The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: places/germany/kristallnacht/documents.001


Newsgroups: alt.revisionism,soc.history
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: Nazi Anti-Semitism becomes official policy
Summary: Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses begins, Jews excluded from
         Civil Service, Jewish doctors and lawyers restricted as to
         employment, number of Jewish students reduced by law
Keywords: 

File: pub/places/germany/kristallnacht/documents.001
Last-modified: 1993/09/23
XRef: holocaust index

   "When Hitler came to power in 1933, the antisemitic aims of the NSDAP
   became official policy. Initially, however, circumstances determined
   the course of Nazi Jewish policy. The new regime wished to
   consolidate its power and to avoid provoking strong reactions against
   too hasty and radical measures. Uncertainty about domestic opinion
   and concern that foreign disapproval might result in economic
   reprisals explain this cautious attitude. The Nazi leadership feared
   that actions against the Jews might get out of control and cause
   embarrassment. It wished to maintain control over Jewish policy and
   not to allow the Party to run ahead of its leaders.

                 Outrages against Jews, spring 1933

   In the context of the 'revolution from below' of March 1933, however,
   this was difficult to achieve.  Thus in the spring of 1933, SA men
   made numerous if sporadic attacks on Jews and Jewish property.  The
   American Consul in Leipzig, Ralph Busser, reported on 5 April:

      In Dresden several weeks ago uniformed 'Nazis' raided the Jewish
      Prayer House, interrupted the evening religious service, arrested
      twenty-five worshippers, and tore the holy insignia or emblems
      from their head-covering worn while praying.

      Eighteen Jewish shops, including a bakery, mostly in Chemnitz, had
      their windows broken by rioters led by uniformed 'Nazis'.

      Five of the Polish Jews arrested in Desden were each compelled to
      drink one-half litre of castor oil.  As most of the victims of
      assualt were threatened with worse violence if they report the
      attacks, it is not known to what extent fanatical 'Nazis' are
      still terrorizing Jews, Communists and Social Democrats, who are
      considered as favouring the old parliamentary regime in Germany.
      Some of the Jewish men assaulted had to submit to the shearing of
      their beards, or to the clipping of their hair in the shape of
      steps.  One Polish Jew in Chemnitz had his hair torn out by the
      roots.  The involvement of foreign Jews brought protests from
      diplomatic representatives in Germany.

               The Party Boycott Order, 28 March 1933 

   At the end of March, perhaps partly in order to gain some sort of
   control over the antisemitic actions of the local Party and SA units,
   the Government gave its blessing to an official Party boycott of
   Jewish shops in retaliation for the campaign abroad against Nazi
   atrocities.  Julius Streicher, the rabidly antisemitic Gauleiter of
   Franconia, organized action committees to promote the boycott, and SA
   men were stationed in front of Jewish shops to 'warn' intending
   customers.  But the action failed to arouse public enthusiasm and the
   planned mass meetings did not take place.  The American Consul in
   Leipzig noted that the boycott was 'unpopular with the working
   classes and the educated circles of the middle classes'.  The Party
   order of 28 March was published in the Vo"lkischer Beobachter the
   following day: 

      1.  Action committees in every local branch and subdivision of the
      NSDAP organization are to be formed for putting into effect the
      planned boycott of Jewish shops, Jewish goods, Jewish doctors and
      Jewish lawyers.  The action committees are responsible for making
      sure that the boycott affects those who are guilty and not those
      who are innocent.

      2.  The action committees are responsible for the maximum
      protection of all foreigners without regard to confession,
      background or race.  The boycott is purely a defensive measure
      aimed exclusively against German Jewry.

      3.  The action committees must at once popularize the boycott by
      means of propa- ganda and enlightenment.  The principle is: No
      German must any longer buy from a Jew or let him and his backers
      promote their goods.  The boycott must be general.  It must be
      supported by the whole German people and must hit Jewry in its
      most sensitive place....

      8.  The boycott must be coordinated and set in motion everywhere
      at the same time, so that all preparations must be carried out
      immediately.  Orders are being sent to the S A and S S so that
      from the moment of the boycott the population will be warned by
      guards not to enter Jewish shops.  The start of the boycott is to
      be announced by posters, through the press and leaflets, etc.  The
      boycott will commence on Saturday, 1 April on the stroke of 10
      o'clock.  It will be continued until an order comes from the Party
      leadership for it to stop.

