Anti-Jewish legislation in pre-war Nazi Germany
This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Anti-Jewish legislation in pre-war Nazi Germany comprised several laws that segregated the Jews from German society and restricted Jewish people's political, legal and civil rights. Major legislative initiatives included a series of restrictive laws passed in 1933, the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, and a final wave of legislation preceding Germany's entry into World War II.
1933 Anti-Jewish Legislation
The Enabling Act of 1933 established the power of the Nazi-led government to pass law by decree, bypassing the approval of parliament. It was passed on March 24, 1933, and effectively nullified the Weimar Constitution.
Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service
In April 1933, the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, or 'Civil Service Law', as it was more commonly known when passed, established the ability of the Nazi-led government to legally remove undesirables from the civil service profession, including doctors, teachers and lawyers.
This Law created the basis for the years to come, the Nazi party saw "racial purity [as a] condition of superior cultural creation and of the construction of a powerful state". The Civil Service Law was used to purify Germany through excluding Jews from key areas of the German community.
The Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service "defined the three groups of undesirable civil servants and provided for their dismissal". The first group included those who had been appointed after November 9, 1918, and could be removed if they did not have the proper training, which essentially meant anyone could fit into these standards. The second group were those who were deemed by their past that they would not always support the national state, e.g. members of the Communist Party, or any related or associated organisation.
The third group were any "non-Aryans", a way of excluding the Jews without explicitly mentioning "Jews" in the legislation.
Law Concerning Admission to the Legal Profession
This act of legislation was also passed in April as a supplement to the Civil Service Law. This law specifically attacked judges and public prosecutors, and forbade any Jews from taking the bar exam which was necessary to become a lawyer.
Decree Regarding Physicians' Services with the National Health Service
This law affected Jewish doctors, and subsequently Jewish health care. Passed also in April, under this legislation, patients who saw a "non-Aryan" doctor would not be covered under the national health insurance, thus excluding Jewish doctors from German society.
The Law Against the Over-Crowding of German Schools
Looking to further enact their racial agenda, the Nazi party then looked toward curbing educational policy. On April 25, 1933, the Law Against the Over-Crowding of German schools was passed, and required an end to any Weimar teachings that discussed democracy and equality; it enforced the teaching of racial pride. Under the guise of a concern for educational over-crowding, the Nazis limited the number of Jewish students enrolled in German schools to 1.5% of the total enrollment.
July 1933 Citizenship and Denaturalization Law
With the goal of excluding Jews from having full citizenship rights an Advisory Committee for Population and Race Policy met at the ministry of the Interior to discuss a new citizenship law.
What followed was the Denaturalization Law passed on July 14. As a result of this law, the Reich government could take away the citizenship of those who were deemed "undesirable", applying to anyone who had been given citizenship by the Weimar government. Those who saw the results of this law first were the "150,000 Eastern Jews in Germany".
Hereditary Farm Law
Passed on September 29, 1933, this law "excluded Jews from owning farmland or engaging in agriculture". It stated that only Germans could now be farmers. Though the law had minimal effect due to the lack of Jews involved in farming, it still displayed a central idea of the Nazi party that, "The Reich government passes this law to secure the peasant foundations of our blood line through instituting the ancient customs of land inheritance."
Establishment of the Chambers of Culture
On September 29, 1933, the power of Jewish Cultural life in Germany was transferred to Joseph Goebbels, who established chambers of culture that would regulate activity in their chamber of either film, theater, music, fine arts, literature, broadcasting, and the press. The chambers of the different genres of culture were combined in their umbrella body, the Reich Chamber of Culture.
Each Chamber had the power to exclude anyone involved in any of the facets of culture, even without an "Aryan clause" written into the legislation.
For example, the film chamber could dismiss any Jews involved in any stages of the film-making process including the "producer, actors and ticket collectors in the theater". To continue involvement in the film industry one would need "licensed permission from the chamber president".
As a supplement to the Chambers of Culture, a journalism law went into effect on October 4, 1933, stating that to produce work for the press, journalists and editors would also need specific legal permission.
At their annual party rally held in Nuremberg in September 1935, the Nazi leaders announced a set of three new laws to further regulate and exclude Jews from German Society. These laws now known as the Nuremberg laws served also as the legality for the arrests and violence against Jews that would come to follow.
