Aryanization (German: Arisierung) was the forced expulsion of Jews from business life in Nazi Germany, Axis-aligned states, and their occupied territories. It entailed the transfer of Jewish property into "Aryan" hands in order to "de-Jew the economy".

The process started in 1933 in Nazi Germany with so-called "voluntary" transfers of Jewish property and ended with the Holocaust.[1][2] Two phases have generally been identified: a first phase in which the destitution of Jewish victims was concealed under a veneer of legality, and a second phase, in which property was more openly confiscated. In both cases, Aryanization corresponded to Nazi policy and was defined, supported and enforced by Germany's legal and financial bureaucracy.[3][4][5][6][7]

Before Hitler came to power Jews owned 100,000 businesses in Germany. By 1938, boycotts, intimidation, forced sales and restrictions on professions had largely forced Jews out of economic life. According to Yad Vashem, "Of the 50,000 Jewish-owned stores that existed in 1933, only 9,000 remained in 1938."[8]

In Nazi Germany

Exclusion of Jews

17 maerz 1938 das kleine volksblatt herzmansky arisch werbung
"Herzmansky is Purely Aryan Again!" - The Herzmansky warehouse in Vienna was confiscated after the Anschluss

Starting in 1933, through the Aryan paragraph and later the Nuremberg Laws, Jews were largely excluded from public life. Reserved areas in the economy had been left to them, which Aryanization was to remove. They were removed from jobs in the public sector, such as the civil service and teaching, and further restrictions were introduced through the Nazi period. Later on, an increasing number were incarcerated in Nazi concentration camps, and finally deported to the east where they were murdered directly in death camps or by being shot by the Einsatzgruppen.

Theft of property

By 1 January 1938, German Jews were prohibited from operating businesses and trades, and from offering goods and services. On 26 April 1938, Jews were ordered to report all wealth over 5,000 Reichsmarks, and their access to bank accounts was restricted. On 14 June 1938, the Interior Ministry ordered the registration of all Jewish businesses. The state set the sales value of Jewish firms at a fraction of their market worth, and used various pressure tactics to ensure sales only to desired persons. Among the largest "Aryanization profiteers" were IG Farben, the Flick family, and large banks. The proceeds from "Aryanized" firms had to be deposited in savings accounts, and were made available to their Jewish depositors only in limited amounts, so that in the final analysis Aryanization amounted to almost compensation-free confiscation.

Buchenwald Property 80623
Reichsbank president Walther Funk banked the gold rings of Buchenwald victims for the SS
Destroyed Ohel Yaaqov Synagogue.jpeg
A ruined synagogue in Munich after Kristallnacht

In the Autumn of 1938, only 40,000 of the formerly 100,000 Jewish businesses were still in the hands of their original owners. Aryanisation was completed with the enactment of a regulation, the Verordnung zur Ausschaltung der Juden aus dem deutschen Wirtschaftsleben (Regulation for the elimination of Jews from German economic life) of 12 November 1938, through which the remaining businesses were transferred to non-Jewish owners and the proceeds taken by the state. Jewellery, stocks, real property and other valuables had to be sold. Either by direct force, by government interventions such as sudden tax claims, or by the weight of the circumstances, Jewish property changed hands mostly below fair market value. Jewish employees were fired, and self-employed people were prohibited from working in their respective professions.


After the "Kristallnacht" pogroms, the pressure of Aryanization was drastically increased. On 12 November 1938, Jews were forbidden to function as business managers, forcing Jewish owners to install "Aryan" surrogates. These people, who were often promoted by the party, first took over the office, and soon thereafter usually the whole business. "Compliant Aryans" (Gefälligkeitsarier) were threatened with punishment according to the Regulation against Complicity with the Camouflage of Jewish Firms (22 April 1938). Because the Jews were burdened with heavy payments as "atonement" for the damage done by the SA and antisemitic mobs during Kristallnacht, the selling off of Jewish property was only a question of time. On 3 December 1938, the value of Jewish landed property was frozen at the lowest level, and valuables and jewels were permitted to be sold only through state offices. The impoverishment of the Jewish population caused by Aryanization often stood in the way of its goal — of promoting emigration through persecution — because those affected lacked the means to emigrate. They became victims of the Final Solution. Aryanization combined the racial motives of National Socialism with traditional antisemitic resentments within the middle classes (Mittelstand) and the expansionist tendencies of big business. The fear of being too late to share in the booty produced a fateful coalition of greed, so that little opposition to Aryanization arose. After the war, the Federal Republic of Germany paid restitution for the material losses.

