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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Jews in Germany 05: Third Reich 1933-1939

The Jews as an "alien race" - boycotts and Nazi law - new structure of the community - emigration waves - pioneer training - Ha'avara transactions of $16,200,000 to Palestine - Austria and Sudetenland 1938 - emigration table 1933-1939

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Germany, vol. 7,
                    col. 494. Waiting at the Palestine Office, Berlin,
                    for permits to enter Erez Israel, 1939. Courtesy Yad
                    Vashem, Jerusalem
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Germany, vol. 7, col. 494. Waiting at the Palestine Office,
Berlin, for permits to enter Erez Israel, 1939. Courtesy Yad Vashem, Jerusalem

from: Germany; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971), vol. 7

presented by Michael Palomino (2008)

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[Jews an "alien race" - boycotts - concentration of power - concentration camps]

As a result of the Nazi seizure of power on Jan. 30, 1933, the entire existing structure of Jewish life in Germany collapsed. At the same time (1933-38), German Jewry underwent a spiritual awakening and achieved a peak of vitality in Jewish communal life. In the national-socialist racist state, the Jews, branded as an "alien race", were automatically excluded by law from general life.

[[At the same time the Jewish organizations organized a world wide economic boycott of Germany during the whole time from 1933 to 1945]].

Anti-Jewish measures gradually reduced the Jews to self-confinement [[self limitation]] and seclusion [[depression]]; the majority of the Jews were, however, unable unreservedly to sever the ties that had integrated them into German life. The racist decree that "no Jew could be a German" gravely affected the premise for the flourishing life of German Jewry, since the vast majority had considered themselves Germans and were completely assimilated in German culture.

On April 1, 1933, the first large-scale anti-Jewish (col. 488)

demonstration took place, in the form of a boycott of all Jewish-owned shops and offices of Jewish professionals. The yellow *badge was posted on Jewish business concerns and many residences [[e.g. on windows of the Jewish shops]]; windows and doors were smeared with anti-Semitic and indecent cartoons; and S.A. (storm troop) guards ensured the observance of the boycott. The boycott was abandoned two days later due to sharp reaction from abroad and for fear of potential damage to the economy of the country. This demonstration, far from being "a spontaneous eruption of the people's wrath", was organized by the Nazi Party on government orders. (col. 489)

[[The following day many Jews went to the Jewish shops and made their purchase for two days]].

The April 1, 1933,anti-Jewish demonstration filled many with consternation, but only a few Jews were brought to the brink of despair (resulting in some cases in suicide). IN the initial stage, both Jews and some non-Jews protested. The Jews sought to remind the Germans of the contributions they had made to Germany's cultural and economic life, of their loyalty to the country, and of the medals they had earned on the field of battle. They soon realized that their efforts were futile. (col. 490)

In the beginning there were even some signs of resistance among the German public to actions of this sort, until eventually the Nazi Party succeeded in suppressing all opposing political trends and concentrated absolute power in its own hands (see also *S.S.). This was achieved soon after the Nazi takeover, initiated by a wave of arrests of political opponents, for whose internment concentration *camps were set up. The first victims were political opponents of the regime, or people with whom it had personal accounts to settle, or whom it sought to deprive of their property. (col. 489)

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Germany, vol. 7,
                    col. 487-488. Map of the major Jewish communities in
                    Germany in 1933 and 1970.
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Germany, vol. 7, col. 487-488. Map of the major Jewish communities in Germany in 1933 and 1970.

["Non-Aryans" - dismissals - Nuremberg laws of 1935]

On April 7, 1933, the term Nichtarier ("non-Aryan") was adopted as legal designation. This facilitated the removal, step by step, of the Jews from various professions. The first to suffer were lawyers, judges, public officials, artists, newspapermen, and doctors. (At the beginning, veterans of World War I were not included in the ban). The Jews were methodically pushed out of their remaining employment.

The adoption of the *Nuremberg Laws on Sept. 15, 1935, marked a new phase. It provided
-- a precise definition of the "Jews" by origin, religion, and family ties;
-- deprived the Jews of their status as citizens of the Reich
-- and reduced them to "subjects of the state".
-- Intermarriage was prohibited
-- while special provisions were made to deal with already-existing mixed marriages.
-- Sexual intercourse between Jews and non-Jews was branded as Rassenschande ("defiling of the race") liable to severe punishment.

