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The Nazi’s Nuremberg Laws.

12-07-2017

The Nuremberg Laws were antisemitic laws in Nazi Germany. They were introduced on 15 September 1935 by the Reichstag  at a special meeting convened at the annual Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party (NSDAP)  The two laws were the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour, which forbade marriages and extramarital intercourse between Jews and Germans and the employment of German females under 45 in Jewish households; and the Reich Citizenship Law, which declared that only those of German or related blood were eligible to be Reich citizens; the remainder were classed as state subjects, without citizenship rights. A supplementary decree outlining the definition of who was Jewish was passed on 14 November, and the Reich Citizenship Law officially came into force on that date. The laws were expanded on 26 November 1935 to include Romani people and Afro-Germans.  This supplementary decree defined Gypsies as “enemies of the race-based state”, the same category as Jews.

Out of foreign policy concerns, prosecutions under the two laws did not commence until after the 1936 Summer Olympics , held in Berlin. After the Nazis seized power in 1933, they began to implement their policies, which included the formation of a Volksgemeinschaft (people’s community) based on race. Chancellor and Führer (leader) Adolf Hitler declared a national boycott of Jewish businesses  on 1 April 1933, and the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, passed on 7 April, excluded non-Aryans from the legal profession and civil service. Books considered un-German, including those by Jewish authors, were destroyed in a nationwide book burning on 10 May. Jewish citizens were harassed and subjected to violent attacks. They were actively suppressed, stripped of their citizenship and civil rights, and eventually completely removed from German society.

The Nuremberg laws had a crippling economic and social impact on the Jewish community. Persons convicted of violating the marriage laws were imprisoned, and (subsequent to 8 March 1938) upon completing their sentences were re-arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Nazi concentration camps. Non-Jews gradually stopped socialising with Jews or shopping in Jewish-owned stores, many of which closed due to lack of customers. As Jews were no longer permitted to work in the civil service or government-regulated professions such as medicine and education, many middle class business owners and professionals were forced to take menial employment. Emigration was problematic, as Jews were required to remit up to 90 per cent of their wealth as a tax upon leaving the country. By 1938 it was almost impossible for potential Jewish emigrants to find a country willing to take them. Mass deportation schemes such as the Madagascar Plan proved to be impossible for the Nazis to carry out, and starting in mid-1941, the German government started mass exterminations of the Jews of Europe.

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