The impact that the implementation of the eugenics program had on Jews in Germany between 1933 and 1945 was to create an intensifying and escalating level of isolation, violence and ultimately planned mass extermination. As the Nazi party came to power and gained momentum, beginning in about 1933 it became...
The impact that the implementation of the eugenics program had on Jews in Germany between 1933 and 1945 was to create an intensifying and escalating level of isolation, violence and ultimately planned mass extermination. As the Nazi party came to power and gained momentum, beginning in about 1933 it became increasingly more difficult for German Jews to live as they had been living. They were stripped of their rights as citizens, made to self-identify as Jews, barred from most public places and from owning and operating businesses, and eventually rounded up and deported to Nazi death camps.
The Nazis passed the Nuremberg Laws, more specifically known as the Reich Citizenship Law and the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor, in 1935. These laws reflected the eugenics program that was the base of Nazi philosophy. The laws created an escalating system of persecuting Jews, first in Germany and then throughout the territories that the Nazis conquered. Nazis defined Jews as anyone with three or more Jewish grandparents. The Nuremberg Laws were eventually extended to many other people considered racially impure by the Nazis.
The laws stripped Jews of their German citizenship and prohibited marriage between Jews and German non-Jews. The Nuremberg Laws criminalized sexual relations between Jews and non-Jews and asked the German public to be vigilant with regard to informing on neighbors who might be guilty of violating any of these laws. In this same context, the law prohibited Jewish families from hiring female non-Jewish maids under the age of 45. Jews were forbidden to display the national flag, if they had any interest in doing so.
On November 9, 1938, the Nazis organized a systematic defacement of Jewish synagogues, stores, and property. This event is known as Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, for the broken glass from homes and businesses strewn in the streets. Not only were physical stores and residences attacked, but many Jews were pulled out of their homes and beaten or even killed, with their bodies left in the streets. Kristallnacht marked a change in the Nazi treatment of Jews from outwardly repressive but largely non-physical (although there were incidents perpetrated by individuals that the Nazis happily tolerated) to increasingly violent. On May 20, 1940, the Nazis opened the Auschwitz death camp.
They were also required to self-identify as Jews. Specifically, on September 1, 1941, the government decreed that any Jew six years old or older must wear a yellow Star of David on their outer clothing any time they were in public. The Nazis in Germany and German-occupied Europe forced Jews to wear the emblem on their outer clothing to publicly identify themselves as Jews. This would further isolate them and also make it easier for Germans to identify them and modify their behavior.