This Could Be Us

In Nazi Germany, the Aryan certificate (Ariernachweis) was a document certifying that a person was a member of the Aryan race (or not). Beginning in April 1933 it was required from all state employees according to the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service.

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There were two types.

  • Kleiner Ariernachweis (“Lesser Aryan certificate,” pictured above) required seven birth or baptism certificates (each blood relative going back to grandparents) and three marriage certificates (parents and grandparents).
  • Großer Ariernachweis (“Greater Aryan certificate”) was required for compliance with the Reichserbhofgesetz (land heritage law) and membership in the Nazi party. This certificate had to trace the family pedigree down to the year 1800. According to the law “Preserving the Purity of German Blood,” only those who could prove that “none of their paternal nor their maternal ancestors had Jewish or colored blood” were eligible.

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6 thoughts on “This Could Be Us

  1. Prize

    I totally agree with Bryan and RonEddy…. I am surprised and dismayed to see the subject title of this email – “This could be us,” and then learning the meaning of it in your post. I am sorry, and in all due respect, but I just don’t expect or appreciate this here. That was my initial sense about it.

    1. Steven Heller Post author

      To all the commenters. Thank you for responding. Political forum or design forum? Good question. The answer is simple. Design is not in a vacuum. I write about design in its broadest contexts, from the aesthetics of type to the messages communicated. I also do not shy away from critique or opinion when there is a connection. My book IRON FISTS: BRANDING THE 20TH CENTURY TOTALITARIAN STATE is as much a design book as it is a political history. You don’t have to agree. You’re welcome to comment. But I cannot divorce myself from what I comprehend any more than you can. There has to be a discourse or we’re lost. I love design and pop culture, these will be covered in this column until there’s nothing left to cover. But I love finding connections between design and the world, so sometimes my columns will not be just about design-for-design sake.

    1. Steven Heller Post author

      To all the commenters. Thank you for responding. Political forum or design forum? Good question. The answer is simple. Design is not in a vacuum. (see below)

  2. RonEddy

    Hey, Steven

    I too hate what is happening especially with immigration and the ban. Back in the 1940s My mother in law was put into an internment camp in the US simply because she was Japanese, though she had nothing to do with the bombing of Pearl Harbor or the war. She suffered greatly and though I have not, it has helped me to open my eyes and heart to the tragedy of what’s happening today. THAT SAID, is it possible you will be getting back to design topics? I’ve really enjoyed the Daily Heller, but this feels like you are using this platform for another purpose now. I get that design/communication reflects what’s happening in our world. If that’s your thinking, just let me know. I had to ask. thanks, Ron

    1. Steven Heller Post author

      To all the commenters. Thank you for responding. Political forum or design forum? Good question. The answer is simple. Design is not in a vacuum. (see below)

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