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abstract

The history and memory of “Turks” in Germany during World War II is a “blind spot” in Turkish-German studies. What still needs to be examined are nonarchival Turkish texts and contexts of that era, especially autobiographical accounts, written in Turkish and German, which complicate our understanding of Turkish, German, and Jewish entanglements, encounters, and exchanges. This article fills this gap by presenting the accounts of citizens of the Turkish Republic who earned PhDs in Nazi Germany and were eyewitnesses to the antisemitic persecution of that era, especially the Kristallnacht pogrom on November 9, 1938, which led them to fear being mistaken for Jews.

Turks in Nazi Germany: A Blind Spot in Turkish-German Studies

November 9, 1938, is a significant date in both German and Turkish history. That day witnessed the pogrom against Jews in Austria and Germany that signalled the beginning of the Holocaust. That same day the young Turkish Republic lost its first leader, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who had led the Muslim side in the Greco-Turkish War (1918–1922) and established the republic in 1923, built on the ashes of the Ottoman Empire. Turks in Berlin were eyewitnesses to violence against German Jews that day, and some of them were targeted by the mob because they “looked Jewish.” Tarık Emiroğlu, a Turkish student of architecture in Berlin in 1938 and 1939, mentioned in a letter to his grandmother that during the pogrom “a ruckus almost started when Turks dispersed into the street after having gathered at the [Turkish Club of Berlin’s] clubhouse upon hearing of Atatürk’s death. Seeing a lot of dark-skinned people [End Page 19] gathering, Germans mistook the Turks for Jews who were planning a counter action and raised an uproar, but the police intervened and resolved the issue.”1

It is difficult to find mention of Turks being mistaken for German Jews in academic and popular literature on World War II. Scholars have generally overlooked the presence of Turks in Nazi Germany. Most studies of the Holocaust do not mention Turkish-Jewish victims. Most studies of Muslim-majority countries and their citizens during the war and of Muslim responses to Nazism and the Holocaust focus on Arabs; most accounts of Muslims in Nazi Germany are devoted to a single notorious Palestinian, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Al-Hajj Amin al-Husayni.2 Some Turkish studies scholars in Germany especially have included a section on Turks in Nazi Germany in their volumes on the history of Turkish-German relations; a couple of biographies written by specialists also include a section on the era.3 Yet US-based scholars in the field of Turkish-German studies, which “investigates the impact of Turkish migrants on the German cultural landscape,” who usually focus on literature and postwar migration, do not normally consider the significance of what Turks experienced in Nazi Germany.4 Transnational German studies “evaluates various approaches to cultural productions by ethnic communities in Germany and its implications for the concept of German culture,” and, accordingly, “the field is specifically informed by the work of scholars who focus on issues of race and ethnicity in the postwar period.”5 As a consequence, most anthropological, literary, and sociological studies of Germans whose families originated in Turkey take it as a given that “Turks” first arrived after World War II as part of the “guest worker” program beginning in 1961 and including subsequent family reunification.6 Assuming that “Turks” only arrived subsequent to the Nazi era causes scholars to overlook Turkish eyewitnesses to, victims of, and collaborators with the Third Reich. As a consequence, neither Germany nor Turkey nor Germans of Turkish background feel compelled to come to terms with the role and fate of “Turks” during those barbaric times.

One of the main reasons for the lack of coming to terms with that era is the assumption that Turks are Muslims. The “Turks” under consideration actually may have self-identified as Arab, Armenian, Assyrian, Azeri, Jewish, Kurdish, Roma, Sinti, and/or Turkish, or any combination thereof. Turks in Nazi Germany included Muslims, Jews, and Dönme, descendants of Jewish converts to Islam who formed a separate ethnoreligious group.7 In 1933, nearly half of the “Turks” in Germany were Jewish.8 In the wake of the Nuremberg laws of 1935, which distinguished between persons of “German or kindred blood” and “Jews,” the Turkish embassy in Berlin sought clarity about Turks’ legal status. In 1936, various Nazi ministries “determined” through racial “science” that Turks were a racially pure European Volk related to the Finns and Hungarians.9 The Nazis thus labelled Turks a “kindred” people.10 Headlines in the Turkish press declared proudly, “The Turks are Aryans!”11 Turks were never victims of Hitler because they were Turks. In practice, Nazi Germany distinguished between [End Page 20] Turkish Muslims, considered Turks; Turkish Dönme, whose status was determined on a case-by-case basis; and Turkish Jews, who were persecuted if their embassy did not recognize them as citizens.12

Another reason for the lack of a critical approach to this era is because scholarship on Turks and World War II has long been dominated by polemics. Since the early 1990s, to counter international recognition of the Armenian genocide and improve relations among Israel, Turkey, and the United States, the Turkish government, Turkish Muslim and Jewish elites, and their foreign allies—including many historians of the Ottoman Empire, major American Jewish organizations, and the state of Israel—have promoted a narrative of “500 hundred years of peace and brotherhood” between Turks and Jews. According to this ubiquitous myth, the virtuous, humanitarian Turk has time and again saved European Jews from Christian persecution, such as after the expulsion from Spain in 1492 and during the Nazi era.13 In the case of World War II, its promulgators exaggerate the refuge given to a limited number of German Jews in Turkey and imagine that all of Turkey’s ambassadors in Europe heroically saved Turkish Jews. Those who support this view claim Turkey allowed 100,000 European Jews to pass through its ports en route to Palestine, that it gave refuge to hundreds of German Jewish scholars, and that its diplomats in France rescued fifteen thousand Turkish Jews.14

Recently scholars have refuted these myths. They have determined that the actual number of European Jews legally allowed transit through the country on the way to Palestine was around thirteen thousand, and that a much greater number of Nazi German scientists and academics than German Jews were employed in Turkey.15 As of 1938, Turkey barred “foreign Jews who are subjected to restrictions in their home countries,” from emigrating to Turkey.16 Between 1940 and 1944, Turkish ambassadorial staff in Europe systematically stripped Turkish citizens of Jewish background of their citizenship, and refused to repatriate them as late as autumn 1943 when asked to do so by the Nazi dictatorship, in some instances refusing the right to return of Jews authorized by the Nazis to depart.17 This was despite the fact Turkey’s representatives in Europe were fully aware by 1941 of the Nazi policy of annihilation.18 As Corry Guttstadt’s research has shown, up to five thousand Turkish Jews were denaturalized by their government during the war and denied the right of repatriation. As a consequence, only 800 to 900 Turkish Jews were repatriated, while between 2,200 and 2,500 were deported to the Sobibor and Auschwitz death camps; similar numbers lost their lives in the Ravensbrück, Buchenwald, Mauthausen, Theresienstadt, Dachau, and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps, while many others died at the Drancy and Westerbork detention camps or were tortured to death by the Gestapo.19

Turkish diplomats often served as facilitators of the Holocaust rather than as rescuers. Widely publicized accounts of some Turkish diplomats saving Jews have proven spurious. In the one verified case where a Turkish diplomat saved the lives of several [End Page 21] dozen Jews, the consul actually acted against the orders of his government, which did everything it could to prevent Jews arriving at its borders, instructing its diplomats that they should even hinder Turkish Jews “who had correct Turkish papers.”20

