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Doc. 2: Secret letter concerning the registration of Jews

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Secret letter by the head of the main department of the Generalkommissar für Verwaltung und Justiz to the head of the department of state law of the Reichskommissar, 3 September 1940, discussing a draft of an ordinance for an obligatory registration of the Jews in the Netherlands. The official discusses how to implement the registration and advises not to use wider categories than in Germany - in the First Regulation to the Reich Citizenship Law.

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  • Nederlands Instituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie, 20, 1260.

Translation of the letter:

The Hague, 3 September 1940.

Dr Dr Rabl,

Reference: Draft of an Order on the Compulsory Registration of Jews

Here is my opinion of the helpful letter of 30 August 1940:

  1. I consider it essential not to go beyond the measures applied to Jews resident in Germany in relation to Dutch Jews. The draft is based not on the Reich Citizenship Law, as it is in Germany, which as is well known, only includes Jews with more than two grandparents and those half-Jews with other additional factors such as marriage with a Jew or practicing Jewish faith; instead, the draft starts from the measures at the basis of the Reich Civil Service Law. It therefore also includes those with only one Jewish grandparent. Are we not in this way opening ourselves to the charge of using double standards? Wouldn’t it be preferable to limit it to Jews as understood by the Reich Citizenship Law? According to the draft, for example, a German citizen would here be registered as a Jew when he would not count as a Jew in Germany itself.

  2. The introduction of an identifying placard is doubtless appropriate and fitting for full Jews and those equated to them under the Reich Citizenship Law. The same goes for the ruling on housing conditions and tenancies. So long as these prescriptions also apply to quarter-Jews, however, and those with Jewish kin, complications will arise which must be thought through. If, for example, a Jew is married to a non-Jew, then according to section 8, paragraph 1, the married couple would have to separate, and that even if it only related to a quarter-Jew on the Jewish side.

  3. Section 6 permits anybody who can provide evidence of an interest not lying in his own person to demand production of a registration card. Should this authority not be limited to the authorities?

  4. The deadline of 20 days for registration laid out in section 1, paragraph 1 should, according to section 12 be set in motion as soon as the order is pronounced. The registering authorities, i.e. the mayor, have not made any preparation for this day. They have to print the forms, set up registration points, instruct staff and establish registration periods etc. Over 100,000 Jews are said to live in Amsterdam. Even if this number is exaggerated, we must avoid all these Jews gathering in many thousands outside the town hall at once to fulfil their duty to register and then being sent away because nothing is ready, or because they have come out of turn. So enough time must be allowed between the publication of the order and its enforcement for preparations to be made. Moreover, the timescale for registration must be long enough to make it possible to divide those required to register up in an appropriate way, whether alphabetically, by street or any other measure.

  5. In reference to the registration fee (section 9), clarification is needed over whether the fee is due only once or whether it is to be paid for every member of a family. Should the father of a family pay the fee per capita for his children under the age of 18, and again for his wife and any children older than 18 and still living at home, or only once?

  6. The fee is set at a level that makes it essentially not a fee but a tax. Under German legislative terminology, particularly that in accordance with the Community Charges Act, fees are the quid pro quo for an entity under public law and may not yield a tax income. Clarification would be necessary as to whether the envisaged order on registration would be taken as the occasion to raise a tax. As yet we have not tackled tax-related questions, preferring to leave these to the initiative of the Dutch authorities. It also seems unnecessary to set a fee for the public health officers for this case. The public health officers should rather, as in Germany, have their ordained taxa.

  7. Section 11, paragraph 4 departs from the terminology of the Reich Criminal Code. An action with the threat of up to 5 years’ imprisonment is not a crime but a misdemeanour. 

Per pro


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