Nazi Racial and Religous policies


Background of anti-Semitism

Hitler expressed his ideas of needing an 'Aryan-race' that had not been 'polluted by Untermenschen' in Mein Kampf. Persecution of Jews has existed since the middle ages. Hitler used Jews as scapegoats:

  • Defeat in WW1 & 'November Criminals,
  • 1923 Hyperinflation,
  • 1929 depression.

Persecution of Jews

  • 1933 - Boycott of Jewish shops, Jews banned from holding certain positions (e.g Civil service)
  • 1935 September - Nuremberg Laws: Took away right of citizenship and made it illegal for them to be in a relationship with Aryans (e.g) 
  • 1938 November - Kristallnacht: Attacks on Jews, Synagogues and Jewish shops organised by Goebbels. 100 Jews killed 30 000 arrested to Conc. camps. 
  • 1939 April  - Jews evicted and forced into Ghettos. Over 1/2 of Jews had emigrated by now.
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Treatment of the Church

Although Hitler saw the Church as a threat he realised that the importance of their support. Nazism held up traditional family values and protected against communism (usually atheist)


  • 1933 - National Reich Church set up. Attempt to Gleichschaltung - Bible replaced by Mein Kampf and cross replaced with a portrait of Hitler. Priests pretend to conform to prevent being arrested by the Gestapo.
  • 1934 - Confessional Church set up by Martin Niemoller. Pastors emergency league openly attacked the Nazi regime. 


  • Catholics owed their allegiance to the Pope, not Hitler. Preferred Centre party.
  • 1933 - Hitler signed a concordat with the Pope giving the church full religious freedom without state interference if the church stayed out of politics
  • Catholic priests were harassed, Catholic schools took out of church control and youth groups closed down. Nazis had broken the agreement
  • 1937 - Pope spoke against Human rights abuses. 400 priests were arrested as a result.
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