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Annual 5 Chapter 3
 

Traditional Antisemitism and the Holocaust: The Case of the German Diplomat Curt Prufer
by Donald M. McKale

Historians have debated since World War II how it was possible for Germany to have been the perpetrator of the Holocaust. Recent studies of public opinion in Hitler's Germany have emphasized that the Holocaust occurred because old-fashioned, milder antisemitism of many Germans had produced among them a disinterest in the "Jewish question." That kind of prejudice, arising from historic political, economic, and religious sources, had by the end of the nineteenth century left the bulk of Germans apathetic toward the newer and smaller group of rabid racial antisemites, including Hitler and the Nazis. The latter carried out the systematic persecution of German Jews after 1933 and the extermination of European Jewry in ghettos, death camps, and other execution sites in Poland and elsewhere in the East during World War 11. According to that view, the passive attitude of Germans, which also resulted from the failure of Nazi propaganda to inspire hatred of Jews among the population, allowed the unprecedented crimes of the Third Reich to happen.1

Although that interpretation sounds persuasive, it has raised important questions. Unclear, for example, is whether it is an acquittal or a moral indictment of the Germans. Also at issue is whether the indifference of most Germans to the fate of the Jews really resulted from their traditional, but less radical, prejudices and the inability of the Nazis to arouse their active support for Hitler's policies.2 Indeed, the findings of some historians dispute the view that Germans accepted antisemitism with indifference, showing instead that they responded with enthusiasm.3

The example of Curt Max Prufer provides an interesting, albeit limited, perspective on such problems. An old-line professional diplomat from the Germany of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Prufer was a dedicated conservative and nationalist, a traditional antisemite, and a latecomer to the Nazi Party. He too reacted to the fate of the Jews with indifference; that is, despite his knowledge of what was occurring, he ignored what he knew and did nothing to halt Nazi policies. His apathy, however, did not result from his mild prejudices toward the Jews or from the failure of the Nazis to kindle a dislike for Jews in him. On the contrary, he held deeply rooted, old-style antisemitic and nationalistic attitudes that appeared to determine his response. His behavior illustrated how intense crude, and brutal the traditional Jew-hatred could be and how it could not only accept, but also silently support, Nazi policies.

Also making Prufer worthy of the historian's attention are the recent studies showing that the careers of old-style German conservatives and nationalists in the upper and upper-middle classes closely resembled his. Most were born in Imperial Germany, were highly educated, and were involved in the professions or in business; they provided, moreover, a crucial ingredient in Hitler's rise to power and in his dictatorship during the Third Reich.4 Prufer's case, therefore, might also shed light on their antisernitic attitudes. Furthermore, Prufer's knowledge by November 1942 of the Nazi annihilation of the Jews provides further evidence against the contention that the leading German diplomats did not know about the Jewish fate.5 Particularly the release six years ago of his diaries, which stretched intermittently from World War I through World War II and after,6 has contributed an unusual piece of documentation to these issues. Prufer's diaries are valuable historical records because with the exception of the diaries of Hitler's propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, similar writings by Germans who supported the Nazi regime are very rare.7 Moreover, Priffer's diaries from World War II provide an intimate glimpse into the views of a German toward the Jews and their fate in the Holocaust.8

Born into a lower-middle class family in Berlin in 1881, Prufer received a Ph.D. in Arabic studies from the University of Erlangen in 1906 and joined the Imperial German foreign service a year later as an interpreter. He served in Egypt before World War I; during the war he was an intelligence officer in Palestine and Syria, helping to organize the German-Turkish assaults against the British at the Suez Canal. He survived the German defeat and the Revolution of 1918. Although despising the new Weimar Republic, he continued in the Foreign Ministry (Auswartiges Artit), served in diplomatic posts in Soviet Georgia (Tiflis) and Ethiopia, and became a part of the social and political elite that dominated the ministry. The ministry recalled him to Berlin in 1930 as deputy director of its Anglo-American and Oriental division, a position he retained when Hitler seized power three years later.