The Nuremberg Laws were created in response to Hitler's demands for broadened citizenship laws that could "underpin the more specifically racial-biological anti-Jewish legislation". They were made to reflect the party principles that had been outlined in the points Hitler had written in the National Socialist Program in 1920.
Reich Flag Law
The first law stated that black, red, and white were the national colors, and the swastika flag was the new national flag. Per Hitler, this law was stated to "re-pay a debt of gratitude to the movement, under whose symbol Germany regained its freedom, in that they fulfill a significant item on the program of the National Socialist Party".
The second law established who would be granted full political and civic rights and those who would now be deprived of them. Citizenship rights were to be granted to those who were citizens of the Reich, which were only individuals classified as being of "German or related blood"; therefore, Jews were excluded from any and all citizenship rights, becoming Staatsangehörige or state subjects, essentially making them foreigners in their own country.
The Law for the Defense of German Blood and Honour
The third law forbade marriage and any intimate extramarital relations between Jews and non-Jewish German citizens (the latter denigrated as race disgrace). While the law left existing marriages between non-Jewish and Jewish spouses untouched it banned future such marriages and declared marriages by a non-Jewish German and a Jewish spouse of any nationality contracted after that ban outside of Germany invalid within the Reich. Furthermore, Jews were forbidden from employing non-Jewish German women or women of equivalent racist ranking who were under 45 years old. Under this law, Jews were also forbidden to raise the then German Flag.
After the Nuremberg Laws were passed, the Nazi Party also introduced supplemental decrees to the Citizenship Law and the Law for the Defense of German Blood and Honor to specifically outline who would be considered a Jew, and who would therefore be subject to the Nuremberg Laws' exclusionary principles
On November 14, the first supplemental decree was published, and it defined a Jew as anyone who had at least three full Jewish grandparents, had two Jewish grandparents and were married to a Jewish spouse, belonged to the Jewish religion at the time of the law's publication, or who entered the Jewish religion later. Mischlinge or the German legal term for those who had "Aryan" and Jewish blood, were also clarified to determine who would be considered a Jew. Those that were three-quarters Jewish were Jewish as well as those who were half Jewish due to their choice of becoming Jewish via a Jewish spouse or through joining a Jewish community.
A second decree was published on December 21, which stated that Jewish professors, teachers, physicians, lawyers, and notaries who were state employees, and had previously been exempt, would now be dismissed from their positions.
In the first decree to the Law for the Defense of German Blood and Honour, it stated which specific marriages were forbidden. These included those "between a Jew and a Mischling with one Jewish Grandparent, between a Mischling and another each with one Jewish Grandparent, and between a Mischling with two Jewish Grandparents and a German".
1936 Berlin Olympic Games
In order to prevent foreign criticism of Germany, and keep the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, and to prevent economic loss and a blow to German prestige, Hitler eased the anti-Jewish stance momentarily.
On December 3, all anti-Jewish signs near the site of the winter Olympics were to be removed. Though, normally, this would be considered a sign of good faith, it was, actually, only an action taken to ensure the Olympics would be held in Germany by preventing international disapproval.
Second wave of anti-Jewish legislation, 1938-1939
After the Nuremberg Legislations and during 1938, "worse than total expropriation was to follow: Economic harassment and even violence would henceforward be used to force the Jews to flee the Reich or the newly annexed Austria. Within the second phase, 1938 was the fateful turning point."
De-certification of all Jewish physicians, who were no longer allowed to treat German patients and forced to refer to themselves as "sick-treaters", a degrading term.
March 22, 1938 Jews were forbidden from owning private gardens
July 27, 1938 A decree was enforced stating all streets in Germany needed to be renamed
November 12, 1938 Jews were forbidden from attending movie theaters, the opera, and concerts.
November 15, 1938 Jewish children barred from attending public school
The essential robbery of Jews became legal when Jews were forced on February 21, 1939, to turn in all jewelry of any value.
In this second wave of legislation, Jews were ostracized even further from society, with strict restrictions living under "a German regime that practiced terror and arbitrariness through the judicial system".
