Claude Lanzmann: Did the the racial laws of September 1935, the so called the Nuremberg Gesetze,1 did they mark a real change?
Inge Deutschkron: I would say yes. It was like a, sort of a cleavage. You see, it interfered in the lives of the people. Meaning, for example, that the Jewish doctor was no longer allowed to have an assistant who was not Jewish... Of course, today it sounds funny, but many Jews had maids at the time. They had to give them notice. A non-Jewish maid was not allowed to serve in a Jewish household. And such things which...and shops, for example, the non-Jewish shopkeeper, the non-Jewish shop assistant, was not allowed to be employed by a shopkeeper, by a Jewish one. So there was, of course, a deep...
Lanzmann: These laws were immediately implemented?
Deutschkron: Immediately implemented...
Lanzmann: With full force?
Deutschkron: With full force. And of course, there was a good deal of fear, a scare among the Jews because there were also Jewish men who had friendships, affairs with non-Jewish girls. Until '35, there was no trouble about this.
Lanzmann: And this was forbidden.
Deutschkron: This was, of course, forbidden. It was considered a defilement of the Aryan blood and um...
Deutschkron: What you call Rassenschande, yes. And there are all the very funny explanations... or you what do you call it? There's a lot a legal expression for it. How, Auslegung, how to imply this law. For example, I remember there was a, we laughed our head off. I mean, this was a perhaps my education in my house. My parents and I used to laugh about these things. What else could one do, really, if one wanted to keep up one's spirit? For example, there was talk about sexual intercourse in the airplane between a Jew and a non-Jew. Now imagine! Things like that. But then, of course, there was this business. I mean, there was also this feeling, perhaps it was a very normal thing, that people wanted to relieve themselves of the pressure that was upon them. Because as laws like this, there were many jokes about it. For example, I remember the one where an old non-Jewish maid who had served for years in a Jewish household writes in a very simple language to her girlfriend who is also non-Jewish and says, I don't understand this anymore. You see, I come at 8:00 and here Mr. Cohen has already left at 7:00. Now I leave the house at 3:00 and then he comes home, this Mr. Cohen, at 4:00. Now, how can he defile me? Now as this type of joke, you know, I mean, made us all roar with laughter at the time. And as I say, it was perhaps a sort of relieving oneself of the of the pressure. And perhaps this was the only way to live or to get over this. But of course, it caused also difficulties to some men who, as I said, had affairs with non-Jewish women. And if there was a nasty, a nasty German, he could, he could denounce the Jew for having this affair. And then the Jew was put on trial as a Rassenschänder.3 And of course, this could either be a concentration camp or it could be at a, I mean a prisoner, or both, you know, you know it yourself.
Lanzmann: At this time or even before, in '33. Did the Jews think of emigrating?
Deutschkron: In 33, there was perhaps a wave of emigration of those people who would not have anymore a career in Germany. As I told you, they were not allowed to remain as teachers if they hadn't served in the World War, for example. So it means that the young teacher, the young doctor or the even the one who wanted to study and couldn't do any more study, those were the ones who emigrated them then. But of course, many German Jews said, Why emigrate? This is ridiculous. Look, I mean, this will pass. You see, nobody really took it seriously then, but the figure was perhaps highest in '33 because of what I said, those people who had no future. I think there were about 37,000 or something like this who emigrated in '33 whilst in the years after, '34, '35 the figures dropped.
Deutschkron: And if the majority of German Jews did not feel the urge, they took these... uh... discriminations. They arranged themselves somehow, and I would say many of them also had German friends still. So they thought they could sort of get over all this. And who would have believed that Hitler would last so long?
Lanzmann: But there must have been a real difference between a big city, capital town, though, like Berlin or the small province towns.
Deutschkron: That's very correct. I know. I mean, I haven't experienced it myself, but I know that's the situation in small towns was dreadful. I mean, there's the Jews really suffered from the very first day terrible discriminations. I mean, everybody knew that where Dr. Cohen was living, whilst here in this big city, you know, I mean, there were so many Doctor Cohens, as somebody else said, it didn't really so attract the eyes so much, you see. And even the small towns, the SA suddenly order that the Jew Doctor Cohen had to be punished. And of course, the people were afraid also not to do this. You understand. There was this this fear complex also for the Germans, you see.