There is a sad group of people who are perpetually spreading smears about Dr Richard Stallman, one of the most notable figures in the Free Software movement.

Dr Stallman is an atheist with Jewish ancestry. This begs the question, should we consider a possibility that anti-semitism is a factor in these attacks?

Before answering that, we can begin with a related question: would Adolf Hitler attack Dr Stallman or another atheist having Jewish ancestry? Or could the Jews simply relinquish their religion and opt out of the Holocaust?

To answer that question, we need to look at the Aryan Certificate (Ariernachweis) which was available from 1933.

Obtaining an Aryan Certificate involved providing copies of birth certificates for parents, grandparents and their ancestors as far back as the year 1800. If you wanted to join the SS, you had to go back even further to the year 1750.

It is clear that Dr Stallman, with two Jewish parents, would not qualify for the Aryan Certificate simply by choosing atheism.

Therefore, Dr Stallman and other former Jews who chose atheism would have faced much the same anti-semitic discrimination as any practicing Jew in 1930s Germany.

Aryan Certificate