II. The 3rd Reich & the Holocaust Era, Jan 1933-May 1945
Murderous Racism and Antisemitism - Bureaucracy of Evil. “You let us do it!”
Perpetrators, Collaborators, Victims, Bystanders, Resisters, Rescuers

A. The prewar period, 1933-39: Nazism - A Monolithic Culture
The 3rd Reich & the racial totalitarian state

EIGHT-b The War Against the Jews - The Legal Onslaught
Bauer, German Jewry: 121; Nazi Antisemitic Policy & German Jewry:106-120; 122-142

Focus Questions

How did the Jews become victims?
What were the successive steps taken in isolating the Jews?

Introduction: The War Against the Jews, 1933-1945
The road to destruction: twisted or straight? The twisted road to Auschwitz?

*‘When Hitler came to power in January 1933, no one could reasonably have anticipated the outcome ... Hitler’s obsessive preoccupation with the ‘Jewish question’ was, & remained right up to the last moments of his life, absolutely central to his view of the world. ...

We will trace the changes in policy from 1933-35, 1935-38, 1938-39, 1939-41 and the practice of total annihilation after the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. Attempts to provide some insight into how and why these changes occurred when they did, and why those who were victimized by the unfolding disaster were caught unaware.

“Considering the alternatives

By raising various issues, the students have to make an effort to reenact how Jews understood reality under Nazi rule and made decisions; the frame of mind of Jewish leaders, youth organizations, and other political movements; and how they used political experience to guide their evaluations and behavior. what were the means at the disposal of ordinary people enabling them to grasp the singular reality that the Nazis created, and on which historical experience were they relying? (Prof. D. Ofer)

Intentionalist, functionalist, synthesizers German Jewish policy - preset or improvised?

The process of persecution and destruction from the discriminatory legislation to the death camps, is examined in the light of the contesting interpretations of intentionalist & functionalist historians. Turning to early years of Nazi rule, we will discuss the intentionalist and functionalist approaches to the development of the Final Solution. We discuss Hitler’s intent to make the world Judenrein and introduce the heated debate among scholars whether the Shoah was the result of a particular “intention” (genocide) or the result of “non-intentional” functionalist reality and concerns.

The road to destruction: twisted or straight?

When persecution became the Holocaust. Reflections on theories about Nazi policy. Intentionalists versus functionalists.
The nature of the National Socialist drive to exterminate the Jews.
Was it built into the structure of the movement, or did it evolve after all other possibilities of “removing the Jews from Germany society” has been exhausted?
Was it ideologically enunciated, or a product of practical developments?

*‘The Holocaust
was the end product of a cumulative process of depersonalization (robbing the Jews of a sense of legal personality & individuality) and, later, of dehumanization. Jews were increasingly cut off from their German non-Jewish neighbors & their feelings of isolation & vulnerability were consequently intensified, hastening the collapse of their morale & inner resources. The growing distance -social, economic, legal and psychological- between Jew & Gentile helps explain how the Nazis could ‘remove’ a community virtually without protest fro the rest of the population -a population which gradually felt, and was gradually persuaded, that it had precious little in common with the unfortunate Jews. The problems ‘they’ (the Jews) faced could be shrugged off as remote, as happening ‘somewhere else,’ as ‘nothing to do with us.’1

In fact, the ‘War against the Jews,’ was a multi-dimension, considered process, embracing different tactics & distinct phases: it involved their gradual exclusion from economic life & from German -and, later on, from occupied European- society by legislation, social pressure and intimidation; it encompassed

- the partial & eventually wholesale confiscation of property,
- forced emigration (providing, that is, that other countries were willing to accept them), &
- constant public humiliation; & it culminated in
- internment, and, finally, in
- annihilation. These policies were by no means coherent, consistent or without contradiction.
The murder of about 6 million Jews did not happen overnight.’2

A. The prewar period, 1933-39: Nazism - A Monolithic Culture
Domestic Policy.
Obedience, authority, conformity versus conscience

8a. The War Against the Jews - The Legal Onslaught, 1933-39
The “Jewish Question”: Marginalization of the “disliked” other

Nazi policy toward the Jews/"Enemies of the State"

Jewish Victims: Discrimination, Exclusion, Expropriation, Expulsion, Emigration

Prewar German Jewry; the “Jewish Question”: Nazi Policy, 1933-1939 (evolution of Nazi antisemitic policy); legal depersonalization; Kristallnacht; responses; emigration.
As dictator, Hitler now known as the Fuhrer, began a campaign of terror to rid Germany of Jewish influence.

“In this segment we consider the implementation of the Nazi program of “disemancipation.” The lecture review the major stages in the escalation of Nazi anti-Jewish policy and practice. Examination of the gradual intensification of the Nazis antisemitic policy reveals the extent to which this policy was unanticipated and misunderstood. Lack of understanding limited the possible response by the bewildered victims.
Issues: Uniqueness of Nazi antisemitism

*The aim of the Nazi policy vis-a-vis the Jews during this period was to make Germany and German controlled areas free of Jews (judenrei). Racial antisemitism, for the 1st time, became the official policy of a recognized world government. The Nuremberg Laws negated civil liberties for Germany’s Jews, many of whom fled to safer lands. Hitler activated his plans for the "Aryanization" of Germany and world conquest. Jews were first subjected to discrimination & denial of justice, then persecution and then state-condoned terrorism, which had as a turning point the pogrom known as Kristallnacht.

‘Generally speaking, the mass of ordinary Germans were hugely indifferent, rather than actively hostile, to the Jews in their midst. This indifference, however, was to contribute decisively to the eventual fate of the Jews.’3

‘Between 1933 and 1939, about half the German Jewish population and more than two-thirds of Austrian Jews (1938-1939) fled Nazi persecution. They emigrated mainly to Palestine, the United States, Latin America, China (which required no visa for entry), and eastern and western Europe (where many would be caught again in the Nazi net during the war). Jews who remained under Nazi rule were either unwilling to uproot themselves, or unable to obtain visas, sponsors in host countries, or funds for emigration. Most foreign countries, including the United States, Canada, Britain, and France, were unwilling to admit very large numbers of refugees.’4

Instructional Objectives - Students will learn:

1. Jews were subjected to discrimination, persecution, and violence long before they were targeted for destruction in the gas chambers - the first anti-Jewish steps

2. Hitler's plans after he became leader of the German government followed closely what he dreamed of in his book Mein Kampf.

3. Kristallnacht was a significant turning point in the history of what led up to the Holocaust.

Students will be able to
1. Discuss how the Jews became victims.

2. Evaluate how Hitler’s policies gradually excluded the Jews from the national community and encourage them to emigrate.

3. Analyze the reasons for the refugee problem. Explain “choicelessness” of the Jews and Chaim Weizmann’s quotation

4. Discuss the reasons why the U.S. refused to allow more Jewish refugees in.

Study Questions/Essays

1. Discuss the social, political, economic and cultural developments, the legislation and the changes that transformed Germany into a racist antisemitic dictatorship. How were German Jews segregated socially, culturally and economically? Describe and explain the processes of discrimination, exclusion and isolation, and the responses to the Holocaust, exploring the inter-relationships between the perpetrators, the victims, the rescuers, the bystanders.

- Describe the types of legislation enacted from 1933 to 1939, and explain how German Jewish life changed as a result.
What types of anti-Jewish laws, persecution and discrimination did the Jews suffer in pre-war Nazi Germany? What is economic antisemitism? How were German Jews marginalized and segregated socially and economically? Explain how German Jewish life changed as a result.
Discuss the Nazi anti-Jewish laws of a) 1933, and b) 1935. In decree of April 11, 33, what characteristics distinguished ‘Aryans’ from ‘non-Aryans?’ Discuss two reasons why Jews were forced out of the civil service.
What were the Nuremberg Laws? Discuss how this affected the laws' target.
- What was the purpose of "Aryanization"?

2. Assess the impact of the onslaught on the Jews, and evaluate the different responses to the Nazi assault on democracy. Psychological aspects of authority and obedience.
What were the Jewish reactions to increasing antisemitic legislation and violence?

-Many thousands of Jews left Germany in the early years of Nazi rule. Discuss the possible reasons why many Jews stayed in Germany when there was a chance to leave.
Some Jews who stayed did so because they failed to grasp the reality of the situation in which their lives were endangered. Discuss the concept of denial by individuals or groups, what denying reality accomplishes for the victim, what the dangers are of denying reality.

- Determine the implications of the outcome of the Evian Conference, July 6-15, 1938, for the further implementation of antisemitic laws and actions by the Nazis.

- What events in 1938 pushed many Jews to try to emigrate from Nazi-controlled Europe? What made this emigration difficult? What happened during Kristallnacht, what was the historical event that sparked it, and what was the significance of the event for the Jews of Germany?

- How did the rest of the world respond to the plight of the victims? Examine the lack of effective response of the world community to the plight of Jewish refugees.
Describe and explain the refugee problem. Explain “choicelessness” of the Jews and Chaim Weizmann’s quotation
Discuss the reasons why the U.S. refused to allow more Jewish refugees in.
What happened to the passengers on the "St. Louis" and what was their fate?
What about Palestine?


