German Propaganda Archive Calvin College

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Background: Der Hoheitsträger was a glossy monthly for Nazi Party leaders from the local group leader on on up. I don’t know the circulation, but each issue was individually numbered. The highest number in my collection is 31,442.

Among other things, it sometimes carried a “question and answer” column that dealt with difficult questions of Nazi ideology and practice. The questions here (from a single issue) deal with issues of racial purity, religion, and other such matters. Similar questions and answers can be found in other issues.

The source: “Sprechstunde der NSDAP,” Der Hoheitsträger 6 (January 1942), p. 45.


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The father determines his children’s church membership

Question: On the advice of the block leader of my local group, I turn to you for the answer to this question.

My wife is Catholic and I was Protestant. I have since left the Evangelical Church. To avoid difficulties with her parents, I agreed that the marriage ceremony would be Catholic. My wife said at the time that it made no difference to her, but that she was doing it only for the sake of her parents. The Catholic Church made the wedding conditional on agreeing that all children resulting from our marriage should be raised Catholic. Since I did not believe that my wife would insist, I unfortunately signed the agreement. I want to avoid under all circumstances that my children have any contact with the Catholic Church. My wife promised me that she would leave the church during the first year of our marriage, and I told her repeatedly that I had signed only to avoid difficulties with her parents, but would never permit my children to become Catholic. Now, however, she insists that the agreement be followed, once again for the sake of her parents. Otherwise, our marriage is very happy. I do not want a divorce.

Answer: Despite your agreement to raise your children in the Catholic faith, you cannot be forced to do that. You are the legal guardian of the children and can decide whether they are to be baptized Catholic or not. It is entirely your decision whether or not to fulfill the agreement, which, by the way, is immoral. If you refuse, the Church cannot force you.

The divorced wife of a Jew

Question: During the Systemzeit [1919-1933] I married a Jew. A daughter resulted from this mixed marriage, who I had baptized as a Catholic. I myself am Catholic and have an Aryan family tree. My father fell in the last World War. To rejoin the German people’s community under the Nuremberg Laws, I divorced.

    1. May I actively participate in the Party and its affiliates,
    2. May I, if the opportunity comes, marry a German man, whether a worker, official, civil servant, or someone in the professions or state service,
    3. Could a worker, official, or civil servant encounter any difficulties or disadvantages (e.g., in promotion) by marrying me?

Answer: Since you are yourself of German blood and have ended the marriage with the Jew, you may marry a German-blooded man. Should he be a civil servant, party member, or member of one of the party’s affiliates, your child — a Jewish Mischling of the first degree — will have to leave your home. Party members, members of party affiliates, and civil servants may not have a Jew in the household. However, since you have a child by a Jew, there will be problems in joining the party. The same is true for membership in the women’s organization (Frauenschaft). You will be able to join the women’s auxiliary (Frauenwerk).

Divorce due to illness

Question: I have been married for three years and have a two-year-old boy. My wife suffers from an eye twitch (an inherited form of nystagmus, as determined by a medical exam last year). The child has inherited this. The health office in Stuttgart says that any future children have a 50% chance of inheriting the disorder.

Since the birth of my boy, I have deeply torn inside. Greater than my love for my wife is the wish for healthy and numerous children, and I have long been thinking of divorcing my wife. That would be hard and pitiless toward my wife, but I cannot ignore my desire for healthy children. I ask whether a divorce under these conditions is possible.

Answer: In your case, divorce is possible neither on legal, medical, nor humane grounds. Your wife’s eye twitches are not a genetic illness in the sense of the Law for the Prevention of Genetically-Ill Offspring. There is, therefore, no grounds for divorce. §§ 33ff of the divorce law of 6 July 1938 is also not applicable, since the time period to raise the complaint has passed. Your wife’s illness is not of such seriousness as to prevent you from marrying her had you been aware of it.

National Anthem in restaurants

Question: Must one rise and salute when the national anthem is played in restaurants?

Answer: The instructions of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht may guide each people’s comrade: “If the national anthem is played, it should be clear to each German that he rise and give the German greeting [Heil Hitler!] as a way of expressing his convictions while it is played. This applies when one is sitting in a restaurant and the national anthem is played over the radio.”

Spousal deception about Jewish ancestry

Question: My wife is an illegitimate child and my mother-in-law told me at the time that the father of her daughter was of German blood. My own investigations could find nothing. In the past year, a brother of my wife surfaced, whom no one had told me about. When the brother applied for a marriage license at the records office, the officials determined that he was half Jewish. Meanwhile, I have a child who is four-and-a-half years old. What should I do? I already asked at the records office. I was told that I should deal with the matter in the spirit of Christian brotherly love. As a city employee, however, I have concerns.

Answer: Investigation has shown that your wife is a Mischling. We inform you that you can no longer be employed by the city. According to § 25 of the Reich Civil Service Law, you must have a spouse of German or related blood. As a result, you must either resign or divorce the Jewish Mischling of the first degree. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to have the marriage annulled because of the deficiencies in your wife’s characteristics, if the statute of limitations has not passed.

 


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