We all know, don't we, that during WW 2 the evil Germans made it their business to round up every single Jewish person under their purview. After which they were sent to their doom in the Death Camps. No stone was left unturned.......Germans being Germans and all that. Anne Frank, The Lady With The Magic Pen, was surely the poster child for this programme. (Anne wrote part of her famous diaries using a ball-point pen. A device which was invented in, er, 1948.)
So who did all the rounding up? Could it have been these guys? It seems unlikely because.... well... these guys were themselves Jewish. Yes, according to the meticulous research of Bryan Mark Rigg no fewer than 150,000 men in the German WW 2 armed forces - including the SS - were Jewish or mischlings (partly Jewish). And they weren't just backroom drones or forced conscripts. They 'included decorated veterans and high-ranking officers, even generals and admirals.'
In fact it gets even better. Erhard Milch reached Field Marshall rank and did more than anyone, including Hermann Goering (to whom he directly reported) to develop the Luftwaffe into the formidable fighting force that it became. This was surprising because you'd imagine being Jewish - which he was - would have been something of a career dampener in the NAZI military command. Actually Hitler thought so much of him that he ordered his Jewishness to be down-played and even promoted him ahead of such legendary and eponymous military aircraft designers as Willy Messerchmitt and Hugo Junkers.
In 1940, Unteroffizier Dieter Bergmann wrote to his Jewish grandmother, Elly Landesberg nee Moackrauer:
"Don’t you realize how much I’m with my whole being rooted in Germany. My life would be very sad without my homeland, without the wonderful German art, without the belief in Germany’s powerful past and the powerful future that awaits Germany. Do you think that I can tear that all out of my heart?...Don’t I also have an obligation to my parents, to my brother who showed his love to our Fatherland by dying a hero’s death on the battlefield….Someday, I want to be a German amongst Germans and no longer a second-class citizen just because my wonderful mother is Jewish?"
His mother being Jewish made him fully Jewish. And yet here he was, in the middle of WW 2, fighting in the ranks of the Wehrmacht.
Isn't it a strange old world? Think of the time and effort those super-efficient Germans could have saved had they extracted the Jews serving in their own ranks first. Yet throughout the war there were Jews at every level, from Admiral and Field Marshall right down to the ordinary soldier, all serving valiantly in the German armed forces. Very strange. Almost as strange as an SS Officer being jailed by an SS Court for ill-treating Jewish prisoners in the Death Camp of Auschwitz. Or Elie Wiesel and his father choosing to travel back with the retreating German forces rather than wait for 'liberation' by the Red Army advancing on the same Death Camp.
Strange, strange, strange.