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Anti-Jewish Laws 1933 - 1937

During this period more than a 1,000 laws progressively excluded Jewish Germans from society and deprived them of their civil rights. A growing majority of Germans aided their execution actively or passively–encouraging more radical persecution of Jewish people.

Legal equality terminated

The 1933 “Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service” restructured the entire civil service according to racial principles. In particular, the “Aryan Paragraph”, the exclusion of “non-Aryan” civil servants by compulsory retirement, ended the legal equality of Jewish people.

“Man is a creative being!” was the motto of the modern Froebel Kindergarten pedagogy. Liese Krämer was a dynamic nursery teacher hoping to shape the minds of modern youth through playful learning. Listen to an example of how the “Aryan Paragraph” contributed to the end of the progressive educational system of the Weimar Years.
© National Holocaust Centre and Museum

German citizenship denied

The 1935 Reich Citizenship Law of 1935 deprived Jewish people of German citizenship and assigned them the second-class status as ‘nationals’ with limited civil rights. Furthermore, the ‘Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honour’ banned ‘mixed marriages’ between partners of ‘aryan’ and ‘Jewish’ blood.

In reaction to the loss of equal citizen rights, the exclusion from the professions and the universities, Jewish parents were trying to open for their children opportunities abroad. Bernard Grunberg talks about his plans and hopes during professional re-training (“Umschichtung”).
© National Holocaust Centre and Museum

The absurdity of the Racial Laws

Since it proved impossible to define Jewish blood, in practice the Racial Laws used religion to categorise who was Jewish. Consequently, everybody with at least three grandparents of Jewish faith was defined ‘Jewish’. People with two Jewish Grandparents were considered ‘Half Jews’. If you only had one Jewish grandparent, you were termed ‘mixed-blood’ or mischling.

The effects of the Anti-Jewish laws were felt unevenly across Germany. What made the difference between rural and urban Germany?
© National Holocaust Centre and Museum