Intermarriage is always an absorbing topic of conversation, and for the most part those who discuss it are far removed from the situation and their observations and conclusions constitute little more than a parlor game. George Sokolsky’s article in August’s Atlantic Monthly, “My Mixed Marriage,” is doubly significant. He is a New York Jew descended from Polish-Jewish ancestry and his wife is Chinese, descended from the Hakkas, the most vital of the aboriginal people of China.
For three years before they were married he and his wife debated the subject of “mixed marriages.” They were advised against it by friends and warned of the terrible pitfalls which await even a marriage between people who have had similar backgrounds, and how much more difficult, and even impossible, it would be for them to remain happily married.
Ten years of married life have now passed for them and Mr. Sokolsky writes that they have reached the same conclusion: “that marriage is essentially a matter of readjustment.” But he does grant that “there are moments when the mixed marriage is subjected to a stress which does not appear ordinarilyâ€”that is, when misunderstandings are attributed to the racial or religious or national differences.” However, he states that “mixed marriages should not then be entered into by individuals who are not certain that they have transcended racial, national and religious affiliations.”
The most distressing problem in such a relationship is the child. Mr. Sokolsky writes:
“As we faced this problem, we were well aware, even before a child came to us, that the task of bringing him up would involve a large measure of character building. We should have to instill in him a sense of personal pride so that he might and economic pressure exercised on Germany from abroad, an explanation is necessary.”
What it is that is happening, Dr. Naumann does not say at all. He chooses to ignore it. But he wishes to explain to the “foreigner” that what he has to say will be understood if the “foreigner” realizes that “Jews living in Germany do not by any means represent a homogeneous unit.”
“There are Jews in Germany,” he says, “whose families have long since become completely blended with the German people. . . . These ‘German-National Jews’â€”who form a considerable proportion of German Jewry as a wholeâ€”have an organization for advancement and education, this is our ‘Union of German-National Jews’ founded twelve years ago.
“To express myself in the language of party politics, we National-German Jews represent the right wing of German Jewry. The left wing is formed by those Zionists who have adhered to Jewish Nationalism and regard themselves as members of a special ‘Jewish Nation’. In between these two groups there is the group of the undecided and eternally vacillating, augmented by thoughtless followers who cannot decide on their own nationality.