Nuremberg Laws

One of the darkest events in history turns out to be the Holocaust when the Nazi believe the Jews are a disgrace to the human race and should not be alive. Most people understand the Nazis systematically murder over twelve million Jews, Soviet prisoners, and other ethnic minorities. In addition, most realize the Nazis use of concentration camps, ghettos, and extermination centers, but these things were not utilized until well into the Nazi reign. However, most do not realize that the beginning of Nazi terror began immediately following Hitler’s rise to power with the enactment of Nuremberg Laws.
Nuremberg LawsAccording to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, at the annual rally party held in Nuremberg in 1935, the Nazis announced new laws which institutionalized many of the racial theories prevalent in Nazi ideology. Ancillary ordinances to the laws disenfranchised Jews and deprived them of most political rights. Nuremberg Laws are instituted September 5, 1935 at the Nazis annual party rally the new laws revoke Reich citizenship for Jews and prohibit Jews from marrying or having sexual relations with persons of German or related blood. Nuremberg Laws describe Jews as anyone with three or four Jewish grandparents regardless of whether the individual identified themselves as a Jew or belonged to a Jewish religious community. Many Germans who had not practiced Judaism for years found themselves caught in the grip of Nazi terror. Consequently, the Nazis classify as Jews thousands of people who had converted from Judaism to another religion, among them even Roman Catholic priests and nuns and Protestant ministers whose grandparents were Jews. Another key date is November 14, 1935 when the Nuremberg lawsextended to other groups. It extends the prohibition on marriage or sexual relations between people who could produce “racially suspect” offspring.A week later, the minister of the interior interprets this to mean relations between “those of German or related blood” and Roma (Gypsies), blacks, or their offspring (The Nuremberg Race Laws).
According to the article The “Triumph of Hitler”, the announcement of the Nuremberg laws had the unexpected results of generating a lot of confusion and heated debate among Nazi bureaucrats as to how one should define a Jew, given that there had been widespread intermarriage up to this point (The History Place). Furthermore, as it turned out that about 350,000 Germans could be classified as Mischlinge (half-breeds). 50, 000 had converted to Christianity from Judaism, 210,000 being half-Jews, and 80,000considered quarter-Jews (The History Place).
According to Greg Bradsher, ten years later it would also be in Nuremberg where surviving prominent Nazi leaders are put on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The war ended May 1945 and soon the attention of the Allies turned to prosecuting the Third Reich leaders who are responsible for the persecution of the Jews and the Holocaust. Furthermore, the trails took place in the Nuremberg Palace of Justice and began November 20, 1945. The Nuremberg laws a crucial step in Nazi racial laws that led to the marginalization of German Jews and ultimately to their segregation, confinement, and extermination were key pieces of evidence in the trials, which resulted in twelve death sentences and life or long sentencesor other Third Reich leaders. Bradsher also states that the persecution of Jews actually started in 1933 after the Nazis took power in Germany. Jews were not allowed to hold public office or civil service positions. They were also denied employment by the press and radio and excluded from farming (Bradsher).
Doug Linder says that “no trial provides a better basis for understanding the nature and causes of evil than do the Nuremberg trials from 1945 to 1949. Those who come to the trials expecting to find sadistic monsters are generally disappointed. What is shocking about Nuremberg is the ordinariness of the defendants: men who may be good fathers, kind to animals, even unassuming yet who committed unspeakable crimes” (Linder). Whereas several of the Nazi leaders would escape trial and punishment, one of them would be Adolf Hitler because he shot himself two days before Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson’s appointment in a bunker twenty feet below the Berlin sewer system. Also perhaps the most terrifying figure in the Nazi regime Heinrich Himmler he took a cyanide crystal while being examined by a British doctor and died within minutes. Also unavailable for trial were Joseph Goebbels who was dead and Martin Bormann who was missing (Linder).
According to Jennifer Goss, there was another law put into effect before the Nuremberg laws entitled Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service which as passed on April 7, 1933, and it was the first major piece of anti-Semitic legislation in Nazi Germany. The law served to bar Jews and any other non-Aryans from participating in various organizations and professions in the civil service. In addition laws during April 1933 also targeted Jewish students at Public schools and universities and those who worked in the legal and medical professions. A lot more pieces of anti-Semitic legislation were passed both at local and national levels. Goss also goes on to say that “the Nuremberg Laws were actually a set of two laws the Reich Citizenship Law and the Law for the Protection of German blood and Honor” (Goss). The Reich Citizenship law had two major components. The first component was, anyone who enjoys the protection of the Reich is considered to be a subject of it and therefore obligated to the Reich and nationality is determined by the Reich and state nationality laws. The second component was how citizenship would be determined. A citizen of the Reich must be German blood or Germanic origin and must prove it by their conduct that they are suited to be a loyal German citizen. Citizenship may only be conferred with an official certificate of Reich citizenship. Only Reich citizens may receive full political rights. Furthermore, “by taking away their citizenship the Nazis had legally pushed Jews to the fringe of society. This was a crucial step in enabling the Nazis to strip Jews of their basic civil rights and liberties. Remaining German citizens were hesitant to object for fear of being accused of being disloyal to the German government as decreed under the Reich citizenship law” says Goss (Goss).

Works Cited

Bradsher, Greg. "Archives Receives Original Nazi Documents That "Legalized" Persecution of Jews." National Archives. National Archives. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.
Goss, Jennifer L. "The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 Nazi Laws Against Jews." 20th Century History. 20th Century History. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.
Linder, Doug. "The Nuremberg Trials." Famous World Trials. Famous World Trials, 200. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.
"The Nuremburg Race Laws." United States Memorial Holocaust Museum, Washington, D.C. USHMM. Web. 10 Apr. 2013.
"The Triumph of Hitler." The History Place. The History Place, 2001. Web. 15 Apr. 2013


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