Many important businesses were sold and re-sold in the course of the process, some of which (such as the Hertie department store) played an important role during the post-war Wirtschaftswunder years in West Germany. Victims who were murdered by the Nazis were deprived of their last remaining property such as gold teeth, wedding rings, hair and all clothing.

In a broader sense, the term Aryanisation is sometimes used to refer to eviction of Jewish scientists and people engaged in the cultural sector.

In Romania

In Romania, the Aryanization process was encouraged by tax incentives as well as outright confiscation. Hardliners complained that some Jews were able to evade the regulations by transferring their businesses to Romanian owners only on paper. Although Aryanization was to an extent inspired by similar policies in Germany, the Romanian authorities made the key decisions with regards to the implementation of Aryanization.[9]:49

In the Slovak State

Aryanization also occurred in the Slovak State. About 12,300 Jewish businesses existed in 1940; by 1942, 10,000 had been liquidated and the remainder "Aryanized" by transfer to non-Jewish owners.[10]

In popular culture

See also



  1. ^ Bopf, Britta (2004). "Arisierung" in Köln: Die wirtschaftliche Existenzvernichtung der Juden 1933-1945. Cologne: Emons Verlag Köln. ISBN 389705311X.
  2. ^ Shoah Resource Center. "Aryanization" (PDF). Yad Vashem. Yad Vashem. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  3. ^ "Confiscation of Jewish Property in Europe, 1933–1945 New Sources and Perspectives Symposium Proceedings" (PDF). UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM CENTER FOR ADVANCED HOLOCAUST STUDIES. 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 December 2017. Retrieved 2 December 2017. Particularly impressive and equally disturbing is the robbers’ effort to ensure that property confiscation was carried out by "legal" means through a vast array of institutions and organizations set up for this purpose. The immensely bureaucratic nature of the confiscation process emerges from the vast archival trail that has survived. Arguments that no one knew about the Jews’ fate become untenable once it is clear how many people were involved in processing their property. "Legal" measures often masked theft, but blatant robbery and extortion through intimidation and physical assault were also commonplace.
  4. ^ Döblin, Alfred. "Plünderung jüdischen Eigentums Billigende Inkaufnahme "Wie Deutsche ihre jüdischen Mitbürger verwerteten": Die Enteignung der Juden ist gut dokumentiert. Wolfgang Dreßen hat die Akten gesichtet". TAZ. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  5. ^ Kieser, Albrecht (February 15, 2006). "Späte Enthüllungen An der Aufklärung über Arisierungen ist man in Deutschland noch immer nicht sonderlich interessiert". Telopolis. Heise Online. Archived from the original on December 2, 2017. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  6. ^ "Das Finanzamt Moabit-West "verwertete" das Hab und Gut jüdischer Opfer des Nationalsozialismus". Berline Woche. Berline Woche. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  7. ^ ""Arisierung" in Köln". Portal Rheinische Geschichte. Landschaftsverband Rheinland. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  8. ^ Shoah Resource Center. "Aryanization" (PDF). Yad Vashem. Yad Vashem. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  9. ^ Panu, Mihai–Adrian (May 2015). "The Ideological Dimension of Aryanization Politics in Interwar Romania" (PDF). Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences. 183: 47–52. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.04.844.
  10. ^ "Liquidation of Jewish enterprises". National Memory Institute. Retrieved 11 December 2018.


External links


Aafa Film or Aafa-Film was a German film production and distribution company which operated during the 1920s and 1930s. Established in 1920 as Radio-Film the company was controlled by the producer Gabriel Levy and the director Rudolf Dworsky. The company was one of the leading producers of the Weimar Republic, and survived the transition from silent to sound film in 1929. It made the first German full sound film (as opposed to part-sound films or silent films with sound added later) It's You I Have Loved that year. During the early 1930s Aafa produced a number of mountain films directed by Arnold Fanck. It also made a multi-language version musical Lieutenant, Were You Once a Hussar? (1930).

In 1934 the company was forcibly disbanded and its assets taken over during the Aryanization programme of the Nazi Party which confiscated businesses from Jewish ownership. This was also part of a wider move which led to production being concentrated in the hands of four major studios Bavaria, Tobis, Terra and UFA.

