Although jews had lived in Germany or over 1000 years, wherever they settled down the were treated badly, often due to jealousy as they were very clever with their money. Even before nazi times, in some places jews were not allowed to own land. And in Nazi times, they had to live in ghettos, wear distinctive clothing and were often attacked. This ill-treatment of jews is called anti-semitism, which became one of the main features of Nazi Germany.
The Attack on Jews
Nazis started to attack jews as soon as they came into power. In April 1933, the SA started to stand outside jewish businesses and urge people not to enter, they also painted "Jude" on the window and beat some people up if they tried to enter.
A week later, Hitler ordered the sacking from government jobs of anyone who isn't of Aryan descent. Thousands of jewish civil servants, lawyers and teachers were immediately sacked.
During the summer of 1933, placecards appeared outsides shops, cafes, swimming pools, parks and many other public places saying "Jews not wanted". The nazi-controlled press also ran hate campaigns against jews, and jewish actors and musicians were forbidden to perform.
Nazis believed that humans were divided into superior and inferior races. They believed that the Aryan race was the master race, whereas jews were inferior to all others.
They took the first step to mass murder when Hitler ordered the use of euthanasia for incurably ill patients in hospitals. Over the next two years, about 70,000 patients were killed by their doctors. After invading Poland, SS troups carried out many of these "mercy killings" on Polish mental hospital patients.
From 1940 onwards, jews in Poland were made to live in ghettos. They were walled off areas of towns or cities, where they had to live in very close proximity of each other. eg. The 400,000 jews of warsaw had to live in a ghetto just 2% of the size of the city! Many starved to death over the next 4 years.
Special Action Groups
The number of mass murders increased after Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. Special action groups followed the German troups on the orders to kill the jews in every captured town and village. Whole communities of jews were rounded up, stripped naked and shot into mass graves. Some were also gassed using lorries pumped with carbon monoxide.
The Final Solution
The final solution was inside Hitler's concentration camps such as Auschwitz, where jews were either worked or starved to death, gassed or shot. This killed hundreds of thousands of jews, and very quickly too.
The Nuremburg laws were introduced on September 15 1935 and had a huge impact on society, as they completely separated Germans and jews, as jews were not allowed in to mingle with Germans and the laws prevented jews from being Reich citizens- basically stripping them of their rights.
- April 1933- Jews are not allowed to be members of sports clubs.
- January 1936- Jewish people must hand in their bikes and radios.
- November 1938- Jewish children can ONLY play with other Jewish children
- November 1938- Jews can not go to the cinema
- December 1938- Jewish people are not allowed to use swimming pools
- April 1939- Jewish people can be thrown out of their homes at any time
- September 1939- Jews must be home by 8pm in winter and 9pm in summer
- July 1940- Jewish people are not allowed to use telephones
- July 1940- Jews can only buy food between 4 and 5 pm
- September 1941- Jews over 6 years of age must wear a yellow star
- February 1942- Jews can not buy newspapers or magazines
- May 1942- Jews must not keep pets
- June 1942- Jewish children may not go to school
- July 1942- Jews are not allowed to buy milk and eggs
The Night of Broken Glass- Kristallnacht
On the night between the 9th and 10th of November 1939, a huge massacre took place against the jews, by many Nazis and other German citizens. It was all due to the fact that a German diplomat, Ernst von Rath was murdered by a French jew in Paris. The nazis wanted revenge and saw this as a great opportunity to start demonstrating against the jews. Hitler and Goebbels met in the evening of the 9th of November and recieved reports of the demonstrations, and Goebbels persuaded Hitler that the violence should be encouraged.
So at ten O'clock, Goebbels made a radio broadcast calling for vengence on the jews, and so Germans and Nazis began burning synagogues and smashing Jewish windows. Some jews were even murdered or put into concentration camps! At 1 in the morning, Hitler's deputy Richard Heydrich instructed the police not to intervene unless a non-jewish person or property was in danger.
Nazi leaders did nothing to sttop the attacks, because then it looked like it was the German people's doing, so they wouldn't get the blame. It was also to good an opportunity to miss, as they had a chance to attack.
Kristallnacht was a turning point in the Nazi treatment of jews as it turned from legislation (laws) to violence.