NAZI CULTURE: INTELLECTUAL, CULTURAL AND SOCIAL LIFE IN THE THIRD REICH
9. What Is the State and Who Are Its Citizens?
THE NAZI REDEFINITION of politics as a "total way of life" also meant a redefinition of the state and citizenship. The state was merely an agent of the race, and thus the Nazi world view, which was based upon race, would determine the actions of the state. Law had one purpose only: to help cement together the community of the people as a Volk. It was the leader who in his person united state and the Volk: he was the living embodiment of the ideology and, through the state, the executor of actions necessary to safeguard the innermost purpose of the race. He was, therefore, both lawmaker and judge. As in all areas of culture, law and justice, state and citizenship, were subjected to a body of thought which desired a total unity.
Carl Schmitt (b. 1888), a legal theoretician, was successively professor of law at the universities of Greifswald (1921), Bonn (1922. 1933), and finally Koln and Berlin (1933·1945). During the Republic he had been the most noteworthy opponent of the democratic, parliamentary concept of law, which he repudiated in favor of a dynamic interplay between leadership and people, both united in a common race and Volk. Parliamentary democracy was, for him, an antiquated bourgeois method of government. His ideas found acceptance in the Third Reich, and his book Staat, Bewegung, Volk (State, Movement, Volk) (1933) gives a good summary of them. Schmitt begins by de fining the legal theory of the Nazi seizure of power. To be sure, that seizure took place within the legal framework of the Weimar Constitution, but the context is new. Power now springs from the people, and the Nazi party is the people united in one aim and one world view. The emphasis is on the immediacy of power as against a normative or impartial law: it is a part of politics, of the actions of leadership and people united in the will of the race to realize its aims.
The rejection of government "by laws and not by men" and with it the repudiation of representative government did indeed put the old legal forms into a new context. For Hitler, who prided himself upon having seized power legally, kept most of the old framework intact: the system of courts and judicial officials which he had inherited from the hated Republic. But he changed its spirit by changing the theory of law. Schmitt can serve as an authority on how this was done. The people kept the "external" legal system to which they were accustomed, but in reality they lived under a system of law which was an instrument of power in the hands of the Nazi leadership.
Schmitt's ideas are faithfully reflected in the official Commentary on the Reich Citizenship Law. The authors were ranking officials of the Ministry of the Interior. Wilhelm Stuckart was Secretary of State (the number-two man) and Hans Globke the head of various important divisions. Stuckart was a young man who had risen rapidly by virtue of his party connections. He eventually resigned his position, perhaps because of his dislike of the policy of the "final solution." Hans Globke may have been no more than a nominal party member; it has been claimed that he was a trusted informer for the Catholic Church and supplied information on what went on in his important ministry. Globke fared well in the Federal Republic after 1948, becoming the head of the Federal Chancellery under Konrad Adenauer.
The Reich Citizenship Law was an integral part of the Nuremberg Laws, which excluded the Jews from the German community, going so far as to forbid Jews to have Christian servants in their homes. From the Commentary it is quite plain that the law is directed primarily against Jews, for Danes and Poles living in the Reich are given an opportunity to become Reich citizens. This puzzling edict -- the Danes were Nordics, but the Poles were despised Slavs -- may be explained by political opportunism: there was a large Polish population in Prussia and the time to deal with it had not yet come. Moreover, the treaty of friendship between Hitler and the Polish dictator, Marshal Pilsudski, played a role in this instance of racial inconsistency.
The distinction between Reich citizens and state citizens gave the leadership power over those people who lived in Germany but had not been admitted to full citizenship. Moreover, by making Reich citizenship an honor that had to be earned, the leadership obtained one more method by which to reward or to punish, and thus to strengthen their hold over the population. In practice state citizenship tended to be a matter of age; after attaining their majority all Aryans became Reich citizens unless they had committed a political crime or a felony. For basic to the law and the Commentary is the concept of the state as the mere instrument of the Volk. Stuckart and Globke expressly reject the Roman-law concept of the state as a separate corporate entity.
Civil rights, by definition, were restricted by the interests of the community of the Volk, and were not ideals protected either by the law or by the state. Both Schmitt and the authors of the Commentary specifically oppose their theories to those of liberalism, an outmoded concept of individual freedom whose day was past. This redefinition of civil liberties pervades all of the Nazi culture, and can be seen in action, for example, where academic freedom was concerned (see pages 314-316).
