We all knew the inhumane torture and executions Hitler and his Nazi armies had conducted upon the Jewish population. Most would have thought there was no place for Jews in Nazi army. But contrary to the popular belief there were thousands of men from Jewish descent and hundreds of people whom Nazis called “full Jews” in the German military under Adolf Hitler. Though many books depict that being a Jew during the Nazi period was a crime, but in reality the scenario was somewhat different. If Jews had enough academics and courage they could be recruited in the Nazi army. According to the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, fu7ll Jews or those of partial Jewish descent were unfit for the German army. But recent interview conducted upon 400 former soldiers of partial Jewish descent, who were labeled as “Mischlinge” (or half castes”) came out with some startling stats. There were about 60,000 soldiers who had one Jewish parent and 90,000 others with a Jewish grandparent in Wehrmacht or the regular army unit. This army unit was separate from Nazi SS.
Most of the soldiers thought that if they served in the family their families will be safe. But, on returning home from a campaign in Poland the soldiers were shattered at the executions of their family members. So the half Jewish part of the German army started complaining. This prompted Hitler to order the dismissal of all half Jews. Even after the order many half Jews continued to serve in the army. It was due to delay in the discharge of order to the front, while some others concealed their background. Some others were kept in the army as they had won clemency for good services.
Most researchers have known the presence of Jews in the Nazi army but such a large estimate would stagger them too. Some of the eminent of Jewish descent include Luftwaffe Field Marshall Ernhard Milch and former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. Most Mischlinge suffered in their academic life as well as real life. Their pleas and advices often went unheard and Nazis went on murdering their families. On the other hand their own community denounced them as they were part of a killing pack.
Most of the Mischlinge soldiers were recruited by Hitler himself, so there is no chance that the Supremo had no idea about their existence. There were two field marshals, fifteen generals, two full generals, eight lieutenant generals and five major generals in the German army. In about 20 cases Jewish soldiers were awarded the Knight’s Cross, highest military honor in Germany.
Existence of the notable Jewish field marshals Ernhard Milch, who was deputy to Luftwaffe Chief Hermann Goering created quite a stir when it came out in public. Goering went ahead to falsify Milch’s birth record. When he was severely criticized for such an act, he made a famous comment “I decide who is a Jew and who is an Aryan…”.