jews
The Association of German National Jews (Verband nationaldeutscher Juden) was a German Jewish organisation during the Weimar Republic and the early years of Nazi Germany that eventually came out in support of Hitler.
In his Pulitzer Prize-winning 1942 novel Dragon's Teeth, Upton Sinclair speculates that the character who joined the Association might have, "considered that the outside (Anti-Nazi) boycotts would really do more harm than good..," or believed that Jews "were not in a position to offer resistance..," and that, "Jews had survived through the centuries by bending like the willow."
History, goals, outcome
It was founded in 1921 by Max Naumann who was chairman until 1926 and again from 1933 to 1935 when the association was dissolved. Politically, the association was close to the national conservative and monarchist German National People's Party which, however, refused affiliation with the association.
The goal of the Association was the total assimilation of Jews into the German Volksgemeinschaft, self eradication of Jewish identity, and the expulsion from Germany of the Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. Naumann was especially opposed to Zionists and Eastern European Jews, the former he considered a threat to Jewish integration and to be carriers of a "racist" ideology serving British imperial purposes, while he saw the latter as racially and spiritually inferior.
The association's official organ was the monthly Der nationaldeutsche Jude edited by Max Naumann. The magazine had a circulation of 6000 in 1927.
In 1934 the group made the following statement:
"We have always held the well-being of the German people and the fatherland, to which we feel inextricably linked, above our own well-being. Thus we greeted the results of January, 1933, even though it has brought hardship for us personally."
A possible reason why some German Jews supported Hitler may have been that they thought that his antisemitism only was for the purpose of "stirring up the masses".
The seemingly ironic fact that a Jewish association advocated loyalty to the Nazi programme gave rise to a contemporary joke about Naumann and his followers ending their meeting by giving the Nazi salute and shouting "Down With Us!".
Despite their extreme patriotism, the German government did not accept their goal of assimilation, the Association of German National Jews was declared illegal and dissolved on 18 November 1935. Its chairman Max Naumann was arrested by the Gestapo the same day and imprisoned at Columbia concentration camp. He was released after a few weeks, and died of cancer in May 1939.
Another similar group
A similar contemporary Jewish group in Germany included the German Vanguard (Der deutsche Vortrupp), the German-Jewish followers of Hitler led by Hans-Joachim Schoeps, also referred to as "Nazi Jews". Schoeps went into exile in Falun/Sweden in 1938, just before the persecutions began in earnest. There his two sons were born. Schoeps returned to Germany after the war and was made professor of religious history at the university of Erlangen in northern Bavaria, ten miles north of Nuremberg. He remained a monarchist and wanted to re-introduce monarchy in post-war Germany. His involvement in the Vortrupp and his personal engagement for the success of the Nazi movement did not become known at Erlangen while he was a professor there until 1970. He was firmly opposed to the liberal-socialist student movement after 1967, and published a book in 1972 in which he claimed that Germany was threatened by anarchy. Schoeps was a member of the Deutschland-Stiftung, in which also former Nazis were active.
Initial Nazi policy towards German Jews
The policy of the German government was to promote Jewish emigration from Germany, and as a consequence it promoted and encouraged the activities of Zionist organisations while at the same time repressing anti-Zionist organisations such as the German National Jews, especially as they were among those who advocated Jewish assimilation in Germany. The Zionists were commended in the SS newspaper by Heydrich for what he interpreted as their racialist position, and Jewish assimilationists were chastised for denying their race.
- Sarah Ann Gordon, Hitler, Germans, and the "Jewish question", p.47
- (German) M. Hambrock, Die Etablierung der Aussenseiter. Der Verband nationaldeutscher Juden 1921-1935, p. 367
- Robert S. Wistrich, Who's who in Nazi Germany (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1982), p.177. ISBN 0-297-78109-X
- (German) M. Zimmermann, Geschichte des deutschen Judentums 1914 - 1945, p. 32
- (German) M. Hambrock, Die Etablierung der Aussenseiter. Der Verband nationaldeutscher Juden 1921-1935, p. 590ff.
- N. Stoltzfus. Resistance of the heart. Intermarriage and the Rosenstrasse protest in Nazi Germany. p. 315.
- Robert Gessner, Some of my best friends are Jews (New York, 1936), p. 81; Matthias Hambrock
- M. Hambrock. Die Etablierung der Aussenseiter. Der Verband nationaldeutscher Juden 1921-1935. p. 578.
- F. R. Nicosia, Zionism and anti-semitism in Nazi Germany, p. 118ff
- Gordon, Sarah Ann (1984). Hitler, Germans, and the "Jewish question". Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-10162-0.
- Hambrock, Matthias (2003). Die Etablierung der Aussenseiter. Der Verband nationaldeutscher Juden 1921-1935 (in German). Köln: Böhlau. ISBN 3-412-18902-2.
- Nicosia, Francis R. (1996). Zionism and anti-semitism in Nazi Germany. New York: W. W. Norton. ISBN 978-0521172981.
- Stoltzfus, Nathan (1982). Resistance of the heart. Intermarriage and the Rosenstrasse protest in Nazi Germany. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. ISBN 0-393-03904-8.
- Wistrich, Robert S. (1982). Who’s who in Nazi Germany. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. ISBN 0-297-78109-X.
- Zimmermann, Mosche (1997). Geschichte des deutschen Judentums 1914 - 1945 (in German). München: Oldenbourg. ISBN 3-486-55080-2.