It's known that a number of people of Jewish descent served in the German armed forces or other aspects of the Nazi apparatus, despite the policy of systematic Nazi exclusion and later extermination of Jews.

Most of these individuals seem to have been whom the Nazis characterized as "Mischlings": that is, not of entirely Jewish descent. Under the Nuremberg race laws, this would basically mean having no more than two Jewish grandparents. However, was this the case for all of them?

  • Were any of these soldiers, or any governmental employees (who would be, by definition, members of the Nazi party) non-Mischlings? That is, they had three or more Jewish grandparents? Presumably they'd have attained their position through either hiding their ancestry or special dispensation.
  • If so, what is the highest position that such an individual attained?
  • "who would be, by definition, members of the Nazi party" There were lots of governmental employees not in the NSDAP, esp. in the lower ranks but also e.g. teachers.
    – K-HB
    May 16, 2020 at 9:54

1 Answer 1


It is true that someone defined as being completely Jewish would have not been able to serve in the German armed-forces or government. Certain very useful Jews were allowed to claim, for example, that their ostensible fathers were not in fact their biological fathers.

Erhard Milch was the highest ranked nazi (he was a field marshal) who probably had not only a Jewish father but a mother who also might have been part Jewish. However, his mother claimed that his biological father was in fact her own uncle.

Had Milch not been an extremely able technocrat whose experience made him able to run production for the air force, I think it is doubtful that his mother's claim would have been accepted.

But what is certainly true is that no one classified as a "full Jew" would be allowed to serve in the military or government. Exceptions required reclassification.

Hitler had personal contact and good relations with a few Jews (his family doctor, for example) such people were cut some slack, protected from harassment and allowed to leave Germany with slightly more money than most Jews, but there is no case of someone classified by the nazis as a full Jew (again, without reclassification) serving in any capacity.

  • 2
    Is there any instance of a clearly fully Jewish person being transparently falsely reclassified for expediency?
    – Obie 2.0
    Mar 24, 2019 at 8:25
  • @Obie2.0: I would guess that there were such cases. I don't know if being half Jewish was a huge advantage over being full Jewish if there was some reason that the nazis felt the person being classified as non-Jewish was advantageous.
    – releseabe
    Mar 24, 2019 at 8:32
  • 1
    @Obie2.0 hard to tell, a lot of records were lost and such cases I guess would not be well documented at the time as they'd require false papers being issued and could get the person doing so in very serious trouble with the GeStaPo. It certainly was at times attempted in occupied nations to inject false identities into the records to change peoples' status from Jew to non-Jew in order to prevent them from being deported, whether such would ever be done openly by the authorities themselves, I doubt it.
    – jwenting
    Mar 25, 2019 at 4:49
  • Obie 2.0 Given the evidence sometimes accepted for certifying that Mischlings had been conceived in extramarital affairs, probably. One man was so certified because his mother swore his father had been a Bavarian peddler and because he played up his German appearance -- tall and blond -- by coming to the hearing with his short, dark and certifiable Aryan uncle.
    – Mary
    May 27, 2023 at 0:18

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