The Nazis promoted Prufer to director of the ministry's personnel division in 1936 and to ambassador to Brazil at the beginning of World War II. After Brazil's declaration of war on the Reich, he returned to Germany in the fall of 1942. As he neared retirement in 1943 and his health declined, the ministry granted him a leave. He hated how the Nazis had rendered professional diplomats like him impotent in German foreign policy, sensed his nation's imminent defeat in the war, and settled with his family in neutral Switzerland. The ministry released him from official duties shortly before the Reich's collapse in the spring of 1945.9

Despite the abundant sources on him, it is unclear when and where Prufer first developed his antisernitic views. He was the product of an educational system in the Kaiser's Germany in which anti-Jewish and nationalist attitudes flourished.10 The schools and universities confirmed the traditional stereotypes, or images, of Jews, motivated largely by political and economic fears. Jews were characterized as outsiders, immoral and greedy financial manipulators, liberals and socialists, and part of a powerful international conspiracy allegedly opposed to Germany.11

The earliest record of Prufer's attitude toward Jews appeared during World War I and reflected the views of those officials in the Imperial government who, although willing to use Jews for the Reich's political purposes, generally disapproved of them. While serving as a German intelligence officer with the Turkish army in Palestine, Prufer recruited several Russian Jews and other Jews in the region to spy for Germany in Egypt. However, his mistrust of Jews and Zionists appeared in a report in 1915 to the brutal Ottoman governor for Palestine and Syria, Djemal Pasha, in which Prufer erroneously characterized such forces as "international" and as conspiring with the Entente to defeat Germany.12

The Reich's loss of the war in 1918, the collapse of the Imperial regime, the abdication of Wilhelm II, and the revolutionary events in November that led to the creation of the new republic fashioned at Weimar-all intensified Prufer's dislike of Jews and other foreigners.13 Moreover, England's issuing of the Balfour Declaration, which expressed the intention to create a national home for the Jewish people, inflamed his paranoia toward Jews and Zionism and strengthened his view that the Jews represented a worldwide force against Germany.14 The Versailles Treaty fueled his hatred for England, France, and the United States.15 During the Kapp-Luttwitz Putsch in 1920, when extremists in the German Army attempted to overthrow the Weimar government, Prufer supported the putschists. As the coup failed, however, and revolts spread among German workers in the Ruhr, Prufer blamed the Jews, whom he associated with England and Bolshevism. He declared in his diary during the putsch:

It is repulsive to see how the stupid Germans allow themselves to be ensnared by international Jewry.... The English, who fear that the Bolshevik danger will achieve the end of the strike, work in alliance with them [the Jews].16
The environment of the Kaiser's Germany and frustration over the lost war and its aftermath, therefore, left Prufer with an intensely narrow vision and a kind of reverse inferiority complex that bred an arrogance toward other peoples and nations.17 After 1930, as the Nazi Party dramatically increased its support in the Reichstag and unleashed physical and other attacks on the Jews, Prufer spearheaded a campaign in the Foreign Ministry's Anglo- American and Oriental divisions to restrict publicity abroad about the antisernitic movement.18 Although he did not belong to the Nazi Party and even considered its leaders social and political inferiors of him and the other officials in the ministry, he greeted Hitler's appointment as chancellor in January 1933 with enthusiasm. Prufer backed the dictator not only because he believed that Hitler would revise the Versailles Treaty and rebuild Germany into a world power, but also because he expected Hitler to do what the Nazis said about removing alleged Jewish influence from the politics and economy of Germany.

Inasmuch as each German bureaucrat, in order to retain his position, had to prove Aryan descent by producing birth and marriage certificates, Prufer and his second wife, whom he had married in 1927, searched for the records of their families. Although they found nothing that endangered them with the new regime, they did uncover information that apparently aggravated Prufer's antisemitism. Not only did his wife learn that her family had Jewish members in its distant background,19 but she also discovered in her research that one of his ancestors five generations back had married a former Jew, who had converted to Christianity. Prufer quickly concealed this fact by having the records of his forefather removed from the registry office (Standesamt), apparently by bribing one of its officials.20

While Prufer kept silent in public lectures about his antisernitic views and the Nazi expulsion of Jews and other supposed enemies from the government and the professions,21 he privately applauded the new regime's policies. Writing in October 1933 to an Arab friend in Switzerland, he prophesied that the "confessed attitude of the Reich government regarding the Jewish question makes it naturally appear desirable to promote the emigration of the Jews from Germany." However, he assured the Arab that Germany would not send its Jews to Palestine, thereby placing himself in opposition to Berlin's new agreement with the Haavara (Hebrew for transfer) company, which aided the migration of German Jews to the British mandate and allowed them to take a portion of their property along.22

After 1936, following his appointment as director of the Foreign Ministry's personnel and budget division, Prufer collaborated with Nazi Party leaders in hiring and promoting party members to lowerlevel positions in the ministry. On several occasions, his division supported the removal from the ministry of officials married to Jews.23 Prufer joined the Nazi Party in December 1937,24 as Hitler finalized his plans for expanding German power in Europe and Russia and prepared to appoint Joachim von Ribbentrop, one of his servile cronies, Foreign Minister.

