Nazi Racial Policy

Hitler wanted to Cleanse Germany of Inferior group

1. Most Nazis believed that Germans were members of a superior ancient race called the 'Aryans'. Hitler thought people who were not pure Aryans such as Jews did not belong in Germany, and had no part to play in the new German Empire.

2. He wanted to 'cleanse' the German people by removing any groups he thought 'inferior'. Jews were especially targeted, but action was also taken against other groups.

Hitler always claimed the Jews were responsible for many of Germany's problems.

  • Many Romani (gypsies) and Slavs (an ethnic group from central and eastern Europe) were sent to concentration camps. The Nazis believed that they were racially inferior.
  • The Nazis practised eugenics policies - they wanted to create a strong race by removing all genetic 'defects' from its gene pool. many people with mental and physical diabilities were murdered or sterilised. Many people of mixed race were also sterilised against their will.
  • Homosexual people were sent to concentration camps in their thousands. In 1936 Himmler, Head of the **, began the Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion.
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Discriminating Jews

1. In 1933, the SA organised a national boycott of Jewish business, which resulted in Nazi-led violence against Jews. The violence wasn't popular with the German people, so the Nazis decided to use the legal system to persecute Jews instead.

2. Over time, the number of jobs that Jews were banned from gradually increased.

3. The Nuremburg Laws of 1935 were based on the idea that Jews and Germans were biologically different. They removed many legal rights from Jews and encouraged 'Aryan' Germans to see them as inferior.

  • The Nuremburg Laws stopped Jews being German citizens.
  • They banned marriage between Jews and non-Jews in Germany.
  • They also banned sexual relationships between Jews and non-Jews.

Some Jews were given passports enabling them to leave Germany but preventing them from returning.

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Discriminating Jews 2

4. Jews were later forced to close or sell their businesses, and they were banned from all employment.

5. By 1938, all Jewish children had been banned from attending German schools and Jews were no longer allowed in many public places, including theatres and exhibitions.

The Nazis' racial policies aimed to isolate Jews from the rest of society. 'Aryan' Germans were even encouraged to break off friendships with Jews and avoid any contact with Jewish people.

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Kristallnacht ('Night of the Broken Glass')

1. November 1938, a German diplomat was murdered in Paris by a Jew.

2. There was anti-Jewish rioting throughout Germany - thousands of Jewish shops were smashed and almost every synagogue in Germany was burnt down. In the days that followed, thousands of Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps.

3. The Nazis claimed that the events of Kristallnacht were a spontaneous reaction by the German people to the Paris murder. In fact, they had been planned and organised by the Nazi government. Few ordinary Germans had participated.

Kristallnacht was a turning point in the Nazi persecution of Jews - it was the first widespread act of anti-Jewish violence in Nazi Germany. After Kristallnacht, conditions for German Jews got even worse.

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