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Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠: Chapter Two The Question of Race and Sex: Jewish Men and Race Defilement


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By 1900, antisemitism had evolved from a religious-based ideology to one based on modern pseudo-science and racial discourse. To stigma-tize, ostracize, and discriminate against Jews, the National Socialists invested considerable energy in canonizing some of the established tex-tual and figurative variations of racial antisemitism. Using mass media, the Nazis hoped to increase an awareness of Jewish “otherness.” This chapterexamines one such antisemitic discourse: Jewish race defile-ment and the effects it had on Jewish masculine identity. The Nazis misused the Jewish male body and allegedly criminal mind to convince German society of a Jewish sexual-racial threat. At the same time, German Jews internalized and processed this Nazi form of branding, with some Jewish men even modifying their social demeanours. Aconspicu-ous allegation in Nazi propaganda, a recurrent indictment in German courts, and an agonizing, personal experience of criminalization that many Jewish men faced, the theme of Jewish race defilement was one of the most visible motifs in the media and an essential element of anti-semitism in the Third Reich.Discourse and Race DefilementEuropean cultural constructions of normative manhood– measured by men’s stronger muscle strength and willpower– classified men as the stronger sex, more active and with a potential of aggression. The mili-taristic society of fin-de-siècle Germany had defined masculinity in sol-dierly terms. After 1918, Freikorps members and politically conservative völkisch associations, as Klaus Theweleit has shown, continued in their belief in a German-soldierly masculinity that was defined by physical male prowess and aggression and the subordination of women.1 Delin-eating his utopian masculinized state, Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf:Chapter TwoThe Question of Race and Sex: Jewish Men and Race Defilement

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Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