Persecution, Antisemitism and Kristallnacht

Persecution, Antisemitism and Kristallnacht


Anti Semetic Propaganda - History GCSE Revision The most tragic and evil aspects of the Nazi regime, as everyone knows, were its persecution of various ethnic and religious groups, most notoriously of all the Jews. The regime also demonized black people, gypsies, the disabled, homosexuals and Jehovah’s Witnesses. And people who developed problems such as alcoholism, or worked in disreputable jobs such as prostitution, equally found themselves prosecuted. All these groups, but especially the Jews, were seen to be infecting the purity of the German race.

The discrimination of most of these groups mainly took the form of putting them in concentration camps. Some groups, such as the disabled, were sterilized so that they could not have children.

However, persecution of the Jews played a much more important role in Nazi Germany. Propaganda continuously pointed to them as a scapegoat for Germany’s past woes, and working to destroy the superior German races. The following steps were taken before World War II to persecute Jews in Germany:

* People were encouraged to boycott Jewish businesses from 1933 onwards

* Jewish people were banned from working as lawyers, teachers or government employees in 1933.

* The Nuremberg Laws were passed in September 1935, which took citizenship status away from Jews and banned them from marrying Germans or voting.

* In 1938 Jewish children were banned from attending schools.


Kristallnacht A turning point came on 9 November 1938, when the SA organized physical attacks on Jews, synagogues and Jewish businesses across the country (the event is known as Kristallnacht, or Night of the Broken Glass). 30,000 Jews were arrested and almost 100 were killed. Thousands of businesses and synagogues were destroyed. This wave of violence was encouraged and orchestrated by leading Nazis after a Jewish teenager, Herschel Grynszpan, murdered a Nazi diplomat in Paris.

Foreign journalists reported the full horrors of Kristallnacht in newspapers across the globe. The world had got its first glimpse of the most hateful side of Nazism. Sadly, it would not be its last.