Holocaust did not suddenly happen. The foundations for what would happen
in places like Auschwitz, Treblinka and Sobibor were laid at the start
of the Nazi's rule in 1933. It is important to look at the development
of the Nazi policy towards the Jews in order to see how the Holocaust
came about. The key events and legislations are listed below.
a few weeks of coming to power, Hitler's campaign announced new legislation
set to exclude Jews from the life of Germany. Laws were passed banning
Jews from working in professional capacities; schools were established
exclusively for Jewish children and quotas limited their entry into
Universities. They could neither join the army nor participate in the
artistic life of the country.
On the 10th
May, 1933, Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, organised
a public burning of all non-German literature. Any book written by a
Jew, by those seen to be opponents to the Nazi ideology, were consigned
to the flames.
legal process developed, the SS and SA were on the streets, persuading
the German public not to shop at Jewish establishments.
process increased in tempo in 1935. Following a gigantic rally of the
Nazi Party in Nuremberg, laws were passed which removed the right of
Jews to be citizens of Germany. They had effectively become non-people.
Look at the
source documents which give details of the Nuremberg laws.
- In what
ways does this law extend the persecution of the Jews which had been
developed in 1933?
the ways in which the Nuremberg laws would affect Jews in Germany.
- In what
ways would it further remove Jews from German social and economic life?
LAW FOR THE PROTECTION OF GERMAN BLOOD AND GERMAN HONOUR, SEPTEMBER
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 times, the Reichstag has unanimously adopted the following
Law, which is promulgated herewith:
1) Marriages between Jews and subjects of the state of German or related
blood are forbidden. Marriages nevertheless concluded are invalid, even
if conducted abroad to circumvent this law.
2) Annulment proceedings can be initiated only by the State Prosecutor.
Extramarital intercourse between Jews and subjects of the state of German
or related blood is forbidden.
Jews may not employ in their households female subjects of the state
of German or related blood who are under 45 years old.
1) Jews are forbidden to fly the Reich or National flag or to display
the Reich colours.
2) They are, on the other hand, permitted to display the Jewish colours.
The exercise of this right is protected by the State.
1) Any person who violates the prohibition under § 1 will be punished
by a prison sentence with hard labour.
2) A male who violates the prohibition under § 2 will be punished with
a prison sentence with or without hard labour.
3) Any person violating the provisions under § § 3 or 4 will be punished
with a prison sentence of up to one year and a fine, or with one or
the other of these penalties.
The Reich Minister of the Interior, in co-ordination with the Deputy
of the Führer and the Reich Minister of Justice, will issue the Legal
and Administrative regulations required to implement and complete this
§ 7 The Law takes effect on the day following promulgation except for
§ 3, which goes into force on January 1, 1936.
September 15, 1935 at the Reich Party Congress of Freedom
further laws were introduced which removed citizenship from any Jews
who was from Polish descent. Several thousand Jews were taken to the
Polish border but were refused entry into Poland. Herschl Grynszpan,
a Jewish émigré in Paris, as a protest at the treatment of German Jews
shot and killed a Nazi diplomat in Paris.
the excuse that the Nazis had been waiting for. Shortly after the assassination,
a night of violence was launched across Germany - synagogues and Jewish
shops were attacked, destroyed and burnt down and Jews were beaten and
murdered. Ninety Jews were killed and thousands put into concentration
camps. Also the Jews were made to pay for the damagae which had been
caused to their houses and shops. The night, November 9/10 November
1938, became known as Kristallnacht - the night of the shattered glass.
Look at the
source documents below:
- How do
these two laws try to put the blame for Kristallnacht onto the Jews?
- In what
ways do you think that these laws can be seen to pave the way for the
Holocaust which was to follow four years later?
- How do
the two laws disguise what actually happened?
- In what
ways could the conclusions of the Evian Conference be seen as giving
Hitler the chance to further develop his anti-Semitic policies?
FROM THE REGULATION FOR THE ELIMINATION OF THE JEWS FROM THE ECONOMIC
LIFE OF GERMANY, NOVEMBER 12 1938
On the basis
of the regulation for the implementation of the Four Year Plan of October
18 1936, (Reichsgesetzblatt, I, p 887), the following is decreed:
January 1, 1939, Jews are forbidden to operate retail stores, mail-order
houses, or sales agencies, or to carry on a trade [craft] independently.
* They are further forbidden, from the same day on, to offer for sale
goods or services, to advertise these, or to accept orders of all sorts,
fairs or exhibitions.
* Jewish trade enterprises (Third Regulation to the Reich Citizenship
Law of June 14, 1938 -- Reichsgesetzblatt, I, p 627) which violate
this decree will be closed by police.
1. From January 1, 1939, a Jew can no longer be the head of an enterprise
within the meaning of the Law of January 20, 1934, for the Regulation
of National Work.
2. Where a Jew is employed in an executive position in a commercial
enterprise he may be given notice to leave in six weeks. At the expiration
of the term of the notice all claims of the employee based on his contract,
especially those concerning pension and compensation rights, become
OF THE REGULATION FOR THE PAYMENT OF AN EXPIATION FINE BY JEWS WHO ARE
GERMAN SUBJECTS, NOVEMBER 12, 1938
attitude of Jewry toward the German People and Reich, which does not
even shrink from cowardly murder, calls for determined resistance and
severe expiation. Based on the Decree of October 18, 1936, for the Implementation
of the Four Year Plan I therefore order the following:
The totality of Jews who are German subjects will pay a Kontribution
(fine) of 1,000,000,000 (one billion) Reichmarks to the German Reich.
- THE EVIAN CONFERENCE
In July 1938,
thirty two Government representatives from around the world gathered
in Evian in France to discuss the plight of Jewish refugees. Most countries
rejected the possibility of accepting any greater number of Jewish refugees
than the number which were already being accepted into the various countries.
None of the countries attending the conference questioned the right
of Germany to treat any of its citizens in the way that it wished. As
the Jews were the main citizens to be maltreated, the conference seemed
to give Hitler the right to continue to persecute Jews as he wished.
Look at the
two sources below:
- As Hitler's
speech preceded the Evian Conference, why do you think that the delegates
from around the world did not pay serious attention to the threats of
- Why did
these countries not want to take in additional Jewish refugees?
- What do
the comments of the Australian delegate say about atitudes towards Jews
around the world?
we have no racial problem, we are not desirous of importing one."
delegate, Evian Conference.
only hope and expect that the other world, which has such deep sympathy
for these criminals, will at least be generous enough to convert this
sympathy into practical aid. We, on our part, are ready to put all these
criminals at the disposal of these countries, for all I care, even on
onwards, it was obvious to Jews that they should leave Germany as soon
as possible. The stage of expulsion had started. Although half of the
Jews left Germany before 1941, over half a million remained, at the
mercy of Hitler and the Nazis.
invasion of Poland in September 1939 directly precipitated the Second
World War. The millions of Jews who had fled to Poland to escape the
Nazis now suddenly came under Germany's control. Over three million
Jews lived in Poland and for them and for the other Jews of Europe the
nightmare of the Holocaust was fast approaching.
first act in Poland, the setting for the film 'Schindler's List', was
to round up all Jews and send them into ghettos. These were small areas
of towns which were sealed off and allocated to the Jews. Life within
the ghetto was intolerable, with its overcrowding, hunger and disease.
Despite this, many Jews survived, thinking and hoping that their suffering
must one day cease.