The view that the Jews were outside the law, implied by Stuckart and Globke, is stated in all its cruelty by Walther Buch, the Supreme Party Judge empowered to deal with intra-party charges of corruption and slander. His remarks were published in the official journal Deutsche Justiz. He wrote at a time when "the gloves were off" in connection with the Jews, when the burning of synagogues on November 10,1938, had symbolized a growing violence which stood midway between the Nuremberg Laws (1935) and the "final solution" of the Jewish question.
A change in legal concepts within older forms is without effect unless the judicial bureaucracy is imbued with the "new spirit." Roland Freisler (1893-1944) calls for just such a change in his preface to the Kalender (or Handbook) of the Judicial Civil Service. At that time Freisler was Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice. In 1940 he became President of the People's Court, which had been created in 1934 to provide speedy justice in cases of treason -- a wide jurisdiction at a time when treason had been extended to include not merely concrete acts but opposition in any form to the ideology of the Nazi state. Freisler proved himself an efficient hangman, and it was before him that the leaders of the 1944 revolt against Hitler were tried. Freisler was killed by an Allied bomb in the midst of that trial.
His aim in this preface was to break the resistance of the old-line Prussian civil servant who, much like his English counterpart, regarded himself as being beyond political influence. Here too no man or institution could be allowed to stay beyond the reach of the Volk and its ideology. However, in practice many civil servants were never wholly "reformed," though the Nazis had considerable success with an officialdom which tended to be politically conservative.
The state was merely the "external" instrument of the Volk: the law and judicial administration must be swallowed up by the encompassing world view. The outward forms were kept, for Hitler conceived of his Reich as a "revolution of the spirit." But this kind of revolution did change the German reality, largely through the distinction between form and substance which runs through these documents and many others in this book.
What is the meaning of the Reich Law of March 24, 1933, which in the form of a constitutional revision was adopted by the full two-thirds majority in accordance with Article 76 of the Weimar Constitution? This so-called Enabling Act was decided upon by the Reichstag only in execution of the popular will as it had become perceptible in the Reichstag election of March 5, 1933.  In reality the election, even from a legalistic point of view, was nothing but a referendum, a plebiscite through which the German people acknowledged Adolf Hitler, the leader of the National Socialist movement, as the leader of the German nation. The municipal elections of March 12 merely served to reiterate the will of the people. Hence the Reichstag and the Federal Council (Reichsrat) acted merely as the executive organs of the popular will. To the so-called positivistic jurists it seems very natural to see in this law the legal basis for today's state. The expression "Enabling Act" seems even to strengthen the inclination toward such a misconception. It is therefore necessary to recognize the term "Enabling Act" as a juristically inaccurate, even erroneous designation, and it would be more expedient to avoid the term altogether, especially since it is used neither in the title ("Law for the Redress of the Distress of the People and the Reich") nor in the text of the law and has been injected into the law from the outside. In reality, this "Enabling Act" is the temporary constitutional law of the new Germany....
The German revolution was legal -- that is, it was formally correct in accordance with the earlier constitution. It stemmed from discipline and the German sense of order. Besides, its legality derives from the Weimar Constitution -- that is, it is legal in terms of a discarded system. It would be juridically wrong and politically an act of sabotage to regard this kind of legality as being a continuation of the validity of discarded juristic ideas, institutions, or norms and hence an acceptance of the letter and spirit of the Weimar Constitution. The validity of the German revolution is not based on the fact that a dozen deputies were ready, by their votes, to make up the 15 per cent difference between a simple and a two-thirds majority, and the power of today's German state does not depend on the premises, provisos, or even mental reservations under which that group gave its acquiescence. It would be politically, morally, and legally nonsensical to trace power back to impotence and thus surreptitiously return power to a powerless system. What is alive cannot identify itself with death, and power cannot legitimize itself in terms of impotence.
When Rudolf Hess, our Fuhrer's deputy, at the party convention in Nuremberg in 1933, declared that that party convention was in reality the "Reichstag" of the Third Reich, he was correct. But the concept "Reichstag" no longer is determined according to the institution of that name as understood by the Weimar Constitution. And when the Fuhrer's deputy asserts the principle that "all power stems from the people," that is something entirely different from what the liberal-democratic Weimar Constitution means when it uses the identical words in its Article I. Our entire public law, including all regulations still in force taken over from the Weimar Constitution, stands in an altogether new context.... The right of our new state stands in opposition to all false juristic constructions which would like to lead the National Socialist state back to the pathways and thought patterns of the old, superseded theory of state.
