Bernhard Lösener (December 27, 1890 – August 28, 1952), was a lawyer and Jewish expert in the Reich Ministry of the Interior. Along with Wilhelm Stuckart, he helped draft the Nuremberg Laws, among other legislation that deprived German Jews of their rights and ultimately led to their deportation to concentration camps.
In his memoirs, Legislating the Holocaust, Lösener described his discovery of an incident where approximately 1,000 recently deported German Jews were transported by train to Rumbula Forest in Riga, Latvia and there summarily executed along with 25,000 Latvian Jews. Lösener wrote he had not been aware of any orders to execute the German Jews and was disturbed by the executions. He discussed the incident with Stuckart which caused tension between them. Three years later in 1944, according to Lösener's Reich Ministry records, he was arrested for expressing sympathy for the German Jews.
The exemption of the mischling, those with one or two Jewish grandparents, from the classification of being Jewish, has been credited to Lösener. He successfully argued that classifying such persons as Jewish would strengthen the Jewish gene pool by infusing Aryan blood, as well as cost the Army 45,000 soldiers. Since most mischling were not deported during the war, the classification may have saved up to 107,000 Germans of some Jewish ancestry from the Holocaust.
At the Nuremberg Trials, Lösener gave testimony about the discussion he had had with Stuckart regarding the Rumbula massacre in 1941. This testimony countered Stuckart's claim he had been unaware of the execution of Jews prior to the Wannsee Conference in 1942.
- Peter Longerich. Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews. Oxford University Press. 2010. Pgs 121-122.
- Karl Schleunes. The Twisted Road to Auschwitz: Nazi Policy towards German Jews, 1933-39. University of Illinois Press, Urbana. 1970.
- The Reich Ministry of the Interior and the Jewish Code. The records of Dr. Bernhard Losener: As a race officer at the Reich Ministry of the Interior. In: Quarterly Journal of Contemporary History 9 (1961), S. 310 / Cornelia Essner: The "Nuremberg Laws" or the management of racial fanaticism 1933-1945. Paderborn & Munich 2002, ISBN 3-50672260-3 , p 115
- Nelson, Robert, "Revolution and Genocide, University of Chicago Press, 1992, p 324