Nuremberg Laws

The Nuremberg Laws (German: Nürnberger Gesetze) were antisemitic and racial laws in Nazi Germany. They were enacted by the Reichstag on 15 September 1935, at a special meeting convened during the annual Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party (NSDAP). The two laws were the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour, which forbade marriages and extramarital intercourse between Jews and Germans and the employment of German females under 45 in Jewish households; and the Reich Citizenship Law, which declared that only those of German or related blood were eligible to be Reich citizens; the remainder were classed as state subjects, without citizenship rights.[1] A supplementary decree outlining the definition of who was Jewish was passed on 14 November, and the Reich Citizenship Law officially came into force on that date.[2] The laws were expanded on 26 November 1935 to include Romani people. This supplementary decree defined Romanis as "enemies of the race-based state", the same category as Jews.[3]

Out of foreign policy concerns, prosecutions under the two laws did not commence until after the 1936 Summer Olympics, held in Berlin. After the Nazis seized power in 1933, they began to implement their policies, which included the formation of a Volksgemeinschaft (people's community) based on race. Chancellor and Führer (leader) Adolf Hitler declared a national boycott of Jewish businesses on 1 April 1933, and the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, passed on 7 April, excluded non-Aryans from the legal profession and civil service. Books considered un-German, including those by Jewish authors, were destroyed in a nationwide book burning on 10 May. Jewish citizens were harassed and subjected to violent attacks. They were actively suppressed, stripped of their citizenship and civil rights, and eventually completely removed from German society.

The Nuremberg Laws had a crippling economic and social impact on the Jewish community. Persons convicted of violating the marriage laws were imprisoned, and (subsequent to 8 March 1938) upon completing their sentences were re-arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Nazi concentration camps. Non-Jews gradually stopped socialising with Jews or shopping in Jewish-owned stores, many of which closed due to lack of customers. As Jews were no longer permitted to work in the civil service or government-regulated professions such as medicine and education, many middle class business owners and professionals were forced to take menial employment. Emigration was problematic, as Jews were required to remit up to 90% of their wealth as a tax upon leaving the country. By 1938 it was almost impossible for potential Jewish emigrants to find a country willing to take them. Mass deportation schemes such as the Madagascar Plan proved to be impossible for the Nazis to carry out, and starting in mid-1941, the German government started mass exterminations of the Jews of Europe.

RGBL I 1935 S 1145
Title page of the German government gazette Reichsgesetzblatt issue proclaiming the laws, published on 16 September 1935 (RGB I No. 100)


The National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP; Nazi Party) was one of several far-right political parties active in Germany after the end of the First World War.[4] The party platform included removal of the Weimar Republic, rejection of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, radical antisemitism, and anti-Bolshevism.[5] They promised a strong central government, increased Lebensraum (living space) for Germanic peoples, formation of a Volksgemeinschaft (people's community) based on race, and racial cleansing via the active suppression of Jews, who would be stripped of their citizenship and civil rights.[6]

While imprisoned in 1924 after the failed Beer Hall Putsch, Hitler dictated Mein Kampf to his deputy, Rudolf Hess.[7] The book is an autobiography and exposition of Hitler's ideology in which he laid out his plans for transforming German society into one based on race. In it he outlined his belief in Jewish Bolshevism, a conspiracy theory that posited the existence of an international Jewish conspiracy for world domination in which the Jews were the mortal enemy of the German people. Throughout his life Hitler never wavered in his world view as expounded in Mein Kampf.[8] The NSDAP advocated the concept of a Volksgemeinschaft ("people's community") with the aim of uniting all Germans as national comrades, whilst excluding those deemed either to be community aliens or of a foreign race (Fremdvölkische).[9]

Nazi Germany

Bundesarchiv Bild 102-14469, Berlin, Boykott-Posten vor jüdischem Warenhaus
Members of the SA picket in front of a Jewish place of business during the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses, 1 April 1933.

Discrimination against Jews intensified after the NSDAP seized power; following a month-long series of attacks by members of the Sturmabteilung (SA; paramilitary wing of the NSDAP) on Jewish businesses, synagogues, and members of the legal profession, on 1 April 1933 Hitler declared a national boycott of Jewish businesses.[10] By 1933, many people who were not NSDAP members advocated segregating Jews from the rest of German society.[11] The Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, passed on 7 April 1933, forced all non-Aryans to retire from the legal profession and civil service.[12] Similar legislation soon deprived Jewish members of other professions of their right to practise.[12] In 1934, the NSDAP published a pamphlet titled "Warum Arierparagraph?" ("Why the Aryan Law?"), which summarised the perceived need for the law.[13] As part of the drive to remove Jewish influence from cultural life, members of the National Socialist Student League removed from libraries any books considered un-German, and a nationwide book burning was held on 10 May.[14] Violence and economic pressure were used by the regime to encourage Jews to voluntarily leave the country.[15] Legislation passed in July 1933 stripped naturalised German Jews of their citizenship, creating a legal basis for recent immigrants (particularly Eastern European Jews) to be deported.[12] Many towns posted signs forbidding entry to Jews.[16] Throughout 1933 and 1934, Jewish businesses were denied access to markets, forbidden to advertise in newspapers, and deprived of access to government contracts. Citizens were harassed and subjected to violent attacks.[17]

Other laws promulgated in this period included the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring (passed on 14 July 1933), which called for the compulsory sterilisation of people with a range of hereditary, physical, and mental illnesses.[18] Under the Law against Dangerous Habitual Criminals (passed 24 November 1935), habitual criminals were forced to undergo sterilisation as well.[19] This law was also used to force the incarceration in prison or Nazi concentration camps of "social misfits" such as the chronically unemployed, prostitutes, beggars, alcoholics, homeless vagrants, and Romani (referred to as "Gypsies").[20]

