Berlin, Germany · April 7, 1933

Following his swearing in as chancellor on January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party began a policy of Gleich­schal­tung (synchro­ni­zation), where­by Ger­many would be thoroughly re­ordered along Nazi lines. With the Reichs­tag’s pas­sage of the En­abling Act on March 23, 1933, Hit­ler ruled by decree and the Nazi synchro­ni­za­tion engine sprang to life. On this date in 1933 com­pli­ant Reichs­tag mem­bers passed the Civil Service Resto­ra­tion Act, also known as the Aryan Act. This law reestablished “national” civil ser­vice and allowed tenured civil ser­vants to be dis­missed. Civil ser­vants who had opposed the Nazis or who were not of pure Ger­manic de­scent (not “Aryans”; the term was defined the fol­lowing week) were forced to retire. This meant that Jews and poli­ti­cal oppo­nents of the Nazis could not serve as teachers, pro­fes­sors, judges, or hold other govern­ment posts. Shortly after­wards a simi­lar law was passed covering law­yers, doc­tors, tax con­sult­ants, and pub­lic nota­ries. Limits were placed on the num­ber of Jews in public schools. In Sep­tem­ber and Octo­ber Jews were ex­cluded from working in cul­tural and enter­tain­ment occu­pa­tions, as well as in the field of jour­nalism. The raft of legis­la­tion culmi­nated in the 1935 Nurem­berg Laws “for the final sepa­ra­tion of Jewry from the Ger­man Volk” (racial com­mu­nity). The areas of legit­i­mate em­ploy­ment open to Jews (Voll-Juden) and “Jewish mixed-breeds” (Misch­linge) dwindled to nothing. For the most part ordi­nary Ger­mans accepted anti-Semi­tic legis­la­tion with­out pro­test owing to their deep respect for the law and their accep­tance of Nazi racist ide­o­logy, us ver­sus them. The visi­ble ostra­cism and perse­cu­tion of Jews was ratcheted up with new legis­la­tion two years after Hitler had un­leashed his gen­o­ci­dal war in Europe. From Septem­ber 1941 the law obli­gated all Jews over the age of six, when out in public, to wear the Juden­stern, or “Jewish star.” Fines or impri­son­ment were im­posed on vic­tims who broke the law or hid the star in any way. The next month rail cars left the Nazi capi­tal for the east, the first in a series that carried thou­sands of Ber­liners to Jewish ghettos and labor and death camps in occu­pied terri­tories. Between five and seven thou­sand Jewish Ber­liners avoided depor­ta­tion by “diving” (tauchen) underground.

[amazon_carousel widget_type=”ASINList” width=”600″ height=”200″ title=”Recommended Reading” market_place=”US” shuffle_products=”False” show_border=”False” asin=”0786887737,0253349451,0674027388,0252061470,025207453X,1416594272,0801848245,0300188544,0061350273,0300151276″ /]

Two Documents that Attested to Non-Jewish Ancestry in Nazi Germany and Austria

Aryan certificate

Above: An example of a Ariernachweis (Aryan Certif­i­cate), in this in­stance issued by the Stadt­pfarr­amt Boennig­heim in the state of Baden-Wuerttem­berg. It certi­fied that the person had no Jewish parents or grand­parents. Beginning in April 1933 the Aryan Certi­fi­cate was required of all em­ployees and offi­cials in the public sec­tor, in­cluding edu­ca­tion, under the Civil Ser­vice Act. Out­side the civil ser­vice, the Act’s Aryan para­graph was in­serted into the stat­utes of many feder­a­tions, organi­za­tions, corpo­ra­tions, and real estate deeds, ulti­mately excluding Jews from all public life.

Ancestor passport

Above: The pages in the Ahnenpaß (Ancestor Pass­port) docu­mented the non-Jewish line­age of citizens of Nazi Ger­many and Aus­tria. It was one of the forms of the Aryan Certi­fi­cate. A proven Aryan line­age was required for working in the pro­fes­sions, attending high school or the uni­ver­sity, owning real estate, and even getting married.

Short Clip of Hitler Speaking to the Reichstag Assembled on Septem­ber 15, 1935, at the Nuremberg Party Rally. The Reichstag Enacted the Anti-Semitic Nuremberg Laws on the Same Day