The Cohn family

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Name of the exhibit: The COHN family Loss of German Citizenship

Submitted by: Harry Cohn

Date of origin: February 6, 1940

Origin of the object: Bad Arolsen Germany Archive

Description: This is the photocopy of the actual Act sanctioning officially my family’s LOSS of CITIZENSHIP, as was published in the daily Official Gazette of the Nazi government (Reichsanzeiger) dated – Berlin, Tuesday 6 February 1940

The numbers:
35 – Cohn, Valentin – my grandfather
36 – Cohn, Gertrud – my grandmother
37 – Cohn, Rudolf – my father
38 – Cohn, Heinz – my uncle

By the time that this Decree became official, my family had already left Germany illegally, and settled in South America as refugees.
My family never returned to Germany after the war!

Historical background for this document:

In 1935 government authorities required the Reichsvertretung (German Jewish Representation), to change its name to Reichsvertretung der Juden in Deutschland (National Representation of Jews in Germany), a nuance that exemplifies the Nazi intention to cut off the Jews’ German identity.
The first of the “Nuremberg Laws” (15 September 1935), as the decrees came to be known, was the Reich Flag Law, determined the official new colours of the German flag – The Nazi Flag.

The second Law was the Reich Citizenship Law, and the third Law was The Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor, both carrying Hitler’s signature, became centerpieces of Nazi Germany’s anti-Jewish legislation.

Henceforth Jews would only be subjects in Nazi Germany. Stripped of citizenship, deprived of civil rights, they would live as foreigners-if at all- in their German homeland. The Jews were returned to the legal position they had occupied in Germany before their emancipation in the 19th century.

15 November 1935: The German Churches begin to collaborate with the Nazis by supplying records to the government indicating who is Christian and who is not; that is, who is a Jew.

31 December 1935: The last Jews remaining in Germany’s civil service are dismissed by the government.

Voyage to Ottawa: During my research of my family past history, I contacted the USHMM and, among other documents, I received a copy of the official daily Gazette of the Nazi government (Reichsanzeiger).