Germany’s Turkish Jews were annihilated owing to this accommodation of Nazi genocidal aims. The irony is that many of these Jews had fled the Turkish Republic in the 1920s and 1930s in order to escape antisemitism, widespread discrimination, and violence against them.21 Despite these facts, the collaboration of Turkish consular officials in the persecution of Turkish Jewry has not been acknowledged or commemorated in Germany or Turkey. To the contrary, as recent ceremonies at concentration camps such as Bergen-Belsen demonstrate, the Turkish Republic even goes so far as to mispresent Jewish victims as Muslims in order to show that all Turks, and not only Jews, were victimized by the Nazi regime of terror.22 Perhaps this is not surprising for a country like Turkey, where Holocaust denial is rampant, and where there is no Holocaust education in state schools.23

The history and memory of “Turks” in Germany during World War II thus remains a “blind spot” in Turkish-German studies. What still needs to be examined are non-archival Turkish texts and contexts of that era, especially autobiographical accounts, written in Turkish and German, that can enrich our understanding of Turkish, German, and Jewish entanglements, encounters, and exchanges. The eyewitness accounts of Muslim Turkish citizens in Germany and their memories of that experience as related in the decades after the war, when the extent of the Nazi annihilation of the Jews was fully known, have yet to be fully explored. Especially surprising is how little attention has been paid to analyzing the generation of republican Turks who earned PhDs in Nazi Germany.

Turkey during the Nazi era has attracted the attention of diverse scholars from many disciplines. Scholarship has focused mainly on Turkey’s economic and foreign policy, including its relations with Germany; German professors of Jewish background who took refuge in Turkey; Turkey’s policies vis-à-vis its Armenian, Greek Orthodox, and Jewish minorities; and the fate of Turkish Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe. A close reading of the German right-wing press has lead Stefan Ihrig to argue that Nazi policy, myths, goals, and ideology were shaped by admiration for the Turks and their leader, Atatürk, mainly prior to World War II. Ahmet Asker’s study based largely on the Turkish press during the same years offers the flip side of the coin, public perception of Nazi Germany in Turkey until the outbreak of the war.24 What has received relatively little attention and even less analysis is the group that brings together many of these themes, the generation of Turkish students who pursued advanced education in the Third Reich. This is surprising, since much attention has been paid to African, Arab, or Asian students and exiles in Nazi Germany. It is also regrettable since we possess a wealth of primary sources, especially autobiographies. Thanks to the efforts of Turkish journalists and German Turkologists, collections of interviews and excerpts [End Page 22] from out-of-print autobiographies of these students have been published.25 With the addition of German archival sources, Turkish publications in Germany from that era, and numerous autobiographies published in German and Turkish that were not included in those collections, we are now in an excellent position to study this group.

Taking these narratives into account also calls into question another assumption in Turkish-German studies. Many have labelled Turks Germany’s “new Jews,” drawing parallels between discrimination against Muslim minorities today with anti-Jewish policies in the past.26 They believe that this effort brings Muslim and Jewish communities together by pointing to shared aspects of their histories. There is a false assumption made in this comparison that Jews represent the past and Muslims the present, for it ignores Muslim communities before 1961 and thriving Jewish communities today. Moreover, an examination of the accounts of Turkish PhD students in Nazi Germany casts doubt on the assumption that being an eyewitness to discrimination or persecution against members of another group or being treated like the other leads to empathy or even sympathy. Unlike in literary accounts of that era that posit romantic relations between German Jewish women and Turkish Muslim men, Turkish students’ narratives offer only disparaging remarks about German Jewish women. As bystanders to the persecution of Jews, these students were solely concerned with themselves.

Turkish Officials in Nazi Germany, 1933–1944

As of 1933, there were only 585 Turkish citizens in Berlin, but that number nearly doubled the following year and increased dramatically throughout the 1930s. By 1938, there were over 3,300 Turkish citizens in the city.27 The growth in the population was due to the fact that between 1933 and 1944 Turkey forged excellent relations with Nazi Germany, based partly on older economic, military, and political ties, partly on foreign policy aims, and partly on ideological affinity. The Turkish Republic’s first ambassador to Germany, Kemalettin Sami Pasha (d. 1934; ambassador 1924–1934), was a bridge between the generation of his compatriots who had established relationships in Berlin during World War I, when the Ottoman Empire was allied with the Central Powers, and the younger cohort of Turks who supported the Nazis after their rise to power. When Sami Pasha died in Berlin in 1934, Hitler ordered a grandiose funeral procession from the Turkish embassy in the Tiergarten to the Anhalter Bahnhof, with SA troops forming a cordon on either side. According to the eyewitness Sabih Gözen, who studied visual arts in Berlin from 1933 to 1936, the horse-drawn wagon carrying the coffin was led by a high-ranking German officer and followed by Turkish students and embassy staff. As the procession arrived at the train station and the coffin was placed into a railway car, it was greeted with the Hitler salute.28

Sami Pasha had served as chairman of the Turkish National Olympic Committee. From 1932 to 1936, the general secretery of that committee was Ekrem Akömer, who had studied at the War Academy in Potsdam, graduating as a lieutenant in the [End Page 23] Prussian army, serving as Ottoman adjutant to General Liman von Sanders at the battle of Gallipoli in 1915, and then on the Palestine front in 1918, where he earned the Iron Cross and became friends with Franz von Papen, the future Nazi ambassador to Ankara.29 In this capacity he became the lifelong friend of Carl Diem (d. 1962), general secretery of the organizing committee for the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games.30 Akömer was an enthusiast of the Hitler Youth. He maintained close relations with the leaders of the organization from 1933 to the end of the war, hosting the leaders when they visited Istanbul—greeting them with an enthusiastic “Heil Hitler!” in his office—and being feted by them when visiting Germany. He shared Hitler Youth material with Turkish youth organizations and organized student exchanges between German Hitler Youth and Turkish youth.31

Between 1933 and 1944, Turks and Nazis pointed to the common bonds that they perceived their nations to share.32 Despite its heroic struggle during World War I, so the narrative went, each nation had been stabbed in the back by an internal ethnic-religious minority, in the case of Germany by the Jews (supported by England), and in the case of the Ottoman Empire by the Armenians (supported by Russia). As a result, each had suffered a crushing defeat. Both were now committed to revolutions that would create a national culture and economy replacing the existing ones, allegedly controlled or dominated by these treacherous minorities. Each sought to unite its people across artificial national borders and avenge itself on its foreign enemies. To that end, both Germany and republican Turkey had established single-party dictatorships led by a supreme leader, as well as sports and youth organizations intended to create a new type of youth trained in body and mind to defend the revolution and the homeland.

The most prominent Turkish organization in Germany, the Turkish Chamber of Commerce, reflected these views in its actions and publications. As of 1936 Jews were no longer elected to the board, and since the board elected the officers, none could thereafter be elected officers. It is probably no coincidence that 1936 was also the first year the chamber decided to send a telegram expressing loyalty and devotion to Hitler.33 A similar telegram was sent each year thereafter. Like the exclusively Muslim Turkish student organization34 which as photos demonstrate had been flying a Nazi flag as early as 1935, the chamber flew the Nazi flag alongside the Turkish one at its annual meeting as early as 1937. By its last meeting in 1943, all Turkish members were Muslim. The Turkish ambassador to Germany served as its honorary leader, the Turkish consul in Berlin was a member of the executive committee.35

The bilingual publication the chamber presented to the German and Turkish public on its tenth anniversary in 1938 reflected these views.36 Unlike the bilingual booklet published in 1933,37 which listed a Jewish businessman38 as an officeholder on page one, and included other Jews on its roll of Turkish members as well, the tenth [End Page 24] anniversary edition mentioned no Jews. Although Jews had played an important role in founding the organization and serving on its board, none were to be found in it by 1937. Moreover, no mention of any Jewish individuals was made in the organization’s publication produced in 1938.