History of the Jews during World War II

The history of the Jews during World War II is almost synonymous with the Jewish persecution and murder of unprecedented scale in modern times in political Europe inclusive of European North Africa (pro-Nazi Vichy-North Africa and Italian Libya). The massive scale of the Holocaust which happened during World War II heavily affected the Jewish nation and world public opinion, which only understood the dimensions of the Final Solution after the war. The genocide, known as HaShoah in Hebrew, aimed at the elimination of the Jewish people on the European continent. It was a broadly organized operation led by Nazi Germany, in which approximately six million Jews were murdered methodically and with horrifying cruelty. During the Holocaust in occupied Poland, more than one million Jews were murdered in gas chambers of the Auschwitz concentration camp alone. The murder of the Jews of Europe affected Jewish communities in Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Channel Islands, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, and Ukraine.Leading to World War II, nearly all Jewish firms in Nazi Germany had either collapsed under financial pressure and declining profits, or had been forced to sell out to the Nazi German government as part of the "Aryanization" policy inaugurated in 1937. As the war started, massacres of Jews took place originally as part of Operation Tannenberg against the Polish nation. The much larger and methodical mass killings of Jews began with the onset of Operation Barbarossa. Led by Einsatzkommandos and the Order Police battalions, the destruction of European Jews took place with the active participation of local Auxiliary Police including Belarusian, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Ukrainian Schutzmannschaften.


Indo-Aryanisation is the process by which non-Indo-Aryan languages assimilate Indo-European linguistic features.

Ted Millstein

Edward (Ted) Millstein is an attorney in Philadelphia. He is best known for representing plaintiffs in lawsuits against large corporations such as Visa, MasterCard, and Volkswagen. Millstein is also well known for his representation of victims of the Holocaust. He was instrumental in obtaining reparations for victims and their families, which resulted in the formation of a foundation with over $5 billion in assets.

The Holocaust in Slovakia

The Holocaust in Slovakia was the systematic dispossession, deportation, and murder of Jews in the Slovak State during World War II. Jews were blamed for Slovakia's territorial losses to Hungary and were targeted for discrimination and harassment, including the confiscation of property and businesses. The exclusion of Jews from the economy impoverished the community and caused social problems, which encouraged the government to conscript them for forced labor.

In 1941, the Slovak government negotiated with Nazi Germany for the mass deportation of Jews to German-occupied Poland. Between March and October 1942, 57,000 Jews were deported to Auschwitz concentration camp and the Lublin district of the General Government; only a few hundred survived. The persecution of Jews resumed after August 1944, when Germany invaded Slovakia and triggered the Slovak National Uprising. Another 13,500 Jews were deported and hundreds more were murdered in Slovakia by Einsatzgruppe H and the Hlinka Guard Emergency Divisions.

A total of 68,000 to 71,000 Slovak Jews were murdered, more than 80 percent of the prewar population. Survivors faced renewed antisemitism and difficulty regaining stolen property; most emigrated. Although the one-party postwar Communist regime banned discussion of the Holocaust, the ban was removed after the 1989 Velvet Revolution. The participation of the Slovak State in the Holocaust remains a contentious issue in the country.

The Shop on Main Street

The Shop on Main Street (Czech/Slovak: Obchod na korze; in the UK The Shop on the High Street) is a 1965 Czechoslovak film about the Aryanization programme during World War II in the Slovak State.The film was written by Ladislav Grosman and directed by Ján Kadár and Elmar Klos. It was funded by Czechoslovakia's central authorities (as were all films under the Communist regime), produced at the Barrandov Film Studio in Prague, and filmed with a Slovak cast on location at the town of Sabinov in north-eastern Slovakia and on the Barrandov sound stage. It stars Jozef Kroner as carpenter Tóno Brtko and Polish actress Ida Kamińska as the Jewish widow Rozália Lautmannová.The film won the 1965 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and Kamińska was nominated in 1966 for Best Actress in a Leading Role. The film was also entered into the 1965 Cannes Film Festival.

Vichy Holocaust collaboration timeline

Led first by Philippe Pétain, the Vichy regime that replaced the French Third Republic in 1940 chose the path of collaboration with the Nazi occupiers. This policy included the Bousquet-Oberg accords of July 1942 that formalized the collaboration of the French police with the German police. This collaboration was manifested in particular by anti-Semitic measures taken by the Vichy government, and by its active participation in the genocide.

The terms Zone libre (Free Zone), Vichy France, Vichy regime, southern zone, French State, and État français are all synonyms and refer to the state in the south of France governed from Vichy during World War II and headed by French World War I hero Marshal Philippe Pétain. The terms Zone occupée (Occupied Zone), Occupied France, and northern zone refer to the northern portion of France governed by the German military administration in Paris, taking orders from Berlin.


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