Reich Gypsy Law

The Central Office for Combatting Gypsies was established in 1929.[21] In December 1938 Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler issued an order for "combatting the Gypsy plague". Romanis were to be categorised in terms of their Roma ancestry as a racial characteristic, rather than their previous association as 'anti-social' elements of society.[22] This work was advanced by Dr Robert Ritter of the Racial Hygiene and Population unit of the Ministry of Health, who by 1942, had produced a scale of ZM+, ZM of the first and second degree, and ZM- to reflect an individual's decreasing level of Romani ancestry.[23] This classification meant that one could be classified as Roma and subject to anti-Roma legislation on the basis of having two Roma great-great grandparents.[24] Dr Zindel of the Ministry of the Interior prepared a draft of a Reich "Gypsy Law" intended to supplement and accompany the Nuremberg Laws. According to Zindel, the "Gypsy problem" could not be dealt with by forced resettlement or imprisonment within Germany. He recommended identification and registration of all Roma, followed by sterilisation and deportation. In 1938, public health authorities were ordered to register all Roma and Roma Mischlinge.[25] Despite Himmler's interest in enacting such legislation, which he said would prevent "further intermingling of blood, and which regulates all the most pressing questions which go together with the existences of Gypsies in the living space of the German nation",[26] the regime never promulgated the "Gypsy Law".[27] In December 1942, Himmler ordered that all Roma were to be sent to Nazi concentration camps.[22]

"The Jewish problem"

Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-P049500, Berlin, Aufmarsch der SA in Spandau
The SA had nearly three million members at the start of 1934.[28]

Disenchanted with the unfulfilled promise of the NSDAP to eliminate Jews from German society, SA members were eager to lash out against the Jewish minority as a way of expressing their frustrations. A Gestapo report from early 1935 stated that the rank and file of the NSDAP would set in motion a solution to the "Jewish problem ... from below that the government would then have to follow".[29] Assaults, vandalism, and boycotts against Jews, which the Nazi government had temporarily curbed in 1934, increased again in 1935 amidst a propaganda campaign authorised at the highest levels of government.[29] Most non-party members ignored the boycotts and objected to the violence out of concern for their own safety.[30] The Israeli historian Otto Dov Kulka argues that there was a disparity between the views of the Alte Kämpfer (longtime party members) and the general public, but that even those Germans who were not politically active favoured bringing in tougher new antisemitic laws in 1935.[31] The matter was raised to the forefront of the state agenda as a result of this antisemitic agitation.[32]

The Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick announced on 25 July that a law forbidding marriages between Jews and non-Jews would shortly be promulgated, and recommended that registrars should avoid issuing licences for such marriages for the time being. The draft law also called for a ban on marriage for persons with hereditary illnesses.[33]

Dr. Hjalmar Schacht, the Economics Minister and Reichsbank president, criticised the violent behaviour of the Alte Kämpfer and SA because of its negative impact on the economy.[32] The violence also had a negative impact on Germany's reputation in the international community.[34] For these reasons, Hitler ordered a stop to "individual actions" against German Jews on 8 August 1935, and the Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick threatened to take legal action against Party members who ignored the order.[32] From Hitler's perspective, it was imperative to quickly bring in new antisemitic laws to appease the radical elements in the NSDAP who persisted in attempting to remove the Jews from German society by violent means.[34] A conference of ministers was held on 20 August 1935 to discuss the question. Hitler argued against violent methods because of the damage being done to the economy, and insisted the matter must be settled through legislation.[35] The focus of the new laws would be marriage laws to prevent "racial defilement", stripping Jews of their German citizenship, and laws to prevent Jews from participating freely in the economy.[36]

Events at Nuremberg

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-2004-0312-505, Nürnberg, Reichsparteitag, Grundstein Kongreßhalle
NSDAP dignitaries at the 1935 Nuremberg Rally

The seventh annual Nazi Party Rally, held in Nuremberg from 10–16 September 1935, featured the only Reichstag session held outside Berlin during the Nazi regime.[37] Hitler decided that the rally would be a good opportunity to introduce the long-awaited anti-Jewish laws.[38] In a speech on 12 September, leading Nazi physician Gerhard Wagner announced that the government would soon introduce a "law for the protection of German blood".[39] The next day, Hitler summoned the Reichstag to meet in session at Nuremberg on 15 September, the last day of the rally.[38] Franz Albrecht Medicus and Bernhard Lösener of the Interior Ministry were summoned to Nuremberg and directed to start preparing a draft of a law forbidding sexual relations or marriages between Jews and non-Jews. The two men arrived on 14 September.[40] That evening, Hitler ordered them to also have ready by morning a draft of the Reich citizenship law.[36] Hitler found the initial drafts of the Blood Law to be too lenient, so at around midnight Frick brought him four new drafts that differed mainly in the severity of the penalties they imposed. Hitler chose the most lenient version, but left vague the definition of who was a Jew.[41] Hitler stated at the rally that the laws were "an attempt at the legal settlement of a problem, which, if this proved a failure, would have to be entrusted by law to the National Socialist Party for a definitive solution".[42] Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels had the radio broadcast of the passing of the laws cut short, and ordered the German media to not mention them until a decision was made as to how they would be implemented.[43]

Text of the laws

Blutschutzgesetz v.15.9.1935 - RGBl I 1146gesamt
Reich Citizenship Law
Blutschutzgesetz v.15.9.1935 - RGBl I 1147
Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour

The two Nuremberg Laws were unanimously passed by the Reichstag on 15 September 1935.[44] The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour prohibited marriages and extramarital intercourse between Jews and Germans, and forbade the employment of German females under 45 in Jewish households. The Reich Citizenship Law declared that only those of German or related blood were eligible to be Reich citizens; the remainder were classed as state subjects, without citizenship rights.[45] The wording in the Citizenship Law that a person must prove "by his conduct that he is willing and fit to faithfully serve the German people and Reich" meant that political opponents could also be stripped of their German citizenship.[44] This law was effectively a means of stripping Jews, Roma, and other "undesirables" of their legal rights, and their citizenship.[46]

Over the coming years, an additional 13 supplementary laws were promulgated that further marginalised the Jewish community in Germany.[16] For example, Jewish families were not permitted to submit claims for subsidies for large families and were forbidden to transact business with Aryans.[47]

Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour

Moved by the understanding that purity of German blood is the essential condition for the continued existence of the German people, and inspired by the inflexible determination to ensure the existence of the German nation for all time, the Reichstag has unanimously adopted the following law, which is promulgated herewith:

Article 1
  1. Marriages between Jews and citizens of German or related blood are forbidden. Marriages nevertheless concluded are invalid, even if concluded abroad to circumvent this law.
  2. Annulment proceedings can be initiated only by the state prosecutor.[48]
Article 2

Extramarital relations between Jews and citizens of German or related blood are forbidden.[48]

Article 3

Jews may not employ in their households female citizens of German or related blood who are under 45 years old.[48]

Article 4
  1. Jews are forbidden to fly the Reich or national flag or display Reich colours.
  2. They are, on the other hand, permitted to display the Jewish colours. The exercise of this right is protected by the state.[48]
Article 5
  1. Any person who violates the prohibition under Article 1 will be punished with prison with hard labour [Zuchthaus].
  2. A male who violates the prohibition under Article 2 will be punished with prison [Gefängnis] or prison with hard labour.
  3. Any person violating the provisions under Articles 3 or 4 will be punished with prison with hard labour for up to one year and a fine, or with one or the other of these penalties.[48]
Article 6

The Reich Minister of the Interior, in co-ordination with the Deputy of the Führer and the Reich Minister of Justice, will issue the legal and administrative regulations required to implement and complete this law.[48]

Article 7

The law takes effect on the day following promulgation, except for Article 3, which goes into force on 1 January 1936.[48]

Reich Citizenship Law

The Reichstag has unanimously enacted the following law, which is promulgated herewith:

Article 1
  1. A subject of the state is a person who enjoys the protection of the German Reich and who in consequence has specific obligations toward it.
  2. The status of subject of the state is acquired in accordance with the provisions of the Reich and the Reich Citizenship Law.[48]
Article 2
  1. A Reich citizen is a subject of the state who is of German or related blood, and proves by his conduct that he is willing and fit to faithfully serve the German people and Reich.
  2. Reich citizenship is acquired through the granting of a Reich citizenship certificate.
  3. The Reich citizen is the sole bearer of full political rights in accordance with the law.[48]
Article 3

The Reich Minister of the Interior, in co-ordination with the Deputy of the Führer, will issue the legal and administrative orders required to implement and complete this law.[48]

Classifications under the laws

Classification Translation Heritage Definition
Deutschblütiger German-blooded German Belongs to the German race and nation; approved to have Reich citizenship
Deutschblütiger German-blooded 18 Jewish Considered as belonging to the German race and nation; approved to have Reich citizenship
Mischling zweiten Grades Mixed race (second degree) 14 Jewish Only partly belongs to the German race and nation; approved to have Reich citizenship
Mischling ersten Grades Mixed race (first degree) 38 or ​12 Jewish Only partly belongs to the German race and nation; approved to have Reich citizenship
Jude Jew 34 Jewish Belongs to the Jewish race and community; not approved to have Reich citizenship
Jude Jew Jewish Belongs to the Jewish race and community; not approved to have Reich citizenship
Special Cases with First Degree Mischlinge[49]
Date Decree
15 September 1935 A Mischling will be considered a Jew if they are a member of the Jewish religious community.
15 September 1935 A Mischling will be considered a Jew if they are married to a Jew. Their children will be considered Jews.
17 September 1935 A mixed-race child that is born of a marriage with a Jew, where the marriage date is after 17 September 1935, will be classified as a Jew. Those born in marriages officiated on or before 17 September 1935 will still be classified as Mischlinge.
31 July 1936 A mixed-race child originating from forbidden extramarital sexual intercourse with a Jew that is born out of wedlock after 31 July 1936 will be classified as a Jew.


Nuremberg laws Racial Chart
1935 chart shows racial classifications under the Nuremberg Laws: German, Mischlinge, and Jew.

While both the Interior Ministry and the NSDAP agreed that persons with three or more Jewish grandparents would be classed as being Jewish and those with only one (Mischlinge of the second degree) would not, a debate arose as to the status of persons with two Jewish grandparents (Mischlinge of the first degree).[50] The NSDAP, especially its more radical elements, wanted the laws to apply to Mischlinge of both the first and second degree.[51] For this reason Hitler continued to stall, and did not make a decision until early November 1935. His final ruling was that persons with three Jewish grandparents were classed as Jewish; those with two Jewish grandparents would be considered Jewish only if they practised the faith or had a Jewish spouse.[52] The supplementary decree outlining the definition of who was Jewish was passed on 14 November, and the Reich Citizenship Law came into force on that date. Jews were no longer German citizens and did not have the right to vote.[53] Jews and Gypsies were not allowed to vote in Reichstag elections or the Anschluss.[54] Civil servants who had been granted an exemption to the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service because of their status as war veterans were forced out of their jobs on this date.[53] A supplementary decree issued on 21 December ordered the dismissal of Jewish veterans from other state-regulated professions such as medicine and education.[53]

While Frick's suggestion that a citizenship tribunal before which every German would have to prove that they were Aryan was not acted upon, proving one's racial heritage became a necessary part of daily life.[51][55] Non-government employers were authorised to include in their statutes an Aryan paragraph excluding both Mischlinge and Jews from employment.[56] Proof of Aryan descent was achieved by obtaining an Aryan certificate. One form was to acquire an Ahnenpass, which could be obtained by providing birth or baptismal certificates that all four grandparents were of Aryan descent.[57] The Ahnenpass could also be acquired by citizens of other countries, as long as they were of "German or related blood".[58]

Under the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour (15 September 1935), marriages were forbidden between Jews and Germans; between Mischlinge of the first degree and Germans; between Jews and Mischlinge of the second degree; and between two Mischlinge of the second degree. Mischlinge of the first degree were permitted to marry Jews, but they would henceforth be classed as Jewish themselves. All marriages undertaken between half-Jews and Germans required the approval of a Committee for the Protection of German Blood. Few such permissions were granted.[56] A supplementary decree issued on 26 November 1935 extended the law to "Gypsies, Negroes, and their bastards".[59]

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-R99993, Jude mit Stern in Berlin
Beginning in 1941, Jews were required by law to self-identify by wearing a yellow badge on their clothing.[60]