During World War II, Prufer mentioned almost nothing about the Jews or his attitude toward Germany's persecution of them in his official correspondence in the Foreign Ministry. Such files leave the impression that Prufer, although a senior official in the ministry, may not have had knowledge of the Holocaust, and moreover, that he had little interest in what happened to the Jews.25 His diaries, however, reveal a different side to his nature; they contain numerous references to Jews, of which only a few are cited below.

While in Brazil during the first years of the war, Prufer complained increasingly about the alleged "international" nature of Jewry. Even before the United States entered the war, he claimed that the Jews dominated America, which had joined the conspiracy to defeat Germany. He wrote in his diary on 21 June 1941:

Pan-Americanism serves only the hegemony of the Jewish clique around Roosevelt and which has networks in all Latin American countries.26
His bitter prejudice appeared to increase following his return to Germany in September 1942, where he and his wife soon learned of the Nazi government's murder of the Jews in the East.27 He reacted with apathy to the fate of the victims, concerning himself only with the potential impact that the killings might have on heightening foreign hatred of Germany. In a brief passage written in French in his diary on 22 November 1942, Prilfer revealed what he had learned the previous night from private discussions with two military friends, whom he had known since World War I.
This morning they told me about the horrible stories concerning the treatment of the Persians [a Berlin expression for Jews]. Men, women, and children have been slaughtered in large numbers by poison gas or by machine guns. The hatred which inevitably must arise from that will never be appeased. Today every child knows this in the smallest detail.28
Despite such knowledge-or possibly because of it-Prufer collaborated during the first half of 1943 as head of the Oriental section in the Foreign Ministry with the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husayni, the Arab leader exiled in Berlin. Husayni recruited Balkan Muslims for the SS, Hitler's elite guard significantly responsible for the atrocities in the East. Husayni urged the German government to halt the migration of Jews from Hungary and Bulgaria to Palestine. Instead, the Mufi insisted, the Jews should be shipped to Poland "under strong and energetic guard.29 On 17 July, Prufer recorded in his diary the Mufti's determination to destroy the Jews in the Middle East. Husayni, said Prufer, "was insistent about 'getting rid of the Jewish settlements in Palestine."'30

After September 1943, Prufer witnessed from across the border in Switzerland the final defeat, destruction, and division of that which he had worshiped and served so loyally for nearly four decades-the German state and its power. It is unlikely that his leaving Germany represented a final act of indifference on his part toward the Holocaust and other catastrophic policies of his government. A more plausible explanation is that his behavior resulted from a wish to escape the consequences of his failure to oppose such policies in spite of what he knew about them.

What is clear is that the impending disaster fueled his hatred of the Jews and his deep-rooted belief that they conspired with the Allies to destroy Germany. Anglo-American bombings of the Reich, he declared, "are paving the way for Communism." Prufer ranted further:

Out of hatred from wounded vanity and inspired by the Jews, Churchill and Roosevelt will watch the danse inacabrc until the red tide will also wash them away.31
On one occasion in February 1944, he even blamed the Western powers for the Nazi persecution of the Jews. Pretending that he was talking in his diary to the Allies, he asked:
How are you able to rebuke us when our government found no serious resistance along the path that led to the annihilation (which is still very much disputed by you) of the JewS?32
He observed the continued refusal to allow Jews from southeastern Europe to emigrate to Palestine, but ignored the German role in the policy and declared that only the opposition of the Rumanian and Bulgarian governments had prevented the emigration. Regarding the deportation of Jews from Hungary to Poland in 1944, he worried solely about its effect on Germany. "Sending the Hungarian Jews caused a sensation," he declared in his diary in veiled language, "and will be exploited significantly in propaganda against the Germans. Protests hail from all sides."33

