I was just wondering if during WWII or any time during Hitler's tenure (1933-1945), did the Germans give any special consideration to Jewish veterans of the First World War? By special consideration I mean were they given any exceptions/pardons, and possibly not subjected to the savage brutality that was often the fate of other jewish Germans during that time. I have been searching for this question for a while, and any answers would be appreciated.

  • 3
    Why do you expect there to be any exceptions? Perhaps your inability to find any such evidence is telling in and of itself.. Feb 19 '14 at 2:24

For a short time at the start of the Nazi reign jewish veterans where treated slightly better than other jews. For example when by the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service (Gesetz zur Wiederherstellung des Berufsbeamtentums) jewish civil servants where expelled from state service veterans or those you had lost close blood relatives in WW I where exempt from the law (The "Frontkämpferprivileg" was required by the german president Hindenburg, a retired general, before he would agree to sign the law). The Nazis where quite annoyed when it turned out that almost half of the jewish civil servants where veterans and could keep their job - so naturally this was followed by a few more laws that ended the veterans privileges.

The camp in Theresienstadt mentioned in another answer was (while perhaps a little less unbearable than other concentration camps and less deadly than the extermination camps) was to some extent a propaganda effort. Veterans, old (jewish) people and other "special jews" where deported to Theresienstadt. Part of the camp was cleaned up as a stage for a propaganda movie to show the world that reports about bad treatment for jews where exaggerated. However the fact that some 35 000 people (afaik about 25% of the camp population) was murdered demonstrates that towards the end of WW II there was no special treatment for veterans, or anybody else.


The protocols of the Wannsee conference do contain a provision for a slightly better treatment of Iron Cross veterans:

It is not intended to evacuate Jews over 65 years old, but to send them to an old-age ghetto - Theresienstadt is being considered for this purpose.

In addition to these age groups - of the approximately 280,000 Jews in Germany proper and Austria on 31 October 1941, approximately 30% are over 65 years old - severely wounded veterans and Jews with war decorations (Iron Cross I) will be accepted in the old-age ghettos. With this expedient solution, in one fell swoop many interventions will be prevented.

I have no idea what was actually happening in practice.

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    and not much later the ghettos were emptied into Auschwitz and the other camps...
    – jwenting
    Feb 20 '14 at 12:40

I worked with a woman whose husband was a German Jewish WWI veteran. He had been wounded in combat and received his pension from Germany every month during WWII.


There were definite rules that said Jewish WW1 "frontline" veterans were entitled to better treatment. Just read Victor Klemperer's diary ("I shall bear witness"). He had quite some difficulty in getting the approbate documentation of his WWI service (I can't remember if actually got it in the end). The Nazified bearucracy was not going to be of great assistance to Jews generally.

  • That is an important point: Jews had certain legal rights during the period before WW2 under the nazis -- that does not mean such rights were respected. A very important case was a Jewish lawyer who complained on the behalf of a client to the police in 1933 -- he was simply beaten and paraded through the streets after this complaint. I believe the status of Jews was similar to that of Blacks in the USA at that same time and for example a White assaulting a Black could expect to get off lightly whereas the opposite was certainly not true.
    – releseabe
    Mar 24 '19 at 10:08

There are some cases of Jewish people with connections to influential Nazis getting special consideration, but that was not because of any veteran status per se (though some may have been) but because of personal friendships.
I seriously doubt WW1 vets would be given any special status, irrespective of race or religion, in post-WW1 Germany. Germany lost that war, was degraded, and many (as is typical in history) blamed that loss on the military. As the military leaders were still in power, that meant the regular soldier took the blame.


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