Kristallnacht or the night of broken glass refers to Jewish pogroms that took place on November 9 and 10 in 1938. This wave of violence took place in Germany, annexed Austria, and areas of Sudetenland that were occupied by Germany. These attacks took place against synagogues, Jewish-owned businesses, other Jewish establishments, and Jewish citizens in general. More than 100 Jewish people were killed, and thousands more were arrested during these attacks. This was also the start to organized Nazi attacks, and the mass incarceration of the Jews. There was no clear Instructions on how to execute the violence, so it caused the destroying of Jewish property and inhumane treatment of Jewish people. The rioters destroyed 267 synagogues throughout Germany, Austria, and Sudetenland. Firefighters were instructed to prevent the flames from spreading to nearby buildings, but not to put the fires out on the burning synagogues. There was also about 7,500 Jewish-owned establishments that were robbed and had their windows shattered. About 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and moved to prisons or concentration camps as well. What made things even worse is the fact that the German government placed full blame on the Jews for the destructions and imposed a fine of one billion Reichsmark on the Jewish community. The government also took away all insurance payouts that would go to the Jews whose businesses or homes got destroyed. This left the Jews responsible for the costs of all repairs.
This led to many decrees in the weeks following. These decrees were designed to deprive the Jews of their means of living. Many of these movements enforced "Aryanization" policy. This meant that Jewish-owned property would be transferred to "Aryan" ownership for a fraction of the true value. To further remove the Jews from public life, the Jews were expelled from attending German schools, and they lost the right to have a driver's license or own an automobile.
Kristallnacht was essentially the turning point in the Nazis persecution of the Jewish people. It expanded the efforts to remove Jews from German economic and social life. It also led to forced emigration of Jews in order to make Germany free of Jews. Kristallnacht and the events that followed it showed the Nazi regime that they could count on the nationwide support of anti-Semitism from the general public. This showed the Nazis that they could easily move forward with their plans without much opposition from within Germany. The events of Kristallnacht foreshadowed the Holocaust and mass murders of the Jewish people.
Timeline of anti-Jewish legislation and movements in pre-war Germany
During the pre-war Nazi Germany period (1933-1939) there were more than 400 laws, decrees and other type of regulations whose goal was to restrict Jews. There were national laws that affected all Jews, and there were state, region and city laws that only affected the Jews in those communities. These regulations limited Jews in all aspects of life, both public and private. Almost all people were involved in the support of anti-Jewish legislation in some way, whether it was passive agreement or direct involvement. These movements were all part of Hitler's intention and plan to rid the planet of all Jewish population. Hitler's plan started with stripping all Jews of their basic rights, before moving into the mass murdering of the Jewish people.
- March 24: The Enabling Act was passed. This act brought an end to democracy in Germany. It gave the government the power to govern legislation by decree. It gave them the legal right to make discriminatory policies in the future. Hitler was allowed to make laws that violated the Weimar constitution without the approval of the parliament or Reich President with this act.
- March 31: A decree in the city of Berlin said that Jewish doctors were suspended from the city's charity services.
- April 7: There was a law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service. This law removed all Jews from government service. Also, a law on the Admission to the Legal Profession forbade the Jews from taking the bar exam, which is a test needed to become a lawyer.
- April 21: Kosher slaughter outlawed 
- April 25: A law about over-crowded Schools and Universities limited the number of Jewish students allowed in public schools. The number of Jewish students in one school was limited to no more than 5% of the total population. The schools helped to spread Hitler's ideas. They taught students to love Hitler and to obey the authorities.
- May 12: Bernheim petition to League of Nations, based on article 147 of the 1922 German–Polish Accord on East Silesia, leads to vacation of most racial provisions of Nazi laws in German Upper Silesia.
- July 14: The Jewish people lost citizenship because of a De-Naturalization Law. This took citizenship away from all Jews, including naturalized Jews and "undesirables".
- October 4: The Jews were banned from editorial posts by a law on editors.
- The national Nazi Government forbade Jewish actors from performing on the stage or the screen.
- Local governments issued regulations on other aspects of Jewish life. The Jews were no longer allowed to slaughter animals, which prevented them from obeying Jewish dietary laws.
- May 21: A law was made on military participation that outlawed Jewish officers in the army.