Chapter Content

Geography of the prewar period of the Holocaust Era (1933-39)

The geographic expansion of Nazi anti-Jewish ideology, propaganda, & actions started with the Free City of Danzig, which was under the supervision of the League of Nations. Step by step, from 1933 on, Danzig followed Germany’s lead in her racial policies, although German troops did not march into the city until Sept. 1, 1939; the Saar ‘35; Austria, March 3, ‘38; Sudeteland, Oct. 1, ‘38; Memel ‘39; Czechoslovakia, ‘39 (Holocaust, p. 4)
German Jewish Life Before The Nazis


*The aftermath of World War I created a threatening political atmosphere for German Jewry. Economic depression, radical nationalism, street violence, fear of communism and dissatisfaction with democracy drove many Germans towards fiercely antisemitic attitudes. Hostility mounted dangerously throughout the late 1920s.

*By 1933, German Jews were largely urban, middle class, prosperous in business, and well represented in the professions (especially medicine and law). They were culturally integrated but represented less than 1 percent of the total population. This was in stark contrast to Eastern European Jews who were often poor, rural, socially isolated, religiously traditional and represented a much larger percentage of the total population.

In 1933, when Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor, 500,000/600,000 Jews lived in Germany: 20% were immigrants from Eastern Europe and 80 percent were German citizens. Many were descendants of Jews who had settled in Germany for nearly 2,000 years. They were socially integrated and participated in German intellectual, cultural, economic, and political life. Nevertheless, they were seldom fully accepted as social equals in German society*

Nazi Propaganda: Slogans, Myths, and Images - Antisemitism in Media

*‘As soon as they came to power, the Nazis launched a program of subtle conditioning & indoctrination of their own people. This program was masterminded by Joseph Goebbels, the Propaganda Minister, who controlled all the communications media -radio, newspapers, film, theaters & books.’5
Picture: Adolf Hitler (on reviewing stand) addresses half a million Nazi faithful at Nuremberg, 1933. CL:Deutschland erwacht:Werden, Kampf und Sieg der NSDAP (Altona-Bahrenfeld. 33)

Goebbels possessed a diabolical flair for orchestrating mass fervor & ecstasy. With sober calculation, he designed the ritual rallies of the Nazis--the repeated oaths, the arm raising, the songs. "Josef Goebbels has worn down the nerves of the enemy: he played the register of the propaganda organ. so that they soon thought they were hearing the shrieks of the last trumpet." Alfred Frauenfeld, Nazi Deputy Propaganda Minister
Propaganda was the essence and genius of National Socialism.
Hitler and the Nazis transformed the fears, impulses, and dissatisfaction of the prewar German masses into a subservient political machine, capable of systematic persecution and murder. *

*Flags, uniforms, Sieg Heils (heil to victory), fanfares, marching columns, banners, searchlights, every form of physical stimulation and manipulation was used to mold the Nazi party, and later all of Germany into total compliance with Nazi policy.


*Hitler’s eugenics theory - A rational for genocide. Nazis were firmed believers in eugenics, selective breeding of humans for purpose of improving the race by weeding out the weak & inferior.

“Germany under Nazi rule emphasized the primacy of racial ideology. Hitler’s close confidant Rudolf Hess made this clear when he defined National Socialism as applied biology. ... Nazi racial ideology stressed the descent of the German people from the Aryan race, an Indo-European language group ... .”6

At the core of Nazi ideology was a deadly vision of a racially pure society: a vicious form of social, genetic, & population planning that eliminated every individual not fitting its narrow definition of perfection.

“ ... Jews ... inferior ...were deemed a threat to the Aryan race. ... the Nazis believed that the removal, if not the destruction, of the Jews was the necessary condition for the attainment of their ideological objective. ... .”7

#In his speeches and writings, Hitler spread his beliefs in racial "purity" and in the superiority of the "Germanic race" -- what he called an Aryan "master race." He pronounced that his race must remain pure in order to one day take over the world. For Hitler, the ideal "Aryan" was blond, blue-eyed, healthy, heterosexual, and tall. When Hitler and the Nazis came to power, these beliefs became the government ideology and were spread in publicly displayed posters, on the radio, in movies, in classrooms, and in newspapers.#

Nazi propaganda systematically sought to manipulate mass opinion and eliminate opposition. This propaganda promoted local hatred and encouraged violations of human, civil and political rights.

*Antisemitic hate spewed out of the press and government information offices during this period. Julius Streichter's Der Stürmer, a virulent antisemitic German newspaper, carried a 14-page special issue which included the age-old charge that Jews used Christian blood to bake their Passover Matzoh.

Picture Antisemitic book for children compares the "German" and the "Jew." CL:Ein Bilderbuch fuer Gross und Klein (Nuremberg. 1936)

Jewishness itself was defined by German policy as alien, evil, and not capable of being corrected. Jews were historically the virus which ate at the purity of the Christian Aryans and they were the international conspirators whose aim was to overthrow Christian Western civilization.’

"Crucifixion." Modern Germany crucified by the Jew.
CL:Der Stuermer. 1939, no.4
The picture of the Jews encountered in Nazi propaganda was drawn, in part, from a long tradition of antisemitism.

The Nightmare Begins: Hitler & the Nazis
http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/resources/courage/p05.html com/resources/courage/p07.html

"A time of brutality approaches of which we ourselves can have absolutely no conception." Josef Goebbels, Die Zweite Revolution, 1926

Credit: http://www.ushmm.org/research/center/persecution/

Nazi Policy: Racism and Terror

While Nazi propaganda manipulated mass opinion and paralyzed opponents, Nazi violence and terror guaranteed swift success in seizing power and implementing racist and political policy. Nazis began to whittle away at the rights of Jews and other party enemies soon after Hitler became Chancellor in January of 1933.

The Nazis unleashed a frenzy of violence against their political opponents, many of whom were Jews.* By February 28th, 1933, constitutional guarantees of personal liberty, free speech and freedom of the press were suspended -Hitler suspended all constitutional rights. The SS & SA began political arrests, brutalizing Jews, Communists, and any other declared opponents of the Third Reich. The nightmare of the Nazi rule had begun.

Nazi Antisemitic Policy
The ‘Jewish Question’ I. Define the group II. Destroy his economy III. Ostracize

Nazi Policy: Racism & Terror

Initial measures against Jews. ‘The Nazi Party’s 25 points of 1920 (anti-Jewish manifesto) had declared: Point 4. Only nationals can be citizen of the State. Only persons of German blood can be nationals ... No Jew can therefore be a German national ...

The Nazi total state was intended to be an Aryan racial state, it immediately began to take systematic measures against Jews. *During early months of 1933, SA & SS commenced campaign of terror against German Jews; Jewish professionals, chief target; arrested, tortured, released; anti-Jewish violence sporadic & unsystematic.
March 9-10 1933 Beginning of a wave of riots against German Jews by the SA & Stahlhelm. Most German Jews, despite Nazi antisemitic behavior, chose to remain, regarding themselves as loyal members of the German community; persecution

March, 24, 1933, Enabling Act passed -Nazi takeover, violence against Jews escalated; dictator, Hitler now known as Fuhrer, began campaign of terror to rid Germany of Jewish influence.

*After the Enabling Act was passed -Nazi’s takeover, March, 24, 1933, violence against Jews escalated, and “Jews were subject to distressing uncertainty. The Jewish public either tried to find meaning and acceptance in their changed situation or were in denial.”9 Julius Streicher, editor of the vehemently antisemitic newspaper Der Sturmer, was told to form a boycott committee. Lists of specific businesses and individuals to be boycotted were published.

“To protest Nazi persecution of the Jews, a mass rally was organized for March 27 in New York by Rabbi S. Wise, leader of the American Jewish Congress and American Zionism ... see Bauer, p. 107.

Economic & Social Segregation - Legal Onslaught, 1933-1939

The Nazi Boycott of Jewish Stores, April 1, 1933

*On April 1, 1933, a nationwide boycott of Jewish businesses & professional services, was announced by Goebbels, organized by the SA (Storm Troops) and SS (Elite Guard), who picketed Jewish-owned shops and businesses.* Storm Troopers stood menacingly in front of Jewish-owned shops; Nazi pickets were posted in front of Jewish stores, factories, & professional offices to prevent anyone from entering.

During the April 1933 boycott, two SA members guard the entrance to a Jewish-owned leather-goods shop. The sign reads “No respectable German shops here!”

*The 6-pointed "Star of David", symbol of Judaism, was painted in yellow & black across 1000s of doors & windows. Signs were posted saying JUDEN -’Jew.’ ‘Don't Buy from Jews’ & ‘The Jews Are Our Misfortune.’

Hermann Goering, meanwhile, had ordered German Jewish leaders to deny reports of Nazi atrocities committed against Jews. Germans who tried to buy from Jews were shamed & exposed publicly. Nazi spokesmen claimed the boycott was an act of revenge against both German Jews and foreigners, including U.S. and English journalists, who had criticized the Nazi regime.

Picture: A 1933 kiosk in Werl in the Rhineland lists Jewish businesses and residents, urging "Genuine Germans avoid them." CL:BPK

"All Jews' businesses are closed. SA men are posted outside their entrances. The public has everywhere proclaimed its solidarity. The discipline is exemplary...The boycott is a great moral victory for Germany." Josef Goebbels, Diary. April 1, 1933.

Economic antisemitism: Although Streicher, editor of weekly newspaper Der Sturmer, urged Germans not to buy goods in Jewish shops, and Storm Troopers intimidated people from doing so, many patronized them anyway. Foreign reactions were also negative; boycotts of German-made goods.