As the Soviet and Allied armies liberated the Nazi death camps, revealing to the world the horror that had occurred in them, Prufer showed a mixture of surprise and disbelief, and then denied what he had known. He exonerated the German people, including himself, and placed the responsibility on the SS, which he apparently considered a troop of youthful idealists. At the news in December 1944 that the Soviets had tried and executed SS officials from the camp at Maidanek for having contributed to the murder of nearly a million and a half Jews, he allowed in his diary only that the SS "apparently are supposed to be responsible for the gassing of a number of Jews and other people unpopular" with the Nazis.34 Reacting to the account in April 1945 by the Allies of the death and suffering at Buchenwald, he proclaimed that it was "simply dreadful that the Nazis should have achieved brutalizing our youth so much that they were capable of such crimes." However, when the Soviet writer Ilya Ehrenburg responded in the spring of 1945 to the Reich's devastation of Russia by calling for the destruction of Germany, Prufer fumed:

Not a single person abroad responded in a Christian sense to this paroxysm of Jewish hatred. This Jew nearly justified the persecution of his people by Hitler.35
His attitude hardened with the war's end in Europe in May 1945, with Germany's surrender, and with the country's division among the victors, including France. Although he wrote the Vatican on 10 October claiming to be an apostle of Christian love and urging the Pope to outlaw war, establish a unified world state, and prevent a future war with the "forces of nihilism" in the Soviet Union, his diaries betrayed his true feelings. He filled their pages with the wildest tirades of hate against the Allied occupation of Germany, the war crimes trials in Nuremberg, and the expulsion of the German minorities from Eastern Europe. Despite the efforts of Anglo-American officials to clothe and feed the Germans in their zones, he proclaimed that the denazification proceedings were "worse than the Jewish persecution by the Nazis and can have only similar terrible results."36

The persistence of Prufer's antisemitism after the war, indeed its intensification, probably also resulted from his severe financial difficulties caused by the destruction of the German government and the subsequent elimination of his pension. His bitter views contrasted with the findings of postwar public opinion surveys by the Allies, which suggested an overwhelming majority of Germans disapproved of the "actions against the Jews."37 Prufer, revealing the depth of his irrationality and possibly even his own feelings of guilt, attempted to deny having knowledge of the Holocaust during the war. He declared that he

had no idea of the horrifying atrocities that occurred in the concentration camps. We heard of the outrages in specific cases, also of certain camps like Dachau and Oranienburg, in which the inmates were badly treated, also of the deportation of the Jews to the East, but never of wholesale murder and conscious extermination.38
Ignoring the massive evidence produced at the Nuremberg trials documenting the Holocaust, he remarked in his diary:
What [Joseph] Goebbels and [Julius] Streicher did not do to make the German people really antisemitic, the fools at Nuremberg will achieve.39
As Prufer considered what had gone wrong for Germany during his lifetime, he appeared to have learned little from history; despite the catastrophes that had befallen his nation in 1918 and 1945, his political and cultural attitudes never changed. He blamed a small clique of Nazis around Hitler for allegedly misleading him and the German people and accused the foreign enemies of Germany, who, he argued, included the Jews, of purposely seeking the nation's ruin.
Only fools are still unable today to see that the Allies, i.e., the Jewish avengers, loyal to the law of Moses, want the annihilation of the German people, just as Hitler, that arch villain and destroyer of Germany, attempted to annihilate the Jews. He did not accomplish that because there were Jews throughout the world, powerful Jews, who mobilized this world against Hitler.40
Prufer's diaries offer a limited, but rare, glimpse into the mind of a German who held values similar to those of most of his countrymen. Recent scholarship has shown that the majority of the German population were conservative and nationalistic, and held antisernitic views that differed in nature from the rabid racial attitudes of Hitler and other Nazi officials.41 Yet Priffer's private jottings suggest that historians must be cautious in drawing conclusions about the moderate or allegedly old- fashioned forms of prejudice that characterized German society. His example provides one illustration of how vicious and insensitive that bias could be. Prufer also reminds us how narrow the dividing line is between patriotism and pride on the one hand, and arrogance and racism on the other.

NOTES

This essay was originally presented at the 1986 annual meeting of the German Studies Association in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I wish to thank the National Endowment for the Humanities, Washington, D.C., and the Clemson University Research Committee for research grants that made this study possible. I am indebted to Professor Robert L. Koehl for suggested revisions in the paper. For further information on Prufer, see my Curt Prufer: German Diplomat from the Kaiser to Hitler (Kent, OH, 1987).