The lead article, “Two Great Men,” accompanied by busts of Atatürk and Hitler, and written by Muzaffer Toydemir, publisher of the only German-language daily in Turkey, Türkische Post, claimed because Atatürk and Hitler played the same role in their respective nations’ historical destinies, comparison was inevitable.39 According to the author, Atatürk and Hitler were “two great men” who had not only fought as allies during World War I, but each later saved his respective nation from misery, “placing it on the road to an honorable future.”40 Despite the “infinite heroism” of the German and Turkish nations, however, both were defeated during the war. Their enemies decided to “tyrannize” each nation the same way, by compelling them to agree to dictates.41 Atatürk, “a great nation’s great leader,” repudiated the treaty, and led the Turkish nation into war against its enemies. The whole world laughed at him, asking “how a single man at the head of a small group of rebels could succeed against the victorious armies of great states.” But “the great hero” Atatürk did not see things that way, thinking nothing was impossible “for a heroic and self-sacrificing nation.” He gathered the Turks around him and battled with unshakeable faith for the independence of the homeland.42

The author argued that Germany found itself in the same condition as Turkey: “its hands were tied, its honor and self-esteem denied, and it had been thrown to the ground.”43 And during these dark days the Germans also found a leader, Adolf Hitler, who could not “suffer the German nation being condemned to live without honor.” He “was nothing less than a German hero” who perceived his nation to be superior to all others and believed in its power. And just like Atatürk, Hitler did not perceive any obstacles as being insurmountable in the battle for national independence. The “German national hero wanted to do exactly as the Turkish national hero,” namely, rip up the dishonorable peace agreement the Germans were compelled to sign and substitute in its place “an honorable people’s right to live.” The author concluded that his comparison of “the two great heroes of two great nations” must please nationalists of each nation, for “our savior Atatürk, and the German leader Hitler” were “not merely two geniuses who saved their people from slavery,” but “two great men” who taught the world that nations that want to live in freedom can not be kept down.44 Finally, “just as Germans nurture great respect for Atatürk, so, too, do Turks share the same feelings for Hitler, who has struggled for many years and with great self-sacrifice for the victory of his people.”45 Both battled “with the same heroic feelings, for the same ideals, and were ultimately successful.” Such “great men” are not only respected by their own people whom they have saved, but by all people driven by [End Page 25] nationalism. That is because “these two great heroes” attained victory not only for their own nations in their struggle for existence, but achieved victory for two universal principles: “National Socialism and national rights.”46

Turanists in Turkey—proponents of a union of all Turkic peoples, which would require the destruction of the USSR—saw the Nazis as natural allies. The Nazis also saw reviving the World War I alliance between the Ottoman Empire and Germany as a means to pursue this aim. Close relations were established between the German Foreign Ministry, the Nazi Party, and orientalists in Germany and Turanists in Turkey, who included the main decision-makers in Turkish foreign policy. This also included the Turkish general staff, which distributed copies of an anti-Jewish novel written by Turkey’s leading antisemite to Turkish officers,47 and toured the occupied eastern front, including the USSR, with their German counterparts at the height of the war. Turanists also included the Turkish ambassador to Germany, Hüsrev Gerede (d. 1962, ambassador 1939–1942), the foreign minister and then prime minister Şükrü Saracoğlu (d. 1953, foreign minister, 1938–1942, prime minister 1942–1946), and the Turkish foreign minister Numan Menemencioğlu (d. 1958, foreign minister 1942–1944). Beginning in 1941 they actively supported the effort to recruit Turkic-Soviet POWs to fight for the Nazis. Two hundred thousand of these served on the Nazi side, helping to suppress the Warsaw Uprising, and as late as May 1945, Turkic Waffen SS units defended Berlin.48

Ambassador Gerede was on excellent terms with Hitler. He boasted how he had won Hitler’s trust the first time they met, and that after he left Hitler said of him, “This man is a serious soldier and we understand each other.”49 He introduced himself as a World War I veteran who worked with German advisors and expressed his “genuine love and friendship” for the German nation and its army.50 He added that he “would work to maintain the historical friendship with Germany.” Hitler responded by expressing his “love and respect for the heroic Turkish race, Germany’s World War I ally.”51 Gerede saw in Hitler’s eyes nearly the same “charm” of Atatürk, whom he had known well.52 As an expression of their friendship, the German leader presented him with precious gifts marked by Hitler’s gilded signature and autographed photographs. When he penned his autobiography fifteen years after the war ended, Gerede boasted of still cherishing these gifts and his closeness to Hitler.53

The only critical words he had were for Hitler’s failure to conquer the USSR. Gerede saw the German invasion of the USSR as a “joyful opportunity to assist his Turkic blood brothers in Russia be freed from Soviet despotism.”54 He encouraged Germany to send Turkic-Soviet POWs back to fight against their common enemy. But he bemoaned the behavior of the SS, which disregarded the fact that the Turkic peoples saw them as their saviors from the “catastrophe” of the Soviet “dictatorship,” which murdered Turks, mistaking them for Jews.55 In fact, during the Barbarossa [End Page 26] Campaign against the Soviet Union in 1941, SS squads executed Muslim POWs “on the assumption that the fact that they were circumcised proved that they were Jews.” This caused Reinhard Heydrich to order the SS to be aware that the circumcision and “Jewish appearance” of Turkic Muslims did not mean they were Jews. The two groups were not to be confused. Muslims were not to be persecuted.56

Turkey was officially neutral until the very end of the war, adhering to both its Friendship and Non-Aggression Pact with Nazi Germany and its Treaty of Mutual Assistance with Britain.57 Some Turkish newspapers in Istanbul, such as the liberal Vatan, whose editor was the Dönme Ahmet Emin Yalman, and the leftist Tan, whose main writers included Yalman as well as the Dönme Sabiha Sertel, voiced opposition to fascism and Nazism. Turkish views of the Nazis in Turkey were more diverse than those within Germany. But it is the pro-Nazi perspective of Turkish representatives and organizations in Germany that provides the immediate context for understanding the attitudes of Turkish students toward Nazism and the persecution of Jews in Berlin.

