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Old 28th June 2005, 14:41
Graham Boak Graham Boak is offline
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Location: Lancashire, UK
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Re: Jewish airmen in WWII

Many thoroughly Anglo-Saxon English surnames come from placenames (e.g. Kirkham, Barton) and occupations (Palmer, Fletcher, Cooper, Smith) so that would be no way of distinguishing their religion. My understanding was that this is/was common in Western Europe, even Germany. I don't think that there is any suggestion that Messerschmitt had any Jewish origins, or that any was implied in Goering's famous "You can call me Maier" boast.

There are specifically Jewish surnames in England, but as far as I know these are basically those recognisable anywhere. Many Englishmen with Germanic names would be Jewish, of course, but not all. The well-known families of Battenberg and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha spring to mind. However, many English Jews with Germanic surnames will have changed them to avoid being mistaken for Germans during the hate campaigns of WW1.
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