In view of the fundamental importance of the idea of leadership, it is necessary to understand clearly, and on a theoretical basis, the central concept of the National Socialist state law, the concept of leadership, and never to lose sight of its specific uniqueness. In order to understand the concept in its fullest importance and to defend it against falsifications and obfuscations, it is first and foremost necessary to confront it with several other, seemingly closely related concepts. For such concepts, though altogether necessary and indispensable in their own spheres, are imbued with a totally different spirit and are therefore eagerly used to assimilate the idea of leadership, thereby paralyzing its inherent strength. It is well known that a consistent liberal democracy looks for its ideal in political "leaderlessness." It has not yet dawned upon the consciousness of most German jurists that for more than a century a whole system of specific conceptual formulations has been at work to eliminate the idea of leadership and that the levers of these concepts have been applied precisely at points where they perforce were politically most destructive, and even annihilating.
Under the pretext of building legal concepts, constitutional thinking, dominated by its fundamental principle of security, calculability, and measurability, changed all ideas, concepts, and institutions to abstractions for which norms had been established beforehand. It is maintained, for example, that every duty, if it is to be a lawful obligation and juridically relevant, should have a basis that is normatively measurable and, consequently, its content should be subject to judicial examination. In this simple manner a type of duty inaccessible to individualistic-liberal legal philosophy is eliminated from jurisprudence, and the monopoly of jurisprudence as such creates a definite political world view (which is by no means of specifically legal or scientific character). The vitally necessary duties of allegiance in a leadership state -- for example, the duties of obedience on the part of civil servants and racial comrades, which are legal duties in the fullest sense -- are thus converted into "merely moral" or "merely political" matters and thereby stripped of their legal core. This line of thought celebrated its triumph in the Leipzig lawsuit brought by the ousted Prussian government of the Weimar system against the German Reich? The allegiance of the various states (Linder) to the Reich is obviously a legal duty of political content, yet its essence was destroyed by this separation of law from politics, so that an especially typical representative of the Weimar system could ironically refer to it as "sentimentality." From this point of view, the placing of the National Socialists and the Communists on the same political footing was "law" as differentiated from "politics." On the other hand, to distinguish between the Communist organization (obviously a deadly enemy of the German state) and a German national movement was regarded as an offense against "equality before the law," and as "political" rather than "legal" evaluation. Here the hostility to the state that is at the core of the liberal antithesis of law and politics became manifest. ...
Our concept is neither capable of nor does it need any mediating image or representative comparison. It stems neither from baroque allegories and representations nor from a Cartesian idee generale. It is a concept of immediate actuality and real presence. For that reason it demands, as a positive requirement, an unconditional similarity of racial stock between leader and followers. The continuous and truthful contact between leader and followers and their reciprocal loyalty rest upon this racial similarity. Only this similarity of racial stock can prevent the leader's power from becoming tyranny and despotism; only this makes it essentially different from the domination of an alien-structured will, no matter how intelligent and well-intentioned it may be.
The racial similarity of the German people in process of unification is, therefore, the indispensable precondition and foundation for the concept of the political leadership of the German people. It was not as a theoretical thought-out postulate that, at the National Socialist German Jurists' Convention in Leipzig in 1933, the idea of race again and again was given the center of attention -- as well as in the powerful closing speech by the Fuhrer himself; in the inspiring address by the leader of the German Law Front, Dr. Hans Frank; and in such excellent special reports as that by H. Nicolai. Without the principle of the similarity of kind the National Socialist state could not exist, and its jurisprudence would be unthinkable. It would at once be handed back with all its institutions to its liberal and Marxist enemies, who now either criticize with a show of superiority or offer obsequious assimilation.
It is especially necessary for the scientific jurists of the new German law to become fully conscious of the force with which this concept of similarity of racial stock penetrates all systematic juridical considerations. The idea that a judge is normatively bound to a law has today become theoretically and practically untenable in many fields of practical jurisprudence. No law can any longer provide the calculability and security which, according to constitutional· thinking, belongs to the definition of law. Security and calculability do not lie in normativeness but in a situation that is postulated as "normal."
From Carl Schmitt, Staat, Bewegung, Volk: Die Dreigliederung der politischen Einheit (Hamburg, 1933), pp. 7-9, 36-37, 42-43.
