Violence Against Jews Was the Main Feature
Violence Against Jews Was the Main Feature
Violence was certainly a part of Nazi anti-Semitic policies, but it can be argued that it was the main feature. The Nazi’s had many other policies against Jews that were not focused on violence, but on other ways to make the lives of Jews increasingly difficult. We can certainly say that violence was a feature of the policies of the Nazi’s. And there was a great amount of violence mainly against Jews but also at other not-Aryan groups. One of the first acts of violence was in 1933, a spontaneous attack and boycott on Jewish shops by Nazi movements that were not totally under the control of the regime.
It was known as the revolution from below. We can however argue that this act of violence was not a real policy of the Nazi’s, because it did not come from the Nazi top but from individuals those who supported the Nazi’s. On the other hand, it was later supported by Hitler and his regime and that was the first of the many acts of violence against Jews. A very important move of the Nazi’s against the Jews was the Law for Restoration of Professional Civil Service in 1933, this law dismissed Jews from civil service.
It had a big and terrible impact on the economical and psychological state of middle-class Jews. But it did what the Nazi’s intended for it to do, because of this law, 37000 Jews left Germany. Later that year other similar laws were passed, all aimed at excluding Jews from jobs and professions. However passing a law, how discriminating it is, is not violence. It seemed that the Nazi regime tried to bully the Jewish people away from Germany. Without using violence, this proves that there were features of the anti-Semitic policies that did not include violence.
Another non-violence but highly important move were the Nuremberg Laws from 1935. This law was a typical anti-Semitic legislation, they banned inter-marriage between Aryans and non-Aryans and they excluded anyone that did not have purely German blood from having German citizenship. These laws are said to be a tactic to replace random violence with controlled legal discrimination. This is a strong argument to say that the main feature of the Nazi anti-Semitic policies was not violence, but more discrimination and making the lives of Jews increasingly difficult through legislation.
However, that same year, 1935 attacks on Jewish shops and synagogues started, this increased over the years until the real breakout of kristallnacht, in the night of 9 November, 1938. This night thousands of Jewish shops, homes and synagogues were destroyed and burned down. And Jews were arrested everywhere, this was an organised event and even though the regime pretended like they did not know about this, they were the ones behind it. The Nazi leadership wanted the violence and vandalism against the Jews but was careful to make it seem like they had nothing to do with it.
This was a big feature of their policies, encouraging violence, bit making it seem like they knew nothing about it. All these events make up a balanced policy, not totally focused on violence as their main feature but still using violence and discrimination. We can say that violence was not the main-feature of Nazi policies. However it did have a very big role, they did not only use violence to be anti-Semitic. They also used legislation and law very carefully to discriminate the Jews and make their lives much harder.
It seems as if they first started out with trying to scare the Jews away from Germany through laws and non-violent boycotts. When this did not have the desired effect, the Nazi regime decided that it was time for more action and harder policies, using more violence against the Jews. Violence might not have been the main feature in the period of 1933-1939, it did become one after this period of time. That leads us to believe that in the ’33-’39 period discrimination through legislation was the main feature and not violence.
Subject: Nazi Germany,
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 10 January 2017
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