The nationwide boycott was not very successful and lasted only three days but it had important implications and consequences - it marked the beginning of a nationwide campaign by the Nazi party against the entire German Jewish population. Moreover, it revealed the completeness and efficiency of Nazi information on Jewish economic life. It also strengthened the idea that it was permissible to damage and even destroy that life with impunity. Later measures were based on this assumption. The Nazis opted for less confrontational policies.
Legislation proved a far more effective means of shutting the Jews out of German society.

The chain of Jewish victimization & the German strategy of entrapment

"In previous attempts to understand the extensiveness of Jewish victimization, much attention has been paid to what happened to Jews who became victims rather than to _how_ they became victims. Hilberg analyzed the process first:
1. from `definition' (including registration) to
2. `expropriation' -stripping Jews of social roles, rights, & claims for respect within society as well as stripping them of material goods & legal rights; to
3. `concentration' (usually equated with ghettoization) included 2 functions that inherently coincided with ghettoization but might preface it: segregation & isolation. Segregation ordinances banning Jews from mingling with non-Jews, communicating with them, and moving outside a prescribed radius were enforceable only if the stigmata of the yellow star could be successfully enforced. 4. prior to deportation.

German policy & steps taken which made Jews “the other” - excluding them from the national community - the outsiders, the unseen, outside the bounds of compassion- and which led to their destruction - Economic, social & cultural exclusion and isolation:
Implementation of the Nazi program of “disemancipation”
Types of persecution & discrimination
Major stages in the escalation of Nazi anti-Jewish policy & legislation.

The "Jewish Question": Legal Racial Antisemitism


"So I believe that I act in the spirit of the Almighty God: by defending myself against the Jew. I am fighting for the work of the Lord." Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf. 1924


*From 1933 to 1939, series of laws to eliminate Jews from all areas of public life, strip them of their citizenship, & restrict their religious freedom.
‘Jews were not allowed to work in any state-affiliated institutions, or to become professionals of any kind. Jews were not allowed to hold public office. Jewish businesses were at firs boycotted, then purchased at a fraction of their worth, then confiscated outright. Jewish bank accounts were confiscated ...’10 Laws aimed at excluding Jews from German professional and cultural life, in the public sector - the Nazis systematically excluded Jews from participation in German life.

Jews lost their jobs, their citizenship, and their civic rights. They were isolated and cut off from society; emigration more an imperative than an alternative. But flight was still possible. Although the world knew the plight of the German Jews, little refuge was offered. The world watched while Nazi Germany became a testing ground for an accelerating persecution that ultimately became the epitaph for six million Jews*

In short, life was to be made so unendurable that the Jews would ‘voluntarily’ leave the country. It was arguably only the reluctance of other countries to receive Jewish refugees that would lead to their ultimate imprisonment in conditions of almost total isolation, powerlessness & choicelessness.

Hitler activated his plans for the "Aryanization" of Germany and world conquest. Jews were first subjected to discrimination & denial of justice, then persecution and then state-condoned terrorism, which had as a turning point the pogrom known as Kristallnacht.

The legal onslaught against the Jews, 1933-1939, can be divided roughly into 3 stages:

A. April 1933 to middle 1935, characterized by laws aimed at preventing Jews from taking any part in German professional and cultural life, especially in the public sector.

B. The 2nd phase started with the passing of the Nuremberg Laws in Sept. 1935.
C. The 3rd phase began in 1938 when Jewish communities were placed under the direct authority of the Gestapo (Security Police).

A. April 1933 to middle 1935 - Destroy the economic base of the Jews

First step is discrimination & denial of justice - treating certain groups of people differently.

Ostracize the Jews - Exclusion by legislation, from public sector
Social & economic isolation - Thou shalt not live as one of us (social ostracism)

Between April & October 1933, series of laws & administrative orders were promulgated or issued banning "non-Aryans" from civil service, the legal, medical, and dental professions, teaching positions, cultural and entertainment enterprises, and the press.

*Apr 7th, 1933: “Retirement”
Law for the Reestablishment of the professional Civil service

*A week after the boycott, the government passed a law restricting employment in the civil service to"Aryans" - The Nazis introduced their 1st anti-Jewish law, the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service Act (Law for the Reestablishment of the professional Civil service), providing for the arbitrary dismissal from Civil Service positions of ‘non-Aryans’ and opponents of the regime.11 =order firing all ‘non-Aryans’ civil service workers; 1000s of Jewish government workers, including teachers in public schools and universities were fired or forcibly ‘retired’ from their jobs. This was the first instance of discrimination on the basis of "race" which was consistent with German law. City governments responded by passing other laws discriminating against Jews. In Frankfurt, Jewish teachers were excluded from universities, and Jewish performers were barred from the stage and concert halls. In other cities, Jews were excluded from admission to the legal profession. These actions created thousands of jobs for "Aryans."

On April 11th, a decree was issued defining "non-Aryans" as "anyone descended from non-Aryan, especially Jewish, parents or grandparents. One parent or grandparent classifies the descendant as non-Aryan...especially if one parent or grandparent was of the Jewish faith" - a purely racial definition.

On April 21st, the slaughter of animals for food under Jewish kosher laws was banned . "There is great distress in German Jewry....New distress has overtaken us. Jewish people are torn away from their work: the sense and basis of their lives have been destroyed." Central-Vereins-ZeitUng. April 21, 1933

Subsequent laws limited Jewish enrollment in schools & universities to 1.5% of the student body, barred Jewish dentists & physicians from public insurance programs, revoked naturalization of Eastern European Jews, and specified that only Aryans could edit German newspapers. Simultaneously extralegal pressures on Jewish businessmen to sell their firms, often for a fraction of their real value, began the gradual process of excluding Jews from the German economy.

April 25th
. ‘The Law against the Overcrowding of German Schools and Institutions of Higher Learning established the principle of a quota (upper limit) for the admission of ‘non-Aryan’ students.’12 Numerus clausus decree limited admission of Jews to institutions of higher learning to 1.5 percent of the total. Books written by Jews and those deemed subversive ideology were removed from public libraries.

*May 10. ‘Goebbels organized a public burning of ‘un-German literature’ & "banned" books, carried out by student leaders in Berlin. One of the authors whose work was destroyed was the 19th century German-Jewish poet, Heinrich Heine. One of his lines reads: ‘those who begin by burning books end by burning people.’

July 14, 1933 Law stripping East European Jewish immigrants of German citizenship

In Sept - Nazis establish Reich Chamber of Culture, then exclude Jews from the Arts:
On September 28th, Jews were excluded from all artistic, dramatic, literary and film enterprises. On September 29th, Jews could no longer own farmland.
Oct 4, 1933 - Jews are prohibited from being newspaper editors.
Oct 17, ‘33 Law prohibiting Jews from working as journalists.
Eventually, 400 specific anti-Jewish laws and decrees were passed, each based on the Nazi racist definition of a non-Aryan.

Terror, much of it state-condoned, continued against Jews & leftists. Many were beaten to death for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Some in despair committed suicide. Many others fled to Palestine or to other countries to be safe.
By making life unbearable, the Germans forced the Jews to emigrate.

*Jan 1934. Julius Streichter's Der Stürmer special issue with the age-old charge that Jews used Christian blood to bake their Passover Matzoh. Der Stuermer in kiosks with the motto, "The Jews are our Misfortune," appeared throughout Nazi Germany. The newspaper "documented" two thousand years of Jewish ritual murders - demonization of Jews. More than 100,000 copies of the issue were printed and distributed. Nazi propaganda relayed to Palestine exacerbated Arab hostility toward German Jews who had settled there, and sparked anti-Jewish riots.
During 1934, unofficial boycott and public humiliation continued. About 20% of German Jews had lost their livelihood; mood among German Jews was that Hitler’s rule could not last.
Aug. 2 1934 Hitler proclaims himself Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor

A sign proclaiming “Jews are not welcomed here,” circa 1935

*Toward the end of 1934, a so-called Nazi "expert" on the Jews, Adolf Eichmann, was hired by the S.D. to work in its department for Jewish affairs. This department gathered information about prominent Jews in Germany and abroad and monitored the Jewish press. It also made studies of Jewish organizations and books about Judaism. Jewish organizations in Germany, their meetings and members came under close S.D. surveillance, and agreements were worked out between the S.D. and the Gestapo.

May 21, 1935 Jews excluded from the armed forces.
June 1935 wave of anti-Jewish riots in Poland.
July 16, 1935: shops destroyed, & Jewish passers-by beaten up.

B. Sept. 1935 Nuremberg Laws - Depersonalization & disemancipation


German Jewish Response to the Nuremberg Laws
German News Agency on the Nuremberg Laws
Hitler Explains Importance of the Nuremburg Laws to Party Leaders
Hitler on the Nuremberg Laws
The Nuremberg Laws
Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor
Law for the Protection of Hereditary Health: The Attempt to Improve the
German Aryan Breed
The Reich Citizenship Law
The Reich Citizenship Law: First Regulation

At the 1935 party rally, the Nuremberg Laws were announced.
*On September 15, 1935, ‘at the Reichstag’s annual Nazi Congress, convened at Nuremberg, two anti-Jewish laws were passed ...’ completing the disenfranchisement of the Jews. These laws officially defined the Jews in purely racial terms (according to the number of Jewish grandparents they had) and, at a single stroke, stripped them of their citizenship (`stripping' to denote its function: this included stripping Jews of social roles, rights, and claims for respect within society as well as stripping them of material goods and legal rights). These 2 laws and the first decree to the Reich citizenship law of November 14 are usually included in what is known as the Nuremberg laws. Jews no longer were German citizens; they were subjects.