1. The Reich Law of March 24, 1933, conferred what amounted to absolute powers upon Adolf Hitler. Article 76 stipulated that a two-thirds majority could amend the Constitution. The elections of March 5, 1933, gave the Nazis a bare majority in the Reichstag and 43.9 per cent of the popular vote (almost 90 per cent of the population voted). The Communist party did not take part, for it had already been outlawed, and this election was the last in which the other political parties were allowed to participate. If the Communists had voted, the Nazis would not have received even a bare majority in the Reichstag.
2. On July 20, 1932, Chancellor von Papen used his emergency powers in order to depose the Social Democratic government of Prussia. The Prussian government did not resist, but instead brought a lawsuit before the Supreme Court. Hitler's advent to power meant the failure of this action.
The political science of the past century regarded the state as an entity in itself, as an abstract juristic state-person. On the other hand, the fundamental political value of National Socialism is not the state as such, but the people. Here, perhaps, the deepest differences between the Germanic world of ideas and Romance (Latin) thought are manifest. In Germanic community thinking, the state consists of a system of communities -- family, clan, an organized body of a hundred men, Volk community -- each of which may encompass a number of more closely knit communities. The entire life of the individual comrade unfolds within these communities. Outside of these communities no human life exists in the legal sense, but only a biological, vegetative existence; thus anyone expelled from the community for a crime is an outlaw. Thus the state is not something "other" in contradistinction to the comrade or even something "above" the comrade. Rather, the comrades of the community in their totality constitute the state.
For Romance thought, however, the state, as an abstract personality with its administrative governmental apparatus, occupies the center. In the individualistic-liberal conception, which was strongly influenced by Romance thought, the primary element was the free and independent individual and the totality of all individuals in society. For this reason alone the state was worthy of protection because, through the "free play of forces," it supposedly achieved the greatest possible happiness for the individual as well as for the sum of individuals. The general public looked upon the state as an apparatus that stood apart from, or even above, the individual, as an independent mechanism which, juristically, was conceived as a political personality floating high above the people. This concept of the state was entirely in keeping with the prevailing mechanistic world view. Exercising a strict control over society, this juristic political personality, entirely cut off from the people, had to promote the free development of the individual and had to see to it that no one's personal liberty was restricted. State and people, the supreme power and the individual subject to it, confronted each other, strictly divided from each other. The lone individual was the opponent of the abstract state personality. Both entered into legal relations with each other, though not as equals. The reality of the Volk and of the state dissolved into a system of legal relations between the state and the isolated individual. The enduring legal nexus between the individual and the state was expressed in the status of citizenship viewed as a legal relationship between the two. The essence of citizenship exhausted itself in its positive-legal relationship within the liberal constitutional state. With painstaking concern for the individual and his rights, the content of citizenship was discussed and precisely determined. Obviously, this concern referred essentially to the rights of the citizen, to his influence on the state and his independence from that state. In accordance with the individualistic mode of thought, the essence of citizenship, save for some obligations of the citizenry, such as service in the armed forces, was regarded as a cluster of rights" the so-called civil rights, which were essentially directed against the state. In every constitution, in particular in the Weimar Constitution, the so-called basic rights played a dominant role. Above all, the principle of equality was most scrupulously guarded. Rights and duties were the same for every citizen. Blood relationship, particularly, was not taken into consideration at all. There was no Volkish foundation for citizenship. The question of the Volkish relationship of the individual citizen was never raised.
The revolution in the conception of the state has perforce changed the concept, essence, and content of nationality and citizenship. National Socialism has put the people directly into the center of thought, faith, and will, of creativity and life. As Reich Minister Frick says, [National Socialism] derives from the mightiest of all traditions on earth: from the eternity of the people which ever renews itself.
"The point of departure of National Socialist doctrine does not lie in the state but in the Volk. That is to say, in order to be able to test, judge, and correct the nullity and hence the appropriateness of external Volkish forms, it is necessary to grasp their purpose above and beyond their suitability as means. Therefore the focal point of all National Socialist thought lies in the living substance which we, according to its historical development, call the German Volk." (From the Fuhrer's final address at the party congress of 1935.) The community of the people, sustained by a community of will and a community consciousness of honor of the racially homogeneous German people, constitutes political unity. This community is not only spiritual but real. The real bond is the common blood. This community of blood creates the Volkish-political unity of the thrust of the will against the surrounding world. The Volkish-political community is the keystone of our entire governmental and Volkish life. Accordingly, we do not look upon the state from the individualistic-liberal point of view -- namely, as an abstract state personality with its state apparatus, standing apart from and above the individual. The state is the Volkish olitical organization of the living organism -- the Volk. The state concept of National Socialism is the idea of the Volkish-political community. The opposition between the state idea and the state purpose, on the one side, and nation and Volkdom on the other, which runs through history -- the rupture between Volk and state from which in the past the German people have suffered greatly -- has been overcome. Today we understand that the nation is to the state as content is to form, as purpose is to means. The state is the means to the end of safeguarding the people. "Its end is the preservation and promotion of a community of living beings who are physically and psychologically alike. This preservation is first and foremost concerned with the racial stock and thereby permits the free development of all the energies dormant in this race." (The Fuhrer in Mein Kampf.)