Persons suspected of having sexual relations with non-Aryans were charged with Rassenschande (racial defilement) and tried in the regular courts. Evidence provided to the Gestapo for such cases was largely provided by ordinary citizens such as neighbours, co-workers, or other informants.[61] Persons accused of race defilement were publicly humiliated by being paraded through the streets with a placard around their necks detailing their crime.[62] Those convicted were typically sentenced to prison terms, and (subsequent to 8 March 1938) upon completing their sentences were re-arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Nazi concentration camps.[61] As the law did not permit capital punishment for racial defilement, special courts were convened to allow the death penalty for some cases.[63] From the end of 1935 through 1940, 1,911 people were convicted of Rassenschande. Over time, the law was extended to include non-sexual forms of physical contact such as greeting someone with a kiss or an embrace.[61]

For the most part, Germans accepted the Nuremberg Laws, partly because Nazi propaganda had successfully swayed public opinion towards the general belief that Jews were a separate race, but also because to oppose the regime meant leaving oneself open to harassment or arrest by the Gestapo.[64][65] Citizens were relieved that the antisemitic violence ceased after the laws were passed.[66] Non-Jews gradually stopped socialising with Jews or shopping in Jewish-owned stores.[67] Wholesalers who continued to serve Jewish merchants were marched through the streets with placards around their necks proclaiming them as traitors.[68] The Communist party and some elements of the Catholic Church were critical of the laws.[59] Concerned that international opinion would be adversely swayed by the new laws, the Interior Ministry did not actively enforce them until after the 1936 Summer Olympics, held in Berlin that August.[34][64]

The Interior Ministry estimated there were 750,000 Mischlinge as of April 1935 (studies done after the war put the number of Mischlinge at around 200,000).[59] As Jews became more and more excluded from German society, they organised social events, schools, and activities of their own.[69] Economic problems were not so easily solved, however; many Jewish firms went out of business due to lack of customers. This was part of the ongoing Aryanization process (the transfer of Jewish firms to non-Jewish owners, usually at prices far below market value) that the regime had initiated in 1933, which intensified after the Nuremberg Laws were passed.[70] Former middle-class or wealthy business owners were forced to take employment in menial jobs to support their families, and many were unable to find work at all.[71]

Although a stated goal of the Nazis was that all Jews should leave the country, emigration was problematic, as Jews were required to remit up to 90 per cent of their wealth as a tax upon leaving the country.[72] Anyone caught transferring their money overseas were sentenced to lengthy terms in prison as "economic saboteurs".[73] An exception was money sent to Palestine under the terms of the Haavara Agreement, whereby Jews could transfer some of their assets and emigrate to that country. Around 52,000 Jews emigrated to Palestine under the terms of this agreement between 1933 and 1939.[74]

By the start of the Second World War in 1939, around 250,000 of Germany's 437,000 Jews had emigrated to the United States, Palestine, Great Britain, and other countries.[75][76] By 1938 it was becoming almost impossible for potential Jewish emigrants to find a country that would take them.[77] After the 1936–39 Arab revolt, the British were disinclined to accept any more Jews into Palestine for fear it would further destabilise the region.[78] Nationalistic and xenophobic people in other countries pressured their governments not to accept waves of Jewish immigrants, especially poverty-stricken ones.[79] The Madagascar Plan, a proposed mass deportation of European Jews to Madagascar, proved to be impossible to carry out.[80] Starting in mid-1941, the German government started mass exterminations of the Jews of Europe.[81] The total number of Jews murdered during the resulting Holocaust is estimated at 5.5 to 6 million people.[82] Estimates of the death toll of Romanis in the Porajmos range from 150,000 to 1,500,000.[83]

Legislation in other countries

The law for protection of the nation (Bulgaria)
Decree of Tsar Boris III of Bulgaria for approval of The law for protection of the nation

Some of the other Axis powers passed their own versions of the Nuremberg Laws.

  • In 1938, Fascist Italy passed the Italian Racial Laws and Manifesto of Race which stripped Jews of their citizenship and forbade sexual relations and marriages between Jewish and non-Jewish Italians.[84]
  • Hungary passed laws on 28 May 1938 and 5 May 1939 banning Jews from various professions. A third law, added in August 1941, defined Jews as anyone with at least two Jewish grandparents, and forbade sexual relations or marriages between Jews and non-Jews.[85]
  • In 1940 the ruling Iron Guard in Romania passed the Law Defining the Legal Status of Romanian Jews,[86]
  • In 1941 the Codex Judaicus was enacted in Slovakia,[87]
  • In 1941 Bulgaria passed the Law for Protection of the Nation,[88]
  • In 1941 the Ustashe in Croatia passed legislation defining who was a Jew and restricting contact with them.[89]
  • The Empire of Japan did not draft or pass any such legislation.

Existing copies

An original typescript of the laws signed by Hitler was found by the US Army's Counterintelligence Corps in 1945. It ended up in the possession of General George S. Patton, who kept it, in violation of orders that such finds should be turned over to the government. During a visit to Los Angeles in 1945, he handed it over to the Huntington Library, where it was stored in a bomb-proof vault. The library revealed the existence of the document in 1999, and sent it on permanent loan to the Skirball Cultural Center, which placed it on public display. The document was transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington in August 2010.[90][91]

