He Who Holds The Devil - Changing Names


The Bayerisches Viertel was a planned neighbourhood of Berlin built between 1900 and 1914. It was a project of the Berlinische Boden-Gesellschaft and its co-founder Salomon Haberland.

Haberland had purchased parcels of farm land, laid out roads and squares, then sold the building prepared plots to contractors. A district started to rise, a district built for the growing middle class in a capital that was thriving, and designed in the German Renaissance Style, also known as “Old Nuremberg Style of Construction.”

The streets bore the names of cities and towns of Bavaria. Apartments were large up to 250m2 or 2700 square feet in size. They had large reception rooms, some had gardens, and the rows of houses were broken by patches of green.

Because of the open space, the luxuriously proportioned flats, and also the access to the public transport network writers, journalists, politicians, photographers, flocked to the apartments and area. The area became a centre for the Jewish Intelligentsia, half of the students of the Werner-Siemens-Realgymnasium were from Jewish families, a magnificent Synagogue was erected on Münchener Straße and the people existed not as Jew and German but solely as the German people.

On the street bearing the name of the districts founder Salomon Haberland, at number 5, the most famous of Berlin’s residents resided. Known as the Old Man of Schöneberg, he was often seen walking the streets, cane in hand and bowler hat on head, smiling or muttering to himself as he walked the Bayerisches Viertel’s streets. His name, Albert Einstein. But with the rise of antisemitism within the Nazi Reich, he would leave, as would many of the residents, the Werner-Siemens-Realgymnasium would close its doors due to lack of students in 1935 and into the district would move Hans Globke and his wife Augusta, taking residence at number 10 Haberlandstraße. From the apartments front windows they could look out onto the building where Einstein once lived, a man who fled to avoid the persecution that the newcomer was about to legalise.

In 1938 Haberlandstraße had to change its name it had to Germanise, for Salomon Haberland had been a Jew, and now in a district built in the Old Nuremberg Style of Construction, lived the man who would do most to persecute the Jewish people with his commentary on the Nuremberg Laws that sort to deny their citizenship, degrade them into second class citizens, steal their wealth and deny them their names.

This is [PODCAST NAME] episode 2 – Changing Names


[Eichmann Clip]  Eichmann: “It is my opinion that, where the legal foundations are basically concerned, the Reich Ministry of the Interior, and only the Reich Ministry, was responsible, and not the departments of the Chief of the Reichsfuehrer-SS and the Chief of the German Police. Many documents, or rather, several documents, show here that the overall authority lay with the appropriate chiefs in the Ministry of the Interior, and that, for example, the legal experts from the Head Office for Reich Security were invited to the discussions because they were marginally involved, but not because of their being in charge. In other words, these legislative preliminary measures fell under the primary responsibility of the departments of the Reich Ministry of the Interior, and not that of the Reichsfuehrer-SS and Chief of the German Security Police.

These are the words of Adolf Eichmann spoken during the 78th session of his trial in 1961and taken from the audio transcripts

[Dr. Servatius Clip] This is a letter from the head of the Reich Chancellery Minister Lammers, dated 10 August 1941, with regard to the marking of Jews in the Protectorate. There are several pages to the document. The frist part contains two letters from Lammers to the Reich Minister for the Interior and to Frank in Prague. I would refer to the second page, at the bottom, where it says: “Since the Reich Minister for the Interior is in overall chage of dealing with the entire Jewish Question, it appears to me to be vital,” etc. The second part of the document is a letter from the Reich Minister for the Interior, signed by Stuckart, dated 14 August 1941, to Minister Lammers, with reference to the marking of Jews in the Protectorate.

And these were the voice of the defence of Eichmann Dr. Servatius in regards to the marking or identification of Jews. Remember Dr. Servatius, he will be important much later. And Stuckart? Stuckart was Dr. Wihlem Stuckart State secretary of the Interior and superior to Globke and co-author of the infamous Antisemitic Nuremberg Laws.