1 . Regarding the basic categories of antisemite, see Ian Kershaw, Popular Opinion and Political Dissent in the Third Reich: Bavaria, 1933-1945 (New York, 1983), pp. 231-57, who notes the influence of the Catholic church in tempering the old- fashioned antisemitism; Sarah Gordon, Hitler, Germans, and the "Jewish Question" (Princeton, 1984), pp. 166-97; Marlis G. Steinert, Hitler's War and the Germans: Public Mood and Attitude During the Second World War, ed. and trans. Thomas E. J. DeWitt (Athens, OH, 1977), pp. 4041, 134-37; Karl A. Schleunes, The Twisted Road to Auschwitz: Nazi Policy Toward German Jews, 1933-1939 (Urbana, IL, 1970), pp. 57-58; Hermann Glaser, The Cultural Roots of National Socialism, trans. Ernest A. Menze (Austin, TX, 1978), p. 223; and Otto Dov Kulka, "Die Nurnberger Rassengesetze und die deutsche Bevolkerung im Lichte geheimer NS-Lage- und Stimmungsberichte," Vicrte1jahrshefte ftur Zeitgeschichte 32 (1984): 606-8, which distinguishes between the reaction of the radicals and the moderates to the laws. According to William S. Allen, The Nazi Seizure of Power: The Experience of a Single German Town, 1922-1945, rev. ed. (New York, 1984), p. 291: "Northeimers did not harass their Jewish neighbors, but they also did their best not to 'know' what their government was doing to the Jews. By then, apathy and psychological denial had become a way of life."

2. Istvan Deak, "How Guilty Were the Germans?" New York Review of Books, 31 May 1984, pp. 39-40.

3. For example, see Antisemitismus: Von der Judenfeindschaft zurn Holocaust, ed. Herbert A. Strauss and Norbert Kampe (Frankfurt, 1985), especially the essays by Walther Hofer, "Stufen der Judenverfolgung im Dritten Reich 1933-1939," pp. 172-85; Wolfgang Scheffler, "Wege zur 'Endlosung,"' pp. 186-214; and Herbert A. Strauss, "Der Holocaust: Reflexion uber die Moglichkeiten einer wissenschaftlichen und menschlichen Annaherung," pp. 215-33. Other sources include Michael H. Kater, "How Popular Was the Third Reich?" SWC Annual 2 (1985): 217; Johnpeter Horst Grill, The Nazi Movement in Baden, 1920-1945 (Chapel Hill, NC, 1983), pp. 355-56; Eberhard Jackel, Hitler in History (Hanover, NH, 1984), p. 91; and Gerhard L. Weinberg, The Foreign Policy of Hitler's Germany: Diplomatic Revolution in Europe, 1933-1936 (Chicago, 1970), pp. 8- 12.

4. Some scholars have undermined the ingrained notion that the petite bourgeoisie were the major supporters of the Nazis and have shown instead that Hitler was acclaimed by elements of many different social groups, especially the higher circles of German society; for example, Richard F. Hamilton, Who Voted for Hitler? (Princeton, 1982); Thomas Childers, The Nazi Voter: The Social Foundations of Fascism in Germany, 1919-1933 (Chapel Hill, NC, 1983); and Michael H. Kater, The Nazi Party: A Social Profile of Members and Leaders, 1919-1945 (Cambridge, MA, 1983).

5. Die Weizsacker Papiere 1933-1950, ed. Leonidas E. Hill (Berlin, 1974), p. 39, asserts that Ernst von Weizsacker, the Secretary of State in the German Foreign Ministry, had no knowledge of what was occurring. For other sources weakening such claims, see note 25.

6. Diary notes exist from World War 1, the Kapp-Liittwitz Putsch in 1920, Prufer's trip through East Africa in 1929, World War 11 (1941-1945), and the postwar era ending in 1952. In 1980 the diaries and other personal records of Prufer were released to the author by Prufer's son, Olaf H. Prufer, of Kent, Ohio [this collection hereafter cited as OPC, KO1. Other diaries are found in Bonn, Politisches Archiv des Auswartigen Amtes [hereafter cited as PA-AA1, Nachlass Prufer. See also McKale, Curt Prufer.