Turkish Students in Nazi Germany

Immediately after its founding, the Turkish Republic aimed to establish universities on par with those in Europe. In order to do so, Turkey needed a trained cadre of professors. One means of meeting this need was to continue a long-standing Ottoman practice by sending students to be trained in Europe, especially in France, where they had been trained since the eighteenth century, and Germany, an especially popular destination in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.58 According to the author of a recent study, from the Kemalist perspective, they “went to nations with advanced civilizations, took the torch of knowledge from there, and brought about the enlightenment of their own nation.”59 Atatürk told the first students sent to Europe in 1924, “I am sending you each as a spark, you must return together as a volcano!”60 They were “model students, determined, with great enthusiasm to learn,” and they held their professors, many of whom were famous, in high esteem.61 In the words of one of those who studied in Germany, Atatürk’s revolution had created, not only a new state, but also a new identity and a new consciousness. Atatürk put in place a “continuous revolutionism,” and he entrusted the Turkish revolution and Turkish Republic to a generation of “dynamic youth who would keep the revolution alive.”62 As fervent believers in the future of the new nation, they were determined to complete their degrees at whatever cost and ensure the nation’s success by building up its universities. If they failed in their assigned task, they believed, so too would the nation. Germans—including Jews—who spent the war years in Turkey constituted another academic resource. Rather than being motivated by humanitarianism or a desire to save Jews, as postwar myths would have it, during the Nazi era, Turkey identified these professors as representatives of Europe and employed them to modernize [End Page 27] and Westernize the secularizing republic’s newly established universities.63 German professors and returning Turkish students formed the faculties of nearly every discipline in the new universities.64

Each year from 1928 to 1945, an average of 120 secular, nationalist Turkish Muslim students (but no Turkish Armenians, Greeks, or Jews), mainly men, but also a significant minority of women, were sent to Europe, the vast majority to France and Germany, after being selected by the Turkish Education Ministry and given a fellowship by state institutions, including the military, or industrial and banking concerns.65 No matter the sponsor, the students were given enough funding to live a comfortable life,66 and the general impression the students give of these years is that they were “very happy, often the best years of their lives.”67 Turkish students in Germany often spoke fluent German and had more spending money than their German peers, allowing them to lead a life of comparative luxury, dressing and eating well, playing tennis, riding horses, dancing, and dating.68 According to Ekrem Akurgal (1911–2002), while German students had to get by on from 100 to 150 Marks a month, they received 650 Marks:

At that time [1935] this was more than enough for us. Because I had so much extra money, I would eat at famous restaurants like Kempinski or Mampe, I would dress well, and have my clothes tailored at the Müller tailor shop located on a side street off of Kurfürstendamm. Along with casual, sports, and business clothes, I also owned a formal dress suit and tuxedo. I was invited to the homes of well-known families and attended their dinner parties wearing my formal dress suit.69

They were thus able to observe Germany society at close hand.

Turkish students congregated at the Turkish Club established in Berlin in 1923, whose social and cultural events promoted good relations between Germany and Turkey.70 Events at the Turkish Club, frequented by its 400 members, including Turkish and Tatar students studying at Berlin universities, romanticized the World War I alliance between the Ottoman Empire and Germany, called Germans the “most suppressed people in Europe,” and called for Turks and Germans to unite against their common enemies, Russia/the Bolsheviks, and England.71 In 1925, the Association of Turkish Students in Berlin was established, whose meetings were presided over by the Turkish ambassador.72 In 1939, Uğur Arpağ, the son of the Turkish ambassador, Hamdi Arpağ (in office 1934–1939), was the association’s secretary.73

In 1939, 80 percent of all Turkish students abroad studied in Germany.74 When war broke out, Turkey called its students studying in Europe home, but Germany permitted them to return, since they were citizens of a neutral nation, and many did so after signing papers releasing Turkey from responsibility for their fate. They were able to continue to pursue their educations until they completed their doctorates, [End Page 28] sometimes lasting until the end of the war.75 In the words of one of these idealistic students sent to Germany, they pressed on with their studies, considering themselves “like a mother or father who stays hungry ensuring that their children have enough to eat, ignoring day-to-day problems, thinking only of the future.”76 Through the end of the war, approximately 400 Turkish students pursued degrees in the Third Reich, many becoming “supporters of Hitler,” expressing “open admiration for the Nazi regime” when they returned to Turkey in 1945.77 Their views of the Nazis and their crimes were influenced by privileged access to top Nazi officials and “learning German in schools for educating Hitler Youth.”78

Turkish Students’ Accounts of Jews

In contemporary or postwar accounts, no Turkish students mention Berlin’s Turkish Jews. Their obliviousness to the fate of fellow citizens demonstrates they did not consider Turkish Jews to belong to the nation. This was also usually the attitude of Turkish diplomats, with devastating results for the Turkish Jews of Berlin and across Nazi-occupied Europe. Yet as they tell it, the students became aware of the oppression of German Jews soon after arriving, when they were looking for a place to live.79 Many of the students resided on and around Kurfürstendamm, the commercial heart of Berlin West, which had a substantial Jewish population, renting rooms from Jewish families.

Ekrem Akurgal lived in Berlin for eight years studying archaeology, renting a room in one of the large homes of wealthy families on or around Kurfürstendamm. As an aside, he mentioned “These families were usually Germans of Jewish background who had lost their wealth due to the Nazis and were compelled to rent out rooms in their homes. These familes especially preferred foreign students.”80 Akurgal became the general secretary of the International Association of Foreign Student Clubs, at whose events, prominent Nazis, such as Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, were the guests of honor. Akurgal related, without any comment, how during one such evening “Dr. Goebbels sat in the seat of honor and was greeted with ‘Heil Hitler.’”81

Saadet İkesus Altan (1916–2007), who completed five years of study at the Berlin Conservatory in 1940, reported renting from a Jewish landlady: “Before she showed me the room, the owner of the apartment said hesitatingly ‘I believe you are not a German. We are not permitted to have German tenants, because we are Jewish.’ I was astonished. I did not know that Aryans and Semites were differentiated from each other. I answered ‘I am a Turk. If that does not matter to you, than your background is also not a problem for me.’”82 This passage raises the question how she knew of the categories “Aryan” and “Semite” but did not know how they were deployed.

Sedat Alp (1913–2006) studied archaeology in Berlin and Leipzig between 1932 and 1940, leaving Germany at the outbreak of war, but quickly returned, and obtained a PhD in Hititology. Substituting the term “Germans” for “Jews,” in an interview in [End Page 29] 2004 Alp mentioned how “During the war Germans sought different ways to escape Germany. For example, obtaining a Turkish passport was a way to escape. The owner of the home in which I lived was a rich Jewess, who proposed that we marry. I said ‘I cannot accept.’”83 He expressed no further concern for her fate.

Orhan Dirik (born 1913), the son of close Atatürk ally General (and later governor) Mehmet Kâzım Dirik, studied at Munich Technical University from 1936 to 1938 and then at Berlin Technical University to 1941. Arriving in Berlin in 1938, Dirik rented a room on Kurfürstendamm from a woman named Frau Riesenfeld. As he related, “I should have been suspicious because of her name and extremely large nose but I paid no heed, happy to have found a suitable room,” he recalled.

Shortly afterward, I realized that the woman was a Jew. It was also made clear in her being very happy to have found a foreign renter, since renting to Germans was forbidden. The woman was very lucky, because she had a Hungarian boyfriend. The man was young and handsome. What did he find in this ugly old woman? . . . The anti-Jewish signs I saw everywhere increased the discomfort and unease that I felt. Jews were only allowed to sit on a few scattered benches painted yellow in public parks. They had to wear yellow Jewish star armbands. Signs on some restaurant doors proclaimed: “No Jews or Dogs.”

