Irene Messinger: Marriage of Convenience as a Way Into Exile – Unusual and Unequal Partner Relationship in Exile

Little is known about the phenomena of marriage of convenience during the Nazi era. These marriages allowed persecuted women to flee from the Third Reich to a country of exile, to ensure their stay there or to prevent deportation or internment, by marrying a foreign national for papers only. Often the marriages merely existed on paper, having been arranged within various networks, and they were occasionally paid for. The research has a notable gender component as only women could make such use of marriages of convenience since wives automatically assumed the nationality of their husbands through marriage, not vice versa. The regulation by nation-states regarding migration, naturalization and expatriation were obviously factors that influenced the agency of women fleeing the Nazi regime and had repercussions later in the lives of these unequal transnational couples in exile. Using the institution of marriage to subvert national regimes indicates that marrying was no private matter, especially when different nationalities were involved and one person could save the other by marrying. Weiterlesen