7. The principal diaries of Germans from the period include Joseph Goebbels, Final Entries 1945: The Diaries of Joseph Goebbels, ed. Hugh Trevor-Roper (New York, 1978); Joseph Goebbels, The Goebbels Diaries, 1942-1943, ed. and trans. Louis Lochner (Garden City, NY, 1948); Ulrich von Hassell, The Von Hassell Diaries, 1939-1944: The Story of the Forces Against Hitler Inside Germany, as Recorded by Ambassador U. von Hassell (Garden City, NY, 1947); Ursula von Karsdorff, Berliner Aufzeichnungen 1942-1945 (Munich, 1982); Ruth Andreas- Friedrich, Berlin Underground, 1938-1945 (New York, 1945); Horst Lange, Tagebucher aus dem Zweiten Weltkrieg, ed. Hans Dieter Schaefer (Mainz, 1980); Friedrich Peryval Reck-Malleczewen, Diary of a Man in Despair, trans. Paul Rubens (London, 1966); and Hans-Georg von Studnitz, While Berlin Burns: The Diary of Hans-Georg von Studnitz, 19431945 (London, 1964).

8. For a summary of the references to the Holocaust in the other diaries of Germans from the Third Reich, see Lawrence D. Stokes, "The German People and the Destruction of the European Jews," Central European History 6 (1973): 167-91.

9. For brief biographical sketches of Prufer, see Washington, DC, National Archives and Records Administration [hereafter cited as NARA], Microcopy T-120, Records of the German Foreign Ministry Received by the Department of State, roll 2539, frames E309772-777: Prufer, "Personalbogen, " 24 Oct. 1944; and Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal [Blue Series], 42 vols. (Nuremberg, 1947-49) [hereafter cited as TMWC1 40: 450-60, Defence Doc. Neurath-4: Affidavit Kurt Pruefer, 16 Apr. 1946.

10. For instance, see Konrad H. Jarausch, Students, Society, and Politics in Imperial Germany: The Rise of Academic Illiberalism (Princeton, 1982); idem, "Liberal Education as Illiberal Socialization: The Case of Students in Imperial Germany," Journal of Modern History 50 (1978): 609-30; and James C. Albisetti, Secondary School Reform in Imperial Germany (Princeton, 1983), pp. 171-241.

11. For example, see Werner Jochmann, "Struktur und Funktion des deutschen Antisemitismus, 1878-1914," in Antisemitismus: Von der Judenfeindschaft zum Holocaust, ed. Herbert A. Strauss and Norbert Kampe (Frankfurt, 1985), pp. 99- 142; George L. Mosse, Germans and Jews: The Right, the Left, and the Search for a "Third Force" in Pre-Nazi Germany (New York, 1970), pp. 19, 39-42, 70-74, 108-13; Peter G. J. Pulzer, The Rise of Political Anti-Semitism in Germany and Austria (New York, 1964); Fritz Stern, The Politics of Cultural Despair: A Study in the Rise of the Germanic Ideology (New York, 1965); and Glaser, Cultural Roots, pp. 220-24.

12. Contained in microfilm, "German Foreign Ministry Archives, 1867-1920, University of Michigan, roll 25, frames 0152-53: Priffer to Paul Count von Wolff- Metternich (German ambassador to Turkey), 10 Dec. 1915. In his diary, Prufer recorded that a German-American doctor had warned him of the "Zionist danger," and he labeled Zionist leaders in Palestine "very anti-Turkish and anti-German. " Note OPC, KO, "Krieg," entry for 25 Dec. 1914. Regarding the views of the Imperial German government toward Jews during the war, see Egmont Zechlin, Die deutsche Politik und die Juden im Ersten Weltkrieg (Gottingen, 1969), chaps. 18-19.

13. Olaf Prufer, interview with author, 27 June 1982. For a discussion of the war's impact on the antisernitic attitudes of Germans, see Zechlin, Die deutsche Politik, pp. 516-63; for the effect of the revolution, see Warner T. Angress, "Juden im politischen Leben der Revolutionszeit," in Deutsches judentum in Krieg und Revolution 1916-1923: Ein Sammelband, ed. Werner E. Mosse and Arnold Paucker (Tilbingen, 1971), pp. 137-316.

14. Olaf Prufer interview, 27 June 1982.

15. Even before the Western Allies had agreed to its contents, Prufer had denounced the peace settlement in OPC, KO, his lengthy letter to his American wife, which he may not have mailed and which he did not publish, "Wie ich den Krieg sah: Offener Brief eines Deutschen an seine amerikanische Frau," Feb. 1918.