- September 15: The Nazi leaders announced the Nuremberg Laws. These laws excluded Jews from having citizenship and marrying or having sex with German women. They also deprived the Jews of basic political rights such as voting rights, and the right to hold a political office. The laws also restricted the Jews economically by making it difficult for the Jews to make money. The laws reduced Jewish-owned businesses in Germany by two-thirds. Under the Mischling Test, individuals were considered Jewish if they had at least one Jewish grandparent.
- January 11: An Executive Order on the Reich Tax Law forbade Jews from being tax consultants.
- April 3: Jews were banned from the veterinary profession by the Reich Veterinarians Law.
- October 15: The Reich Ministry of Education banned Jewish teachers from teaching in public schools.
- April 9: The mayor of Berlin ordered public schools not to allow Jewish students to attend until further notice.
- July 15: Racial laws applied in German Upper Silesia following the automatic lapse of article 147 of the 1922 German–Polish Accord on East Silesia.
- January 5: Jews were forbidden from changing their names by a law on the Alteration of Family and Personal Names.
- February 5: A law on the profession of auctioneering banned Jews from being auctioneers.
- March 18: Jewish gun merchants were excluded by the Gun Law.
- April 22: Jewish-owned businesses were forbidden from changing their names. This decree's goal was to protect against the camouflage of Jewish businesses.
- April 26: All Jewish people were required to report all property worth over 5,000 reichsmarks.
- July 11: The Reich Ministry of the Interior banned the Jews from health spas.
- August 17: An executive order on the law on the Alteration of Family and Personal Names required all Jews to adopt names. For women, "Sara"; and for men, "Israel".
- October 5: The Reich Interior Ministry invalidated all German passports owned by Jews. The only way for the Jews to get their passports validated was to get a J stamped on it.
- November 12: All Jewish-owned businesses were closed by a decree on the Exclusion of Jews from German Economic Life.
- November 15: All Jewish children were expelled from public schools by the Reich Ministry of Education.
- November 28: The freedom of movement was highly restricted by the Reich Interior Ministry.
- November 29: The Reich Interior Ministry also forbade Jews from keeping carrier pigeons.
- December 14: An executive order on the Law on the Organization of National Work canceled all state contracts held with Jewish-owned firms in order to attack the Jews economically.
- December 21: A law banned all Jews from being in the occupation of midwives.
- February 21: A decree required Jews to surrender precious metals and stones that they owned.
- August 1: The president of the German Lottery outlawed the sale of lottery tickets to Jews.
- September 1: World War Two started when Germany invaded Poland.
- This article incorporates text from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and has been released under the GFDL.
- Schleunes, Karl (1970). The Twisted Road to Auschwitz. pp. 96. ISBN 978-0252000928.
- Schluenes, Karl (1970). The Twisted Road to Auschwitz. pp. 102–103. ISBN 978-0252000928.
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. "ANTI-JEWISH LEGISLATION IN PRE-WAR GERMANY". Holocaust Encyclopedia.
- Friedlander, Saul (1997). Nazi Germany and The Jews. HarperCollins. pp. 33. ISBN 0-06-019042-6.
Racial Purity was a condition of superior cultural creation and of the construction of a powerful state
- Schluenes, Karl (1970). The Twisted Road to Auschwitz. pp. 103. ISBN 978-0252000928.
It defined three groups of undesirable civil servants and provided for their dismissal
- Schluenes, Karl (1970). The Twisted Road to Auschwitz. pp. 105. ISBN 978-0252000928.
- Schluenes, Karl. The Twisted Road to Auschwitz. 1970. pp. 106–107. ISBN 978-0252000928.
- Friedlander, Saul (1997). Nazi Germany and The Jews. HarperCollins. pp. 146. ISBN 0-06-019042-6.
- Schluenes, Karl (1970). The Twisted Road to Auschwitz. pp. 110. ISBN 978-0252000928.
... revoke the citizenship of people it considered to be undesirable." "...against the estimated 150,000 Eastern Jews in Germany.
- Schluenes, Karl (1970). The Twisted Road to Auschwitz. pp. 112. ISBN 978-0252000928.
excluded Jews from owning farmland or engaging in agriculture". "The Reich government passes this law to secure the peasant foundations of our blood line through instituting the ancient customs of land inheritance.
