Racial policy of Nazi Germany

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(Redirected from Nuremberg Laws)

Racial policy of Nazi Germany originated as the Dolchstoslegende ("betrayal legend") of disgruntled WW I German nationalists who blamed non-Germans for the loss of the war. The Nazis exploited these sentiments and later molded them into the Nuremberg Laws.


1933 to 1939

Nazi racial policy changed extensively in the years between 1933 and 1939. The Nazi Party became increasingly extreme in its treatment of the minorities of Germany, particularly Jews.

During the years 1933-1934, Nazi policy was fairly moderate, not wishing to scare off voters or moderately-minded politicians. Jews had been disliked for years before, and the Nazi Party used this anger to gain votes. They blamed poverty, unemployment, and the loss of World War I all on the Jews. German woes were largely due to the effects of the Treaty of Versailles designed to secure the position of Britain and France as Europes ONLY imperial powers. In 1933, persecution of the Jews became active Nazi policy, but laws were not as rigorously obeyed and were not as devastating as in later years.

On April 1st, 1933, Jewish doctors, lawyers, and stores were boycotted. Only 6 days later, the "Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service" was passed, banning Jews from government jobs. These laws meant that Jews were now indirectly and directly dissuaded or banned from privileged and superior positions reserved for "Aryan" Germans. From then on, Jews were forced to work at more menial positions, beneath other non-Jews.

On August 2nd, 1934, President Paul von Hindenburg died. No new President was selected; instead the powers of the Chancellor and President were combined. This change, and a tame government with no opposition parties, allowed Hitler totalitarian control of law-making. The army also swore an oath of loyalty personally to the Fhrer, giving Hitler complete power over the army.

The Nuremberg Laws

However, in the years 1935-1936, persecution of the Jews increased apace. In May 1935, Jews were forbidden to join the Wehrmacht (the army), and in the summer of the same year, anti-Jewish propaganda appeared in Nazi-German shops and restaurants. The Nuremberg Laws were passed around the time of the great Nazi rallies at Nuremberg; on September 15th 1935 the "Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor" was passed, preventing marriage between any Jew and non-Jew. At the same time, the "Reich Citizenship Law" was passed and was reinforced in November by a decree, stating that all Jews, even quarter- and half-Jews, were no longer citizens of their own country (their official title became "subjects of the state"). This meant that they had no basic citizens' rights, e.g., the right to vote. This removal of basic citizens' rights allowed harsher laws to be passed in the future against Jews. The drafting of the Nuremberg Laws is often attributed to Hans Globke.Globke had studied British attempts to 'order' its 'empire' by creating hierarchial social orders.

In 1936, Jews were banned from all professional jobs, effectively preventing them having any influence in education, politics, higher education, and industry. There was now nothing to stop the anti-Jewish actions that spread across the Nazi-German economy.

After the "Night of the Long Knives," the SS became the dominant policing power in Germany. Hermann Gring was eager to please Hitler, and so willingly obeyed his orders. Since the SS had been Hitler's personal bodyguard, they were far more loyal and professional than the SA had been. They were also supported by the army, which was now more willing to agree with Hitler's decisions than when the SA had still existed.

Hitler now had more direct control over the government and political attitude to Jews in Nazi Germany. In the period 1937-1938, harsh new laws were implemented, and the segregation of Jews from the German "Aryan" population began. In particular, Jews were punished financially for their race.

On March 1st, 1938, government contracts could not be awarded to Jewish businesses. On September 30th of the same year, "Aryan" doctors could only treat "Aryan" patients. Provision of medical care to Jews was already hampered by the fact that Jews were banned from being doctors or having any professional jobs.

On August 17th, Jews had to add "Israel" (males) or "Sarah" (females) to their names, and a large letter "J" was to be imprinted on their passports on October 5th. On November 15th, Jewish children were banned from going to public schools. By April, 1939, nearly all Jewish companies had either collapsed under financial pressure and declining profits, or had been persuaded to sell out to the Nazi-German government, furthing reducing their rights as human beings; they were, in many ways, officially separated from the German populace.

The increasingly totalitarian, militaristic regime that was being imposed on Germany by Hitler allowed him to control the actions of the SS and the army. On November 17th, 1938, a young Polish Jew attacked and shot two German officials in the Nazi-German embassy in Paris over the treatment of his parents by the Nazi-Germans. Goebbels took the opportunity to impress Hitler, and ordered retaliation. That night the SS conducted the Night of Broken Glass ("Kristallnacht"), in which the storefronts of Jewish shops and offices were smashed and vandalized. Approximately 100 Jews were killed, and another 20,000 sent to the newly formed concentration camps. Many Germans were disgusted by this action when the full extent of the damage was discovered, so Hitler ordered it to be blamed on the Jews. Collectively, the Jews were made to pay back one billion RM in damages; the fine was collected by confiscating 20% of every Jew's property.

Jewish response to the Nuremberg Laws

The Reichsvertretung* der Juden in Deutschland (Representation of the German Jews) announced the following:

The Laws decided upon by the Reichstag in Nuremberg have come as the heaviest of blows for the Jews in Germany. But they must create a basis on which a tolerable relationship becomes possible between the German and the Jewish people. The Reichsvertretung der Juden in Deutschland is willing to contribute to this end with all its powers. A precondition for such a tolerable relationship is the hope that the Jews and Jewish communities of Germany will be enabled to keep a moral and economic means of existence by the halting of defamation and boycott.
The organization of the life of the Jews in Germany requires governmental recognition of an autonomous Jewish leadership. The Reichsvertretung der Juden in Deutschland is the agency competent to undertake this.
The most urgent tasks for the Reichsvertretung, which it will press energetically and with full commitment, following the avenues it has previously taken, are:
1. Our own Jewish educational system must serve to prepare the youth to be upright Jews, secure in their faith, who will draw the strength to face the onerous demands which life will make on them from conscious solidarity with the Jewish community, from work for the Jewish present and faith in the Jewish future. In addition to transmitting knowledge, the Jewish schools must also serve in the systematic preparation for future occupations. With regard to preparation for emigration, particularly to Palestine, emphasis will be placed on guidance toward manual work and the study of the Hebrew language. The education and vocational training of girls must be directed to preparing them to carry out their responsibilities as upholders of the family and mothers of the next generation.


In the General Government in 1940 the population was divided on different groups. Each group had different rights, food ratios, allowed strips in the cities, public transportation and restricted restaurants. Listed from the most privilaged to the least:

  • Germans from Germany(Reichdeutsche)
  • Germans from outside, active ethnic Germans, Volksliste category 1 and 2 (see Volksdeutsche)
  • Germans from outside, passive Germans and members of families, handicapped (this group included also many ethnic Poles), Volksliste category 3 and 4,
  • Ukrainians,
  • Highlanders (Goralenvolk) - an attempt to split Polish nation by using local collaborators
  • Poles,
  • Jews (eventually sentenced to extermination as a category).

See also: General Government

See Also

External links

de:Nrnberger Gesetze el:Νόμοι της Νυρεμβέργης fa:سیاست نژادی آلمان نازی he:חוקי נירנברג pl:Ustawy norymberskie


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