These laws institutionalized many of the racial theories prevalent in Nazi ideology; codified the racial policies which Hitler envisioned in Mein Kampf - With the Nuremberg Laws, 1935, racist ideology & antisemitism achieved formal legal status.

The Reich Citizenship Law -
With this first law, the status of German citizenship was conveyed only to those belonging to ‘a national of German or related blood’ -
removed rights of citizenship from Jews and others who were not of "German or related blood; deprived German Jews of their citizenship and all pertinent, related rights, ending Jewish emancipation - excluded German Jews from Reich citizenship

The Law for the Protection of German Blood & Honor
This 2nd law prohibit Jews from marrying German citizens/Aryans, sexual contact between Jews & Aryans -of ‘German or related blood,’ having extramarital relations with German citizens; prohibit any Jew from raising the Reich and national flags.
Jews no longer considered German citizens= end Jewish emancipation

The implementing decree of 14 November 1935 defined the terms ‘Jew’ (anyone with three Jewish grandparents, two Jewish grandparents if they belonged to the Jewish religious community before September 15, 1935, or if they were married to a Jew as of that date), ‘Aryan’ and Mischling (one of mixed parentage; thus, many Germans of mixed ancestry, faced antisemitic discrimination if they had a Jewish grandparent) Jews second-class citizens.
Jews were separated politically, socially, and legally from the Germans.


The Nuremberg Laws, as they became known,
effectively institutionalized Nazi racism: did not define a ‘Jew’ as someone with particular religious beliefs. Jews were defined as a separate race. (definition of non-Aryan; Jews defined in racial terms, no citizens, ‘subjects’ rather than citizens, reversal of emancipation). The Nuremberg Laws carefully established definitions of Jewishness based on bloodlines.

Many additional regulations were attached to the two main statutes, which provided the basis for removing Jews from all spheres of German political, social, and economic life. Jews were stripped of all basic civil rights. Ancillary ordinances to the laws disenfranchised Jews and deprived them of most political/civil rights; forbade Jews from employing German females of childbearing age, & prohibited Jews from displaying the German flag. Thirteen supplementary laws were passed during the next eight years. No one at this time could envision the ominous Nazi decision to physically destroy all Jews, but the Nuremberg Laws were an important step toward that end.

‘The Nuremberg Laws had supplied the basis for an ‘Aryanized’ legal, social & political system. Jews were still able to engage at some level in commerce & industry ... many believed that, as long as they were in a position to make a positive contribution to the German economy, the Nazis would tolerate’ some freedom. ‘This optimism was given a boost when, in 1936, ... before the Olympic Games ... in Berlin - with eyes of world upon them- the Nazis relaxed the intensity of their anti-Jewish propaganda & some of the restrictions.’13

Germany’s 30,000 Gypsies
, identified as racially alien; subjected to terms of Nuremberg Laws; some placed in special Gypsy camps.

Summary. ‘Jews were barred from holding public office; not allowed to attend German educational institutions; not allowed to serve in the military. Jews were no longer permitted to bear family names which sounded German, and the use of their given names was restricted to those permitted by the authorities -usually biblical names. Jews & Aryans were forbidden to intermarry; they were not allowed to use public parcs, benches, restrooms, eat in German restaurants, attend theaters or movies or museums or libraries ...’14

March 3, 1936 Jewish doctors barred from practicing medicine in German institutions
March 7 ‘36 Germans march into the Rhineland, previously demilitarized by Versailles Treaty
June 17 Himmler appointed the Chief of German Police

Hitler’s preference for legal methods of isolating the Jews reflected his sensitivity to public opinion both at home & abroad. As Germany prepared to host the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Nazis wanted nothing to stain their law-abiding-and order image. ...

*1936 Olympic Games
to create good impression no anti-Jewish signs

‘For a brief period after Nuremberg, in the weeks before and during the 1936 Olympic Games held in Berlin, the Nazi regime actually moderated its anti-Jewish attacks and 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.’ The unintended result was of sending mixed signals to Jews.

Nazi antisemitic policies designed to demoralize Jews & induce them to emigrate. Emigration was original Nazi solution to “Jewish problem,” & remained in force until 1941. Economically & psychologically devastated, some Jews had left the country already or planned to go soon.
After the Olympic Games (in which the Nazis did not allow German Jewish athletes to participate), the Nazis again stepped up the persecution of German Jews.

As Hitler consolidated power, he pursued his goal to eliminate non-Aryans’ from the social & economic fabric of Germany. With the Nuremberg Laws, 1935, the Nazis now had a definition that was the 1st of a chain of measures, one leading to another, escalating in severity & leading ultimately to the physical destruction of European Jewry. Once Jews could be defined & identified, they now could be & were segregated socially, politically, & economically from other Germans. Their property could be & was confiscated. They had become pariahs, outside the protection of the state they had placed their confidence in for generations. After the Olympic Games (in which the Nazis did not allow German Jewish athletes to participate), the Nazis again stepped up the persecution of German Jews.

1938 The Reich Expands

"I have in the course of my political struggle won much love from my people, but when I crossed the former frontier (into Austria) there met me such a stream of love as I have never experienced. Not as tyrants have we come, but as liberators." Adolf Hitler, March 193

March 1936 military occupation of Rhineland by Nazis forces.
March 11, 1938, Hitler sent his army into Austria
*On March 13, 1938, Hitler annexed Austria to the Third Reich - Anschluss. As a result of the annexation, over 120,000 around 200,000 additional Jews came under Nazi control. “Most of the population welcomed the Anschluss and expressed their fervor in widespread riots and attacks against the Austrian Jews numbering 180,000 (90 percent of whom lived in Vienna).’15

*The Nazi program extended beyond the borders of Germany; anti-Semitic laws were applied to this new territory. The Nazis' social, economic, and legal degradation of the German Jews had taken five years to accomplish; in Austria it was achieved in a few months. Jewish men and women were forced to scrub the streets on their knees, in mid- March 1938, shortly after the Anschluss, while many Viennese cheered. Shops were looted, property confiscated, and thousands of Austrians were arrested.*

Pictures: Graffiti on Jewish-owned stores in Vienna warns that the removal of this graffiti will result in a "vacation" in Dachau.
Jews and others fleeing Austria line up outside Wehrgasse Passport Office, 1938.

C. 1938-39, Expropriation, Aryanization
"Kick out the Jews from the economy and turn them into debtors." Herman Goering,

A third phase of restricting Jewish rights took place in 1938-39.
*The 3rd phase began in 1938, a turning point, when Jewish communities were placed under the direct authority and jurisdiction of the Gestapo (Security Police) and the SS; anti-Jewish policy more oppressive; and all Jews were obliged to register their property and assets -both at home & abroad- as a prelude to confiscation (Aryanization - after 1938):’16

By 1938, with the reins of power totally in Hitler's hands, the Nazis began a program to systematically remove the Jews from participation in the German economy - a series of laws and edicts designed to Aryanize German institutions and reverse Jewish emancipation & assimilation - disemancipation

*To insure the poverty of the immigrant, laws were passed in 1938:
- denying Jewish communities the right to own property
- denying Jewish doctors the right to treat Aryan patients
- denying Jewish lawyers the right to practice law
- requiring Jewish businesses to be registered and encouraging their transfer at artificially low prices to Aryan owners:* (http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/resources/courage/p10.html)

*The government set out to impoverish Jews by requiring them to register their property and then by "Aryanizing" Jewish businesses. This meant that Jewish workers and managers were dismissed, and the ownership of most Jewish businesses was taken over by non-Jewish Germans who bought them at bargain prices fixed by Nazis = compulsory expropriation of Jewish industries, businesses and shops; Jewish assets were ‘transferred’ to Aryans, especially to those associated with the party. This policy, called ‘Aryanization,’ made use of several government decrees:

Expropriation - denying Jews the right to own property:
January 5, 1938 - The "Law Regarding Changes of Family Names and Given Names" was issued, regulating name changes. One purpose was to make it more difficult for Jews to escape persecution by changing their names.
April 22, 1938 - It became a crime for a German to disguise the fact that a business was owned by a Jew.

* Apr. 26 ‘38, new law requiring Jews to register all personal property, which later was confiscated & sold. Jews denied right to a livelihood; economic exclusion:
denying Jewish doctors the right to treat Aryan patients
* April 26, 1938 Jews had to report the value of their property, except for personal goods, if the value exceeded 5,000 Reichmarks.
June 9, 1938 synagogue in Munich on fire; expulsions.
June 14, 1938 Jewish businesses were defined by decree.
July 6, 1938 Many types of businesses were ordered to desist operation by December 30, 1938 if they were "Jewish" consistent with the June 14, 1938 decree.

Social segregation

In July 23, 1938, Jews were required to carry identification cards. Later, Jewish children were banned from school and curfews were instituted. Jews were also excluded from businesses, parks, resorts, and forests. A one billion mark penalty was levied against the Jews for "the hostility of Jewry toward the German people and Reich...." The list of discriminatory decrees against Jews as presented at the Nuremberg Trials. Violence & Terror.