Antisemitism was not a new concept with the NSDAP of Hitler, it has existed for centuries in many forms, but few had sort to make it a goal of their political movement, but for the NSDAP whose initial goal was anti Capitalist but due to the need to court financiers to gain both prominence and power had moved away from this original goal and focused their rhetoric on antisemitism and they hadn’t hidden their intentions. On the 24th February 1920, just 16 months after the armistice and less than a year since the signing of the treaty of Versailles, Hitler and the NSDAP made their intentions clear with a 25 point program:

We demand the unification of all Germans in the Greater Germany on the basis of the people’s right to self determination.
We demand equality of rights for the German people in respect to the other nations; abrogation of the peace treaties of Versaille and St. Germain.
We demand land and territory for the sustenance of our people and colonisation for our surplus population.
Now the demands take a drastic turn.
Only a member of the race can be a citizen. A member of the race can only be one who is of German blood, without consideration of creed. Consequently, no Jew can be a member of the race.
Whoever has no citizenship is to be able to live in  Germany only as a guest and must be under the authority of legislation for foreigners.
The right to determine matters concerning administration and law belongs only to the citizen. Therefore, we demand that every public office, of any sort whatsoever, whether in the Reich, the county or municipality, be filled only by citizens. We combat the corrupting parliamentary economy, office-holding only according to party inclinations without consideration of character or abilities.

The desires of the NSDAP were clear and formulated, printed and published, but in 1920 few were to take Hitler and his fledgling party seriously, few worried about the NSDAP, a small Bavarian based party. But twelve years later Hans Globke of the Prussian and later Reich Ministry of the Interior was already drafting laws and circulars that was to put the 25 point program of the NSDAP into action.

The increasing presence of the NSDAP in public office and political life had led to riots against Jewish cemeteries, Synagogues and citizens. The synagogue on Kottbusser Ufer in Berlins working class neighbourhood of Kreuzberg was attacked on the night of the 15th of February 1930, Nazi slogans and symbols were painted on the walls. But the law still prevailed and the five SA members responsible received prison sentences, even if they were lenient.

In Essen later that year, storm troopers interrupted a Jewish service and threatened the congregation and religious leaders with pen knives, shouting antisemitic statements as they did so. The problem with outwardly violence against Jews in this manner and at this time was that the NSDAP were risking alienating their more moderate supporters, especially at a time, in 1930, where they were not well supported. So it was when they were on an upward trajectory of power that they looked at ways they could persecute the Jewish citizens of Germany legally, they decided to do this, by taking away their names.

Hans Globke would testify in 1948 during the trial of his former superior Dr. Wilhelm Stuckart during the Nuremberg trial known as the ministry trial or the Wilhelm Straße Process taking it’s name from the street that had once boasted many of the ministries of the third reich “I was a consultant for the naming rights, and so I have worked on all the issues of the Name Change.”

The name change was to take away names from the Jewish people that the NSDAP saw as being German names, a Ministry of the Interior circular dated 23rd of December 1932 read:

“Attempts by Jewish persons to disguise their Jewish descent by abandoning or changing their Jewish name can therefore not be supported. The conversion to Christianity is no reason to change the name. Neither can the change of name be explained by reference to antisemitic tendencies or the pursuit of better economic progress.”

This circular that was forwarded to Gauleiters, district councils, Police presidents and authorities came two days after a new law had become effective. Previously the mandate over the procedure to change names had been held by the justice ministry, but now the jurisdiction was to change. Under the disguise of regulation to reduce administrative costs, section seven simply read “The Ministry of Justices responsibility for name changes is transferred to the Ministry of the Interior.” It was no longer the courts decision, any name change request would have to pass through the Ministry of the Interior.

With the Reichstag fire and the subsequent enabling act, Hitler and the NSDAP no longer had to worry over loosing supporters who opposed the more violent means of the NSDAP, no one stood in the way of the party. The police, the courts, the Interior Ministry were all now part of the Nazi machine, and thus on the 1st of April 1933 the first mass outward showing of the Nazi hatred of the Jew was displayed. Drummed up by the Minister of Propaganda and Enlightenment, Joseph Goebbels, the SA storm troopers took to the German streets, tins of paint in hand, and began painting stars of David on the shop fronts of Jewish businesses and the word Jüden. It was a day the Propaganda chief dreamed that the German shopped would avoid and boycott the Jewish business, only buying from those the Nazi party judged to be German. He and the Nazis wanted to try and separate the Jewish citizen from German society as much as possible.

