Laws Against Jews

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ANTISEMITIC LEGISLATION 1933–1939 Antisemitism and the persecution of Jews were central tenets of Nazi ideology. In their 25-point party program published in 1920, Nazi party members publicly declared their intention to segregate Jews from “Aryan” society and to abrogate their political, legal, and civil rights. Nazi leaders began to make good on their pledge to persecute German Jews soon after their assumption of power. During the first six years of Hitler's dictatorship, from 1933 until the outbreak of war in 1939, Jews felt the effects of more than 400 decrees and regulations that restricted all aspects of their public and private lives. Many of these were national laws that had been issued by the German administration and affected all Jews. But state, regional, and municipal officials, acting on their own initiatives, also promulgated a barrage of exclusionary decrees in their own communities. Thus, hundreds of individuals in all levels of government throughout the country were involved in the persecution of Jews as they conceived, discussed, drafted, adopted, enforced, and supported anti-Jewish legislation. No corner of Germany was left untouched. The first major law to curtail the rights of Jewish citizens was the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service of April 7, 1933, which excluded Jews and the “politically unreliable” from civil service. The new law was the German authorities' first formulation of the so-called Aryan Paragraph, a regulation used to exclude Jews (and often, by extension, other “non-Aryans”) from organizations, professions, and other aspects of public life. This would become the foundation of the Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935, which defined Jews not by religious belief but by ancestral lineage and which formalized their segregation from the so-called Aryan population. In April 1933, German law restricted the
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