[[Big parts of the racist law's commentary for the "protection to hinder heritage damage" were written by the Swiss racist Ernst Ruedin, an eugenic "scientist" who was fighting for a pure race in Switzerland and meant he fullfilled his work of life by his contribution to the Nazi law for sterilizations of handicapped and minor rated people. Sterilization had been applicated for a long time already in Switzerland, long before 1933 with the approval of the racist Swiss government of that time. Later the Nazi leaders praised the Swiss contribution of the racial laws in the Third Reich]].

In order to stigmatize the Jews further and brand them as a licentious people, the employment of "Aryan" maids in their households was also forbidden. From time to time, addenda were made to the Nuremberg Laws, further reducing the Jews' status, until July 1, 1943, when the 13th such order was promulgated, declaring Germany judenrein ("clean of Jews").

Several Nazi leaders declared that with the adoption of the Nuremberg laws the "regulation of the Jewish problem" was completed, and that the government had no intention of ousting the Jews from the economic positions they still held. In the period 1935-37, despite all the destructive measures, a large amount of capital still remained in Jewish (col. 489)

hands and some Jews continued to run profit-making enterprises. To an extent, the Jews also benefited from the economic prosperity brought about by rearmament. Confiscation of Jewish capital, or enforced sale of Jewish enterprises (Arianisierung [[aryanization]]) did, however, become more and more frequent, along with arrests and other anti-Jewish measures. (col. 490)

[[The Hitler regime let deprive Jewish shops and enterprises, Jewish gold and houses, and sold it for flea market prices to political "friends" in the world, e.g. also to industrial families in "neutral" Switzerland...]]

[Hopes for emigration - anti-Semitism uniting the community - the new structure of the community under the Nazi rule]

Gradually, the majority of the Jews understood that their fate was bound up with the Jewish people. Their only defenders were the Jews throughout the world who protested against the ill-treatment to which their brethren in Germany were being exposed. Emigration from Germany was their only hope but this too they could not achieve without the aid of international Jewish bodies. Judaism was also their only source of moral comfort. The persecution aroused in them a sense of pride in being a Jews, which gave them the moral strength to endure.

German Jewry now began to cooperate as a single body because external events erased the differences that had previously divided the assimilationists and those Jews who identified themselves with the Jewish culture and people. The anti-Jewish policies were directed against the assimilationist Jews as well, forcing them to recognize that they too (col. 490)

were members of the Jewish people. The Nazi doctrine propounded that "blood" determined everything, so even converts and persons of mixed parentage were labeled Jews. Among the latter were persons who for two or three generations had had no spiritual tie with Judaism. Of these "non-Aryan" Christians, or persons not adhering to any religion, only a few found their way back to active Jewish life. The rest, however, who still regarded themselves as Jews, now closed ranks, irrespective of the divergent views they had held in the past.

Many who had played important roles in German life, but had been remote from Jewish activities, were now eager and ready to accept Jewish public activity. At first, the existing Jewish organizations united under the Zentralausschuss fuer Hilfe und Aufbau ("Central Committee for Aid and Construction"), providing welfare and emigration services. This was followed by the creation of the *Reichsvertretung der Juden in Deutschland ("Reich Representation of the Jews in Germany") headed by Rabbi Leo *Baeck. (The use of the term "Jews in Germany" was imposed when the Nazis prohibited the term "German Jews"). (col. 491)

[Jewish emigration from Germany: first wave - complicated emigration with visa also to overseas - emigration to Palestine]

From the outset, one of the principal tasks confronting the Reichsvertretung was to organize emigration, which had taken various forms. There was first of all the spontaneous flight to neighboring countries. In 1933, this was comparatively easy, for the Jews bore German passports which permitted entry to most European countries without visas. Regulations on removal of currency from Germany were not that strict, and a uniform regulation had not as yet been reached.

