Segregation and Exclusion
Source: FROM THE PRESENTATION
Beginning in the spring of 1935, Nazi calls for the isolation and exclusion of the Jews from German society reached a vehement crescendo. Party organs, foremost Der Stuermer and the Angriff , waged a vigorous propaganda campaign against the Jews. Among their demands was legislation for uniform marking of Jewish-owned shops. Party activists in various localities demanded that Jews be banned from swimming pools, cinemas, recreation facilities, and other public areas. Professional organisations inserted clauses in their statutes barring Jews from their ranks. In late April 1935, Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick declared that the German citizenship law should be revised to express to racial considerations.
Build-up toward the Nuremberg Laws
Local and grassroots initiatives began to isolate and segregate Jews with Hitler's take over. Revoking the Jews' German citizenship was part of the Nazi Party platform even before they came to power, and was discussed in various government ministries from 1933 on. Municipal officials took action on their own to prevent marriages between Jews and Aryans. Intensification of anti-Jewish activity by party activists from early 1935 and the need to revitalise the lagging enthusiasm of party supporters created pressure that led Hitler to decide to institutionalise a further anti-Jewish step. The annual Party conference in Nuremberg was chosen as the timing for an announcement of the new legislation.
The Nuremberg Laws
At a festive session in Nuremberg on 15 September 1935, the Reichstag adopted two anti-Jewish laws. The Reich Citizenship Law nullified the Jews' German citizenship. From this point on, Jews were to be subjects of the state, not citizens. The Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honour banned marriage and sexual relations between Jews and non-Jews and prohibited employment in Jewish homes of German women under forty-five years of age. The Nuremberg laws created a legal and bureaucratic framework built on racial criteria. They served as the foundation for most of the anti-Jewish legislation that was adopted in subsequent years. Most of the later statutes and regulations were addenda to the Nuremberg Citizenship Law. The German Reich, and who in consequence has specific obligations towards it . A Reich citizen is a subject of the State who is of German or related blood, who proves by his conduct that he is willing and fit faithfully to serve the German people and Reich. ( Documents on the Holocaust : 77)
Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honour
Moved by the understanding that purity of the German blood is the essential condition for the continued existence of the German people, and inspired by the inflexible determination to ensure the existence of the German Nation for all time, the Reichstag has unanimously adopted the following law . Marriages between Jews and subjects of the state of German or related blood are forbidden . Extramarital intercourse between Jews and subjects of the state of German or related blood is forbidden. Jews may not employ female subjects of the state of German or related blood who are under 45 years old in their households. Jews are forbidden to fly the Reich or National flag or to display the Reich colours. They are, on the other hand, permitted to display Jewish colours . . .' ( Documents on the Holocaust, 78)
The Nuremberg Laws - Definition of a Jew
The first regulation based on the Nuremberg Laws defined Jews less stringently than the Civil Service Law 1933, according to which any person who had only one Jewish grandparent was defined as non-Aryan. The new regulation defined a full-fledged Jew as any person with three or more Jewish grandparents. Among those with one or two Jewish grandparents - persons of mixed race - ( Mischlinge ) - a distinction was made: some were considered Jewish and others not. Although the legislation was based on racial doctrine, the legislators were compelled to adopt a definition that took into account affiliation and identification with the Jewish community. Thus, they ruled that Mischlinge would be considered Jews if they belonged to a Jewish community, were married to Jews. (Table with definition of a Jew under the Nuremberg Laws)
First Regulation for the Implementation of the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, 11 April 1933
A person is to be considered non-Aryan if he is descended from non-Aryans, and especially from Jewish parents or grandparents. It is sufficient if one parent or grandparent is non-Aryan. This is to be assumed in particular where one parent or grandparent was of the Jewish religion...'. ( Documents on the Holocaust : 41)
First Regulation to the Reich Citizenship Law, 14 November 1935
A Jew is a person descended from at least three grandparents who are full Jews by race...