It was a reasonable, if difficult, request of the Jewish people in Germany to wish for their names to be changed. As for many their surname was the feature that would and could identify them as Jewish. But with the Nazis coming to power and especially after the events of the 1st of April requests were on the rise. In a letter from the Prussian Minister of Justice to the Interior Minister dated the 3rd of April the Minister of Justice writes:

“I point out that the applications of Jews for name changes have been increasing enormously recently. This is intended to hide the affiliation to the Jewish race.”

On the 7th of April Globke wrote a letter

“In practice, I note that if the applicant proves that he is not of the Jewish tribe, I will only apply changes to a Jewish or Jewish-sounding name to a Christian name.”

This mention of proving that someone was not of Jewish heritage, at this point in the Third Reich was difficult, there was no legislation, no laws in 1933 that defined who was Jewish and who wasn’t. The larger part of society didn’t differentiate before 1933 between a German and someone born in Germany that belonged to the Jewish faith, but this was going to change, and Globke was going to define the changes.

On the 7th of April 1933, on orders from the Reich Chancellery, for a “deliberate Volkisch Legislation,” that all changes to Jewish names since November 1918 is to be reversed, and to handle the task, Hans Globke. In quick succession Globke wrote to the Minister of Justice, the heads of government, and the Police President of Berlin, giving them three weeks to deliver to him the names changes dating from November 1918.

When Globke delivered his report to the Minister of the Interior the report only concluded the period from November 1918 to 1919, information from the later period was not available. However, during the single year between November 1918 and 1919 there were 350 instances of name changes from Jewish names to German. Yet he noted that with his directives of December 1932 and his more recent ones of April and of May 15th that stated that often a name change is often to hide “non-Aryan” decent and that that all requests for a name change should be reported to himself. Jewish name changes when they do come into question must only be replaced with another Jewish name.

Globke stressed that reversing many names would not be possible at that point, however it could be done with a legal amendment, a legal amendment that could be done easily and simply now by the wording of the Enabling Act, no parliament would need to vote, and nobody would be able to defend the minority.

In the transcript of the Die Zeit interview that was circulated around Washington by the German Embassy in February 1961 Dr. Globke states “In all instances, however, where I was not restricted by such earlier directives, my commentary chose the interpretation most favourable for those involved.”

It had already been stated that all name changes had to pass Dr. Globke’s desk, he said so himself yet when it came for the favourable decisions, there were none to find.

In the Supreme Court of the DDR the court heard the witness testimonies Bernhard and Emmy Koln. On the 8th of July Bernhard Koln request for a simple name change to avoid harassment was denied but it was not so much for himself he requested the name change, he was married as a Jewish man to what the Nazis would classify as an Aryan woman Emmy Koln. Due to her name she wasn’t allowed to shop in “Aryan shops” and the security police harassed her and pursued her to divorce her husband because she was a German and in the eyes of the Nazis and Dr. Globke he was not. The piece of paper that delivered the decision, a refusal of the request to change the name, bore the name Dr. Globke. (Remember for later Bernard Koln had to adopt the name ISRAEL and was fired as part of Aryanisation, expelled for there apartment and he ended up in Theresienstadt.)

In the case of 17 year old Liselotte Moser who wished only for a job, any job in a household but could not obtain one due to her distinctivly Jewish surname Moser preventing her, Liselotte wrote to the Ministry of the Interior. She requested a change of name and she asked if the persecution would continue her whole life and if it were ever to be possible for her to get a job. Her application denied by Dr. Globke read simply, “for fundamental considerations.”

Or for Margarete Cohn who wished to change her name to that of her non-Jewish mother Marinski so that she could marry her fiance who belonged to the police, Dr. Globke instructed the mayor of Frankfurt an der Oder to reject the application.

Similar applications by Johann Cahn of Solingen to change his name to Cohn, denied.

Dr. Globke was becoming increasingly committed to his ideas of what constituted Aryan and his defence of its culture. In a letter to the Minister of the Interior dated the 15 of March 1934 he clarifies that only names of those of Aryan decent have been permitted to change so far in order to protect racial identity from being obscured. However he goes on to ask questions over Hungarians and Finns. He states that there had been a rise in applications for German translations of names of peoples whose ancestors had been Finnish or Hungarian, two peoples he states are not Aryans, and wishes for clarity in how to proceed.

