Anti-Jewish Policies: 1933 - 1939
"Germans! Defend yourself!...
"Jewish Assassination Plan...
"Jews not wanted!"...
"I Am the Greatest Pig...
The Great Synagogue of Frankfurt...
A passport of a Jewish woman...
IMMEDIATELY AFTER ASSUMING POWER in 1933, the Nazis make the "expulsion of Jews from German society" one of their top priorities. They start a propaganda and terror campaign of unprecedented scope and violence to stigmatize German Jews, isolate them from the rest of the population and force them to emigrate.
The Nazis also appeal to the traditional anti-Jewish attitudes in the population to gain approval for their regime. Anti-Semitism becomes the propagandistic rallying point of the "German Revolution." As it remains the only "revolutionary" policy the Nazis pursue with any seriousness, its successes are constantly proclaimed in the press and radio and displayed on the "Stürmer" wall newspaper in every town and village.
Beginning with a call to boycott Jewish shops and businesses in 1933, measure after measure is introduced to expel Jews from the civil service, the professions and from one economic sector after another. Gradually, German Jews are pushed to the margins of society. With the Nuremberg laws in 1935, they lose legal equality - three generations after emancipation - and full citizenship. At the same time, the regime introduces ever new regulations to strip Jews of their property before they are forced abroad. More and more countries close their gates to German Jewish refugees.
As the process of expulsion does not proceed fast enough in the eyes of the government, a nationwide "pogrom" is organized for the weekend of November 9 and 10, 1938. All synagogues in Germany are set on fire, Jewish shops are ransacked and about 30,000 Jews - ten percent of the remaining Jewish population - are arrested, beaten and imprisoned in concentration camps. They are released only upon proof of imminent emigration.
At the eve of World War II, about 200,000 Jews remain in Germany. With the war in progress, emigration becomes almost impossible. In 1941, Jews in Germany - as all Jews in countries under German occupation - are made to wear a"Jewish star" - the yellow badge of the Middle Ages. In 1942, deportations to the "ghettos" and concentration camps in Poland begin. Of the Jews remaining in Germany after 1941, only about ten thousand survive the Holocaust.