2. A Mischling who is a subject of the state is also considered a Jew if he is descended from two full Jewish grandparents if:
a) he was a member of the Jewish Religious Community...
b) he was married to a Jew...
c) he was born from a marriage with a Jew ... contracted after the promulgation of the Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honour
d) he was born as a result of extramarital intercourse...after 31 July 1936.'
Requests Not to be Included in the Nuremberg Laws
1. From a letter by a Siegburg businessman to the Deputy Fuehrer, 17 October 1938
' I am a 46 year old businessman, and I come from a purely Aryan family. Five members of our family served in the World War, some of us as officers. One of my brothers and the husband of my sister died honourably on the battlefield I myself was wounded several times in battle and am an invalid I have been married for twelve years and have three children She comes from a Jewish family that settled in Germany centuries ago, but belongs to the Catholic faith, as do our children and I . Considering what I sacrificed for the nation I dare say, without being arrogant, that I do not deserve: to be forbidden to hoist the [national] flag, to have my children excluded from the Jungfolk (Nazi youth movement) , to have to declare my assets as Jewish assets and many additional restrictions '
2. Request of Martin Lieblich to keep his Citizenship and voting rights
Martin Lieblich, a Jew by the definition of the Nuremberg laws, applied to the authorities to have his citizenship reinstated. The chief of police forwarded the request to the Minister of Interior on 4 August 1936 with the following letter: Martin Lieblich, born 1 September 1893 in Stuttgart, comes from a purely Jewish family ... Lieblich volunteered for military service on 8 August 1914 He was decorated . His brothers Julius and Friedrich fell in the year 1918 at the Western Front, from poison gas. Lieblich has been married since 1922 to an Aryan wife of British nationality. Lieblich left the Jewish Religious Community on 10 December 1917 and supposedly broke all ties with Jewish circles after that I submit the file for consideration. The state of Wuertemberg's Minister of Interior referred the case to the Reich Ministry of Interior on 21 September 1936, with a recommendation that the exemption be granted.' The Reich Minister of Interior replied on 6 October 1936: ... With regard to the request by Martin Lieblich of Stuttgart to have his citizenship rights reinstated: in the name of the Fuehrer and Chancellor of the Reich, I reject the request, due to the fact that the petitioner is a Jew.'
Responses To the Nuremberg Laws
For the most part, the German population responded to the Nuremberg Laws with support or indifference. Many Germans, including those who may not have been Nazis but who subscribed to traditional anti-Jewish stereotypes, considered the laws an important step toward the desirable goal of segregating Jews from Germans. Regulation of the Jewish question by legislation was also supported, as a means of preventing high-profile radical action and of mainpublic or. Some Germans did take exception to the laws, usually for pragmatic reasons such as concern about the world's reaction.
Local Responses to the Nuremberg Laws
One may get an idea of the German population's response to the Nuremberg Laws from periodic reports that the SD (the Security Service of the SS) and the political police throughout Germany produced regularly in order to monitor German public opinion.
The public did not receive the new laws that were passed in Nuremberg with enthusiasm.... As was to be expected knowing the mentality of the Catholic population of the region, there was no sympathetic reaction on the part of the church. The only part that was welcome with regard to the legislation on the Jewish question was that it would prevent offensive actions and violent antisemitic propaganda.
The population received the laws - even in non-National Socialist circles - with understanding. One can generally say that awareness of this problem, so central in the National Socialist worldview, is gradually increasing. A real understanding among people in the so-called better and educated circles is still missing.
The legislation passed by the Reichstag after the party rally brought about vivid discussion among the population.... The last law (for the Protection of German Blood and Honour) met with broad approval.... Commercial circles expressed concern that German-hating circles abroad might regard these laws as a reason to expand the scope of the boycott of German goods....