These issues were resolved on the 29th of June 1934, when the still as yet unpublished circular from November 1932 was published, with some changes, into law. There were to be no name changes unless there was approval from the local government, and the local government was to refuse changes if they believed it would not gain the endorsement of the Minister of the Interior.

The laws around name change requests were now finalised, yet the task was still not complete. Among the most rabid extremes of German society towards the protection of German heritage. It was unthinkable that they, people of Aryan stock, should potentially have to share their ancient German names with Jews.

In 1936 Himmler informed the Ministry of the Interior the Hitler wished that Jewish people should not be able to bear the names of Siegfried or Thusnelda. The Ministry of the Interior saw that Hitler’s wish was broad enough. The Ministry of the Interior sought to deny the right of Jewish people to have any German first names. It was  decided a directory should be made of all Hebrew names that would be considered acceptable and they should only be in the Hebrew not in the Germanised form. This plan was conveyed to Himmler in a letter dated 15th July 1936.

Dr. Globke had a problem. What does one do when the bearer doesn’t have a particularly German name, but also that the name is not Jewish. The worry, that Dr. Globke had professed before was that the Jewish person might be able to still camouflage with society. This was also a concern of the Reichsführer SS, Heinrich Himmler, Dr. Globke stated in a letter of 10th February 1937 that it was a suggestion of the Himmler that the Reich Ministry of the Interior should use the powers of leadership or ruling by decree, that those people whose names do not conform should be forced to change  and that Jews should only have Jewish first names.

By January 1938 the Ministry of the Interior had decided with Section 7 of the law of the change of surnames and given names that name changes that had been assumed before the assumption of power of Hitler on the 30th of January 1933 should be revoked by the 31st of December 1940. That revocation of a name becomes effective upon the delivery of the revocation order to the person, and that it is the Reich Minister of the Interior that is responsible for revoking a name change. Dr. Globke wrote of this passage that “Section 7 […] is the reverse of the use of German names by Jews for camouflage purposes.”

For the Ministry of the Interior, Dr. Globke and the NSDAP it was about identifying those who were Jewish. In the occupied territories of the Third Reich and later within Germany the Jews were to adopt the infamous yellow star of David as an identifier, yet as even in 1938 it was still the early days of the Third Reich, and international reputation still had some bearing, so by a clerical difference such as a change of name, the Jewish people of Germany could be identified.

But what happened when a Jewish person refused to change a name? Eggert Reeder governor of Cologne was faced with such a problem. He wrote to the Reich Ministry of the Interior saying “A jew living in my district, who has the surname ‘Detusch’ which cannot be denied him has been submitted a request for modification of his name. The Jew refuses to comply with this request, I ask for a decision on what should be done?”

It was on Dr. Globke’s desk that this request fell. Dr. Globke in turn wrote to the Sicherheitspolizei, and asked whether “the possibility exists” to induce the Jew ‘Detusch’ to apply for a name change, he writes “it is desirable that the Jew request a family name that reveals his heritage without question.”

In resorting to the Sicherheitspolizei Globke had to have been aware what this meant, the use of intimidation, brutal tactics even torture to get the desired result.


Hitler: Germans, Men and Women, within a few short days a radical change has taken place in the German Volksgemeinschaft. I hereby declare for this land it’s new mission. It corresponds to the percept which once summoned German settlers of the altreich to come here. The oldest Ostmark of the German Volk shall from now on constitute the youngest bulwark of the German nation and hence the German reich.
On the 12th of March 1938 the soldiers of the 8th German Army would step across the German frontier and into Austria. Hitler’s expansionist dreams were transferred from idea into reality. The first point of the 1920 twenty five point program was beginning to become a reality.