See also


  1. ^ Newman 1999, p. 33.
  2. ^ Newman 1999, p. 85.
  3. ^ Majer 2003, p. 649.
  4. ^ Evans 2003, pp. 170–171.
  5. ^ Goldhagen 1996, p. 85.
  6. ^ Evans 2003, pp. 179–180.
  7. ^ Bullock 1962, p. 121.
  8. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 148–150.
  9. ^ Wildt 2012, pp. 96–97.
  10. ^ Shirer 1960, p. 203.
  11. ^ Evans 2005, p. 539.
  12. ^ a b c Longerich 2010, p. 40.
  13. ^ Schulz & Frercks 1934.
  14. ^ Longerich 2010, p. 39.
  15. ^ Longerich 2010, pp. 67–69.
  16. ^ a b Shirer 1960, p. 233.
  17. ^ Longerich 2010, p. 41.
  18. ^ Evans 2005, p. 507.
  19. ^ Evans 2005, p. 511.
  20. ^ Longerich 2010, p. 49.
  21. ^ Hilberg 2003, p. 1070.
  22. ^ a b McGarry 2010, p. 21.
  23. ^ Hilberg 2003, pp. 1070–1071.
  24. ^ Wolfe 2014, p. 96.
  25. ^ Grenville 2002, p. 320.
  26. ^ Burleigh & Wippermann 1991, p. 121.
  27. ^ USHMM, "Sinti and Roma".
  28. ^ Evans 2005, p. 22.
  29. ^ a b Kershaw 2008, p. 340.
  30. ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 341.
  31. ^ Marrus 2000, pp. 92–93.
  32. ^ a b c Kershaw 2008, p. 342.
  33. ^ Longerich 2010, pp. 57–58.
  34. ^ a b c Gordon 1984, p. 122.
  35. ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 343.
  36. ^ a b Longerich 2010, p. 59.
  37. ^ Friedländer 2009, p. 45.
  38. ^ a b Evans 2005, p. 543.
  39. ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 344.
  40. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 344–345.
  41. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 345–346.
  42. ^ Longerich 2010, p. 60.
  43. ^ Mommsen 1989, p. 225.
  44. ^ a b Evans 2005, p. 544.
  45. ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 345.
  46. ^ Wolfe 2014, p. 94.
  47. ^ Burleigh & Wippermann 1991, p. 84.
  48. ^ a b c d e f g h i j US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
  49. ^ a b Nuremberg Laws 1935.
  50. ^ Friedländer 2009, p. 49.
  51. ^ a b Mommsen 1989, p. 224.
  52. ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 347.
  53. ^ a b c Friedländer 2009, p. 50.
  54. ^ Milton 2001, p. 216.
  55. ^ Friedländer 2009, p. 52.
  56. ^ a b Evans 2005, p. 547.
  57. ^ Ehrenreich 2007, p. 68.
  58. ^ Scheil 2012.
  59. ^ a b c Friedländer 2009, p. 51.
  60. ^ Longerich 2010, p. 217.
  61. ^ a b c Evans 2005, p. 551.
  62. ^ Evans 2005, p. 540.
  63. ^ Majer 2003, pp. 331–332.
  64. ^ a b Evans 2005, p. 548.
  65. ^ Gordon 1984, p. 180.
  66. ^ Gordon 1984, p. 172.
  67. ^ Evans 2005, pp. 548, 553.
  68. ^ Gellately 1991, p. 105.
  69. ^ Friedländer 2009, p. 55.
  70. ^ Longerich 2010, pp. 65–66.
  71. ^ Longerich 2010, p. 86.
  72. ^ Longerich 2010, pp. 64, 66.
  73. ^ Longerich 2010, p. 66.
  74. ^ Evans 2005, pp. 556–557.
  75. ^ Longerich 2010, p. 127.
  76. ^ Evans 2005, p. 555.
  77. ^ Longerich 2010, p. 67.
  78. ^ Friedländer 2009, p. 57.
  79. ^ Evans 2005, pp. 560, 601.
  80. ^ Longerich 2010, pp. 162–164.
  81. ^ Rhodes 2003, pp. 159–160.
  82. ^ Evans 2008, p. 318.
  83. ^ Hancock 2012, p. 381.
  84. ^ Rodogno 2006, p. 65.
  85. ^ Frojimovics 2012, pp. 250–251.
  86. ^ Fischer 2012, p. 279.
  87. ^ Matić 2002, p. 174.
  88. ^ Dikovski 2000.
  89. ^ Cohen 1999, p. 90.
  90. ^ Allen 2010.
  91. ^ Bradsher 2010.


