An Aryan paragraph (German: Arierparagraph) is a clause in the statutes of an organization, corporation, or real estate deed that reserves membership and/or right of residence solely for members of the "Aryan race" and excludes from such rights any non-Aryans, particularly Jews or those of Jewish descent. They were an essential aspect of public life in Germany and Austria from 1885 to 1945.
In Austria and Germany
One of the first documentable examples of such a paragraph was written by the Austrian nationalist leader and anti-Semite Georg von Schönerer in his nationalistic Linz Program of 1882, and countless German national sports-clubs, song societies, school clubs, harvest circles and fraternities followed suit to also include Aryan paragraphs in their statutes. However, the best-known Aryan paragraphs are to be found in the legislation of Nazi Germany. They served as regulations to exclude Jews from organizations, federations, parties, and, ultimately, all public life.
Based on the bylaws and programs of antisemitic organizations and parties of the late 19th century (as the German Social Party in 1889), the Aryan Paragraph first appeared in the Third Reich in the formulation of the Civil Service Law. It stipulated that only those of Aryan descent, without Jewish parents or grandparents, could be employed in public service, especially in an official capacity (see Aryan certificate). The Aryan Paragraph was extended to education on 25 April 1933, in the Law against the Overcrowding of German Schools and Universities. On June 30 of the same year, it was broadened to entail that even marriage to a "non-Aryan" sufficed for exclusion from a civil service career. In keeping with Nazi synchronization (Gleichschaltung), Nazi Party pressure led many federations and organizations to adopt the Aryan Paragraph. Thus, Jews were barred from the public health system, lost their honorary public offices, were driven from editorial offices (Editor Law) and theaters (Reichskulturkammer), and were excluded from agriculture (Reichserbhofgesetz), a progression culminating in the Nuremberg Laws "for the final separation of Jewry from the German Volk. At the outset, there were exceptions to this discrimination (combat veterans, service in the National Rising [Erhebung], honorary Aryans, and so on), but now Jews and "Jewish mixed-breeds" (Mischlinge) were confronted with a ban on nearly all professions. The Aryan Paragraph was accepted largely without protest, except that within the Evangelical Church it provoked the splitting off of the Confessing Church.
In the United States
Although not strictly speaking the same as the Nazi Aryan paragraph, which was legally required by the German government, a somewhat analogous practice occurred on an individual basis in the United States up until 1948. Many real estate deeds in the United States issued by builders of subdivisions included a restrictive covenant that stated property could not be inhabited by members of a certain race. The United States Supreme Court ruled in Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948) that while such covenants are not strictly speaking illegal, their enforcement by state and federal courts violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution; thus the writing of such covenants became a futile exercise. The Civil Rights Act of 1968, better known as the Fair Housing Act, formally forbade by federal statute not only such covenants on the basis of race, but also religion and other classifications.
- Christian Zentner, Friedemann Bedürftig (1991). The Encyclopedia of the Third Reich. Macmillan, New York. ISBN 0-02-897502-2
The information about Germany and Austria was translated from the German Wikipedia article on this subject.