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Rhineland Bastard

Rhineland Bastard was a derogatory term used in Nazi Germany to describe the children of mixed African and German parentage. Under Nazism's racial theories, these children were considered inferior to pure Aryans and consigned to sterilization.

The term "Rhineland Bastard" can be traced back to World War I, when French troops occupied the Rhineland. Some of these troops were from France's colonies in Africa and were known locally as negers or the "Black Disgrace" in Germany's race-conscious society. On the other hand, a handful of German women married soldiers from the occupying forces, while still others had children by them. In Mein Kampf Hitler described these children as an "insult" to Germany.

While the Black population of Germany at the time of the Third Reich was unsubstantial, the Nazis despised Black culture, which they considered inferior, and even took action against musical forms such as jazz. Nevertheless, no official laws were enacted against the Black population, or even against the children of mixed parentage that Hitler loathed. Unofficially, however, a group named "Commission Number 3" was created to resolve the "problem" of the "Rhineland Bastards." Organized under Dr. Eugen Fischer of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, it was decided that the children would be sterilized under the 1933 Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Defects.

The program began in 1937, when local officials were asked to report on all "Rhineland Bastards" under their jurisdiction. Altogether, some 400 children of mixed parentage were arrested and sterilized.

(see also: Holocaust)



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