The new laws - the citizenship law and the law for the protection of German blood and honour...created clear-cut relations. Jewry is defined as a national minority and will be given the opportunity to create their own independent cultural and national life under the protection of the state. Any intervention in the life of the German nation will from now on be impossible and forbidden. The laws were received with satisfaction and enthusiasm. (Kulka 1975: 214-17)
In the first few years of Nazi rule, the regime lacked an explicit program on the Jewish question, even though it was central to the Nazi worldview. Furthermore, there was no government agency, which had sole authority in this regard. The regime's dual method, which maintained parallel apparatuses - one of the Party, one of the state - which competed with each other in implementing policy, each from its own perspective and approach, resulted in inconsistency and conflicts of interests. Before elaborating an explicit policy on the desired solution to the Jewish problem, the Nazi governing agencies acted in two principal directions: Expropriation and Emigration.
The economic dispossession of German Jewry had been part of the Nazi regime's agenda since the economic boycott of 1 April 1933. The boycott committees continued to exist, urged the public to refrain from buying from Jews, and distributed signs reading "German Business" among non-Jewish merchants. The fact that many Jewish-owned businesses survived unhampered while many Germans continued to suffer from the economic crisis, helped Party activists stir up ferment among the population. From 1935 on, Party members applied growing pressure to banish Jews entirely from the German economy and to place their property in German hands.
Report of the Dortmund State Police, August 1935:
Not always did the boycott limit itself to avoidance of Jewish businesses. It also manifested itself in numerous attacks directed against Jewish shops, whole show windows were defaced with slogans or smashed in. In many instances, customers were also photographed or publicly denounced in some other manner. These attacks were generally disapproved, since one suspected that the NS-HAGO [National Socialist Organisation of Crafts, Commerce and Industry] was behind them, and assumed therefore that their real reason was competitive envy.' (Barkai, 57-58)
Against these calls for the total economic dispossession of the Jews, certain circles, especially those around Hjalmar Schacht, Minister of Economic Affairs until late 1937, were still somewhat apprehensive about extreme anti-Jewish measures. Although Germany's economic situation had improved perceptibly, an assault on the Jews' economic status seemed dangerous to them. It might cause Germans employed by Jews to lose their jobs, harm economic relations with other countries, and prematurely deprive Germany of the Jews' occupational experience in various industries. In the summer of 1936 Germany hosted the Olympic games. In an effort to avoid harming the propaganda value, which they hoped to gain by hosting the games, the regime decided to underplay anti-Jewish agitation and activity.
Up until 1938, no significant economic legislation pertaining to the Jews was produced. Officially, Jews faced no legal discrimination in commerce and industry, but restrictions against them were applied in a growing number of fields. The first to be harmed were small enterprises in small localities. Jewish merchants were helpless in the face of the difficulties placed upon them by arbitrary decrees of municipal authorities. They had no recourse when customers refused to pay debts and when Party members assaulted them. Many Jews suffered severe deterioration in their economic condition, and various businesses reached the brink of bankruptcy. According to one estimate, the number of active Jewish businesses dwindled from about 100,000 in 1932 to 75,000-80,000 in the autumn of 1935. By early 1938, only 40,000 remained.
The process of transferring ownership of Jewish businesses to non-Jews - "Aryanization" - began as early as 1933. Up until 1938, however, it was conducted not by force of law but on an ostensibly "voluntarily" basis. In practice, under duress, which resulted from the increasing difficulties placed in their path, many Jews were forced to sell their property at prices far below its true value. In many cases, Party members and people with government connections benefited from the Aryanization of small businesses. Boycotts, accusations of various offences, police searches and arrests prompted many Jews to sell their property to Party activists or to former competitors. Thus, the number of Germans who derived personal gain from the dispossession of the Jews rose steadily.
Larger enterprises usually survived longer because of their size, their economic viability, and the occasional protection they were granted by the authorities, who did so for reasons of temporary expediency. However, as Germany's economic condition improved, pressure mounted to Aryanize these businesses as well. Large companies and banks took part in the Aryanization of large businesses in orderly and legal ways, which accorded with requirements for the transfer of business ownership.