July 25, 1938 Jewish physicians were given until September 30th to give up their practices.
Aug. 10th, Julius Streicher destroyed Nuremberg synagogue

*Laws that came after 1938 made Jews easier to identify. They were forced to wear the yellow star.
Although the star insignia was designed both to enable the police to catch Jews and to induce others to shun them, responses to wearers of the yellow star varied widely. ... The responses to, and the ultimate consequences of, stigmatization were not anticipated by many Jews when these orders were first promulgated. In some states, the star marked the victims whom many citizens had already shown they were eager to exploit; in others, it aroused awe of and detachment from the wearers; and in other states,
it prompted ridicule. The generality of nonobservance was corroborated by German reports of officials' refusal to enforce star wearing and to punish Jews' nonconformity.

Adolf Eichmann commented on the yellow stars, making the Nazi plan quite clear: "It may have been the Propaganda Ministry that first thought up the idea of forcing all Jews to wear a yellow star on their clothing... The marking was intended to hinder any ... assistance to Jews who were being harassed. We wanted Germans to feel embarrassed, to feel afraid of having any contact with Jews." Raul Hilberg, "The Destruction of the European Jews"]

Aug. 17 law requiring all male Jews take name ‘Israel,’ "Sara" for females, by Jan. 1. Such identity cards allowed the police to identify Jews easily.

September 27, 1938 Jewish lawyers barred from practicing their profession after Nov. 30th.
Jewish student humiliated in the Nazi-run schools of 1938. Blackboard reads, "The Jew is our greatest enemy. Protect yourself from Jews."

Nov. 30
denying Jewish lawyers the right to practice law, requiring Jewish businesses to be registered and encouraging their transfer at artificially low prices to Aryan owners

The Nazi Party, government agencies, banks, and business enterprises made concerted efforts to eliminate Jews from economic life, & from German life in general.’ Nazi antisemitic policy conceived & implemented with the ultimate goal of forcing German Jews to emigrate.

Response: Jewish Emigration, 1933-1938

Between 1933 and 1941, the Nazis aimed to make Germany judenrein (cleansed of Jews) by making life so difficult for them, that they would be forced to leave the country.

*By 1938, Nazi policy had systematically removed Jews
from the political and cultural life of Germany. In 1938, Jews were evicted from Germany's economic life.* Racism & oppression had become for many Germans accepted, & acceptable practices of Nazi rule. The overall goal of this phase of Nazi antisemitic policy -forced emigration- seemed to be working. ‘During the first five years of Hitler’s rule, approximately 150,000 of Germany’s Jews had emigrated.’17

In Flight

‘As to annihilate German Jewry...Let no one doubt our resolution,’ J. Goebbels, April 1933
*In 1933, after the initial wave of Nazi antisemitic violence, a panic swept the German-Jewish community and 37,000 people fled Germany. This emigration slowed, however, after the initial rush. Initially, the Nazis encouraged and, in some cases, forced emigration, especially of poor, unemployed or criminal Jews, hoping thereby to spread antisemitic feelings throughout Europe. Wealthier Jews could also flee Germany, but they paid a large portion of their assets for the opportunity to escape.*

Why Many Jews Remained in Germany

Until 1935, when the Nuremberg Laws were passed, Nazis differed on what to do with German Jews. Jewish cultural as well as physical survival in Germany seemed possible. In the face of Nazi persecution, discrimination and, exclusion, the German Jewish community was forced to become increasingly self-reliant. The Jüdische Kulturbund organized in 1933, provided purposeful work for professional Jewish musicians, actors, & artists who had been expelled from German cultural fields. The Jewish community as a whole, in its organized form, the Representative Council of German Jews, was not threatened until 1938, and between 1933 and 1935, there was a lull in anti-Jewish persecution.

- Most Jews still hoped that conditions would not get worse, and they could ride out the storm.
A false optimism was induced by the S.A. purge of June 30, 1934, and some Jews who had left Germany, believing that the most dangerous of the Nazis had been removed, returned to Germany after the purge.
In the early 1930's, there was also general belief that the Nazi regime would be short-lived.
Although 37,000 Jews left Germany in 1933, many who remained believed that they could hold on and hold out.

Jewish attachment to Germany was particularly strong, and they hoped for support and protection from the non-Nazis in the Cabinet and hold-over civil servants from the Weimar Republic.
- Moreover, departing was never easy. Quite apart from mental anguish involved in leaving home, it was hard to find a country willing to accept refugees in time of world economic depression. Further complicating matters was the
- German emigration tax, which confiscated a considerable portion of an emigrant’s wealth.
- no visa; no money.
Hence, economically and psychologically devastated, only 105,000 of 600,000 German Jews emigrated in the first four years of the 3rd Reich.

Some Jews who stayed did so because they failed to grasp the reality of the situation in which their lives were endangered; concept of denial by individuals or groups, denying reality.

Rabbi Leo Baeck, the acknowledged intellectual and spiritual leader of German Jewry, was one of the few German Jews who was fundamentally pessimistic about the future. Soon after Hitler came to power, while addressing a meeting of Jewish communal organizations, Rabbi Baeck said, "The thousand-year history of German Jewry has come to an end". But he did not remain passive. As rabbi, he urged Jews to maintain faith in the ultimate triumph of justice. He tried to create a sense of inner freedom among Jews that could sustain them through the persecution. He also agreed to serve as the spokesman for all German Jews and became head of the Representative Council of German Jews in September 1933. The Council tried to be the political voice for all German Jews in relation to the government and in the early months of its existence tried to appeal for a redress of grievances on the basis of law. These appeals were ignored, and the Council soon began to concentrate on the urgency to emigrate particularly for young people.

The Council also negotiated with Jews abroad for political support that would not expose them to retaliation and for funds. One of its most important tasks, after Jewish children were removed from schools, was to provide a network of special schools for Jewish children who were shocked by their sudden rejection and isolation. In the meantime, "racial science" became compulsory in German schools, and all courses were nazified.


1935 - By the time that the Nuremberg Laws had been proposed, more than 75,000 German Jews had fled the country. Many 1000s of others who left were not Jews at all in their own minds, but were defined as Jews or ‘Christian non-Aryans’ by the ideological dogma of the Nazi party. As such, they were subject to the same harassment, social & economic isolation, & physical & emotional intimidation & discrimination as the Jews. Many of these ‘non-Aryans’ were baptized Christians, were regular churchgoers, were the sons and daughters of Christians, & thought & acted no differently than their friends and neighbors who were accepted as true "Germans". The only thing which distinguished them from their neighbors was that they had some "Jewish blood" in their veins, perhaps going back two generations, which made it impossible for them to be considered "German" under Nazi doctrine.

*About 40% of those Jews who emigrated chose British-controlled Palestine as their destination. A ‘transfer’ agreement (Ha’avara) was concluded between Palestine-based Jewish organizations and the Nazi Economic Ministry (Nazis, at that time, wanted German & Austrian Jews to leave their sphere of influence). The arrangement made it possible for German Jews to move part of their capital to Palestine in the form of German goods.
Picture: Jewish emigrants praying on board ship for Palestine, 1938. CL:Leni Sonnenfeld

Almost 10,000 went to the United States. Thousands of others found a haven in Canada and South Africa. Others settled in other European countries -Holland, France, Belgium & Switzerland. As thousands of Jewish professionals found that they could no longer earn a living, emigration as a response gained more and more credence. Jews, once virtually totally assimilated into the social tapestry of Germany, began to realize that they had no future there. The optimism that the Nazi era was just an ephemeral phase faded. When the Nuremberg Laws were announced, it was one more death knell for the Jews of Germany.


In addition, it was becoming progressively more difficult to gain entrance to other countries. Western nations were alarmed at the prospect of opening their doors, not only to the Jews of Germany but to the much larger Jewish communities of countries such as Poland & Romania.’18 To rescue Jewry, necessary: funds & countries willing to receive Jews. *Chief obstacle to Jewish emigration was the unwillingness of other nations to accept Jews:

- traditional antisemitism
- fear of swamping labor markets (world economic crisis; economic depression, unemployment; Jews -unwelcome competition) combined to close off most escape routes
- quota in the US by regulation of Sept. 8. 1930; visas
- British Palestine economic limitations

*Chaim Weizmann, who was to become the 1st president of the State of Israel in 1949, had said of this impasse, in 1936: There are in this part of the world (i.e Europe) six million people doomed to be pent up in places where they are not wanted, and for whom the world is divided into places where they cannot live and places where they cannot enter - the countries of the world were divided into 2 camps: those that wanted to get rid of the Jews, and those that refused to take them in.

Desperate and impoverished, the Jews sought refuge, but no nation wanted them. Many German and Austrian Jews tried to go to the United States but could not obtain the visas needed to enter. In the midst of the Great Depression, many Americans believed that refugees would compete with them for jobs & overburden social programs set up to assist the needy.