The Reich is the exterior structure of the law in which the ordered community of the Germans assumes an external appearance. It is the legal concept of German political unity. Consequently, the idea of the Third Reich has a profound constitutional importance. The Third Reich is the German Volk idea become a reality. It should, therefore, not be regarded as a special organism and as an abstract state personality above the people. Rather it is, and will increasingly become, the political-Volkish organization that fully harmonizes with the vital laws of the organism, the people. The Reich is the political and legally constituted Volk community within the German living space. Hence we no longer look upon the Reich as a self-sufficient, abstract state, existing by and for itself. Rather, for us the Reich is the community order of the totality of Volkish life -- the highest organizational manifestation of the Volk community, bound by ties of blood, which gathers all the organizations and functions of the people into an active unity, into public power. The Reich organization as such can no longer be considered to have an existence and purpose of its own, as is the case in the individualistic concept of the state. If, however, the state -- not its apparatus, but the state in the Volkish-racial sense -- derives from the nation, if it is the organization of the living organism, of the people, this, consequently, is also a clear expression of the fact that the state is not an insignificant entity. The people need an organizational structure suitable to their character, and the organizational framework must have its content, if the people are not to be an amorphous mass and the Reich a rigid, dead form. The repudiation of the abstract state personality, however, does not prevent the Reich -- as the political- Volkish organization of the people -- from being the vehicle of rights and duties; in other words, the Reich has full competence in all legal proceedings. The vehicle of this competence is no longer the abstract legal figure of the state, but the community of the Volk in its politically formed and legally ordered structure.
This conception of Volk and Reich also determines the relationship of the individual to the whole. As we have already emphasized, the liberalistic conception of the state put the individual and society in opposition to the state. It did this by emphasizing the individual's right to the greatest possible degree of unrestricted activity and by assuming that it was its duty to free the citizen from the fetters of an over-powerful state authority and to protect him from state interference. The individual was not looked upon as a member of a community, but as an opponent of the state. The relationship of the individual to the state was determined in terms of the person as such and favored the individual at the expense of society as a whole. According to the National Socialist conception, however, it is not individual human beings, but races, peoples, and nations that constitute the elements of the divinely willed order of this world. The individual is rooted in his Volkdom as a fate. The community of the Volk is the primary value in the life of the whole as well as of the individual. The individual human being can be conceived only as a member of a community of people to whom he is racially similar, from whom he inherits his physical and spiritual endowments (family, Volkdom). National Socialism does not recognize a separate individual sphere which, apart from the community, is to be painstakingly protected from any interference by the state. The moral personality can prove itself only within the community. Every activity of daily life has meaning and value only as a service to the whole. Thus the life of the individual can be developed to the full only in the service of the Volkish community. In the legal order, therefore, the position of the individual is no longer determined in terms of the person as such, but in terms of the community. From the standpoint of the public interest, as against that of a private person, the center of concern is no longer what the individual requires for the free development of his potentialities, or for the attainment of his personal goals, his striving for personal gain and possessions, and how much of this he can forgo for the sake of the community in times of emergency. Rather, on the basis of the highest responsibility to Volk and Reich, National Socialism poses the question: How much scope does the community grant to the rights of the individual? Thus a clear order of rank is created between the needs of the community and the justifiable aspirations of the individual. This does not mean the denial of the individual's civil rights, but his incorporation into a Volkish structure based on social justice and honor. He is evaluated as the smallest unit of the nation and as a part of the whole; he is protected by law for the sake of the whole. Civil rights and duties do not flow from the unrestrained personality of the individual being and from the legal relations between him and the state personality. Instead they derive from his own rank and position in the community. The individual is born as a member of his Volk. This membership creates for him rights and duties toward the Volk as a whole and all its other members. Hence the rights and duties of the individual do not owe their existence to a bilateral legal relationship between the individual person and the state person. Rather, they grow directly out of the individual's membership and position in the community.