Austria for the months preceding the marching of Germany’s troops across her lands, had been facing increased pressure from Hitler and Germany regarding its independence. The Austrian Nazi party on the 9th of March had rioted, in response the Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg proposed a pleblicite to be held on the 13th of March regarding Austria’s independence. Hitler, knowing that this plebiscite would not fall to the favour of the Nazi party threatened Schuschnigg and Austria with invasion. Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels drummed up reports of rioting within Vienna, and that the Austrian people were calling upon German troops to bring stability, Schuschnigg publicly decried the propaganda as false and Hitler responded with an ultimatum, hand over all power to the Austrian Nazi Party or face invasion.

Desperately Schuschnigg searched for support amongst the British and French for Austrian independence, but found only ears pretending to be death, Schusnigg, seeing no alternative resigned. Hitler had feared Schuschnigg’s plebiscite for it would have exposed how little support for the Austrian Nazi Party there truly was, but through intimidation and by the failure of the international community, Hitler was allowed to order his troops in the early hours of the 12th of March to cross Austrians borders.

On the 15th of March, Hitler stood upon the balcony of the Neue Burg wing of the Hofburg palace as 200,000 Austro Germans stood on the Heldenplatz below, and he, Hitler, delivered his speech.

A plebiscite followed on the 10th April 1938, the Nazis had already rounded up 70,000 opponents and intimidation tactics had begun so it was little surprise that 99.7% of the Austrian population voted in favour. Austria ceased to exist as an independent nation.

Now that Austria was part of the Greater German Reich it made sense that the laws of the Reich Ministry of the Interior and Dr. Globke be adopted by the new province of Germany.

The Sudetenland would be subject also to adopting the name change laws after it in turn was annexed into the Greater German Reich in October 1938, Germany’s influence was expanding, thus the amount of people suffering under the laws of the Reich Ministry of the Interior was growing.

From the very beginning of the new year in 1939 Jews had to adopt another first name, under the laws of 17th August 1938, and active from the 1st of January 1939, when conducting business and legal measures all female Jews had to add Sara and males had to add Israel.

By the 24th of January the scope of the laws implemented was changed to both surnames and first names and backdated to the 5th of January 1938, and the laws were extended to the new territories of the Sudetenland and to Austria. Yet Dr. Globke was not happy with handling of the implementation of the law in Austria and the Sudetenland and released a circular on the 2nd of February 1939, in this circular, the entire administrative regulations of the Reichs and Prussian Ministry of the Interior, including the guidelines on Jewish names were introduced into the new territories.

The work that Globke had done on the unification of the laws of the German Reich and Austria had not gone unnoticed. Minister Frick, the head of the Reich Ministry of the Interior wrote to Rudolph Hess the deputy führer at the Braun Haus in Munich. The subject of the letter, a promotion for Dr. Globke, Frick writes “Oberregierungsrat Dr. Globke is undoubtedly one of the most capable officials in my ministry. […] His cooperation in the reunification of Austria with the German Reich deserves to be acknowledged. Dr. Globke has yet to be proposed for promotion to Ministerialrat because of his long-standing affiliation with the Centre Party at the time of the rise to power of the NSDAP. However, I have shown that it is absolutely necessary for him, as a result of the request to promote him to the council of ministers, that he be granted recognition for his privileged lines of proven loyalty and constant readiness for action.”

In the Die Zeit interview distributed around Washington, Dr. Globke speaks of this letter “I had no knowledge of this letter. But surely you don’t believe that Herr Frick could have recommended my promotion by citing opposite arguments?”

Yet in the same letter that Minister Frick submitted to Deputy Führer Rudolph Hess he also stated the Oberregierungsrat Dr. Globke was of great help in bringing about the following laws.

The law on the change of family and first names of the 5.1.1938 (RGBl. I S.9)
The Personal status Act of 3.11.1937 (RGBl. S. 1146)
The law for the protection of the German people against hereditary diseases 18.10.1935 (RGBl. I S. 1246)
The Protection of German Blood and German Honour of 15. September 1935 otherwise known as The Nuremberg Laws.

In the same Die Zeit Interview Globke replied to the question of the charges that he drafted the Nuremberg laws, “This is not true, I did not even know that it was intended to pass these laws.”

The same man who in 1934 who commented “A Reich law on Reich Citizenship is in preparation.”

Join us next time as we dive into the laws proclaimed in Nuremberg, and how the man who denied knowing of their existence until they were announced to the people, helped write and shape them providing the ground work for the final solution.

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