Uncomfortable living with a Jew, he immediately moved out.84

Turkish students renting rooms from Jewish families on and around Kurfürstendamm witnessed Nazi persecution of Jews firsthand, especially during the pogrom on November 9, 1938. Tarık Emiroğlu noted that Turkish students all settled in “Berlin’s Beyoğlu, Kurfürstendamm.”85 Living on Kurfürstendamm, he was able to judge German feelings towards Jews. In a letter to his grandmother, he wrote: “Contrary to what is generally supposed, not everyone here is anti-Jewish, but there is a group of youth who show no mercy to the Jews. Recently we saw them beating a Jew and setting fire to two imposing synagogues. On my second day in Berlin, because a diplomat at the German Embassy in Paris was shot by a Jewish youth, at night the display windows of all Jewish businesses in Germany were broken and their shops were looted, so that all streets were covered in broken glass.”86

Saadet İkesus Altan also was an eyewitness to the November 9 pogrom, which she too remembered sixty years later. She was in her room when the landlady came in. “Her eyes were all red, and I asked her why she had cried. She was Jewish, and her husband and son had driven around all night in their car in order not to be caught. The SS had stormed businesses and arrested their owners, including the owner of Neumann, the ladies’ garments store, where her son worked. We were both stunned. It was ‘Kristallnacht,’ as it was later named.” The landlady showed her a small metal box and said “‘All of our valuables are in this box. Please take it. They are ransacking [End Page 30] homes, looking for valuables. If you would give me your calling card, I can tack it on the door, and they will think foreigners live here, and not enter.’ I immediately gave her my card, which showed I was a Turk.”87

But Altan still hesitated: “But I was afraid to take the box. What would I say, if despite the precautions we took, they should enter the house and ask what was in the box in my room?” Then she recalled that she “had been taught to always help the weak, so I could not refuse her plea. I said ‘place the box in the cabinet next to my music sheets. I won’t touch it. I don’t mix in the affairs of a foreign country.’” The woman did as she said, and survived that incident unscathed, “and she remained living there until informed that the home belonged to an Aryan and the Jewish tenants had to move out. I visited this family a few times in their new home, which pleased them very much. I do not know what happened to them later. They told me their son had immigrated to America, and they were pleased about that.”88 Altan moved in with an “Aryan” couple after this.89

Orhan Dirik noted that on the eve of the “Night of Broken Glass,” he and his mother “became petrified by fear because of what we saw! At least 70 percent of the store windows were marked by a Jewish Star. When we came to the hosiery store we always shopped in and saw that it, too, was marked by large white letters, in truth, we hesitated to enter. In great fear, we did our business as quickly as we could and hurried back onto the street; but our worry did not die down right away; we only relaxed when after awhile, watching our backs, we could be sure we were not being followed.”90 What happened the next day was worse:

The view that greeted us the next day on the same boulevard was terrifying! Every single shop window that had been marked by Jewish names was broken. . . . We also witnessed another heartbreaking scene. A synagogue on a side street had been set on fire . . . they were beating a man fleeing that street with clubs until he collapsed on the ground; this poor man was probably an official at the synagogue who was trying to flee the fire to save his life.91

Fear of Being Mistaken for Jews

Dirik’s account of those years is filled with terrible anxiety about being mistaken for a Jew and uncomfortable interactions with German Jewish women, which he feared would land him in danger. One day in 1936 when Dirik and a couple of Turkish friends found themselves having lunch in Munich in the same restaurant as Adolf Hitler, he reports:

Suddenly looking annoyed, the Führer called his aide and said something pointing to us. The SS officer came over to our table and asked if we knew German. My friends pointed to me. Turning to me, he asked our nationality and what we were [End Page 31] doing in the city. When I said we were Turks pursuing higher education, he gave the Hitler salute and left us, and told Hitler the information. The man’s sullen look immediately changed and he looked straight at us, smiling. Since both of my friends are dark skinned and have slightly crooked noses, Hitler probably thought we were Jews; because in this country the Jewish type looks like this.92

Another time, he speaks of “sweating in fear” at the opera that Nazis would mistake his “dark-skinned and black-haired” mother for a Jew,93 which ruined his enjoyment of the performance. In 1940, learning that the “dark-skinned” young woman who was his date was Jewish, he was unable to enjoy a dance. Just as Sedat Alp had spurned the chance to save his Jewish landlady by marrying her, Dirik left this young Jewish woman to her fate—and never seems to have wondered what happened to her when reflecting on that evening decades later.94 Turkish men at that time expressed fear and loathing of Jewish women. Their autobiographical accounts stand in stark contrast to the romantic relations portrayed in novels explored in Turkish-German studies, especially those of Sabahattin Ali, Zafer Şenocak, and Doğan Akhanlı.95

In the autobiographical accounts, fear did not transform into sympathy for Jews, whether German or Turkish. What we read instead is Turks substituting “Turks” (Turkish Muslims) for (German) “Jews” as the victims of the Nazis. Tarık Emiroğlu mentions that although Germans had a favorable opinion of Turks, “if there is one thing about Germans that irritates us, it is that whether we are walking on the street or sitting somewhere, they look at us strangely because we are dark skinned.”96 His narrative of violence against Jews during the November 9 pogrom immediately switches to depicting Turks as potential victims. Since they wore “Turkish rosettes,” he says, no one had abused or attacked them as Jews so far, but on Kristallnacht in 1938 they were mistaken for Jews seeking revenge.97 After they were identified as Turks, however, they were let go unmolested.

During his years in Berlin, Şefik Okday (1909–2002), who studied at the University of Technology from 1930 to 1933 and then earned a degree in engineering in Dresden in 1937, got to know the “ugly side” of Nazism, which for him was when Germans attacked Turks, thinking they were Jews.98 Okday, too, immediately switches from briefly depicting attacks on Jews to describing at length how Turks were the victims of Nazi violence. He was in Germany at the time of the Nazi rise to power and was sympathetic to the new regime: “To be honest, I also initially had great enthusiasm for the new ideas. One commits an injustice today reproaching Germans by saying, ‘You were with them from the start.’”99 However, he notes, “I was soon witness to incidents that foreshadowed a later pogrom directed toward Jewish citizens.”100 Here he was most likely referring to November 9, 1938. In the very next sentence he starts out by describing Turks as victims of the Nazis, deploying Turkish (Muslim) stereotypes about Turkish Jews speaking Turkish poorly. “Two Turkish students,” he [End Page 32] related, “because they had dark skin and spoke German poorly, were mistaken for Jews and bludgeoned so badly by SA men that the bruises on their faces remained visible for weeks.” Okday himself and his female companion were once cursed as “dirty Jews” because they did not show the necessary reverence to a passing torchlight procession. When, shortly after Hitler had become Reich’s chancellor, the Turkish cultural attaché Cevat Bey was severely maltreated “because he had dark skin and an aquiline nose,” it was the last straw for the Turkish ambassador, Kemaleddin Sami Pasha, a decorated World War I general, who donned his military dress uniform and medals, including the highest German World War I honors. Sami Pasha was “the only ambassador admitted to see Hitler at any time without an appointment,” Okday boasts, because “Hitler had great respect for such war heroes.” According to accounts that circulated among Turkish students, their ambassador had “marched up the steps of the Reich Chancellery, shoved the bewildered SA guards out of the way,” and demanded “that dark-skinned Turks be left alone,” and that “SA men, before they bludgeoned a Jew, first examine [his] identification to make sure that they were not mistakenly laying their hands on a Turkish student.”101 Far from insisting that Turkish Jews not be harmed, the ambassador (and the students) assumed that “Turk” equated with Muslim, and expressed no opposition to the persecution of Jews.

In his autobiography, Müstecib Ülküsal, a fascist based in Berlin from 1941 to 1942 working with the Nazis promoting the liberation of Soviet Crimea, describes the “comic” experience of an Azeri named Hilal Münşi.102 After the Nazis came to power, Münşi told him,

they began to take Jews from their homes and the streets and send them to camps. Even though I do not belong to the Semitic race, I probably look sufficiently like a Jew that they seized me on the street and took me to the police station with the aim of deporting me to a camp. I tried to explain as best as I could that I was not a Jew but an Azeri Turk. They then demanded to see my organ, which had the mark of Jewishness. I tried to explain that Muslims also had this mark, which had passed from Judaism to Islam. But they did not believe it. They incarcerated me for several days. I gave them the names of some respected Germans I knew, and owing to their testifying on my account, I escaped from this difficult misfortune and dangerous situation.