Reich citizenship, the totality of all Reich citizens, is the people in its political configuration. Acquirement of citizenship places the racial comrade who belongs to the state in full possession of the rights and duties emanating from his membership in the Volk. The Reich Citizenship Law assigns the German national or citizen of kindred blood his proper place as a full member in the Volkish community. This membership creates full political rights and duties.
The Reich Citizenship Law actualizes the Volkish ordering of the German people on the political level. Thus it has become the safeguarding and supporting foundation of the entire political Volk order of the Third Reich. No other legislation adopted since the National Socialist revolution has so completely rejected the intellectual attitude and the state concept of the past century. In the Reich Citizenship Law, National Socialism sets the doctrine of the equality of man and of the fundamentally restricted freedom of the individual vis-a-vis the state against the hard yet necessary fact of the natural inequality and disparate natures of men. From the dissimilarity of races, peoples, and human beings there follows a necessary differentiation in the rights and duties of the individual. This dissimilarity, based on life and on unalterable natural laws, is reflected in the Reich Citizenship Law in terms of the basic political organization of the German people. Thus, it differentiates between state subjects and Reich citizens. A state subject, according to Paragraph I of the Law, is one who is under the protection of the German Reich and who therefore is especially obligated to it. A Reich citizen, on the other hand, is a subject of German or of kindred blood who by his attitude proves that he is willing and able loyally to serve the German people and the Reich. The structure of the Volkish life and Volkish order, and of the leadership state based upon it, requires that state subjects be distinguished from foreigners and stateless persons and that the inner-political Reich right of citizenship be established as the qualification for the exercise of civil rights and duties. It was alien to liberal legal thinking to link the exercise of political rights and duties to the Volkish descent and membership of the individual. It follows from the National Socialist concept of the state that the National Socialist state, as a Volkish state, necessarily makes the exercise of civil rights dependent upon membership in the Volk. What is German, and what either benefits or harms the German people and the Reich, can be sensed, known, and hence determined only by those of German blood. Thus in addition to state citizenship, membership in, or racial kinship with, the German people is a prerequisite for Reich citizenship rights.
Thus the Reich Citizenship Law fulfills a basic demand of the National Socialist party platform:
The Reich Citizenship Law elevates the bearer of German or racially kindred blood above the rest of the state's subjects by according to him alone the right to assume full Reich citizenship. All persons of alien blood -- hence, especially Jews -- are automatically excluded from attaining Reich citizenship.
But citizenship is not automatically granted to a subject of German or of racially kindred blood. Rather, the Reich Citizenship Law demands from him the will and ability loyally to serve the German people and the Reich. Before assuming the right of citizenship, he must show by his attitude that he has fulfilled this precondition.
In principle, the subjective precondition for Reich citizenship -- namely, the will to serve the German people and the Reich -- can be assumed as fulfilled unless there is evidence to the contrary. For the Reich Citizenship Law by no means aims to restrict the exercise of political rights to a small fraction of the German people to the exclusion of all other racial comrades. However, it is the sense and purpose of Reich citizenship legislation not to admit indiscriminately every state subject to citizenship upon the attainment of a certain age, but to grant it only after an evaluation of the subject's worthiness and then by an act of sovereign power, namely, the issuance of a patent of citizenship. Consequently, the vast majority of all state subjects will be granted full Reich citizenship upon their attainment of a certain age. On the other hand, by denying or even withdrawing citizenship it is possible to exclude misfits from having a voice in political matters. Crime, offenses against the state, violations of civic obligations, such as refusal or unworthiness to serve in the armed forces, loss of the right to hold public office, professional unworthiness, will exclude the state subject from Reich citizenship....
A member of any minority group demonstrates his ability to serve the German Reich when, without surrendering membership in his own specific Volk group, he loyally carries out his civil duties to the Reich, such as service in the armed forces, etc. Reich citizenship is, therefore, open to racially kindred groups living in Germany, such as Poles, Danes, and others.
It is an altogether different matter with state subjects of alien blood and race. They do not fulfill the blood prerequisites for Reich citizenship. The Jews, who constitute an alien body among all European peoples, are especially characterized by racial foreignness. Jews therefore cannot be regarded as possessing the capability for service to the German people and the Reich. Hence they must remain excluded from Reich citizenship.
According to the law, the Reich citizen alone is the bearer of political rights. Only he can participate in the Reichstag elections or be a candidate in them; only he can take part in plebiscites, occupy honorary offices in state and municipality, or be nominated as a professional or honorary public servant. Hence, in the future no Jew can hold such public office.
