Primary Documents

 

Withdrawal of Child Custody of the Schmidt Family
Transcript of the Decision of the Briegen District Court

 

Conclusion of the judicial proceedings against the Schmidt family:

 

Both Protestants living in Schreibendorf.

Father: Gardener Herman Schmidt of Schreibendorf, presently in the courthouse jail in Ölz, Selesia.
Mother: Elfriede Schmidt, née Scholz, from Schreibendorf.

Termination of any parental custody rights is in accord with the law Paragraph 1166, Clause 1 BGB [Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, which was the civil code in Nazi-Germany]. The parents have had legal custody of their two children removed.  Since the father has lost the right to represent his children in all personal matters, the custody of the children will be decided accordingly. The Youth Welfare Department of Brieg will, of its own accord, become the guardian of the children. The expenses of the court proceedings- as well as all other expenses- will be covered by the parents.

Reasons

The parents of the two children are followers of the International Bibelforscher Vereinigung (I.B.V.) [International Bible Students]. For his activity in the illegal I.B.V., the father was penalized by the Special Court in Breslau on September 17, 1935 (Sg.10a K Ms. 74/35) and sentenced to a fine of 200 Reich Marks or 20 days in prison. The sentence has since been annulled on April 23, 1936, by reason of amnesty. In addition, the father has been sentenced to two years in prison by the same court on January 6, 1937 (2.Sg.10 Ms 595/36) in accordance with the decree of February 28, 1933 by the President of the Reich. He is presently serving this sentence and will be serving until October 9, 1938.

The mother is by her own recognition not a member of the I.B.V., though she adheres to the Jehovah’s Witnesses sect.

The children are, in spite of their political orientation, well behaved, and are, according to their teacher, gifted scholars, known for their standards of taste and decency, and also for their good manners. In the matter of Weltanschauung [their particular philosophy or view of life] they are heavily influenced by their mother and her close adherence to the outlawed religious movement of the I.B.V. Neither child belongs to any National Socialist youth organization. Like their parents, they do not give the German salute, and no one can make them sing National songs. It was therefore necessary to exclude them from any school events.

This behavior clearly reflects the subversive attitude of their parents even though they claim to have no objection toward the National Socialist state. The children, as well as the parents, have separated themselves from the local community -a development that is chiefly evident in thirteen-year-old Georg. A report concluded that the inner rift between school and home has estranged the boy from the German people's community (Volksgemeinschaft) and driven him into the thinking pattern of the Bibelforscher. He has become a grim, withdrawn brooder -unnatural for a boy of his young age. This permeating, deep inner influence has not yet been noticed in the case of the younger sister, Hanna, although she has outwardly adopted her brother’s behavior. The danger exists that the children, by being further exposed to the upbringing of their parents, will develop an even greater distaste and estrangement toward the inner experience of the German nation and thus they will finally be lost.

Parents that purposely raise children in such a treasonous spirit severely violate their parental rights. Besides the general considerations that this behavior is against the greater interest of the German people, it is also against the law and therefore legal steps have had to be taken according Paragraph 1666 BGB. The courts are in agreement with the Youth Welfare Department and the NSV (Nationalsozialistische Volkswohlfahrt or National Socialist People's Welfare) that the children can only be gained for the German national community if they are taken out of their present environment. Otherwise, all efforts to counteract their parents’ hostile attitude toward the German people within their own home will prove to be futile. Therefore they must be removed permanently from this rift-causing influence, and placed in a suitable foster home, for which the NSV has already made provision.

In the best interest of the children, Paragraph 1666 BGB. will be applied to them.

The Youth Welfare Department is prepared to take on the permanent responsibility of guardianship after past transitional commitments of the case. It is now in the power of the Youth Welfare Department to arrange for the placement of the children in a foster home.

Brieg, April 2, 1938
District Court
Signed: Ennulat

Issued:
Brieg, April 2, 1938
Secretary of Justice
Certified Official of the Court Registry

 

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