[[Many Jews who had fled abroad could not find support resp. were not supported by the Jewish organizations abroad. They stayed as poor or even were sent back to the Reich. Details about these circumstances of the Jewish flight can be seen in: Yehuda Bauer: Joint]]

In the course of time, however, the countries of reception placed obstacles in the way of the refugees from Germany, especially by refusing them work permits. Thus, the Swiss government refused such permits to all foreign nationals. Only in a few instances were the emigrants able to maintain themselves on the funds they had brought with them. Emigration was also directed to overseas countries, mainly to the [[criminal]] United States

[[the "USA" financed Communism and the Third Reich at one time...]]

but also to South America, Canada, and Australia. The consulates of these countries were thronged, but the existing regulations were not slackened to help the persecuted Jews.

[[Every country had it's special regulations. There is no general statement possible, see the different articles of every country]].

Except for Britain in 1938-39, no entry visas were issued outside the scope of existing immigration laws.

[[In last years before WW II the regulations in the European countries were harsh against the Jews. Borders were closed, and in France the Jewish refugees were even put into concentration camps. There they were very "safe", see: Yehuda Bauer: Joint]]

The third and principal form of emigration was to Palestine. This was more than a simple rescue operation, for it had ideological overtones, reinforced by the feeling of attachment to the "Jewish National Home", while emigration to other (col. 491)

countries was dictated by utilitarian reasons only. Most of the [[racist]] Zionists who left Germany made their way to Palestine. A systematic campaign on behalf of aliyah was conducted, and as the dangers grew, an immigration certificate to Palestine became a valuable document, coveted also by non-Zionists. (col. 492)

[Emigration table 1933-1939: Numbers of the emigration of the Jews from Nazi Germany]
Emigration of Jews from Germany in the Period April 1933 to May 19391, including Areas occupied by Germany by May 19391 [[Austria]]
1Estimated figures
Country of Reception
No. of German [[Jewish]] immigrants
Great Britain
South Africa
Other European countries
Other South American countries
Far Eastern countries

from: from: Germany; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971), vol. 7, col. 491

According to estimates of the League of Nations *High Commissioner for Refugees, 329,000 Jews fled from the Nazis in the period 1933-39, of whom 315,000 left Germany itself. In June 1933 there were 503,000 Jews by religion in Germany (including the Saar Region, incorporated in Germany in 1935), while in the first six years of the Nazi regime, the number of Jews was reduced by 289,000, leaving 214,000 Jews in May 1939. According to the census, there were 234,000 Jews (as defined by the Nuremberg Laws) in Germany in 1939, a reduction of 330,000 since 1925. (col. 492)

[[Einstein was one of the emigrants to the criminal "USA", and after his emigration he was publishing texts against Nazi Germany. Einstein who knew about the structure of German research warned Roosevelt from a possible German atomic bomb. So, Roosevelt supported all he could to destroy Germany with an atomic bomb. The atomic bomb was thought against Germany, not against Japan]].

[The well organized preparation for Jewish emigration in Germany: pioneer training - transaction of goods with Ha'avara agreement for $ 16,200,000]

Efforts were also made to bring about a change in the occupational structure of the Jews, in order to prepare them for emigration. A large part of the Jewish students had been expelled from their German schools and universities and were now taught new trades on farms or in vocational and agricultural schools. (col. 492)

Among the [[racist]] Zionist youth movement, the largest was Ha-Bonim, No'ar Haluzi (Ḥaluẓi), which was founded in 1933 and based on a merger of Kadimah and Berit Olim. Makkabbi Hazair was a General Zionist youth movement, while the Werkleute [[Working People]] were absorbed by Ha-Shomer ha-Za'ir (ha-Ẓa'ir). After 1928, religious youth was organized in the Berit Haluzim (Ḥaluẓim) Datiyyim. He-Halutz (He-Ḥalutz), the largest organization preparing its members for settlement in Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel), established hakhsharot - agricultural training centers - with the support of the Reichsvertretung.