Ülküsal comments: “Hilal really does look like a Jew. And he is clever.”

Ülküsal left a Turkish eyewitness account, not merely of the persecution of Germany Jewry, but of the camps. As he reveals in his autobiography, based on his diary entries from that era, in February 1942, another Tatar Turk working for the Nazis, who had just returned from occupied Poland, told him “how the Jews gathered in ghettoes established by the Nazis in various parts of Poland were burned, and how [End Page 33] their sad cries for help while they were dying made his heart ache.”103 Since, as part of their work recruiting Turkic Soviet prisoners of war for the Nazis, these men visited concentration camps and not ghettoes, he may have meant a concentration or even a death camp. Yet even here, in the very next sentence, the author immediately shifts to recounting the fate of Turks—actually Tatars—in Poland, who were murdered by Bolsheviks and Nazis alike.104 In a parallel instance, a 1941 cable from the Turkish ambassador to Berlin, Hüsrev Gerede, to the Foreign Ministry in Ankara reporting the Holocaust as it unfolded speaks of the annihilation of “nearly one million” Jews before proceeding to note another such tragic case of mistaken identity: “According to information obtained from some Azeri Turks, 500 Turks denounced by the Russians as ‘members of the Jewish race’ have been murdered on the front by Germans.”105

Conclusions

The accounts presented in this article offer an opportunity to reflect on what Turkish-German studies would look like if we included the texts produced by Turks in Nazi Germany. In what ways would reading these texts alter our perception of what distinguishes Turks from Jews and from Germans? Turks—Muslim and Jewish—were present in the defining era for modern Germany, that of the Third Reich, although they are today often assumed not to have been there yet. They interacted with German Jews and were eyewitnesses to their persecution. The annihilation of Turkish Jews went unnoticed. Those especially close to the Nazi regime—Turkish ambassadors and students collaborating with the Nazis to free Turkic lands of Soviet rule—were even aware of the Holocaust of European Jewry as it unfolded. As the accounts of Turkish students in Nazi Germany show, there was an overlap, real and imagined, between Turks, Jews, and Muslims. Yet the accounts also show that Turkish (Muslim) victimization—which was sometimes real and not only an imagined fear, although Turks became victims when mistaken for Jews, not because they were Turks (and Muslims)—was foremost in their minds, even decades after awareness of the full scope of the Holocaust had been revealed. The accounts may thus be used to question narratives that exclude Turks as eyewitnesses and victims, a blindness even noted in the contemporary narratives themselves—as exemplified by the fact that Turkish accounts mention German, but never Turkish Jews. And they may be used to question the assumption that awareness of persecution leads to sympathy and understanding, that recognizing the self in the Other produces empathy rather than narcissism and denial.

Tarık Emiroğlu’s experience of the November 9, 1938, pogrom calls to mind what Zafer Şenocak imagines as a “trialogue” among Germans, Jews, and Turks.106 His protagonist Sascha calls for Germans and Jews to allow Turks to undo “the German-Jewish dichotomy,” and Turks in Germany to dissolve their dichotomous relations with Germans by discovering “the existence of the Jews not just as part of the German past, [End Page 34] in which they cannot share, but as part of the present in which they live.” As Tarık’s experience as eyewitness demonstrates, however, Turks have shared in the Jewish past in Germany. Some Turks suffered the fate of German Jews, whether because they were Jews or were mistaken for Jews, while Turkish Muslims in Germany were “contaminated” during the Nazi era because of their collaboration with and facilitating of the crimes of the totalitarian regime. Turks today can therefore lay claim to the Holocaust as both victims and collaborators. They can own what Sascha claims as his self-identity, being “a grandchild of victims and perpetrators,”107 but not as in Şenocak’s novel, where the victim is a German Jew and the perpetrator a Turkish (Muslim) accomplice of the Armenian genocide. In Nazi Germany, Turkish Jews were victims and Turkish Muslims facilitators of the Holocaust.

Marc David Baer

marc david baer (m.d.baer@lse.ac.uk) is a professor of international history at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He currently researches the interconnected histories of Turks, Jews, and Muslims in Weimar and Nazi Germany and has published articles on this topic in Comparative Studies in Society & History and The American Historical Review.

Notes

I wish to thank Katrin Bromber and Heike Liebau at the Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin, for inviting me to present an early version of this article. I appreciate Corry Guttstadt’s criticism at that stage of my research. I also wish to thank Ela Gezen, David Gramling, and Berna Gueneli for organizing the seminar “Turkish-German Studies: Past, Present, and Future,” at the German Studies Association Annual Conference in Kansas City, where I presented a revised version of the talk. I thank the seminar participants for their feedback, especially Leslie Adelson and Deniz Göktürk. Finally, I thank the anonymous reviewers of this journal. Unless otherwise noted, all translations from German and Turkish are my own.

1. The letter is dated November 16, 1938. Qtd. in Kansu Şarman, Türk Promethe’ler: Cumhuriyet’in öğrencileri Avrupa’da (1925–1945) (Istanbul: Türkiye İş Bankası, 2005), 254.

2. Marc David Baer, “Muslim Encounters with Nazism and the Holocaust: The Ahmadi of Berlin and German-Jewish Convert to Islam Hugo Marcus,” The American Historical Review 120, no. 1 (2015): 140–171.

3. Gültekin Emre, 300 Jahre Türken an der Spree. Ein vergessenes Kapitel Berliner Kulturgeschichte (Berlin: Ararat, 1983); Börte Sagaster, Achmed Talib. Stationen des Lebens eines türkischen Schuhmachermeisters in Deutschland von 1917 bis 1983. Kaiserreich—Weimarer Republik—Drittes Reich—DDR, Zentrum für Türkeistudien an der Universität GH Essen (Cologne: Önel, 1997); Alexandra Schäfer-Borrmann, Vom “Waffenbruder” zum “türkisch-deutschen Faktotum.” Ekrem Rüştü Akömer (1892–1984), eine bemerkenswerte Randfigur der Geschichte (Würzburg: Ergon, 1998); and Ingebor Böer, Ruth Haerkötter, and Petra Kappert, eds., Türken in Berlin 1871–1945. Eine Metropole in den Erinnerungen osmanischer und türkischer Zeitzeugen, (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2002).

5. “Alamanya-Transnational German Studies Workshop” webpage, German Studies, Germanic Languages and Literature, University of Michigan, https://www.lsa.umich.edu/german/graduate/alamanyatransnationalgermanstudiesworkshop.

6. Betigül Ercan Argun, Turkey in Germany: The Transnational Sphere of Deutschkei (New York: Routledge, 2003); Deniz Göktürk, David Gramling, and Anton Kaes, eds., Germany in Transit: Nation and Migration, 1955–2005 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007); Kira Kosnick, Migrant Media: Turkish Broadcasting and Multicultural Politics in Berlin (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007); Gökçe Yurdakul, From Guestworkers into Muslims: The Transformation [End Page 35] of Turkish Immigrant Associations in Germany (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars, 2008); Martin Sökefeld, Struggling for Recognition: The Alevi Movement in Germany and in Transnational Space (London: Berghahn, 2008), and Rita Chin, The Guest Worker Question in Post-War Germany (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009). Panikos Panayi does not discuss Turks until the chapter, “The Age of Mass Migration: Germanies After 1945,” in his book, Ethnic Minorities in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Germany: Jews, Gypsies, Poles, Turks and Others (London: Routledge, 2000).

