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Verband Nationaldeutscher Juden

VERBAND NATIONALDEUTSCHER JUDEN

VERBAND NATIONALDEUTSCHER JUDEN (Ger. "Association of National German Jews"), extreme assimilationist organization founded in 1921 by Max Naumann (1875–1939), a Bavarian officer and lawyer. The organization remained numerically weak but was vociferous and supported by certain wealthy and established quarters of German Jewry. Eligible for membership were "Germans of Jewish descent, who, while openly acknowledging their descent, nevertheless felt so completely rooted in German culture and Wesen that they could not but think and feel as Germans." The "Ostjudenfrage," the problem of unwanted Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, served as the raison d'être of the Verband, which identified itself with the mass of right and center parties and viewed the problem from an "objective" German standpoint. The Verband accused the Zionists of hypocrisy in not carrying out their own programs, and of indulging in double loyalty. It called upon the Jews to acknowledge the truth of some antisemitic charges, and to shed themselves of all traces of Jewish nationalism. It established branches in the major cities of Germany and in Vienna, but did not succeed in gaining official recognition or encouragement from any right-wing party, whose negative attitude toward the Weimar Republic it shared.

Max Naumann acclaimed the "national awakening" of 1933 and sought, in vain, for a modus vivendi with the Nazi regime (mainly through Gregor Strasser). The Verband called upon the Jews to vote for the unification of the offices of president and prime minister in the plebiscite of Aug. 19, 1934, and tried to erect a counter-organization to the Reichsvertretung, which included Zionists. The Verband published a monthly Der nationaldeutsche Jude (1921–35) (circulation reportedly 5,000 in 1926 and 15,000 in 1935) and had its own youth movement, Schwarzes Faehnlein (formerly part of Kameraden with c. 400 members in 1932), which had approached the Hitlerjugend. Despite repeated vows of loyalty, the Verband was summarily rejected by the Nazis, who dissolved the association in 1935–36 because of attitudes "hostile to the State."

bibliography:

K.J. Herrmann (ed.), Das dritte Reich und die deutsch-juedischen Organisationen 19331934 (1969); M.T. Edelheim-Muehsam, in: ylbi, 1 (1956), 169–70. add. bibliography: C.J. Rheins, in: lbiyb, 25 (1980), 243–68; M. Hambrock, Die Etablierung der Aussenseiter. Der Verband nationaldeutscher Juden, 19211935 (2003); J. Wright: in: lbiyb, 50 (2005) 199–211.

[Henry Wasserman]

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