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  • Evans, Richard J. (2008). The Third Reich at War. New York: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-311671-4.
  • Fischer, Ronit (2012) [2011]. "Transnistria: The Holocaust in Romania". In Friedman, Jonathan C (ed.). Routledge History of the Holocaust. Abingdon; New York: Routledge. pp. 277–290. ISBN 978-0-415-52087-4.
  • Friedländer, Saul (2009). Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1933–1945. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-1350276.
  • Frojimovics, Kinga (2012) [2011]. "Special Characteristics of the Holocaust in Hungary, 1938–45". In Friedman, Jonathan C (ed.). Routledge History of the Holocaust. Abingdon; New York: Routledge. pp. 248–263. ISBN 978-0-415-52087-4.
  • Gellately, Robert (1991). The Gestapo and German Society: Enforcing Racial Policy, 1933–1945. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-820297-0.
  • Goldhagen, Daniel (1996). Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. New York: Knopf. ISBN 978-0-679-44695-8.
  • Gordon, Sarah (1984). Hitler, Germans, and the 'Jewish Question'. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-05412-6.
  • Grenville, John (2002) [1998]. "Neglected Holocaust victims: the Mischlinge, the Judischversippte, and the Gypsies". In Berenbaum, Michael; Peck, Abraham J. (eds.). The Holocaust and History: The Known, the Unknown, the Disputed, and the Reexamined. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. pp. 314–326. ISBN 0-253-33374-1.
  • Hancock, Ian (2012). "The Neglected Memory of the Romanies". In Friedman, Jonathan C. (ed.). The Routledge History of the Holocaust. New York: Taylor & Francis. pp. 375–384. ISBN 978-0-415-52087-4.
  • Hilberg, Raul (2003) [1961]. The Destruction of the European Jews. III. New Haven; London: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-09592-0.
  • Kershaw, Ian (2008). Hitler: A Biography. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-06757-6.
  • Longerich, Peter (2010). Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-280436-5.
  • Majer, Diemut (2003). "Non-Germans" under the Third Reich: The Nazi Judicial and Administrative System in Germany and Occupied Eastern Europe, with Special Regard to Occupied Poland, 1939–1945. Baltimore; London: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-6493-3.
  • Marrus, Michael (2000). The Holocaust and History: The Known, the Unknown, the Disputed, and the Reexamined. Toronto: Key Porter.
  • Matić, Igor-Philip (2002). Edmund Veesenmayer: Agent und Diplomat der nationalsozialistischen Expansionspolitik (in German). München: Oldenbourg Verlag. ISBN 978-3-486-56677-2.
  • McGarry, Aidan (2010). Who Speaks for Roma?: Political Representation of a Transnational Minority Community. New York; London: Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-0-8264-2880-6.
  • Milton, Sybil H. (2001). ""Gypsies" as social outsiders in Nazi Germany". In Gellately, Robert; Stoltzfus, Nathan (eds.). Social Outsiders in Nazi Germany. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-08684-2.
  • Mommsen, Hans (1989). "The Realization of the Unthinkable: The 'Final Solution of the Jewish Question'". In Marrus, Michael (ed.). The "Final Solution": The Implementation of Mass Murder. The Nazi Holocaust, Part 3. 1. Westport, CT: Meckler. pp. 217–264. ISBN 0-88736-255-9.
  • Newman, Amy (1999). The Nuremberg Laws: Institutionalized Anti-semitism. Lucent Books. ISBN 1560063548.
  • "Reichsbürgergesetz und Gesetz zum Schutze des deutschen Blutes und der deutschen Ehre ["Nürnberger Gesetze"]" (in German). Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. 14 November 1935.
  • Rhodes, Richard (2003). Masters of Death: The SS-Einsatzgruppen and the Invention of the Holocaust. New York: Vintage. ISBN 978-0-375-70822-0.
  • Rodogno, David (2006). Fascism's European Empire: Italian Occupation During the Second World War. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-84515-1.
  • Scheil, Stefan (11 March 2012). "Arier". Junge Freiheit (in German). Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  • Schulz, Edgar Hans; Frercks, Rudolf (1934). Warum Arierparagraph? Ein Beitrag zur Judenfrage [Why the Aryan Law? A Contribution to the Jewish Question] (in German). Berlin: NSDAP Office of Racial Policy. OCLC 802537.
  • Shirer, William L. (1960). The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-62420-0.
  • "Sinti and Roma: Victims of the Nazi Era" (PDF). United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  • "Translation: Nuremberg Race Laws". Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  • Wildt, Michael (2012). Hitler's Volksgemeinschaftand the Dynamics of Racial Exclusion: Violence Against Jews in Provincial Germany, 1919–1939. Berghahn Books. ISBN 085745322X.
  • Wolfe, Stephanie (2014). The Politics of Reparations and Apologies. New York: Springer. ISBN 978-1-4614-9184-2.

Further reading

  • Bankier, David (1984). "In Nation and History: Studies in the History of the Jewish People; Based on the Papers Delivered at the Eight World Congress of Jewish Studies". In Ettinger, Samuel (ed.). The 'Jewish Question' as a Focus of Conflict Between Trends of Institutionalization and Radicalization in the Third Reich, 1934–1935. 2. Jerusalem. pp. 357–371.
  • Bankier, David (1990). Gutman, Israel (ed.). Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. 3. New York: Macmillan. pp. 1076–1077. ISBN 0-02-864527-8.
  • Gruchmann, Lothar (July 1983). "'Blutschutzgestz' und Justiz: Zur Entstehung und Auswirkung des Nürnberger Gesetzes von 15 September 1935". Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte (in German). München: Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag GmbH. 31: 418–442. JSTOR 30196462.(subscription required)
  • Longerich, Peter (2000). "The Wannsee Conference in the Development of the 'Final Solution'" (PDF). Holocaust Educational Trust Research Papers. London: The Holocaust Educational Trust. 1 (2). ISBN 0-9516166-5-X. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  • Margaliot, Abraham (1977). "The Reaction of the Jewish Public in Germany to the Nuremberg Laws". Yad Vashem Studies. Jerusalem: Yad Vashem. 12: 193–229.
  • Schleunes, Karl (1970). The Twisted Road to Auschwitz: Nazi Policy towards German Jews, 1933–1939. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-00092-8.
  • Whitman, James Q. (2017). Hitler's American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691172422.

External links

Anti-Jewish laws

Anti-Jewish laws have been a common occurrence throughout Jewish history. Examples of such laws include special Jewish quotas, Jewish taxes and Jewish "disabilities".

Some were adopted in the 1930s and 1940s in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy and exported to the European Axis powers and puppet states. Such legislation generally defined Jews, deprived them of a variety of civil, political, and economic rights, and laid the groundwork for expropriation, deportation, and ultimately the Holocaust.

Anti-Jewish legislation in pre-war Nazi Germany

Anti-Jewish legislation in pre-war Nazi Germany comprised several laws that segregated the Jews from German society and restricted Jewish people's political, legal and civil rights. Major legislative initiatives included a series of restrictive laws passed in 1933, the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, and a final wave of legislation preceding Germany's entry into World War II.

Aryan certificate

In Nazi Germany, the Aryan certificate (German: Ariernachweis) was a document which certified that a person was a member of the Aryan race. Beginning in April 1933 it was required from all employees and officials in the public sector, including education, according to the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service. It was also a primary requirement to become a Reich citizen, for those who were of German or related blood (Aryan) and wanted to become Reich citizens after the Nuremberg Laws were passed in 1935. A "Swede or an Englishman, a Frenchman or Czech, a Pole or Italian" was considered to be related, that is, "Aryan".There were two main types:

Kleiner Ariernachweis (Lesser Aryan certificate) was one of:

Seven birth or baptism certificates (or a combination of both) (the person, his parents and grandparents) and three marriage certificates (parents and grandparents) or certified proofs thereof:

Ahnenpass (literally ancestor's passport)

Ahnentafel, a certified genealogy table

Großer Ariernachweis (Greater Aryan certificate) was required for compliance with the requirements of the Reichserbhofgesetz (land heritage law) and membership in the Nazi party. This certificate had to trace the family pedigree down to 1800 (and to 1750 for SS officers). According to the especially strict regulation of this law which included the goal of Preserving the Purity of German Blood only those were eligible who could prove (reaching back to January 1, 1800) that "none of their paternal nor their maternal ancestors had Jewish or colored blood".