7. Marc David Baer, The Dönme: Jewish Converts, Muslim Revolutionaries, and Secular Turks (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010).

8. Corry Guttstadt, Die Türkei, die Juden, und der Holocaust (Hamburg: Assoziation A, 2008), 265. Of the 1,673 Turkish citizens in Germany, 753, 45 percent of the total, were Jewish. Guttstadt’s book was translated into English as Turkey, the Jews, and the Holocaust (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

9. Ahmet Asker, “Nazi ırk tasnifinde Türkler ve Ortadoğu halkları,” ÇağdaşTürkiye Tarihi Araştırmaları Dergisi 25, no. 55 (2012): 79–99.

10. David Motadel, Islam and Nazi Germany’s War (Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 2014), 57.

11. Stefan Ihrig, Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination (Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 2014), 128.

12. Marc David Baer, “Turk and Jew in Berlin: The First Turkish Migration to Berlin and the Shoah,” Comparative Studies in Society & History 55, no. 2 (2013): 330–355.

13. Marcy Brink-Danan, Jewish Life in Twenty-First-Century Turkey: The Other Side of Tolerance (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2012).

14. Stanford Shaw, Turkey and the Holocaust: Turkey’s Role in Rescuing Turkish and European Jewry from Nazi Persecution (New York: New York University Press, 1993); and Stanford Shaw, “Turkey and the Jews of Europe During World War Two,” in Turkish-Jewish Encounters: Studies on Turkish-Jewish Relations Through the Ages, ed. Mehmet Tütüncü (Haarlem: SOTA, 2001), 309–325.

15. Guttstadt, Turkey, 89, 131.

16. Guttstadt, Turkey, 101.

17. Concerning France, see also İ. İzzet Bahar, Turkey and the Rescue of European Jews (London: Routledge, 2015). For a review of both books see Marc David Baer, review of Corry Guttstadt, Turkey, the Jews, and the Holocaust, trans. Kathleen M. Dell’Orto, Sabine Bartel, and Michelle Miles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013) and review of İ. İzzet Bahar, Turkey and the Rescue of European Jews, Routledge Studies in Modern European History 26 (New York: Routledge, 2015), AJS Review 39, no. 2 (2015): 467–470.

18. On December 3, 1941 Ambassador Hüsrev Gerede sent a private cable to the Foreign Ministry in Ankara informing his superiors of the mass murder of Jews as it unfolded. Bilâl N. Şimşir, Türk Yahudiler II: Avrupa ırkçılarına karşı Türkiye’nin mücadelesi [Turkish Jews: Turkey’s battle against European racists] 2 vols. (Ankara: Bilgi, 2010), 2:293–294.

19. Guttstadt, Turkey, 89, 131, 309.

20. Guttstadt, Turkey, 157.

21. Rifat Bali, Cumhuriyet yıllarında Türkiye Yahudileri: Bir Türkleştirme serüveni (1923–1945) (Istanbul: İletişim, 1999).

22. Daniel Alexander Schacht, “Neue Gedenktafel für türkische Holocaust-Opfer in Bergen-Belsen,” Hannoversche Allgemeine, Feb. 1, 2014. I thank Corry Guttstadt for bringing this incident to my attention.

23. Rifat Bali, “Perceptions of the Holocaust in Turkey,” in Perceptions of the Holocaust in Europe and Muslim Communities: Sources, Comparison, and Educational Challenge, ed. Günther Jikeli and Joëlle Allouche-Benayoun (London: Springer Science, 2012), 61–70.

24. For a review, see Marc David Baer, review of Stefan Ihrig, Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination [End Page 36] (Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 2014), The American Historical Review 121, no. 1 (2016): 326–327. The other study is Ahmet Asker, Kemalist Türkiye’den Nazi Almanyası’na karşılaştırmalı bakışlar ve algılar, 1929–1939 (Istanbul: Libra, 2014).

25. The most useful collections are Firdevs Gümüşoğlu, Cumhuriyet’te iz bırakanları-10. yıl kuşağı (Istanbul: Kaynak, 2001); Böer, Haerkötter, and Kappert, Türken in Berlin; and Şarman, Türk Promethe’ler.

26. See Viola Georgi, Entliehene Erinnerung. Geschichtsbilder junger Migranten in Deutschland (Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 2003), 166–167, 238–241, 258–264, 283; Jeffrey Peck, “Jews and Turks: Discourses of the ‘Other,’” in Being Jewish in the New Germany (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2006), 86–109; Gökçe Yurdakul and Y. Michal Bodemann, “‘We Don’t Want to Be the Jews of Tomorrow’: Jews and Turks in Germany after 9/11,” German Politics and Society 24, no. 2 (2006): 44–67; Ruth Mandel, Cosmopolitan Anxieties: Turkish Challenges to Citizenship and Belonging in Germany (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008), 129–140; Gilad Margalit, “On Being Other in Post-Holocaust Germany: German-Turkish Intellectuals and the German Past,” in José Brunner and Shai Levi, eds., Juden und Muslime in Deutschland. Recht, Religion, Identität, Tel Aviver Jahrbuch für deutsche Geschichte 37 (Göttingen: Wall-stein, 2009), 209–232; Rita Chin and Heide Fehrenbach, “Introduction: What’s Race Got to Do With It? Postwar German History in Context,” in Rita Chin, Heide Fehrenbach, Geoff Eley, and Atina Grossman, eds., After the Nazi Racial State: Difference and Democracy in Germany and Europe (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2009), 10–14; and Gökçe Yurdakul, “Juden und Türken in Deutschland: Integration von Immigranten, politische Repräsentation und Minderheitenrechte,” in Gökçe Yurdakul and Michal Bodemann, eds., Staatsbürgerschaft, Migration und Minderheiten. Inklusion und Ausgrenzungsstrategien im Vergleich (Wiesbaden: VS, 2010), 127–159.

27. Berliner Bevölkerungsstatistiken, Senatbibliothek, Strasse des 17. Juni Nr. 112, cited in Emre, 300 Jahre Türken an der Spree, 95.

28. Böer, Haerkötter, and Kappert, Türken in Berlin, 321–323.

29. Schäfer-Borrmann, Waffenbruder, 34–37, 41–42.

30. Schäfer-Borrmann, Waffenbruder, 93.

31. Schäfer-Borrmann, Waffenbruder, 98–102.

32. For an exhaustive account of far-right German views of Turkey, see Ihrig, Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination; for Turkish perspectives see below.

33. Report of annual meeting of 1936, Landesarchiv Berlin B Rep. 042, Nr. 26815/2 “türkische Handelskammer für Deutschland in Berlin e.V.”

34. Landesarchiv Berlin, B Rep. 042, Nr. 26692, “Verein türkisches Studenten in Berlin e.V.” [1925–1943].

35. Landesarchiv Berlin, Apr. Br. Rep 030-04 Nr. 691, “türkischen Handelskammer für Deutschland in Berlin e.v.,” “Satzung,” 4.

36. 10 yıl · Jahre Almanya da Türk ticaret odası / Türkische Handelskammer für Deutschland.

