Thursday, April 22, 2021

Not military justice, but . . .

While not about military justice (except once in a while), Bryan Mark Riggs's Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racial Laws and Men of Jewish Descent in the German Military (University Press of Kansas 2002) will likely be of interest to readers of Global Military Justice Reform. While plodding at times, the book is the product of impressive research and chronicles an especially ugly aspect of the Third Reich: what to do with (or to) military personnel who had Jewish ancestry? It is a deeply disturbing tale of antisemitism, official madness, inhumanity, caprice, inefficiency, favoritism, racism, and utterly counterproductive decision making. 

Who shall be excluded from the German armed forces was a constant issue and the answer was both varied at any particular moment and changed repeatedly over time. The country's dictator spent valuable time personally ruling on requests for exemptions and certificates of German blood, even as the war effort was going increasingly badly. Those affected ranged from the lowest enlisted ranks to the flag and general officer corps. Many gifted and courageous members of the armed forces were discharged, sometimes permanently and sometimes only to be recalled. These included some who were dedicated to the Nazi Party. Compliance with the rules issued in Berlin varied considerably among the Wehrmacht, the Luftwaffe, and the Kriegsmarine

It is difficult to imagine what those who were caught in this insane trap made of the fact that they had to fight to defend a regime that was deporting their loved ones--and might do the same thing to them at any moment.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are subject to moderation and must be submitted under your real name. Anonymous comments will not be posted (even though the form seems to permit them).