1887

n Historia - Anti-Semitism in the 1930s : Germany and South Africa

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Abstract


Ten einde die Nazitydperk en sy wesenlike antisemitiese karakter te verstaan, is dit nodig om die kontinuïteitsaspek van die Duitse geskiedenis te begryp. In die laat-negentiende eeu was antisemitisme reeds 'n potensieel gevaarlike krag in Europa, veral in Frankryk. Dit was egter in die pas-verenigde Duitsland, met sy unieke politieke en sosiaal-ekonomiese eienskappe, afkomstig uit sy verlede, wat 'n eksklusiwistiese, konserwatiewe nationalisme voortgekom het wat in teenstryd, saam met 'n gereserveerde aanvaarding van Judaïsme, voortbestaan het. Hierdie dubbelsinnigheid was gevestig in die kultuur van die Weimar Republiek en was een van die oorsake van die politiese onaktiwiteit daarvan. Hitler het laasgenoemde vervang met 'n aggressiewe nasionale ideologie wat met rassesuiwerheid en sy antitese, die Joodse stereotipe, behep was.
Suid-Afrika was een van die lande waarheen Duitse Jode kon immigreer toe die Nazis se rassistiese wetgewing hulle siviele en wetlike regte begin inkort het. Die bestaande Suid-Afrikaanse Joodse gemeenskap, wat rofweg van die tydperk 1880 tot 1913 dateer het, was hoofsaaklik van Oos-Europese oorsprong. Die lede daarvan was veral geneig om hulleself ekonomies en kultureel met die Engelssprekende bevolking te assosieer. Relatief min het hulle tussen die Afrikaanssprekendes, wat veral die landelike komponent van die wit bevolking uitgemaak het, gevestig, maar tradisioneel is die "Boerejood" en selfs 'n hoeveelheid gemengde huwelike tog aanvaar.
Naziïsme se aantrekkingskrag wat deur buite-parlementêre bewegings bevorder is, het beide die Afrikaner se werkersklas en dié intelligentsia wat in pre-Nazi Duitsland studeer het, aangetrek. Die Nasionale Party het gevolglik sy boodskap in antisemitiese terme aan hierdie stemgeregtigdes begin verkondig. Laasgenoemde party het geleidelik sy opinie van die suggestie dat Jode onassimileerbare immigrante was en dat hulle ekonomiese mag skadelik vir Afrikaners was, gewysig na Eric Louw se private wetsontwerp wat onomwonde verklaar het dat Jode (volgens Naziterme gedefinieer) 'n ongeskikte ras vir immigrasie na Suid-Afrika was.
Oor die algemeen beskou, was die Suid-Afrikaanse ingesteldheid ver verwyder van die oorheersende antisemitisme van Naziïsme (of sy nasionalistiese herkoms), maar die feit dat die Nasionale Party rassisme kon gebruik om rassisme te beveg, dui tog aan tot watter mate sodanige vooroordele in die 1930's by Afrikaners aanwesig was.

To understand the Nazi period and its intrinsic anti-Semitic characteristic, it is necessary to understand the question of continuance in German history. In the late nineteenth century anti-Semitism was already a potentially threatening force in Europe, particularly in France. It was, however, in the newly unified Germany, with its specific political and socio-economic features derived from its past, that an exclusivist, conservative nationalism emerged which, contradictorily co-existed with a guarded acceptance of Judaism. This ambiguity inhered in the culture of the Weimar Republic and was one of the causes of its political inertia. Hitler replaced the latter with an aggressive (national) ideology which was obsessed with racial purity and its antithesis, the Jewish stereotype.


South Africa was one of the countries to which German-Jews emigrated as Nazi racial laws curtailed their civil and legal rights. The existing South African Jewish community, dating roughly from the period 1880 to 1913 was, predominantly of Eastern European origin. Its members tended to identify economically and culturally the closest with English-speakers. Relatively few settled among Afrikaans-speakers who constituted the rural component of the white population; but traditionally the (Boer Jew) and even a measure of intermarriage were acceptable.
Nazism's appeal, purveyed through extra-parliamentary movements, attracted both the Afrikaner working class and those among the intelligentsia educated in pre-Nazi Germany. Consequently the National Party began pitching its message for these voters in anti-Semitic terms. The latter shifted gradually from the suggestion that the Jews were "unassimilable" and that their economic power was harmful to Afrikaners, to Eric Louw's private bill which explicitly claimed that Jews (as defined in Nazi terms) were "a race not suitable for immigration into South Africa".
In conclusion, while far from the pervasive anti-Semitism of Nazism (or its ancestry), the fact that the National Party could use racism to fight racism, indicates the extent of such prejudice amongst Afrikaners in the 1930s.

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/content/hist/49/2/EJC119062
2004-11-01
2016-12-05
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