37. Türkische Handelskammer für Deutschland (Berlin, 1933).

38. “A wealthy man who owned a stately Opel limousine” driven by a uniformed chauffeur. Isaak Behar, “Versprich mir, dass du am Leben bleibst.” Ein jüdisches Schicksal (Berlin: Ullstein, 2006), 56.

39. Muzaffer Toydemir, “İki büyük adam/Zwei grosse Männer,” in 10 yıl · Jahre Almanya da Türk ticaret odası / Türkische Handelskammer für Deutschland, 25–29.

40. Toydemir, “İki büyük adam,” 25.

41. Toydemir, “İki büyük adam,” 26.

42. Toydemir, “İki büyük adam,” 28.

43. Toydemir, “İki büyük adam,” 28. [End Page 37]

44. Toydemir, “İki büyük adam,” 29.

45. Toydemir, “İki büyük adam,” 29.

46. Toydemir, “İki büyük adam,” 29.

47. Cevat Rıfat Atilhan, Yahudi casusu Suzy Liberman (Istanbul: Türkiye, 1935). See Rifat Bali, “Cevat Rıfat Atilhan,” Modern Turkiye‘de siyasî düşünce, Muhafazakârlik 5 (Istanbul: İletişim, 2003), 404–407.

48. Guttstadt, Turkey, 33–34; Motadel, Islam and Nazi Germany’s War, 234–235.

49. Hüsrev Gerede, Harb içinde Almanya (1939–1942), ed. Hulûsi Turgut ve Sırrı Yüksel Cebeci (Istanbul: ABC Ajansı, 1994), 323.

50. Gerede, Almanya, 32.

51. Gerede, Almanya, 33.

52. Gerede, Almanya, 33.

53. Gerede, Almanya, 399–400.

54. Gerede, Almanya, 250.

55. Gerede, Almanya, 251.

56. Motadel, Islam and Nazi Germany’s War, 170.

57. Selim Deringil, Turkish Foreign Policy During the Second World War: An ‘Active’ Neutrality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989).

58. Şarman, Türk Promethe’ler, 21–28.

59. Şarman, Türk Promethe’ler, 7.

60. Şarman, Türk Promethe’ler, 38.

61. Böer, Haerkötter, and Kappert, Türken in Berlin, 310.

62. Hıfzı Veldet Velidedeoğlu, Anıların izinde, 2 vols. (Istanbul: Remzi, 1977–1979), 2:268–269.

63. Kader Konuk, East West Mimesis: Auerbach in Turkey (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010); İzzet Bahar, “German or Jewish, Humanity or Raison d’Etat: The German Scholars in Turkey, 1933–1952,” Shofar 29, no. 1 (2010): 48–72.

64. Şarman, Türk Promethe’ler, 7–9, 38.

65. Şarman, Türk Promethe’ler, 9, 36–43. There are no official statistics about the number of those who were sent there because a fire in the Ministry of Education building destroyed all records.

66. Şarman, Türk Promethe’ler, 40.

67. Böer, Haerkötter, and Kappert, Türken in Berlin, 319.

68. Orhan Dirik, Babam General Kâzım Dirik ve ben (Cumhuriyet ve Türkiye) (Istanbul: Yapı Kredi, 1998), 80–82.

69. Qtd. in Şarman, Türk Promethe’ler, 122–123; and in Böer, Haerkötter, and Kappert, Türken in Berlin, 313.

70. See the account in Der Neue Orient 5 (1923): 173, qtd. in Emre, 300 Jahre Türken an der Spree, 58.

71. Zeitschrift der Türkischen Handelskammer für Deutschland 1, no. 1 (July 15, 1928), reproduced in Emre, 300 Jahre Türken an der Spree, 60.

72. Landesarchiv Berlin, B Rep. 042, Nr. 26692, “Verein türkisches Studenten in Berlin e.V.” [1925–1943].

73. Election results, February 23, 1939, Landesarchiv Berlin, B Rep. 042, Nr. 26692, “Verein türkisches Studenten in Berlin e.V.” [1925–1943].

74. Guttstadt, Die Türkei, 171–172.

75. Şarman, Türk Promethe’ler, 9, 42–43.

76. Nüvit Arıcan, who spent 1936 to 1945 studying engineering in Berlin and Stuttgart, qtd. in Şarman, Türk Promethe’ler, 45.

77. Şarman, Türk Promethe’ler, 172.

78. According to Arıcan, qtd. in Şarman, Türk Promethe’ler, 223.

79. Böer, Haerkötter, and Kappert, Türken in Berlin, 314. [End Page 38]

80. Ekrem Akurgal, Bir arkeoloğun anıları: Türkiye Cumhuriyeti kültür tarihinden birkaç yaprak (Ankara: Türkiye Bilimler Akademisi, 1999), 36.

81. Qtd. in Böer, Haerkötter, and Kappert, Türken in Berlin, 314.

82. Qtd. in Böer, Haerkötter, and Kappert, Türken in Berlin, 314.

83. Böer, Haerkötter, and Kappert, Türken in Berlin, 155.

84. Dirik, Babam, 91–92.

85. Beyoğlu was a district in Istanbul noted for its Christian, Jewish, and European inhabitants.

86. Qtd. in Şarman, Türk Promethe’ler, 254.

87. Qtd. in Böer, Haerkötter, and Kappert, Türken in Berlin, 318.

88. Böer, Haerkötter, and Kappert, Türken in Berlin, 318.

89. Böer, Haerkötter, and Kappert, Türken in Berlin, 319.

90. Dirik, Babam, 99–100.

91. Dirik, Babam, 99–100.

92. Dirik, Babam, 89.

93. Dirik, Babam, 99.

94. Dirik, Babam, 115–116.

95. The main protagonists of Ali’s novel, Kürk mantolu Madonna (Istanbul: Remzi, 1943), are the lovers German Jew Maria Puder and Turkish Muslim Raif Efendi; The main character of Şenocak’s Gefährliche Verwandtschaft (Munich: Babel, 1998), Sascha Muhteschem, has a German Jewish mother and a Turkish Muslim father; Akhanlı’s Madonna’nın son hayali (Ankara: Olasılık, 2005) reimagines Ali’s novel, making Maria Puder into Sabahattin Ali’s lover. Şenocak’s novel was published in English as Perilous Kinship, trans. Tom Cheesman (Swansea, UK: Hafan, 2009).

96. Şarman, Türk Promethe’ler, 253.

97. Qtd. in Şarman, Türk Promethe’ler, 254.

98. Şefik Okday, Büyukbabam son Sadrazam Ahmet Tevfik Paşa (Istanbul, 1986) and Der letzte Grosswesir und seine preußischen Söhne (Göttingen: Muster-Schmidt, 1991).

99. Okday, Der letzte Grosswesir, 141.

100. Okday, Der letzte Grosswesir, 142.

101. Okday, Der letzte Grosswesir, 142.

102. Müstecib Ülküsal, İkinci Dünya Savaşında 1941–1942 Berlin hâtıraları ve Kırım’ın kurtuluş dâvası (Istanbul: Emel Yayını, 1976), 55.

103. Ülküsal, İkinci Dünya Savaşında, 79.

104. Ülküsal, İkinci Dünya Savaşında, 79.

105. Qtd. in Şimşir, Türk Yahudiler II, 294.

106. Şenocak, Perilous Kinship, 69.

107. Şenocak, Perilous Kinship, 32. [End Page 39]

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Print ISSN
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