What was the wider German population's response to rising antisemitism 1933-9?
The Nazis came to power in 1933, with Hitler as their leader. The party held strong antiemetic values, and had drawn votes, partially by scapegoating the Jews as someone to blame for all of Germanys problems.
On 1 st April 1933 there was a boycott of Jewish shops and businesses in Germany. Hitler claimed that this was a justified retaliation against Jewish interests in Germany, yet also retaliation abroad to those who had called for a boycott of German goods. Goebbelss intensive propaganda campaign maximised the impact of the boycott, run by SA men. They stood outside the Jewish businesses and intimidated customers. The boycott was widely publicised but was not an unqualified success. It was difficult to judge exactly what a Jewish business was and what was not. A number of German citizens also used Jewish shops to show disapproval of Nazi policies. Many Germans also wished to continue to use the Jewish shops that they had used for years. In fact it was abandoned after one day, and didnt stay in force indefinitely as many SA had intended.
Der Stürmer was a (non-official) Nazi racist publication, which was often pornographic. Sales increased steeply in 1935, coinciding with the Nuremburg laws. A deal with the German Labour Front meant a copy was displayed in every work place, which made it difficult to ignore, even if most Germans knew it contents were largely exaggerated of false. This hate-filled, repetitive antisemetic propaganda made the process of dehumanising the Jews much easier.
The sign reads Jews are not wanted here. This shows simply how public discrimination was normality, and prevented Jews from doing everyday activities in peace.
The Nuremburg Laws were put into place in 1935. The Reich Citizenship Law meant that someone could only be a German citizen if they had purely German blood. Jews and other non-Aryans were left classified as only subjects so consequently has fewer rights than citizens. The law for the Protection of German blood and honour was also introduced. So called intermarriage between Jews and Germans was forbidden, as were sexual relations. Further conditions meant Jews were not permitted to employ female German citizens under the age of 45 as domestic workers. This was deeply humiliating. Jews could also not display the Reich or national flag. Despite the Nuremburg laws being unfair and humiliating, many Jews put up with them or even welcomed them in a way, as they thought the laws would ease the violence towards them.
The scientific chart shows the Nazi classification system of racial characteristics. This shows that the Nazis preached their views as undeniable facts.
It also shows that the intricate Nazi ideology spread into schools, with subjects such as eugenics and race science replacing biology. Specific ideas about what constituted a Jew were also taught.
In 1936, Berlin hosted the Olympic Games. Hitlers aim was to create a positive foreign impression as a strong, modern nation. Antisemitism was far from inkeeping with the role, so antisemetic messages were scrubbed away. This showed that antisemitism could be stopped (and after the games restarted) started on demand of Hitler.
In March 1938, Jews were forced to scrub the streets of Vienna after the Anschluss with Austria. This was humiliating and degrading for the Jews, and showed that antisemitism was reaching wider areas with a greater Jewish population as Germany gained more land.
The picture shows a 17 year old Herschel Grynszpan, who walked into the German embassy in Paris and shot the third secretary, Ernst vom Rath, to avenge the killing of his Polish Jewish parents in Germany. Hitler saw this shooting as a valuable opportunity to rise in bloody vengeance against the Jews. It provided an excuse for the antisemitic pogroms launched the following nights. Krystallnacht
Between 1933 and 1938, Jews were subjected to increased prejudice and persecution, but it was still possible for a Jews to live a fairly normal existence. All this changed on Krystallnacht (the night of the broken glass) on the 9 th to 10 th November…
…Jewish homes and businesses were looted and vandalised, and thousands of Jews were arrested, beaten up and killed. The Nazis said it was an uncontrolled outpouring of antisemetic violence, where the national soul has boiled over. In reality, it was likely to have been orchestrated by the Nazis, and the majority of the perpetrators of the violence were likely to have been SS and SA men, told to avoid wearing uniform. There were also some ordinary citizens who joined in the violence and looting.
In the violence, 91 Jews were killed and thousands were injured. Damage to shops and businesses amounted to millions of marks, and much of the vandalism was purely destructive, not for gain. 20000 to 30000 Jews were placed into preventive detention. Silent crowds of local people were said to be benumbed and aghast at the sight of a burned out synagogue and looted shops the next morning, suggesting they didnt condone the violence, and understood it was not spontaneous, and organised by the state.
In 150,000 Jews left Germany between March 1933 and November 1938. The confusing fact is that the Nazis were both encouraging Jews to emigrate whilst also threatening to confiscate their assets. This contradictory policy made it difficult for Jews as they were stripped of their wealth making immigration unaffordable. Many, often those with transferable skills and family members in other countries chose to leave, while many Jews still felt thoroughly German and wanted to stay. Some foreign countries also didnt appreciate large numbers of Jewish immigrants and put barriers in place. The situation became more urgent and obvious after Krystallnacht, and parents became increasingly keen to get their children out of Germany. 9000 Jewish children were sent to Britain in 1938-1939.
The bench reads nur für Juden! meaning only for Jews. This shows their prolonged segregation in Germany society at that time.
This shows a public telephone. Jews were openly forbidden from using this.
Hitlers speech in the Reichstag on 30 th January 1939 is the climax of the eternal Jew. From this point onward the ultimate aim of Hitler to annihilate the Jews becomes blatantly clear. Europe will not have peace until the Jewish question has been disposed of. The world has sufficient capacity for settlement, but we must finally break away from the notion that a certain percentage of the Jewish people are intended, by our dear God, to be the parasitic beneficiary of the body, and of the productive work, of other peoples Jewry must adapt itself to respectable constructive work, as other peoples do, or it will sooner or later succumb to a crisis of unimaginable proportions. If the international finance-Jewry inside and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations into a world war yet again, then the outcome will not be the victory of Jewry, but rather the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!
By 1939, Jews could no longer lead a normal life, and antisemitic views were held by Hitler's followers. Antisemitism penetrated into every part of life. Germany was no longer the best possible homeland for a Jew, and continued assimilation of the Jews was no longer. Antisemitsm was no longer on the fringes of politics. It was at the heart of many normal Germans. Bethany Wiles
Your consent to our cookies if you continue to use this website.