In view of its far-reaching consequences and its supreme importance for the nation as well as for the individual, Reich citizenship can be granted only with the greatest prudence and only through the specially empowered offices of the Reich and party leadership. Thus, in accordance with the will of the Fuhrer, the Reich citizenship patent will be the most valuable document that the nation has to bestow and the highest honor that a German citizen can ever earn. Therefore it is obvious that Reich citizenship can be withdrawn if the prerequisites to it, especially conduct worthy of a citizen, no longer hold.
A German state subject does not gain full Reich citizenship simply through his ethnic origin or through activity in behalf of the German people, but only after an investigation of his worthiness and through an act of sovereign power by the grant of the citizenship patent. The necessary continuous examination of the German nation will lead to the exclusion from political life of all elements unfit for the continued development of the German people and the Reich. Thus, for all time, it will put the fate of the German nation into the hands of the bearers of good German heritage and German spirit.
After the Reich citizens, those who alone are authorized racial comrades, the state subjects form a much wider circle.... Up to now, the concept of state subject has never been legally established; its interpretation was left to jurisprudence. Now the Reich Citizenship Law provides a legal definition. According to it, the material content of state citizenship is membership in the protective association of the German Reich, that is, the right to the protection of the German Reich. The duties of a state subject to the German Reich are indissolubly linked to this right. State citizenship has importance in internal politics as well as in the sphere of foreign politics. In its relation to international law it distinguishes between the citizen and foreigner, that is, the individual who is either a citizen of another country or stateless. In internal-political terms it is the protective fellowship of all who belong to the same state association. This protective fellowship embraces, in the first place, all Reich citizens, but beyond that all other racial comrades -- those who, because of their youth have not yet attained full Reich citizenship, those to whom Reich citizenship has been denied or from whom it has been withdrawn, and finally all subjects of alien ethnic origin. The possession of state citizenship establishes the basis of the legal position of the state subject as a member comrade in the protective state association. This is not a bilateral legal arrangement between the state and the single individual. Rather, the legal position of the state subject within the protective association creates legal relationships extending in diverse directions. The public rights and duties of the state subject emanate from his membership in the state protective association.
Through the separation of state citizenship from the acquisition of state civil rights by virtue of the grant of Reich citizenship, the concept of state citizenship has lost its political content. The political privileges heretofore connected with state citizenship no longer exist. The state citizen as such no longer enjoys any political rights. He can, of course, utilize all public institutions according to prevailing regulations; he can, to the extent that there are no legal restrictions, be gainfully employed; and he enjoys the protection of the state organism. Conversely, he is obligated to help carry all public burdens and in emergencies to come to the defense of the state with everything he possesses. He has, however, no political state rights. The possession of state citizenship does not give him a claim to Reich citizenship.
In contrast to Reich citizenship, state citizenship is not dependent or membership in the blood or ethnic fellowship. Accordingly, even those of alien races may in the future acquire German state citizenship, provided that their total personality fulfills prevailing requirements. To be sure, since the law of May 15, 1935, claims for naturalization are no longer valid. Rather, the grant of German state citizenship depends on the decision of the naturalization authorities, who are duty-bound to conduct a thorough examination and evaluation of the applicant. In the course of time, new regulations pertaining to the acquisition and loss of state citizenship will have to be promulgated, in keeping with the concept already expressed in the law of May 15, 1935, that German state citizenship can no longer be acquired, lost, or changed arbitrarily.
From Wilhelm Stuckart and Hans Globke, Kommentare zur deutschen Rassengesetzgebung (Munich and Berlin, 1936), Vol. I, pp. 20-26, 28-30.
The Reichstag has unanimously passed the following law, which is herewith made public:
(1) A state subject is anyone who belongs to the protective association of the German Reich and who therefore is especially obligated to it.
(2) State citizenship is acquired according to the regulations of the Reich and State Citizenship Law.
(1) Only the state citizen of German or of kindred blood who by his conduct proves that he is willing and able loyally to serve the German people and the Reich is a Reich citizen.
(2) The right to Reich citizenship is attained through the conferment of the Reich citizenship patent.
(3) The Reich citizen is the exclusive bearer of full political rights, according to the criteria of the laws.
The Reich Minister of the Interior, in agreement with the deputy of the Fuhrer, shall promulgate the necessary legal and administrative regulations for the execution and supplementation of this law.
Nuremberg, September 15, 1935
From Wilhelm Stuckart and Hans Globke, Kommentare zur deutschen Rassengesetzgebung, Vol. I, p. 31.
