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Divorces Forced by Nazis in Mixed Marriages Ruled Invalid

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A divorce is not considered as fully valid if the Gentile wife obtained it while her Jewish husband was a prisoner in a concentration camp, the Supreme Administrative Court of Hesse ruled in rejecting the appeal of the State Minister of Justice against a similar decision reached by a lower court.

In 1943, Helene Mann, of Kassel, filed suit for divorce, giving a reason her husband’s Jewish descent. For the sake of this family the latter, who was then a Nazi camp, formally acquiesced in the proceedings. The divorce, once granted, automatically cancelled the protection against deportation which his mixed marriage had afforded him. He was, in consequence, promptly shipped to the gas chambers of Auschwitz.

Mrs. Mann now claims the indemnification and inheritance benefits due the widow of a Nazi victim, arguing that she only bowed to Nazi pressure and, as a Roman Catholic, had always considered the union with her husband an essentially indissoluble one.

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