*Congress had set up immigration quota
-limited number- in 1924 that limited the number of immigrants & discriminated against groups considered racially & ethnically undesirable.
*Quotas remained in place even after Franklin D. Roosevelt, responding to mounting political pressure, called for conference to address refugee problem

1938. Expulsion

After Germany annexed Austria in March 1938, however, an additional 185,000 Jews were brought under Nazi rule.
In March 1938, Eichman pressed eviction of Austrian Jews. He threatened them with life imprisonment unless they left. He deported Czechoslovakian Jews. Many Jews were unable to find countries willing to take them in.@

By 1938, about 150,000 German Jews, one in four, had already fled the country; over 25% of the 1/2 million Jews in Germany had left. ‘... at the start of 1938 well over two-thirds of German Jews remained in Germany. They had weathered the Nazi storm and simply refused to believe that matters could grow worse. ...

*Evian Conference, July, 6 & 15,1938

March 1938 American President Franklin Roosevelt initiated a conference at the resort town of Evian, France, to develop a solution to the German refugee problem.
*An international conference with 32 nations participating was held in July, 6 & 15,1938. The focus of the conference was to discuss the plight of refugees, many of whom were Jews escaping Nazi Germany.

*The conference degenerated into a litany of what would not be done.* ‘During the nine-day meeting, delegate after delegate rose to express sympathy for the refugees (more than one commentator has pointed out that Evian is ‘naive’ spelt backwards). But most countries, including the United States and Britain, offered excuses for not letting in more refugees.* ‘... the Canadian representative was reported to have said of the number of Jews his country would accept: None is too many!’19

At a time when thousands of lives were endangered, the countries agreed only to uphold their existing immigration quotas. No additional spaces were to be made available in response to the crisis. As Martin Gilbert writes in The Holocaust: "The international community, which at Evian had been presented with an opportunity to keep open the gates of refuge, chose that moment, so desperate for the Jews already under Nazi rule, to signal its own hesitations and reluctance. It was a neutral stance, not a hostile one, but this neutral stance was to cost a multitude of lives." Only the Dominican Republic accepted German Jews.

‘Responding to Evian, the German government was able to state with great pleasure how "astounding" it was that foreign countries criticized Germany for their treatment of the Jews, but none of them wanted to open the doors to them when "the opportunity offer[ed]." ‘The ‘removal’ of Jews from Germanic life, it was becoming increasingly apparent, could no longer be accomplished through a policy of exporting Jews, since, as Goebbels is reported to have put it, ‘Nobody wants the scum!’ In effect, the Evian Conference may have justified and reinforced Nazi anti-Jewish ideology and helped move it on towards its monstrous climax.20

In August 1938, Mauthausen concentration camp opened to imprison individuals opposed to the Nazi regime. The Central Office for Jewish Emigration was established to accelerate the forced emigration of Jews. Adolf Eichmann was appointed head of Jewish affairs in Austria. The patterns of persecution he established would serve as a model for future Nazi practices of confiscation of Jewish property followed by forced emigration.

* October 5, 1938 Jews were required to hand in their passports, so that the passports could include the designation of "J." This action was motivated by a request by the Swiss government, which did not want to admit Jewish refugees.

September 29, 1938 - The Munich Agreement was signed ; Britain and France agreed to the German annexation of the Sudetenland (part of Czechoslovakia). As a result of the annexation, over 120,000 additional Jews came under Nazi control.

*Kristallnacht: The Night of Broken Glass - Nov. 9, 1938 & aftermath

"Beginning systematically in the early morning hours in almost every town and city in the country, the wrecking, looting and burning continued all day. Huge, but mostly silent, crowds looked on and the police confined themselves to regulating traffic and making wholesale arrests of Jews 'for their own protection." Otto Tolischus, The New York Times, Nov. 10, 1938

By 1938, Nazi policy had systematically removed Jews from the political & cultural life of Germany; open antisemitism became increasingly accepted, climaxing in ‘Night of Broken Glass’ - Nazis’ initial policy of social segregation, economic exclusion, & forced emigration of Jews ended with the Kristallnacht *pogrom: Russian word for "devastation." Organized violence against Jews, often with understood support of authorities.

On November 7, 1938, Herschel Grynszpan, Ernst vom Rath, a 17-year-old Polish Jewish student living in Paris, shot Ernst-vom Rath, a German diplomat, 3rd secretary in Paris, in reprisal for the expulsion of his family from Germany.* Grynszpan's parents were Polish nationals who had lived in Germany for almost a quarter-century. Nearly 50,000 of these Polish nationals living in Germany were expelled by the Nazi government to provide more living space for German nationals. The government of Poland did not want to accept these Jews back into Poland, and issued a decree denaturalizing the citizenship of Polish citizens who had lived abroad for more than five years unless they were issued a special stamp. The Polish government refused to issue these stamps. As a result, these Jews were barred reentry into Poland, and were forced to live as refugees at the German-Polish border under brutal conditions. Grynszpan's action was in protest against the treatment of his parents.

*It was a convenient pretext to escalate the campaign against the Jews.
*As revenge for vom Rath's murder, Joseph Goebbels coordinated with Reinhard Heydrich (who created Nazi anti-Jewish policies, & headed the Gestapo in 1934) a nationwide night of antisemitic terror, subsequently known as Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass)* -the Kristallnacht pogrom. As vom Rath lay mortally wounded, German Propaganda Minister Goebbels encouraged party leaders to incite "spontaneous" anti-Semitic riots throughout Germany and Austria. The S.A. was ordered to incite riots against the Jews.

On the night of November 9, 1938, over 191 synagogues were set afire, with 76 destroyed. A crowd gathers to watch the Boerneplatz Synagogue in Frankfurt am Main burn on. November 9, 1938. Jewish shop in Berlin with shattered window -while police and fire brigades stood by. More than 7,500 Jewish businesses were looted and over 800 ruined. Almost 100 Jews were killed or seriously injured; *Jewish homes vandalized. , Jews were beaten and abused. Ninety-one were murdered and 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps*:

The burned-out synagogue of Aachen, Germany, one of nearly 200 synagogues destroyed during Kristallnacht. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/holocaust/timeprint.html

The morning after the pogroms, deportation of 30,000 male Jews of Berlin to Sachsenhausen concentration camp on Nov 10, 1938 (first systematic round-ups of German Jews). Several hundred Jewish women were also arrested and sent to local jails.
Businesses owned by Jews were not allowed to reopen unless they were managed by non-Jews. Curfews were placed on Jews, limiting the hours of the day they could leave their homes.The Jewish communities of Germany were assessed one billion marks to pay for the damage claims of non-Jews.

Concentration Camps 1933-1938

Immediately upon their assumption of power on January 30, 1933, the Nazis established concentration camps for the imprisonment of all "enemies" of their regime: actual and potential political opponents (e.g. communists, socialists, monarchists), Jehovah's Witnesses, gypsies, homosexuals, and other "asocials." Beginning in 1938, Jews were targeted for internment solely because they were Jews. Before then, only Jews who fit one of the earlier categories were interned in camps.
While all "enemies" of the Reich were imprisoned, the percentage of Jews in the camps increased dramatically after the pogrom, known as Kristallnacht in November 1938. *

"The Jewish prisoners worked in special detachments and received the hardest tasks. They were beaten at every opportunity....During the working period the non-Jewish prisoners were issued with one piece of bread at breakfast--the Jews with nothing. But the Jews were always paraded with the others to see the bread ration issued." Former Prisoner, Germany Reports. Paris 1938* (http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/resources/courage/p10.html)
Picture November 12, 1938 SS roundups outside the Jewish Community Center in Vienna

There was strong press reaction throughout the world to Kristallnacht, but Western democracies failed to take any action. On November 15, 1938, Jewish children were expelled from German schools. Curfew restrictions were imposed on the Jews two weeks later.
Summary persecution:

- Jews must carry id cards and Jewish passports are marked with a "J."
- Jews no longer head businesses, attend plays, concerts, etc.;
- all Jewish children are moved to Jewish schools.
- Jewish businesses are shut down; they must sell
- Jews must hand over drivers's licenses and car registrations.
- Jews must be in certain places at certain times.

*Shortly after Kristallnacht, Jews were totally purged from the German economy. The ultimate Nazi goal, the removal of all Jews from Germany, was now within reach.*

Flight Without Escape: The Jewish Homeless 1938-39 Emigration -more obstacles

"No German should be asked to live under the same roof with Jews...we must expel them from our house and living areas." Das Schwarze Korps (SS Journal) November 24, 1938

After the "Night of Broken Glass,", life was even more difficult for German and Austrian Jewish children and teenagers. Already barred from entering museums, public playgrounds, and swimming pools, now they were expelled from the public schools. Jewish youngsters, like their parents, were totally segregated in Germany. In despair, many Jewish adults committed suicide. Most families tried desperately to leave. *In the wake of Kristallnacht. the brutal character of Nazi racist policy was apparent. It became clear that there could be no accommodation, only escape.

A refugee Crisis

"We shall now bring the Jewish problem to its complete solution. because it is essential. because we will no longer listen to the outcry of the world. and because actually there is no force in the world that can prevent us from doing so. The plan is clear: total removal, total separation!" Das Schwarze Korps, November 24, 1938

Following Kristallnacht pogrom, tens of 1000s of Jews emigrated to Palestine, England, North & South America, Shanghai, China. Their resources exhausted, these refugees faced poverty and sometimes starvation. But most of these refugees survived; those who stayed behind did not.* By the end of 1938, a severe refugee crisis had developed. With 100s of 1000s Jewish refugees pouring out of Germany & other lands, the immigration quotas were now filled up.