Camp of National Unity

Obóz Zjednoczenia Narodowego (Polish pronunciation: [ˈɔbuz zjɛdnɔˈtʂɛɲa narɔdɔˈvɛɡɔ], English: Camp of National Unity; abbreviated "OZN"; and often called "Ozon" (Polish for "ozone") was a Polish political party founded in 1937 by sections of the leadership in the Sanacja movement.

A year after the 1935 death of Poland's Chief of State Marshal Józef Piłsudski, in mid-1936, one of his followers, Marshal Edward Rydz-Śmigły, attempted to unite the various government factions under his leadership. The attempt failed as another (opposing) Sanacja politician, President Ignacy Mościcki, likewise had a large following; nevertheless, substantial numbers of people did throw their lot in with Rydz-Śmigły.

On February 21, 1937, diplomat and Colonel Adam Koc formally announced the formation of OZN. Its stated aims were to improve Poland's national defense and to safeguard the April 1935 Constitution. OZN was strongly pro-military, and its politicians sought to portray Marshal Rydz-Śmigły as Marshal Józef Piłsudski's heir, describing Rydz-Śmigły as the "second person in the country" after President Mościcki—a claim that had no foundation in the Polish Constitution.

The OZN adopted 13 theses on the Jewish question. Modeled after the Nuremberg laws, they labelled Jews as a foreign element that should be deprived of all civil rights and ultimately expelled altogether. However, because the OZN was a political grouping without actual concrete political power, these laws remained theoretical and were never implemented or enforced in pre-war Poland.OZN's first official leader was Adam Koc, and its second was General Stanisław Skwarczyński. After the 1939 German invasion of Poland and the start of World War II, OZN leadership passed to Colonel Zygmunt Wenda. In 1937, OZN claimed some 40,000–50,000 members; in 1938, 100,000.

During World War II and the German occupation of Poland, OZN's underground military arm, created in 1942, was known as Obóz Polski Walczącej (the Camp of Fighting Poland).

Frank Perls

Frank Richard Perls (October 23, 1910 – February 9, 1975) was a German-born American art dealer who was best known for uncovering a series of fraudulent art works. As an interpreter with the United States Third Army, Perls worked together with Army intelligence officer Martin Dannenberg in April 1945 in the discovery of a copy of the 1935 Nuremberg Laws signed by Adolf Hitler.


Geltungsjude was the term for people who were considered Jews by the first supplementary decree to the Nuremberg Laws from 14 November 1935. The term wasn't used officially, but was coined because the persons were deemed (gelten in German) Jews rather than exactly belonging to any of the categories of the previous Nuremberg Laws. There were three categories of Geltungsjuden: 1. offspring of an intermarriage who belonged to the Jewish community after 1935; 2. offspring of an intermarriage who was married to a Jew after 1935; 3. illegitimate child of a Geltungsjude, born after 1935.

German Blood Certificate

A German Blood Certificate (German: Deutschblütigkeitserklärung) was a document provided by Hitler to Mischlinge (those with partial Jewish heritage), declaring them deutschblütig (of German blood). This practice was begun sometime after the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, and allowed exemption from most of Germany's racial laws.Mischling is a term used during the Third Reich era in Germany to denote persons deemed to have partial Jewish ancestry. This word literally means "mixed".

In order to join the Nazi party and get a certificate, the candidate had to prove through baptismal records that all direct ancestors born since 1750 were not Jewish, or they could apply for a German Blood Certificate.

These certificates were 300 mm (11¾ in) by 210 mm (8¼ in), with a signature on the front and the red seal of the Office of Racial Research of the Nazi Party. The back listed the ancestry of the individual concerned, back to the grandparents of the father and the mother.


Gleichschaltung (German pronunciation: [ˈɡlaɪçʃaltʊŋ]), or in English co-ordination, was in Nazi terminology the process of Nazification by which Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party successively established a system of totalitarian control and coordination over all aspects of German society, "from the economy and trade associations to the media, culture and education".The apex of the Nazification of Germany was in the resolutions approved during the Nuremberg Rally of 1935, when the symbols of the Nazi Party and the State were fused (see Flag of Germany) and German Jews were deprived of their citizenship (see Nuremberg Laws).

Law for Protection of the Nation

The Law for Protection of the Nation (Bulgarian: Закон за защита на нацията — ЗЗН) was a Bulgarian law, effective from 23 January 1941 to 27 November 1944, which directed measures against Jews and others. The law was passed along the example of the Nuremberg Laws in Nazi Germany.

The Law ordered measures for:

changes in the names of Jews.

rules about their place of residence.

confiscation of their possessions.

their exclusion from the public service.

prohibition of economic and professional activity.Citizens of Jewish origin were also banned from certain public areas, restricted economically, and marriages between Jews and Bulgarians were prohibited. Jews were forced to pay a one-time tax of 20 percent of their net worth. The legislation also established quotas that limited the number of Jews in Bulgarian universities.Jewish leaders protested against the law, and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, some professional organizations, and twenty-one writers also opposed it.The Law also suppressed all Freemasonry lodges and all other secret organizations.

The Law was passed under direct influence from Nazi Germany, but did not lead to the deportation of the Bulgarian Jews to Nazi extermination camps, except for the Jewish people from former Greek and Yugoslavian territories occupied by Bulgaria.

Law in Nazi Germany

From 1933 to 1945, the Nazi regime ruled Germany and controlled large portions of Europe. In this time, Nazi Germany shifted away from its post-World War I society and superimposed its central ideology of “biological racism" onto Germany's legal and justice systems. The shift from Germany's traditional legal system, the 'Normative State,' to the Nazi's ideological mission, the 'Prerogative State,' enabled performance of the mass atrocities commonly associated with the Nazi regime. For this to succeed, the formal justice system was significantly dependent upon judges, lawyers and other civil servants to acclimatise themselves to Nazi interference.

