My Mischling Family

A particularly unpleasant occurrence

This is how Joseph Goebbels described Mischlinge. It is also the title of the book I’m writing about my Mischling Oma’s life in Nazi Berlin.
My Oma, Susanne, and her brother
in Bad Dürkheim, c.1932

According to the 1935 Nuremberg Laws, a child born to one Jewish and one ‘Aryan’ parent was called a Mischling. The term can be translated into English as something like ‘mongrel’ – essentially a derogatory term for a ‘mixed’ child. There were different levels of Mischlinge, depending, for example, on whether the child was active in the Jewish community, or had been baptised, or on whether the mother or father was the Jewish parent. My Oma (my mum’s mum), Susanne Schwarz, was categorised as a Mischling ersten Grades – a ‘first degree’ Mischling

  • Kristallnacht
    I know that using the term ‘Kristallnacht’ is controversial nowadays, and the last thing I want to do is upset anyone affected (directly or indirectly) by the pogrom, but it’s what my Oma called it in her memoir and, in Britain at least, it’s the most commonly-recognised name for the … More Kristallnacht
  • Rosenstraβe
    This year I’ve been tweeting extracts from my Oma’s 1943 diary (follow me @MyMischlingFam). The diary is an interesting mix of harrowing wartime experiences and mundane teenage angst. I think that interacting with it on a near-daily basis has really brought me closer to my Oma, what she was like … More Rosenstraβe
  • Tante Liesel
    I spent a while thinking about what blog I would write for Holocaust Memorial Day. The theme this year is ‘Be the Light in the Darkness’. The blog I posted in February last year, about the different ways people helped my Oma’s family, would have been perfect for it. When … More Tante Liesel

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