The Nazis categorised people on racial grounds. If someone had sufficient Jewish ancestry, they were dead. Unlike, say, Stalin's purges, it didn't matter what their opinions were: if you totally rejected all Jewish beliefs, you were still dead if you were racially Jewish.

There have always been a small number of people who converted to Judaism. Presumably there weren't many in Germany itself given the circumstances, but in countries only occupied from 1940, there may have been a relatively high number. Was there any consistent policy on what to do with these people?

  • 1
    Crimean Karaites are relevant here.
    – NSNoob
    Oct 23, 2017 at 12:50
  • also relevant that "mixed-race" had it worse if they observed the religion than if they did not. so not too surprisingly, affiliation by choice weighed against one. Communism was not racial but being a member of that party was worth a concentration camp sentence.
    – Jeff
    Oct 24, 2017 at 1:53
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    Welcome to History:Stack Exchange. Thank you for your question; please consider revising it to be more in line with our community expectations. Like many other stacks, we expect questions to provide evidence of prior research. That helps us to understand the question, and avoids our repeating work you've already done. Our help center, and other stacks provide additional resources to assist with revisions.
    – MCW
    Sep 16, 2020 at 9:07
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    FWIW, I've tried to google this in german and found nothing about convertites into judaism in the interesting timeframe.
    – mart
    Sep 17, 2020 at 6:40

2 Answers 2


In theory, people that were converts to Judaism and were not "racially" Jewish had some protections. In practice, SS "death squads" often failed to observe such niceties, and swept up many in their anti-Jewish actions. Basically, if someone is engaged in "mass killings," they might not look too hard for "exceptions."

Even without the above, the converts were in a very precarious "mixed" position. A clue to this may be gathered from the fate of "Mischlings", or "mixed bloods" of the first degree. These people were considered "partially" Jewish in having two Jewish grandparents, but not three or four. Their problem was that they would be considered "full" Jews if they married full Jews, or observed the Jewish faith.

The "converts" were also "mixed," in the sense of being philosophically, though not racially Jewish. They could also diminish their status by marrying full Jews. And it would have been wise for them to downplay their "Jewishness," that is to hold Jewish beliefs, but not to be "active" in the Jewish community. The "Karaites" of Russian Crimea managed to walk this tightrope--up to a point.


As you said yourself: very small numbers converted to Judaism. It is not a missionary religion. Even under the best of circumstances, there aren't too many converts. In the occupied countries those numbers wouldn't be much different. As far as I know converts were send to the camps as well.

I'm Dutch. Quite a few Jews were hidden by the Dutch (most notably: the Frank family). Those Dutch who hid Jews were not Jewish. Usually Protestant (Calvinist) or Roman Catholic. When discovered, those Dutch families could consider themselves very lucky if they were sent to prison. Most often they were sent to concentration camps as well. That's what the Germans did with non-Jewish people who hid Jews. I can't imagine them treating converts any better.

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