The Jew is not a human being. He is an appearance of putrescence. Just as the fission-fungus cannot permeate wood until it is rotting, so the Jew was able to creep into the German people, to bring on disaster, only after the German nation, weakened by the loss of blood in the Thirty Years' War, had begun to rot from within.
From an article by Supreme Party Judge Walther Buch on the idea of German honor, in Deutsche Justiz, Oct. 21, 1938. (Wiener Library Clipping Collection.)
Since the 1937 handbook (Kalender) for officials in the administration of justice was published, the position of all civil servants in the new German Reich has undergone a fundamental strengthening. The German Civil Service Law of January 26, 1937, closed a development which had been purposely introduced by the National Socialist state leadership in 1933. It would be wrong to speak injuriously of the body of civil servants who did their duty during the Weimar interregnum. However justified the stigma that attached itself to some civil servants for their corrupt and un-German behavior, it must be acknowledged that the overwhelming majority of public servants sought to remain aloof from the immorality of an internally disoriented system, and succeeded in so doing. It will forever be a claim to fame for the creators of the Prussian civil service that it was able to inject into the blood of the whole body of German civil servants its own lofty sense of self-sacrificing duty to people and state, and maintained its essence even during the ravaging storm of unpatriotic discord that plagued Germany for fifteen years.
But there was one particular consequence of that storm: the German-conscious official could oppose the dangerous, and frequently forcibly imposed, influence of democratic-Marxist rule only by clinging rigidly to the formalism of bureaucratic procedure. Many examples could be cited how, even in the sphere of the administration of justice, the enforcement of Marxist ideology foundered on the arduous utilization and exploitation of legalistic regulations. Thus, in many cases, the German civil servant was trained in, or forced to adopt, a purely formalistic mode of thought -- a habit of mind that was out of place the moment the National Socialist revolution swept away the Marxist phantom.
As a movement born from life itself, and life-creating in turn, National Socialism demands the rejection of formalistic rigidity in thought and action and expects from its officeholders and trustees a living and dynamic attitude. This dynamic must be rooted in the newly awakened soul of the people. It was only a natural consequence of the seizure of power that, by virtue of the Civil Service Law of April 1933, racially and ideologically alien elements were eliminated from the civil service. Beyond and above that, when the unity of party and state had become law, the need arose for a broader and deeper anchoring of the German professional civil service in the service of the Fuhrer and in the totality of the nation.
Thus, even here National Socialism fought its battle in a war against bureaucracy and regulations that, for better or for worse, was bound to become a commonly used slogan -- in the better sense because it expressed a sound instinct in opposition to everything that was estranged from life, everything that was dead and moldy, and in the worse sense wherever there were some who seized upon it as a banner to smuggle in the contraband of their own selfish interest and wrongdoing.
Bureaucracy does not exist merely in an office and in the ranks of professional public servants. Bureaucracy can be found in all walks of life. A bureaucrat is not just the man behind a desk who because of a multitude of rules has lost sight of the purpose of his own existence. A bureaucrat, rather, is anyone who goes through life with his eyes fixed on his toes -- whether he be a builder who with all his calculations has lost sight of the larger purpose of his enterprise; or a merchant who knows how to deal with figures but not with the goods, the very essence of his business; or the soldier who in a moment of decision clings to service regulations instead of taking responsible action on his own. Bureaucracy, therefore, is a sickness which grows out of the general human condition. However, it finds its most nourishing soil in the air of an office, and it must be fought there as well as everywhere else. Because it grows out of a basic attitude toward life, it must be fought by a renewal of the proper attitude. Thus the struggle against bureaucracy is closely bound up with the demand for a national and socialistic profession of faith from every single civil servant.
Here is the crux of the German Civil Service Law. Thus the law of January 1937, in contrast to all previous civil service legislation, does not begin by setting down the rules and regulations of the civil service. Rather, after a short definition of the conceptual features of public service in general, it puts this principle at the apex: anyone who wants to be or to become a civil servant must be ready to profess unconditional faith in all the obligations which the National Socialist state imposes. The indissoluble bond with the Fuhrer, which the civil servant solemnly affirmed when he took his oath of office on the person of the Fuhrer, can grow only from the deepest permeation with the true spirit of the movement. From this bond stem the roots the civil servant has in the Volk, of which he is a part and member.
From Kalender fur Reichsjustizbeamte (Berlin: R. v. Decker's Verlag and G. Schenck, 1938), pp. 17- 18.