16. OPC, KO, Prufer, his untitled, loose-leaf diary notes, entry for 21 Mar. 1920.

17. For instance, Prufer had no sympathy for the Armenians, whom the Turks had massacred before and during World War 1; PA-AA, Abteilung III (Grossbritannien und Amerika, Orient, Koloniale Angelegenheiten), serial L101 (Politische Beziehungen der Turkei zu Deutschland): Prufer, memo, 4 Dec. 1923. Moreover, while he served as German minister to Ethiopia between 1928 and 1930, he appeared to see nothing immoral about the persistence of slavery in that land,- PA-AA, Abt. 111, L78 (Politische Beziehungen zwischen fremden Staaten-Athiopien): Prufer to German Foreign Ministry, 31 July 1928.

18. See Arnold Paucker, Der judische Abwehrkampf gegen Antisemitismus und Nationalsozialismus in den letzten Jahren der Weimarer Republik (Hamburg, 1968), p. 221 (document no. 51); and PA-AA, Abt. 111, L1279 (judischepolitische Angelegenheiten-Allgemeines), containing the division's correspondence during 1932 with its foreign missions. A summary of antisemitism and the role of Jews in the life of Weimar Germany is found in Donald L. Niewyk, The Jews in Weimar Germany (Baton Rouge, LA, 1980), pp. 11-81.

19. Olaf Prufer, interviews with author, 27 June 1982, 29 June 1982, and 5 April 1986. Prufer's son, Olaf Prufer, explained that he received this information after 1959, after Curt Prufer's death, from his mother, Anneliese Prufer (nee Fehrmann). "My mother had discovered these details when Hitler required them in various degrees," he recalled. "In revealing such matters, she was not quite certain where in the genealogical tree the 'jewishness' lay. She had grown up in an intensely Jewish environment in Berlin; moreover, her father, Friedrich Fehrmann, was closely associated with local Jews (including Leo Blech, the composer) and Jewish businessmen." Anneliese Prufer's sisters confirmed this information while visiting Olaf Prufer in 1982. Further, during her childhood years, Anneliese Prufer had numerous schoolmates in Berlin who were Jews; note OPC, KO, Anneliese Prufer's small album, "Poesie," 24 Oct. 1912-2 Oct. 1923, which contains the names of her friends and effusions from them. Later, during World War II and after, 0. Prufer knew several of those persons.

20. Olaf Prufer interview, 27 June 1982; and OPC, KO, Almenpass for 0. Prufer, showing the death of the ancestor, Gustav Hirschfeld, in 1830. On the laws in April 1933 requiring civil servants to prove their Aryan identity and removing large numbers of Jews and socialists from the civil service, see Hans Mommsen, Beamtentum im Dritten Reich: Mit ausgewahlten Quellen zur nationalsozialistischen Beamtenpolitik (Stuttgart, 1966), pp. 39-62; Schleunes, Twisted Road, pp. 92-110; Lucy S. Dawidowicz, The War Against the Jews, 1933- 1945 (New York, 1975), pp. 55-61; and Uwe Dietrich Adam, Judenpolitik im Dritten Reich (Konigstein/Ts. and Dusseldorf, 1979), pp. 5164.

21. For instance, see PA-AA, Abt. 111, 8621, M214 (Politische Beziehungen der Turkei zu fremden Staaten): Prufer lecture to German war veterans in Berlin, "Die politische Entwicklung der arabischen Nachfolgestaaten der osmanischen Turkei in der Nachkriegszeit," 28 Nov. 1933.

22. PA-AA, Abt. 111, L1279: Prufer to German consulate Geneva, 26 Oct. 1933.

23. On Prufer's cooperation with Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess, and a subordinate of Hess, Ernst Wilhelm Bohle, the head of the party's foreign organization (Auslands- Organisation), which directed party groups abroad, see Hans-Adolf Jacobsen, Nationalsozialistische Aussenpolitik1933-1938 (Frankfurt, 1968), pp. 469-76; and Donald M. McKale, The Swastika Outside Germany (Kent, OH, 1977), p. 62.

24. Berlin Document Center, master file, Curt Priffer: NSDAP membership card.

25. Details of what Foreign Ministry officials knew about the Holocaust can be found in Christopher R. Browning, The Final Solution and the German Foreign Office: A Study of Referat D III of Abteilung Deutschland, 1940-1943 (New York, 1978), pp. 54-55, 72-75; Walter Laqueur, The Terrible Secret: Suppression of the Truth About Hitler's "Final Solution" (Boston, 1980), pp. 25-27; and Donald L. Singer, "German Diplomats at Nuremberg: A Study of the Foreign Office Defendants of the Ministries Case," Ph.D. diss., American University, 1980, esp. pp. 269-70.