Non-Zionist youth was organized in the Deutsch-juedische Jugend [[German Jewish Youth]] and Vortrupp [[Pioneers]] societies. The [[racist]] Zionist Organization of Germany, which grew tremendously in strength, gained half of the seats in the community council and the national organizations in 1935. (col. 493)

Schools to teach Hebrew, English, Spanish, and other languages were also established to prepare Jews for future emigration. Aliyah to Palestine, and hakhsharah, preparation for aliyah [[pioneer training]], were organized by the [[racist]] Zionist *Palestine Office (Palaestina-Amt), which greatly expanded in this period. The Palestine Office acted in an advisory capacity and was in charge of the transfer of capital through the *Ha'avara Company, which, with the approval of the authorities, succeeded in removing Jewish capital from Germany in the form of exports to Palestine, valued at about $ 16,200,000. Emigrants to the [[criminal]] United States [[who financed Communism and the Third Reich at the same time]] were rendered aid primarily by the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden [["Aid Society of German Jews"]] and the American Jewish *Joint Distribution Committee. For the Jews in Germany the last few years preceding the war were marked by a desperate race to discover possible emigration outlets. The number of outlets, however, was continually reduced and, when the last exit to safety was finally closed, there was still a sizable Jewish community left in Germany. (col. 492)

[[The emigration to Palestine was a trick of the Nazi regime, because afterward Palestine should come under Nazi rule and the Jews would have been detained again]].

[Cultural life: Jewish schools - training for Palestine]

[[The stimulation of Jewish identity also was a trick of the Nazi regime, because afterwards Palestine should come under Nazi rule and the Jews would have been in the Nazi trap again]].

In the period 1933-38, the Jews of Germany stepped up (col. 492)

in considerable measure their own public and cultural life. They were now called upon to provide not only for their strictly "Jewish" needs, but also to engage in activities of a general nature, especially in education and culture. The Jewish community had to set up its own elementary and high schools for Jewish children, who had been expelled from the public schools. The teaching staff for these new schools consisted of the Jewish teachers who had been dismissed from the German school system. The "Center for Jewish Adult Education", an institution created by Martin Buber under the auspices of the Reichsvertretung, included among its tasks the training of these teachers for their duties in Jewish schools. In general, the educational and cultural activities of the Reichsvertretung may be regarded as the beginning of a Jewish moral resistance movement. (col. 493)

The Jewish press played a great role in strengthening the spirit of German Jews. The C.-V. Zeitung gained a circulation of 40,000 and a similar number subscribed to the Juedische Rundschau. [[...]] The [[racist]] pro-Zionist Israelitisches Familienblatt also jumped to a circulation of 35,000.

In art and literature a similar development took place. Jewish artists and writers who had no succeeded in immediately leaving Germany were forced to restrict their work to the realm of Judaism; in many instances this was a "return to Judaism" in name only, but in others it was accompanied by a profound spiritual change. The *Juedischer Kulturbund [["Jewish Cultural Society"]] was created to organize Jewish cultural life. Jewish newspapers enlarged their scope, Jewish publishing houses increased their activities, and books on Jewish subjects, poetry, history, and essays, gained a wide distribution. Like their cultural activities, the publishing activities of Jews were under the official supervision of the Juden-Referat, a separate body established within the framework of Goebbels' Ministry of Propaganda.

[[The other states in the world also had their Ministries of Propaganda lying and lying and lying. And nobody of the "normal" population in the world knew that the criminal "USA" were financing Communism and the Third Reich at the same time...]]

From time to time certain publications were prohibited and newspaper editions were confiscated. The [[racist]] Zionist organ, Juedische Rundschau, was closed down and reopened on numerous occasions. In the course of time, the officials of the Juden-Referat came to show personal interest in the continued functioning of Jewish cultural life.

The events of Nov. 9-10, 1938, however, put an end to this situation, and the ensuing months, up to the outbreak of the war, were marked by general alarm among the Jews, cessation of all social activities, mass emigration, and Gestapo persecution of the remaining Jews. (col. 493)

[[The mass emigration in "Old Germany" was performed before. The mass emigration from Austria was performed in 1938-1939]].

[Annexation of Austria and Sudetenland in 1938 - Crystal Night]

The decisive turning point in Nazi policy against the Jews came in March 1938, when Austria was annexed to the Reich. The anti-Jewish excesses that took place in Austria, especially in *Vienna, were far worse than any that had occurred thus far in Germany, and the general population's part in them was much greater. The Jews in the Sudetenland were to undergo like persecution when the Nazis annexed it on the basis of the October 1938 Munich Conference. The gravest incident in this stage in the entire area of "Greater Germany" occurred on Nov. 9, 1938 (see *Kristallnacht [[Crystal Night]]).

