The development of anti-Jewish laws

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Local descrimination

Encouraged by centrally organised discrimination, local people, employers and organisations in towns and villages all over Germany began to victimise Jews and expel them from employment and to deny them membership of cultural and leisure organisations.

Shops, hotels and restaurants began to put up ‘Jews not welcome’ signs. Local councils also placed signs on park gates and benches informing Jews that they couldn’t use them.

Gradually the civil rights of Jews across Germany were taken away – for example: being banned from being members of sports clubs in April 1933 and not being able own a dog from May 1942.

Centrally organised discrimination

At the beginning of April 1933, the Nazis passed the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, which began the exclusion of Jews from professions. Under this law people who had at least one Jewish grandparent were classed as Jewish. It took the Nazi Party over five years to completely expel the Jews from professional and business life in Germany.

The Nuremberg Laws

The Nazi government legalised its anti-Jewish policies with the passing of two laws: the Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honour and also the Reich Citizenship Law (the Nuremberg Laws) on 15 September 1935.The first law forbade inter-marriage and sexual relations between Jews and Aryans, the second robbed the Jews of their citizenship and all legal rights.

A racial group?

These laws were based on the premise that Jews were a racial group rather than a religion. Those who had three Jewish grandparents were classed as full Jews; those who had fewer Jewish grandparents were labelled ‘Mischlinge’ (half-breeds).