- Schluenes, Karl (1970). The Twisted Road to Auschwitz. pp. 113. ISBN 978-0252000928.
producer of and actors in a movie to the ticket collectors in the theater". "Licensed permission from the chamber president.
- Schluenes, Karl (1970). The Twisted Road to Auschwitz. pp. 120. ISBN 978-0252000928.
- Bankier, David (1992). The Germans and the Final Solution. pp. 41–42. ISBN 0-631-17968-2.
- Friedlander, Saul (1997). Nazi Germany and The Jews. HarperCollins. pp. 148. ISBN 0-06-019042-6.
"underpin the more specifically racial-biological anti-Jewish legislation".
- Bankier, David (1992). The Germans and the Final Solution. p. 43. ISBN 0-631-17968-2.
- Friedlander, Saul (1997). Nazi Germany and The Jews. HarperCollins. pp. 142. ISBN 0-06-019042-6.
Repay a debt of gratitude to the Movement, under whose symbol Germany regained its freedom, in that they fulfill a significant item on the program of the National Socialist Party.
- Diemut Majer (2003). "Non-Germans" under the Third Reich: the Nazi judicial and administrative system in Germany and occupied Eastern Europe with special regard to occupied Poland, 1939-1945 (Uniform title: "Fremdvölkische" im Dritten Reich, Boppard upon Rhine: Boldt, 1981, ISBN 3-7646-1744-6), Peter Thomas Hill, Edward Vance Humphrey, and Brian Levin (translators), Lubbock, Texas: Texas Tech University Press in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2003, p. 102. ISBN 978-0-89672-837-0.
- Friedlander, Saul (1997). Nazi Germany and the Jews. HarperCollins. pp. 149. ISBN 0-06-019042-6.
between a Jew and a Mischling with one Jewish Grandparent, between a Mischling and another each with one Jewish Grandparent, and between a Mischling with two Jewish Grandparents and a German.
- Schluenes, Karl (1970). The Twisted Road to Auschwitz. pp. 126–127. ISBN 9780252000928.
- Friedlander, Saul (1997). Nazi Germany and The Jews. HarperCollins. pp. 180. ISBN 0-06-019042-6.
worse than total expropriation was to follow: Economic harassment and even violence would henceforward be used to force the Jews to flee the Reich or the newly annexed Austria. Within the second phase 1938 was the fateful turning point.
- Efron, Weitzman, Lehmann, John, Steven, Matthias (2004). The Jews: A History. Pearson Education inc. pp. 410–411. ISBN 0-205-89626-X.
sick-treatersCS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Efron, Weitzman, Lehmann, John, Steven, Matthias (2004). The Jews: A History. Pearson Education Inc. p. 413. ISBN 0-205-89626-X.
a German regime that practiced terror and arbitrariness through the judicial system.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. "Kristallnacht". Holocaust Encyclopedia. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
- "Remembering Kristallnacht". The Jerusalem Report. 2008. ProQuest 218742963.
- Doescher, Hans (2011). "Kristallnacht 1938". Shofar: 131–132. doi:10.1353/sho.2011.0093. ProQuest 873572091.
- Katz, Steven (1994). "ideas made the Holocaust- The Holocaust in Historical Context: The Holocaust and Mass Death before the Modern Age". Commonweal. 1 – via ProQuest.
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. "EXAMPLES OF ANTI-SEMITIC LEGISLATION, 1933–1939". Holocaust Encyclopedia.
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. "The Enabling Act". Holocaust Encyclopedia. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
- Green, David B. (2016-04-21). "1933: Nazi Germany Outlaws Kosher Slaughter". Haaretz. Retrieved 2020-03-28.
- Brustein, William. "Introduction: Anti-Semitism in Europe Before the Holocaust" (PDF). Cambridge University Press. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
- Brugel, J. W. "The Bernheim petition: A challenge to Nazi Germany in 1933." Patterns of Prejudice 17.3 (1983): 17-25.
- Bernheim Petition, Yad Vashem
- King, Henry (2002). "The Legacy of Nuremberg". Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law: 335–336 – via ProQuest.