From the moment the Nazis came to power in 1933, the Jews of Germany were subjected to a never-ending series of discriminatory laws. There would be, during the twelve years of Hitler's Reich, over 400 separate regulations issued against Jews prohibiting everything from performing in a symphony orchestra to owning a pet cat. Registries of Jews, Gypsies and other perceived undesirables were in force during most of the period.
In the Reich's early years, anti-Jewish regulations were drawn up by a Nazi bureaucracy that included both radical and moderate anti-Semites. None of the bureaucrats had any moral qualms about being anti-Semitic. However, the moderates were concerned with foreign reaction and the possible disruptive impact of anti-Jewish prohibitions on
Of the 503,000 Jews living in
Although Jews made-up less than one percent of
Local Brownshirts, upset by the bureaucratic delays, often took out their frustrations on local Jews in their neighborhoods, and by mid-1935 there had been dramatic rise in the number of street incidents.
Ordinary citizens, encouraged in part by Goebbels' anti-Semitic propaganda, also took part in spontaneous demonstrations. One such incident in the summer of 1935 was recorded by the Bavarian political police:
"...there were anti-Jewish demonstrations in the swimming pool in Heigenbrüken. Approximately 15-20 young bathers had demanded the removal of the Jews from the swimming bath by chanting in the park which adjoins the bath...A considerable number of other bathers joined in the chanting so that probably the majority of visitors were demanding the removal of the Jews...The district leader of the NSDAP [Nazi Party] who happened to be in the swimming baths, went to the [pool] supervisor and demanded that he remove the Jews. The supervisor refused the request on the grounds that he was obliged to follow only the instructions of the baths' administration and moreover, could not easily distinguish the Jews as such. As a result of the supervisor's statement, there was a slight altercation between him and the [district leader]...In view of this incident, the Spa Association today placed a notice at the entrance to the baths with the inscription: Entry Forbidden to Jews."
By late summer 1935, the street violence and demonstrations had diminished. But the bureaucratic in-fighting only escalated and would soon come to a head at the annual Nuremberg Rally
At the Rally, held from September 9 to 15, a special session of the Nazi Reichstag (Legislature) was scheduled for the last day at which Hitler planned to deliver a major foreign policy speech concerning the
The abrupt cancellation left a void as to just what the Reichstag would do during its special
Hitler accepted their suggestion and settled on the idea of a law forbidding intermarriage and sexual relations between Jews and Germans, which he knew the radicals had been wanting for some time. On September 14, the night before the Reichstag's special session, Nazi legal officials presented Hitler with four drafts of the new law. Hitler chose the fourth version, which happened to be the least militant, although he crossed out one important line stating: "This law applies only to full-blooded Jews."
Around midnight, Hitler told the same legal officials he also wanted an accompanying law concerning Reich citizenship. The officials, scrawling on the back of a hotel food menu, hastily drafted a vaguely worded law which designated Jews as subjects of the Reich. Hitler approved the draft around 2:30 a.m.
At the Reichstag's special session held later that day at 8 p.m., Hitler delivered a short speech in which he characterized the new laws as an attempt to "achieve the legislative regulation of a problem which, if it breaks down again will then have to be transferred by law to the National Socialist Party for final solution."
The drafting of the Nuremberg Laws has often been attributed to Hans Globke. Globke had studied British attempts to 'order' its empire by creating hierarchical social orders, for example in the organization of “martial races” in
In 1936, Jews were banned from all professional jobs, effectively preventing them from having any influence in education, politics, higher education, and industry. There was now nothing to stop the anti-Jewish actions that spread across the German economy.
Between 1937 and 1938, new laws were implemented, and the segregation of Jews from the “German Aryan” population was completed. In particular, Jews were punished financially for being Jewish.
On March 1, 1938, government contracts could not be awarded to Jewish businesses. On September 30 of the same year, "Aryan" doctors could only treat "Aryan" patients. Provision of medical care to Jews was already hampered by the fact that Jews were banned from being doctors.
On August 17, Jews had to add "
The registration of Jews and other perceived undesirables was an integral part of the government enforcement process concerning these ubiquitous laws.