26. PA-AA, Nachlass Prufer, "Tagebucher Band 1: 1. Jan. 1941-31. Dez. 1941," entry for 21 June 1941.

27. Prufer noted this in diaries that he "rewrote" after the war; OPC, KO, his untitled revised version, entry for 16 Oct. 1942. He wrote the revised version in 1946 as part of an autobiography, for which he found no publisher.

28. OPC, KO, Prufer, "Tagliche Notizen 11. 11.42 bis 7.1.44" [hereafter cited as "Notizen, " 11, entry for 22 Nov. 1942.

29. On Prufer's awareness of the Mufti's view, see Munich, Institut fur Zeitgeschichte, Eichmann Prozess, no. 1308: Andor Hencke (Unterstaatssekretar in the German Foreign Office), memo (copy to Prufer), 12 May 1943. Regarding Husayni's opposition to the emigration of the Jews, see Martin Gilbert, The Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second World War (New York, 1985), p. 578; Frederick B. Chary, The Bulgarian Jews and the Final Solution, 1940-1944 (Pittsburgh, 1972), p. 137; Robert Kempner, Eichmann und Komplizen (Zurich, 1961), pp. 395-401; and Randolph L. Braham, The Politics of Genocide: The Holocaust in Hungary, 2 vols. (New York, 1981) 2: 945, 1081.

30. OPC, KO, Prufer, "Notizen, " 1, entry for 17 July 1943.

31. Ibid., entry for 4 Nov. 1943; and OPC, KO, Prufer, "Tagliche Notizen 10. 1.44 bis 6.9.44" [hereafter cited as "Notizen, " II], entries for 18 Feb. 1944 and 14 Aug. 1944.

32. OPC, KO, Prufer, "Notizen," 11, entry for 18 Feb. 1944.

33. Ibid., entries for 16 Dec. 1943 and 7 Jan. 1944. Regarding the continuation of the German deportation of the Jews to Poland, particularly from Hungary in 1944, and the growing hesitancy of General Antonescu, the dictator of Rumania, one of the Reich's satellites in Southeastern Europe, to cooperate because of fear of retribution, see Gilbert, Holocaust, pp. 637, 662-731.

34. OPC, KO, Prufer, "Schweizer Tagebuch, " entry for 4 Dec. 1944.

35. OPC, KO, Prufer, "Tagliche Notizen 7.9.44 bis 21.4.46," entry for 23 Mar. 1945.

36. OPC, KO, Prufer, "Tagliche Notizen 22.4.46 bis 17.4.49 Genf-New Delhi," entry for 15 Oct. 1946. Other passages throughout the diaries express the same feelings. Also in the same collection, note Prufer to Cardinal Luigi Maglione, the Vatican Secretary of State, 10 Oct. 1945.

37. For instance, see the analysis of the studies conducted by the United States government after the war, the so-called OMGUS surveys, in Gordon, Hitler, Germans, pp. 197-206. Prufer's example lends credence to Gordon's conclusion (p. 199) that antisernitism remained in Germany, but that the persons interviewed "may have been particularly reluctant to give 'unfavorable' answers to Americans." The studies are published in Anna J. Merritt and Richard L. Merritt, eds., Public Opinion in Occupied Germany: The OMGUS Surveys, 1945-1949 (Urbana, IL, 1970).

38. OPC, KO, Prufer, "Schweizer und indisches Tagebuch vom 13.3.462.2.5l," entry for 7 June 1946. Compare this to his diary entry of 22 Nov. 1942, quoted on page 66 of this essay.

39. OPC, KO, Prufer, "Schweizer und indisches Tagebuch," entry for 24 Dec. 1947. Prilfer mentioned nothing of his views regarding the war crimes while giving testimony to the tribunal in defense of Hitler's first foreign minister, Constantin von Neurath, and later Bohle. See TMWC 40: 450-60, Defence Doc. Neurath-4: Affidavit Pruefer, 16 Apr. 1946; and NARA, Record Group 238 (Collection of World War II War Crimes Records [Nuremberg]), Case No. 11 (United States v. Ernst von Weizs5cker et al.): Eidesstattliche Versicherung, Nuremberg Document no. 58 (Defence Exhibit Bohle), 7 June 1948.

40. OPC, KO, Prufer, "Schweizer und indisches Tagebuch, " entry for 24 Dec. 1947.

41. See note I above.

Chap 4

 

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