Berlin (Aug. 18)
The circle round the small number of Jews that are still allowed to practice as doctors or lawyers, or to hold official positions, is being drawn closer and closer. The original Nazi law for the exclusion of Jews from these occupations exempted so-called “Frontkaempfer” (front fighters) from its provisions. Such Jews as had fought for Germany during the War, or whose fathers or sons had been killed in the War, were to be allowed to continue in their posts.
Apparently this law, which left only a very small number of Jews in their posts, did not go far enough for the Nazi “purists.” But the law had been passed, and they had to make the best of itâ€”and so it was subjected to the interpretations of the Nazi jurists. The simplest approach was through the word “Frontkaempfer”. What was the exact meaning of the word? It had naturally been supposed that it meant those who had participated on the German side in the Great War.
VARIETY OF DEFINITIONS
But, since there was no legal definition of the word, the various authorities that had to put the law into practice began to define the word in whatever way suited them best. In some cases it was taken to mean a man who had actually been in the trenchesâ€”and Jews who had been attached to the Headquarters staff or the military transport service, were excluded from the category “Frontkaempfer”. In other cases it was taken to imply membership of a “fighting squad”, and Jews who were attached to other sections were excluded, even if they could prove that they had actually participated in the fighting.
Now at last, the question has been cleared up by Herr Seel, Councillor in the Ministry of the Interior, who is the official responsible for the carrying out of the law concerning the Civil Service, and whose views may be taken as authoritative. According to Herr Seel, the word “Frontkaempfer” implies actual participation in a battle. Nurses and Red Cross staff, therefore, even if they worked in front-line hospitals, and were exposed to the greatest danger, are not “Frontkaempfer”; nor such Jews as were members of a “fighting squad” which happened not to participate in a battle; nor, presumably, even such as were wounded behind the lines. The greatest danger to life and limb is not sufficientâ€”actual front line fighting is the essential condition.
THE POST-WAR TRENCHES
Herr Seel goes on to say that, for the purposes of the law, the battles in the Baltic Provinces after the War, the fights against the Spartacists in Berlin, the Communists in Munich and the “Red Army in Central Germany” rank with the battles of the Great War proper, and that participants in these battles are, if the other conditions are satisfied, to be considered as “Frontkaempfer.” This, however, is not to apply to the battles against the “Separatists” in the Rhineland, or to fights with the enemies of the “National Resurrection.”
The Prussian Minister of the Interior has now issued an order, that the “Aryan” laws are to be applied not only against present employees of the State and the municipalities, but also to all previous ones and even to their heirs and survivors. This means that the pensions of retired civil servants and even of their widows will be stopped where the provisions of the “Frontkaempfer” regulation are not satisfied.