The Aryanization of Department Stores Barasch Brothers, Magdeburg The Barasch Brothers Department Store in Magdeburg
In mid December 1935, several non-Aryan employees of the Jewish-owned Barasch Brothers Department Store in Magdeburg were arrested after local Party activists accused them of conduct in violation of the Nuremberg Laws. One of the employees was accused of having kissed an Aryan employee: another, of shaking the hands of German saleswomen in an exaggerated manner. The Nazis in Magdeburg turned out for a demonstration in front of the department store in protest against the affront to the dignity of German women, and threatened to destroy the store. The local police closed the store down in order to prevent public disorder. The closure forced the Jewish owners to sell the enterprise. Shortly thereafter, the Jewish defendants were exonerated in court.
Tietz Tietz - A Large Countrywide Chain of Department Stores
The Tietz stores were boycotted from March by the SA. At the same time the newspapers launched an offensive against the Tietz chain, alleging that the Jewish-owned stores deprived German merchants of a living, caused unemployment, sold poor qualwares, and constituted unfair competition with small shops. When the firm's bank threatened to revoke its lines of credit unless it purged all Jews from the board of directors, the owners relinquished their positions on the board in order to save the company. The shares were sold to the banks, and in July 1933 the company was renamed Kaufhof .
Gruenfeld Gruenfeld -- Manufacturer of Bedding and Apparel and Owner of Prestige Shops for the same in Berlin and Cologne.
The company managed to survive until 1938. Gruenfeld even exhibited its merchandise in the German pavilion at the Paris World's Fair in 1936, and won a prize from the state for its contribution to German economy. Its great success notwithstanding, Gruenfeld had to cope with a rising tide of difficulties: the bank terminated its lines of credit. The Nazi propaganda machine took vigorous action against the company and state authorities entangled the company in red tape. The company was eventually purchased in September 1938 by Walter Kuehl, the owner of a competing firm, at a price far below its market value. The Gruenfeld family emigrated to Palestine a few weeks later.
Emigration Screen 1
Since there was no clear-cut, determined policy to force the Jews to emigrate, they were dealt with by several ruling agencies of the government and the Party. Although the regime was favourably disposed to the Jews' emigration from Germany, the various agencies suffered from conflicts of interest and contradictory policies. The Ministry of Economic Affairs hoped to avoid economic convulsions, and therefore feared mass emigration, which might drain Germany's foreign reserves and harm economic relations with other countries. Measures taken to prevent the outflow of capital from Germany led some Jews to postpone their emigration, since they required emigrants to leave most of their wealth behind.
Flight taxî for emigrants
The flight tax, a carry-over regulation from the Weimar days, required those of substantial means who leave Germany to pay a tax of one-fourth of his or her property or annual income. When the Nazis came to power, they lowered the tax ceiling. The tax was computed on the basis of an appraisal of property, irrespective of the proceeds that emigrating Jews obtained for their assets. Thus, in practice, Jews were allowed to take with them only a small portion of their property. Furthermore, emigrants were required to deposit their money in blocked bank accounts in Germany. An especially low exchange rate was set for conversion of the marks in these accounts into other currencies. Its level gradually diminished to 38 percent of the general exchange rate in 1935 and 10 percent in 1938.
In 1935, a department for Jewish affairs, called II 112, was established in the SD (the Party Security Service). As part of the SS aspiration to fulfil the Nazi movement's ideological goals, this office sought to become the leading agency, holding sole responsibility for anti-Jewish policy. Until 1938, however, Department II 112 played no executive role whatsoever. Their role at this point was limited to gathering information on Jewish organisations and communities and performing analyses of the situation. In the efforts to provide a solution to the Jewish problem, the SD proposed a policy, which would centre on emigration.
From a Position Paper of Department II 112, January 1937:
Germany can be cleansed of Jews...only if the basis of life is pulled out from under the feet of the Jews in Germany, that is, only if they are deprived of the possibility of engaging in economic activity. Bolstering the emigration of Jews - at least of the younger generation - to areas where they can cause no harm to the Reich is an inevitable necessity.... The decrease in emigration may be overcome successfully only if: 1 Jews are subjected to sweeping economic dispossession, 2 Political and legal pressure is increased substantially; [and] 3.
The technical possibilities for emigration are expanded.' (BAK R58, 124)
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