World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Anti-Jewish legislation in prewar Nazi Germany

Article Id: WHEBN0012812413
Reproduction Date:

Title: Anti-Jewish legislation in prewar Nazi Germany  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Anti-Jewish laws, Hans Rosenthal, Kaj Munk, Rudolf Callmann, Edmund Husserl
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Anti-Jewish legislation in prewar Nazi Germany

Nuremberg Race Laws
Antisemitism and the persecution of Jews represented a central tenet of Nazi ideology. In their 25-point Party Program, published in 1920, Nazi party members publicly declared their intention to segregate Jews from "Aryan" society and to abrogate Jews' political, legal, and civil rights. Nazi leaders began to carry out their pledge to persecute German Jews soon after their assumption of power. The first major law to curtail the rights of Jewish German citizens was the "Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service" of April 7, 1933, according to which Jewish and "politically unreliable" civil servants and employees were to be excluded from state service.

The new Civil Service Law was the German authorities' first formulation of the so-called

Nuremberg laws

At their annual party rally held in Nuremberg in September 1935, the Nazi leaders announced new laws which institutionalized many of the racial theories prevalent in Nazi ideology. These "Nuremberg Laws" excluded German Jews from Reich citizenship and prohibited them from having sexual relations or marriages with persons of "German or German-related blood", violation of this law was punishable as "racial defilement". Ancillary ordinances to these laws deprived them of most political rights. Jews were disenfranchised and could not hold public office.

The Nuremberg Laws did not identify a "Jew" as someone with particular religious beliefs. Instead, the first amendment to the Nuremberg Laws defined anyone who had three or four Jewish grandparents as a Jew, regardless of whether that individual recognized himself or herself as a Jew or belonged to the Jewish religious community. Many Germans who had not practised Judaism or who had not done so for years found themselves caught in the grip of Nazi terror. Even people with Jewish grandparents who had converted to Christianity could be defined as Jews.

In the weeks before and during the 1936 Winter and Summer Olympic Games held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Berlin, respectively, the Nazi regime actually toned down much of its public anti-Jewish rhetoric and activities. The regime even removed some of the signs saying "Jews Unwelcome" from public places. Hitler did not want international criticism of his government to result in the transfer of the Games to another country. Such a loss would have been a serious blow to German prestige. Likewise, Nazi leaders did not want to discourage international tourism and the revenue that it would bring during the Olympics year.

In 1937 and 1938, German authorities again stepped up legislative persecution of German Jews. The government set out to impoverish Jews and remove them from the German economy by requiring them to register their property. Even before the Olympics, the Nazi government had initiated the practice of "Aryanizing" Jewish businesses. "Aryanization" meant the dismissal of Jewish workers and managers of a company and/or the takeover of Jewish-owned businesses by non-Jewish Germans who bought them at bargain prices fixed by government or Nazi party officials. In 1937 and 1938, the government forbade Jewish doctors to treat non-Jews, and revoked the licenses of Jewish lawyers to practice law.


Kristallnacht, example of physical damage

Following the Kristallnacht (commonly known as "Night of Broken Glass") pogrom of November 9-10, 1938, Nazi leaders stepped up "Aryanization" efforts and enforced measures that succeeded increasingly in physically isolating and segregating Jews from their fellow Germans. Jews were barred from all public schools and universities, as well as from cinemas, theatres, and sports facilities. In many cities, Jews were forbidden to enter designated "Aryan" zones. German decrees and ordinances expanded the ban on Jews in professional life. By September 1938, for instance, Jewish physicians were effectively banned from treating "Aryan" patients.

On 17 August 1938, German authorities decreed that by January 1, 1939, Jewish men and women bearing first names of "non-Jewish" origin had to add "Israel" and "Sara," respectively, to their given names (Namensänderungsverordnung). For their children, only a restricted number of "Jewish" first names were allowed; most of these names were highly unusual, and many were likely to attract derision, e.g. Geilchen (Slut). All Jews were obliged to carry identity cards that indicated their Jewish heritage, and, in the autumn of 1938, all Jewish passports were stamped with an identifying letter "J". As the Nazi leaders quickened their preparations for the war of conquest that they intended to unleash on Europe, antisemitic legislation in Germany and Austria paved the way for more radical persecution of Jews.


This article incorporates text from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and has been released under the GFDL.

External links

  • United States Holocaust Memorial Museum - Anti-Jewish Legislation in Prewar Germany
  • Images of a 1938 German "J" Jewish passport from
  • List of "Jewish" first names (August 1938) - [1]
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.