Picture Jewish girl evacuated from Vienna to England with the children's transports, Dec. ‘38

"It is a shameful spectacle to see how the whole democratic world is oozing with sympathy for the poor. tormented Jewish people. but remains hardhearted and obdurate when it comes to helping them."
Adolf Hitler, January 20, 1939 (following failure of Evian Conference)

Jan. 30 ‘39 Hitler’s threatening speech: ‘During the time of my struggle for power. the Jewish race received my prophecies with laughter when I said that I would one day take over the leadership of the State... & that I would then, among other things, settle the Jewish problem.’

*By early 1939, a mass panic and exodus from Germany began. Germany's Jews were in flight to any place that would receive them. But options were few. Of the 500,000 Jews in Germany & 200,000 in Austria, about one-half had emigrated by the outbreak of war in September 1939. Tragically, with the rapid conquest of Europe by the Nazis, many German Jews were under Nazi control shortly after their escape. *

*The July 1938 Evian conference's failure, trapped the remaining Jews of Germany and Austria. Between 1938 and 1939, Jewish refugees were stranded in a no-man's land in the border areas of Central Europe: 3,000 homeless Jews wandered alone along the Slovak/Hungarian border.*

*Even though news of the violent pogroms of November 1938 was widely reported, Americans remained reluctant to welcome Jewish refugees. Even efforts by some Americans to rescue children failed: the Wagner-Rogers bill, an effort to admit 20,000 endangered Jewish refugee children, was not supported by the Senate in 1939 and 1940. Widespread racial prejudices among Americans -- including antisemitic attitudes held by the U.S. State Department officials -- played a part in the failure to admit more refugees.’

‘The Jewish Question’ memorandum

To break through obstacles of emigration, German leaders on Jan. 25 ‘39, established a Reich Central Office for Jewish Emigration under direction of Reinhard Heydrich, chief Security Police & Security Service of SS -SD chief; office coordinated and streamlined everything involved in promoting Jewish emigration both legally and illegally. He & his assistant Adolf Eichmann, headed the emigration centers in Vienna & Prague, decided to expel Jews from Nazi lands. Whenever insufficient visas, German simply chased groups of Jews across unguarded sections of Germany’s borders.

By 1939 Jews were leaving at rate of nearly 70,000 yearly, and only 185,000 Jews left in Germany when WWII began on Sept. 1, 1939.

Feb. 22, 1939: 22,000 American Nazis hold a rally in New York City’s Madison Square Garden, denouncing America’s Jews. Synagogues in the city were defaced with Nazi swastikas.

May 13,’39 - The "St. Louis" Voyage

By 1939, Germany's Jews were in flight to any place that would receive them. But options were few.The voyage of the SS St. Louis, a German ocean liner, dramatically highlights the difficulties faced by many people trying to escape Nazi terror, and the indifference of the nations of the free world. Refugees plight dramatized:

*On May 13, 1939, the St. Louis, a cruise ship carrying 937 passengers, most Jewish refugees, left Hamburg, Germany, seeking freedom from Nazi terror. Almost all had paid for both passage and papers which would legally entitle them to disembark in Cuba. Most of them planned eventually to emigrate to the United States and were on the waiting list for admission. All passengers held landing certificates permitting them entry to Cuba, but when the St. Louis reached the port of Havana, the President of Cuba refused to honor the document - the ship was not permitted to dock.

The St. Louis in Havana harbor, Cuba

After the ship left the Havana harbor, it sailed so close to the Florida coast that the passengers could see the lights of Miami. The captain appealed for help, but in vain. U.S. Coast Guard ships patrolled the waters to make sure that no one jumped to freedom and did not allow the ship to dock in the U.S. - the U.S. Coast Guard warned to sail on. The ship was forced to return to Europe. Belgium, the Netherlands, England, and France admitted the passengers. But within months, the Germans overran western Europe. Hundreds of passengers who disembarked in Belgium, the Netherlands, and France eventually fell victim to the Nazi "Final Solution." More than half of the passengers died in the Holocaust. The story of the St. Louis was immortalized in the movie, "Voyage of the Damned."

“The failure to provide sanctuary to Jewish refugees was not lost on the Nazis. One conclusion they logically drew was that the rest of the world cared little about Jews and that they now had a green light for solving their ‘Jewish problem.’21

*May 17, 1939: British government published its White Paper on Palestine barring Jews from Palestine in response to Arab protest - 75,000 immigrants to be permitted to enter; more by Arab consent.

By June 1939, some 10,000 German & Austrian Jews had entered Shanghai.
August 1939 - The Parita intentionally ran aground on a sand bank near Tel Aviv. The 850 European Jewish refugees aboard were sent to an internment camp near Haifa.

Interaction perpetrators, bystanders, victims

With few exceptions, most Germans complied with the boycott of all Jewish businesses, on April 1, 1933. The nation remained quiet, & Hitler had his answer. After aryanization in 1938, July 6 ‘38 -Evian Conference, & Nov. 9/10 ‘38 Kristallnacht, Hitler knew that no one would actually do anything to help the Jew.

Although the world knew the plight of the German Jews, little refuge was offered.
It was arguably only the reluctance of other countries to receive Jewish refugees that would lead to their ultimate imprisonment in conditions of almost total isolation, powerlessness & choicelessness.

The world watched while Nazi Germany became a testing ground for an accelerating persecution that ultimately became the epitaph for six million Jews*

Locating the Victims

‘In 1939, the German government conducted a census of all persons living in Germany. Census takers recorded each person's age, sex, residence, profession, religion, and marital status, and for the first time, they also listed the person's race as traced through his or her grandparents. This information was later punched into coded cards by thousands of clerks.

The cards were sorted and counted by the Hollerith machine, an early version of the modern computer. The Hollerith was invented in 1884 by a German-American engineer, Herman Hollerith. The machine was used in the United States and by most European governments for processing census data in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Holleriths used by the Germans were developed by a German branch of the American company later known as International Business Machines (IBM).

The information from the 1939 census helped Nazi official Adolf Eichmann to create the Jewish Registry, containing detailed information on all Jews living in Germany. The Registry also recorded the names of Jews in Austria and the Sudetenland of western Czechoslovakia, which were occupied by German troops in 1938 and 1939 and made part of the Reich (German empire). Nazi racial ideology and policies did not stop at Germany's borders.

Technology and information that were under other circumstances helpful tools became, under the Nazi regime, a means of locating victims.’


*By 1939, more than 50 percent of Germany's Jews had fled; however, with the rapid Nazi conquest of Europe after 1939, most of these emigres found themselves back under Nazi control. After the outbreak of war, Nazi policy shifted from forced emigration to extermination.* http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/resources/courage/p09.html
When war broke out in 1939, escape was almost impossible. The "Final Solution", the murder of all Jews, became the next phase of Nazi policy.



Match dates with events - Underline the correct answer

1. Exclusion. The period of Nazi Anti-Jewish Policy & Legislation: 1933-1938? 1920-1938?
2. Laws cut Jews out of civil service jobs: 1925? 1933?
3. Laws stripped Jews of citizenship, civil & political rights: 1935? 1925?
4. Expulsion. Nazis expelled Polish Jews or deported Jews from Germany: 1938? 1928?


Nuremberg Laws of September 15, 1935

Project: The Treasury and Tax Department and the Persecution of the Jews
Reich Citizenship Law and Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor, September 15, 1935 In: Reich Law Gazette, 1935, Part I, pp. 1146-1147

The two laws issued in 1935 to further legal exclusion from German life of persons considered alien, drawing a distinction between so-called Aryans (persons with "German or related blood") and so-called non-Aryans. These laws reduced the rights of German Jews, since they could no longer vote or hold office, although they retained the right to German passports. These laws were proclaimed at the annual Nazi party rally in Nuremberg on September 15, 1935. They were also implemented against German Gypsies and Afro-Germans.

1. Reich Citizenship Law [Reichsbürgergesetz]
Passed on September 15, 1935, this was one of the Nuremberg Laws. It defined who was "Jewish," not by faith, culture or self-identification, but based on ethnic ancestry. Broadly speaking, every Jew was grouped into one of three racial categories: a "full" Jew was any person with three or four Jewish grandparents; a first-degree Jewish "hybrid" [Mischling] had two Jewish grandparents; and a second-degree Jewish "hybrid" had one Jewish grandparent. Semi-official commentaries interpreting these laws classified Gypsies, along with Jews and blacks, as racially distinctive minorities with "alien blood."

2. Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor
Imbued with the realization that the purity of German blood is essential to the survival of the
German people, and inspired with the unbending determination to secure the German nation
for all time, the Reichstag has unanimously passed the following law, which is hereby

Section 1

(1) Marriages between Jews and citizens of German or kindred blood are forbidden. Marriages contracted in spite of this law are null and void, even if they occurred abroad in order to circumvent the law.
(2) Only the district attorney can lift a declaration of nullity.

Wilhelm Stuckart (1902 - 1953)
Lawyer who joined the Nazi party in 1922 and participated in the Hitler Munich putsch in1923. Became undersecretary in the Reich Ministry of the Interior in 1935 and co-authoredthe Nuremberg laws. At the January 1942 Wannsee Conference, Stuckart proposed compulsory sterilization of persons of "mixed blood" [Mischlinge] and divorces for those in mixed marriages. Arrested in May 1945, he denied attending the Wannsee Conference. In April 1949, he was sentenced to prison for 3 years and 10 months; the sentence was counted as having been served during his pretrial imprisonment.

