Nuremberg Laws

Nuremberg Laws
   The death of President Paul von Hindenburg in August 1934 removed the last restraint on Adolf Hitler’s efforts to remove the Jews from German life. While Hindenburg was alive, he insisted that Jewish war veterans be exempted from the increasing civil disabilities that affected Jewish life in Germany. Following Hindenburg’s death, Hitler assumed a new role as both chancellor and president of Germany as a result of the 1934 plebiscite that gave him 88 percent of the vote. Hitler now offered the Jews one of two choices: either leave Germany or, for those who remained, accept the loss of their citizenship and a segregated place in the Third Reich. The problem arising from these objectives was to determine who was a Jew and what constituted membership in the Jewish community. On 15 September 1935, the Nuremberg Laws were decreed at a special session of the Reichstag summoned to Nuremberg during the annual Nazi Party rally in that city.
   The special session produced two laws that became the basis for the exclusion of Jews from German life. The Reich Citizenship Law declared that only Germans or people “of related blood” could be citizens of Germany. As a result of the law, Jews lost their political rights and were relegated to being subjects of the state. The Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor prohibited marriage and extramarital intercourse between Jews and Germans. Jews were also prohibited from employing German maids under the age of 45. Although the provision was haphazardly enforced until 1938, Jews were also forbidden to raise the German flag.
   A Jew was defined as someone who descended from at least three Jewish grandparents or from two Jewish parents and belonged to the Jewish religious community on 15 September 1935 or joined the community on a subsequent date or was married to a Jewish person on 15 September 1935 or was the offspring of a marriage contracted with a three-quarter or a full Jew after the Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor had been implemented or was “the offspring of an extramarital relationship with a three-quarter or full Jew and was born out of wedlock after 31 July 1936.” Not defined as a Jew but counted as Mischlinge, or of mixed Jewish blood, was “any person who [was] descended from two Jewish grandparents but who did not adhere to the Jewish religion on 15 September 1935, and who did not join it at any subsequent time and was not married to a Jewish person on the 15 September date, and who did not marry such a person at any subsequent time.” Such persons were designated as Mischlinges of the first degree. Any person descended from one Jewish grandparent was designated as a Mischlinge of the second degree.
   The Nuremberg Laws had the effect of dividing non-Aryans into categories, Jews and Mischlinges, with the latter excluded from the civil service and the Nazi Party, and restricted to the rank of common soldier. Mischlinges were also prohibited from marrying Germans without official permission.
   See also Ideology.

Historical dictionary of the Holocaust. . 2014.

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