The pretext for this action was the assassination of a member of the German Embassy in Paris by a Jews, Herschel *Grynszpan. A collective fine of one billion marks was also imposed upon the Jews. These measures put the Jews of Germany in jeopardy and all subsequent measures only further aggravated their situation, culminating in 1940 with the commencement of systematic deportations to extermination camps. (col. 490)

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971):
                              Germany, vol. 7, col. 492. The
                              19th-century neo-oriental synagogue of
                              Darmstadt, destroyed by the Nazis
                              [[probably by the S.A.]] in 1938. Courtesy
                              Darmstadt Municipality. Photo Immo Beyer,
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Germany, vol. 7, col. 492. The 19th-century neo-oriental synagogue of Darmstadt, destroyed by the Nazis [[probably by the S.A.]] in 1938. Courtesy Darmstadt Municipality. Photo Immo Beyer, Darmstadt
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971):
                              History, vol. 8, col. 738: The interior of
                              the Central Synagogue in Munich after
                              "Kristallnacht", November 1938.
                              Courtesy Yad Vashem Archives, Jerusalem
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): History, vol. 8, col. 738: The interior of the Central Synagogue in Munich after "Kristallnacht", November 1938. Courtesy Yad Vashem Archives, Jerusalem

[Situation 1939 before the war]

In the period (col. 493)

1933-39, the communal and occupational life of German Jewry had undergone a radical change. After expulsion from commercial life and the professions, many Jews switched over to manual labor and agriculture. Although in 1933, 48.12% of German Jews had steady employment, by 1939 this figure had been reduced to 15.6% (Jews "by faith"). Of breadwinners in 1939 who no longer had any regular employment, over 40% were able to live off their capital and property, while others had some income from other sources and insurance.

By 1939, thousands of Jews were already imprisoned in concentration camps. The Nazis planned, or pretended to be planning, the transfer of German Jews to special, remote, areas - in *Madagascar or in the occupied territories of Poland or Russia. At the beginning of 1942, when the physical destruction of Jews was already in full swing, these plans were finally abandoned.

[The Reich union of Jews in Germany since 4 July 1939]

A law passed on July 4, 1939, transformed the Reichsvertretung into the Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland ("Reich union of Jews in Germany"), and charged the new organization with promoting Jewish emigration, running the Jewish schools, and social welfare. Leo Baeck remained head of the new organization. The work of the Reichsvereinigung was defined by law, and subject to orders from the minister of the interior. The Nazis regarded it as an instrument which could be maneuvered to rid the country of all its Jews in the shortest possible time. In May 1939, there were still 214,000 Jews left, of whom 90% lived in 200 cities and the rest in 1,800 different places without an organized Jewish community. There were an additional 20,000 persons who had been classified as Jews under the Nuremberg Laws.> (col. 494)

[Racist ideology in official books]
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971), vol. 8,
                              col. 737: comparison between eastern Jew
                              and German man. Pictures of a Galician Jew
                              and a German juxtaposed to support Nazi
                              racial theory.
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971), vol. 8, col. 737: comparison between eastern Jew and German man. Pictures of a Galician Jew and a German juxtaposed to support Nazi racial theory.

The German text reads: <"Es gibt keine Menschheitsrasse", sondern nur rassisch bedingte Volkheiten. Die Teufelslehre von der "Gleichberechtigung alles dessen, was Menschenantlitz trägt", entweiht heiliges, deutsches Bluterbe zum fluchbeladenen Rassenchaos jüdischen Untermenschentums.>

The translation (from Encyclopaedia Judaica): <"There is no 'human race', but only racially distinct peoples. The devilish theory of 'the equality of everyone with a human face' defiles the sacred heritage of German blood with the accursed racial chaos of Jewish subhumanity."

From R. Koerber: Rassesieg in Wien der Grenzseste des Reiches ["Race Victory in Vienna of the Frontier of the Reich], 1939

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Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Germany, vol.
                      7, col. 487-488
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Germany, vol. 7, col. 487-488
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Germany, vol.
                      7, col. 489-490
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Germany, vol. 7, col. 489-490
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Germany, vol.
                      7, col. 491-492
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Germany, vol. 7, col. 491-492
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Germany, vol.
                      7, col. 493-494
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Germany, vol. 7, col. 493-494

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