Reich Law Gazette, 1935, Part I. 1147

Citizenship Laws of the Reich
of September 15, 1935

The Reichstag has unanimously passed the following laws, which are hereby promulgated:

Section 1

(1) Citizens are those who belong to the protective federation of the German Reich and
therefore have special responsibilities to it.
(2) Citizenship is acquired according to the regulations of the Reich and national citizenship

Section 2

(1) Citizenship in the Reich is limited to those of German and related blood who have proven
by their actions that they are willing and able to faithfully serve the German people and the
German Reich.
(2) The right of citizenship in the Reich is obtained through bestowal of the Reich citizenship
(3) Only citizens of the Reich hold full political rights as provided by law.

Section 3

The Reich Minister of the Interior, with the consent of the Führer's Deputy, will enact the
necessary legal and administrative regulations for the enforcement and completion of these

Nuremberg, September 15, 1935, on Reich Freedom Day.

T h e F ü h r e r a n d C h a n c e l l o r o f t h e R e i ch
Adolf Hitler

T h e R e i c h M i n i s t e r o f t h e I n t e r i or

Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor
of September 15, 1935

Imbued with the realization that the purity of German blood is essential to the survival of the
German people, and inspired with the unbending determination to secure the German nation
for all time, the Reichstag has unanimously passed the following law, which is hereby

Section 1

(1) Marriages between Jews and citizens of German or kindred blood are forbidden. Marriages contracted in spite of this law are null and void, even if they occurred abroad in order to circumvent the law.
(2) Only the district attorney can lift a declaration of nullity.


Genocide - The deliberate & systematic destruction of a religious, racial, national, or cultural group.

Holocaust - The destruction of some 6 million Jews by the Nazis and their followers in between the years 1933-1945. Other individuals and groups were persecuted and suffered grievously during this period, but only the Jews were marked for complete and utter extinction. The term "Holocaust" - literally meaning "a completely burned sacrifice" - tends to suggest a sacrificial connotation to what occurred. The word Shoah, originally a Biblical term meaning widespread disaster, is the modern Hebrew equivalent.

Goebbels, Paul Josef (1897-1945) Minister of propaganda in Nazi Germany, who was close to Hitler. At the end of the war, Goebbels and his wife took their own lives and those of their six children.

Boycott - An organized effort to refrain from buying goods and services, as a protest.

"Retirement" - The euphemistic expression referring to the quitting of jobs under duress by non-Aryans.

- The compulsory expropriation of Jewish industries, businesses and shops.

Expropriation - The taking away of the property of a person without permission and often without compensation.

*Pogrom - Russian word for "devastation." Organized violence against Jews, often with understood support of authorities.

Kristallnacht - The pogrom of November 9, 1938, the "Night of Broken Glass" -- Antisemitic riots in Germany and Austria during which synagogues were set afire by the Nazis, almost 100 Jews were murdered or seriously injured, and as many as 30,000 Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps.

Concentration Camps - In German, Konzentrationslager. Prison camps constructed to hold Jews, Gypsies, political and religious opponents, resisters, homosexuals, and other Germans considered "enemies of the state." Before the end of World War II, more than 100 concentration camps had been created across German-occupied Europe.

Deportation - The forced transport of people outside of the area where they live.
Star of David - A six-pointed star which is the symbol of Judaism.

Civil service - Government service other than the military; usually implies service by those who are not in the top leadership positions.

Nuremberg Laws - Two laws enacted on September 15, 1935, which removed the rights of citizenship from Jews and others who were not of "German or related blood."

Roosevelt, Franklin Delano (1882-1945) 32nd president of the U.S., from 1933 to 1945.


Jan. 30 -Adolf Hitler appointed Chancellor of Germany
March 22 Dachau concentration camp opens
March 24 -Enabling Act by Reichstag giving Hitler dictatorial powers
April 1 General boycott of all Jewish businesses - One day
April 7 Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service enacted. All Jews removed from civil service. Jews denied admission to the bar

April 11, - Nazis issue a decree defining non-Aryan
April 26, : formation of the Gestapo
April 26 -Gestapo established by Hermann Goring
May 10 Public burnings of books written by Jews, & political dissidents
May 21 Jews removed from military
Summer Juden Verboten (No Jews) signs increase in businesses and elsewhere
July 14 Law stripping East European Jewish immigrants of German citizenship
July 26 Justice Minister Frick orders marriages between Aryans &non-Aryans be stopped
Sept 29, 1933 - Nazis prohibit Jews from owning land.

Jan 24, 1934
- Jews are banned from the German Labor Front.
May 17 - Jews not allowed national health insurance.
July 22, 1934 - Jews are prohibited from getting legal qualifications.
Aug. 2 Hitler proclaims himself Fuehrer & Reich Chancellor. Armed forces must now swear allegiance to him
May 31 Jews barred from serving in the German armed forces
Summer Juden Verboten (No Jews) signs increase in businesses and elsewhere
Sept. 15 "Nuremberg Race Laws": First of Nuremburg Laws (Antisemitic) passed
anti-Jewish racial laws enacted. Jews no longer considered German citizens, could not marry Aryans, or fly the German flag

Nov. 15 Germans define a "Jew": anyone with three Jewish grandparents; someone with two Jewish grandparents who identifies as a Jew.
1936 Feb/March Gestapo above law. Jewish doctors barred from practicing medicine
March 7 Germans march into the Rhineland, demilitarized by Versailles Treaty
June 17 Himmler appointed the Chief of German Police
August 1 Olympic Games in Berlin opened. Antisemitic signs temporarily removed
American Jews & African-American-Americans participate. Ohio State University athlete, Jesse Owens, won 4 gold medals. Hitler made a hasty departure from the stadium to avoid offering congratulations.

Oct 1 1936 Franco head of Spanish state
Oct. 25 Hitler and Mussolini form Rome-Berlin axis
1937 July 15 Buchenwald concentration camp opens; Oranienburg Concen. Camp
Nov 5 Hitler reveals war plans during Hossbach Conference

March 13 Anschluss with Austria: all antisemitic decrees applied in Austria
April 26 Mandatory registration of all property held by Jews inside the Reich
June 15 Arrest of all "previously convicted Jews"

July 6, Evian Conference to discuss the plight of refugees. US convenes a League of Nations conference -delegates from 32 countries- to consider helping Jews fleeing Hitler; result: inaction, no international intervention on behalf of Jews

Aug. 1 Adolf Eichmann establishes Office of Jewish Emigration in Vienna to increase the pace of forced emigration
Aug. 17 Jews required to insert "Sara" or "Israel" as middle name

Oct. 5 Following request by Swiss authorities, Germans mark all Jews' passports with large red letter "J" to restrict Jews from immigrating to Switzerland
Oct. 28 17,000 Polish Jews living in Germany expelled. Poles refused to admit them
and 8,000 are stranded in the frontier village of Zbaszyn
Nov. 9-10 Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass): anti-Jewish pogrom in Germany, Austria, & the Sudetenland. 200 synagogues destroyed, 7,500 Jewish shops looted, Nov 12 26,000 Jews arrested and sent to concentration camps - Dachau, Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen
Nov. 12 Decree forcing all Jews to transfer retail businesses to Aryan hands
Nov. 15 All Jewish pupils expelled from German schools
Dec. 12 Nazis fine Jews one billion Mark for damages during Kristallnacht

Jan 30 Hitler threatens Jews during Reichstag speech; Hitler predicts that Jews will be "exterminated" in the event of another war: if war erupts it will mean the Vernichtung (extermination) of European Jews

Ravensbruck concentration camp established
Feb. 22, 1939 - 22,000 American Nazis hold a rally in New York City’s Madison Square Garden, denouncing America’s Jews. Synagogues in the city were defaced with Nazi swastikas
May The S.S. St. Louis, a ship crowded with 930 Jewish refugees, is turned away by Cuba,
the United States and other countries and returns to Europe.

Sept 1 Nazis invade Poland starting WWII; SS activity there
Sept 3 Britain, France, Australia & New Zealand declare war on Germany


Copyright Fall 1999, November 2003, January 2004 Edith Shaked
Credit/source: Gary M. Grobman, The Holocaust - A guide for Teachers, 1990

1 Landau, p. 117-119

2 Landau, p. 115-6

3 Landau, The Nazi Holocaust, p. 122

4 http://www.ushmm.org/education/history.html

5 Landau, p. 119

6 Jack Fischel, The Holocaust, p. XXX

7 Jack Fischel, The Holocaust, p. XXX

8 Beth Dutton, Holocaust & Resistance Studies, June 1997

9 http://www.yadvashem.org.il/Odot/

10 Beth Dutton, Holocaust & Resistance Studies, June 1997, p. 18

11 Landau, p. 125

12 ibid, p. 125

13 Landau, The Nazi Holocaust, p. 131

14 Beth Dutton, Holocaust & Resistance Studies, June 1997, p. 18

15 http://www.ushmm.org/education/history.html, p. 5

16 Landau, p. 122-3

17 Landau, p. 131

18 Landau, p. 132

19 Landau, p. 138

20 Landau, p. 139

21 J. Fischel, The Holocaust, p. 29