      9.  The action committees are to organize tens of thousands of
      mass meetings, which are to extend to the smallest villages for
      the purpose of demanding that in all professions the number of
      Jews shall correspond respectively to their proportion of the
      whole German population.  To increase the impact made by this
      action, this demand is limited first of all to three fields: (a)
      attendance at German schools and universities; (b) the medical
      profession; (c) the legal profession....  

   During April several measures against the Jews were introduced, among
   them their exclusion from the Civil Service (see Noakes, pp.
   229-30).  Hitler's sensitivity to opposition was shown by the
   exemption, made on President Hindenburg's personal intervention, of
   those Jewish civil servants who had fought or lost relatives in the
   First World War.  Prohibitions were also placed on Jewish doctors
   working in hospitals and on the appointment of Jewish assistant
   judges in Prussia.  These were professions in which Jews tended to
   specialize.  In Hamburg, for instance, Jews were only 3 per cent of
   the population but they accounted for 40 per cent of the doctors, 30
   per cent of the lawyers, and IO per cent of the judges.  A further
   measure designed to isolate the Jews and reduce their contact with
   the rest of the German population was the Law against the
   Overcrowding of German Schools, of 25 April 1933, which restricted
   the number of Jews admitted to schools, colleges, and universities to
   the same proportion as that of 'non-Aryans to Aryans' in the total
   German population.  

    The Reich Minister of the Interior tries to enforce legality in
                   Jewish policy, January 1934 

   As far as the Party militants were concerned, however, the pace was
   not fast enough.  As a result, tension between the local Party and SA
   militants, on the one hand, who wanted to take direct action against
   the Jews and some of whom were inspired by economic rivalry, and the
   authorities on the other hand, continued during 1934 and into 1935.
   As in other spheres, the main burden of resisting the extremists fell
   on Wilhelm Frick, the Reich Minister of the Interior.  This Ministry
   was the agency primarily responsible for racial questions, changes of
   name, eugenics, race and naturalization.  In January 1934, Frick sent
   a memorandum to national and regional Government authorities in which
   he stressed the need to adhere to the letter of the law in the
   enforcement of legislation affecting the Jews.  Clearly this was
   particu- larly necessary in the economic sphere where some businesses
   were apparently anxious to eliminate Jewish rivals by making use of
   the 'Aryan paragraph'.  This practice was not conducive to economic
   stability which was one of the regime's main objectives.  

      German Aryan legislation is necessary for racial and State
      political reasons.  On the other hand, the Reich Government has
      set itself certain limits which must likewise be observed.  German
      Aryan legislation will be correctly judged at home and abroad if
      these limits are everywhere heeded.  It is especially improper and
      even open to objection for the principles of Para.  3 BBG [Civil
      Service Law of April 1933 ], the so-called 'Aryan
      paragraph' (which has become the model for numerous other laws and
      orders), to be extended to other fields to which they by no means
      apply.  This is true particularly of the free economy, as the
      National Socialist Government has always declared.  I therefore
      repeat my request that infringements of this kind shall be
      decisively opposed and also that subordinate authorities shall be
      emphatically instructed that they are to base their measures and
      decisions only on the valid laws....  Any annulment or extension
      of Reich laws which are valid can be carried out only by the Reich
      Government itself according to the Enabling Law, and not by the
      bodies which administer these laws.  They must, on the contrary,
      apply these laws so long as they are in force and are not to
      contradict them because they appear not to accord completely with
      National Socialism.  

                 Hess warns Party militants, April 1935 

   In April 1935 Hess felt compelled to issue a confidential order to
   Party members warning them not to take the law into their own hands
   as this would cause friction with the police: 

      While I can understand that all decent National Socialists oppose
      these new attempts by Jewry with utter indignation, I must warn
      them most urgently not to vent their feelings by acts of terror
      against individual Jews as this can only result in bringing Party
      members into conflict with the political police, who consist
      largely of Party members, and this will be welcomed by Jewry.  The
      political police can in such cases only follow the strict
      instructions of the Fuhrer in carrying out all measures for
      maintaining peace and order, so making it possible for the Fuhrer
      to rebuke at any time allegations of atrocities and boycotts made
      by Jews abroad." (Noakes,460-463)

Followups directed to alt.revisionism

                              Work Cited

Noakes, Jeremy, and Geoffrey Pridham. Documents on Nazism 1919-1945. New
York: Viking Press, 1974

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