Citizenship in the Holocaust – between Diplomacy, Racial Ideology and Persecution Practice

Employees (IfZ):   Niels Pohl

Which role did the citizenship of Jews play in the Holocaust? Frequently, the Nazi perpetrators encountered outer limits in the practical realization of their extermination fantasies: Jews with foreign citizenship, even if they lived in the German sphere of power, were under diplomatic protection by virtue of their state citizenship. Foreign and alliance policy as well as economic factors, but also concerns about repressions against non-jewish Germans living abroad, prompted the persecution authorities to act more reservedly towards foreigns Jews than they had intended. Bilateral complications were not limited to hostile and neutral countries, but also evolved in relations with allied states. These governments sometimes did not unconditionally identify with the eliminatory approach of the German persecution of the Jews and delayed or refused to allow „their“ Jews to be included int the deportations and murder, referring to their sovereignty under state law.

The research project will examine how this tension between racial ideological persecution and foreign policy rationale was grasped in the German system of rule, how intra- and inter-authority negotiation processes and bilateral negotiations unfolded in concrete terms, and what consequences this had for German diplomacy and for the so-called "Final Solution of the Jewish Question" in its various phases of radicalization.

© Institut für Zeitgeschichte