Leopold Löwenheim

Leopold Löwenheim (26 June 1878 in Krefeld – 5 May 1957 in Berlin) was a German mathematician, known for his work in mathematical logic. The Nazi regime forced him to retire because under the Nuremberg Laws he was considered only three quarters Aryan. In 1943 much of his work was destroyed during a bombing raid on Berlin. Nevertheless, he survived the Second World War, after which he resumed teaching mathematics.Löwenheim (1915) gave the first proof of what is now known as the Löwenheim–Skolem theorem, often considered the starting point for model theory.

Martin Dannenberg

Martin Ernest Dannenberg (5 November 1915 – 18 August 2010) was an American insurance executive. He served as chairman of the Sun Life Insurance Company for five decades. While serving as a counterintelligence officer in the United States Army during World War II with the U.S. Third Army, Dannenberg discovered an original copy of the Nuremberg Laws signed by Adolf Hitler. The document was in the personal possession of General George S. Patton and held by The Huntington Library until it was turned over to the United States National Archives days after Dannenberg's death.


Mischling (German: [ˈmɪʃlɪŋ]; lit. "mix-ling"; plural: Mischlinge) was the legal term used in Nazi Germany to denote persons deemed to have both "Aryan" and Jewish ancestry. The Germanic root is cousin to the Latin term whence the Spanish term mestizo and French term métis originate.

In German, the word has the general denotation of hybrid, mongrel, or half-breed. Outside its use in official Nazi terminology, the term Mischlingskinder ("mixed children") was later used to refer to war babies born to non-white soldiers and German mothers in the aftermath of World War II.

Mischling Test

Mischling Test refers to the legal test under Nazi Germany's Nuremberg Laws that was applied to determine whether a person was considered a "Jew" or a "Mischling" (mixed-blood).

Persecution of black people in Nazi Germany

While Black people in Nazi Germany were never subject to mass extermination as in the cases of Jews, Romani and Slavs, they were still considered by the Nazis to be an inferior race and, along with Romani people, were subject to the Nuremberg Laws under a supplementary decree.

Racial policy of Nazi Germany

The racial policy of Nazi Germany was a set of policies and laws implemented in Nazi Germany (1933–45) based on a specific racist doctrine asserting the superiority of the Aryan race, which claimed scientific legitimacy. This was combined with a eugenics programme that aimed for racial hygiene by compulsory sterilization and extermination of those who they saw as Untermenschen ("sub-humans"), which culminated in the Holocaust.

Nazi policies labeled centuries-long residents in German territory who were not ethnic Germans such as Jews (understood in Nazi racial theory as a "Semitic" people of Levantine origins), Romanis (also known as Gypsies, an "Indo-Aryan" people of Indian Subcontinent origins), along with the vast majority of Slavs (mainly ethnic Poles, Serbs, Russians etc.), and most non-Europeans as inferior non-Aryan subhumans (i.e. non-Nordics, under the Nazi appropriation of the term "Aryan") in a racial hierarchy that placed the Herrenvolk ("master race") of the Volksgemeinschaft ("people's community") at the top.


Rassenschande (German: [ˈʁasn̩ˌʃandə], lit. "race disgrace") or Blutschande (German: [ˈbluːtˌʃandə] (listen) "blood disgrace") was an anti-miscegenation concept in Nazi German racial policy, pertaining to sexual relations between Aryans and non-Aryans. It was put into practice by policies like the Aryan certificate requirement, and later the Nuremberg Laws, adopted unanimously by the Reichstag on 15 September 1935. Initially, these laws referred predominantly to relations between Germans and non-Aryans. In the early stages the culprits were targeted informally, and then later on punished systematically by a repressive legal apparatus.

In the course of the ensuing war years, relations between Reichsdeutsche Germans and millions of foreign Ostarbeiters brought to Germany by force, were also legally forbidden. Concerted efforts were made to foment popular distaste for it. The reasons for this were purely practical, because the Eastern European female slave labour servicing the German war economy soon became targets of rampant sexual abuse at the hands of the German farm workers and overseers. The Polish and Soviet women and girls began giving so many unwanted births on the farms that hundreds of special homes known as Ausländerkinder-Pflegestätte had to be created, in order to exterminate the infants out of sight.

Reich Association of Jews in Germany

The Reich Association of Jews in Germany (German: Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland) also called the new one for clear differentiation, was a Jewish umbrella organisation formed in Nazi Germany in February 1939. The Association branched out from the Reich Representation of German Jews (Reichsvertretung der Deutschen Juden) established in September 1933. The new Association was an administrative body concerned predominantly with the coordination and support of the emigration and forcible deportation of Jewish people, subject to the Reich government's ever-changing legislation enforced by the RSHA (Reichssicherheitshauptamt). The legal status of the new organisation was changed on 4 July 1939 on the basis of the Nuremberg Laws, and defined by the 10th Regulation to the Citizenship Law issued by the Reich's ministry of the Interior. The Association assumed the so-called old Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland, which was the name under which the Reichsvertretung der Deutschen Juden (Reich's deputation of German Jews) had been operating since February 1939.The new Reichsvereinigung assumed the staff, installations and buildings of the old Reichsvereinigung. The RSHA subjected the new Reichsvereinigung to its influence and control, and confirmed Rabbi Leo Baeck as president, who had been elected as president of the old Reichsvereinigung. By the end of 1939 the RSHA appointed Adolf Eichmann as its Special Referee for the Affairs of the Jews (German: Sonderreferent für Judenangelegenheiten), officiating in a bureau in Kurfürstenstraße #115–116, Berlin. Eichmann had come to dubious fame for expelling 50,000 Jewish Austrians and Gentile Austrians of Jewish descent. within the first three months after the Anschluß. Thus he was commissioned to expel Jewish Germans and Gentile Germans of Jewish descent from within the old Reich borders. The local supervision of the Reichsvereinigung was commissioned to the local Gestapo branches.


The Reichsgericht (German: [ˈʁaɪçs.ɡəˌʁɪçt], Imperial Court of Justice) was the supreme criminal and civil court in the German Reich from 1879 to 1945. It was based in Leipzig, Germany. The Supreme Court was established when the Reichsjustizgesetze (Imperial Justice Laws) came into effect and it built a widely regarded body of jurisprudence during the period of the German Empire and Weimar Republic.During the rise of the Third Reich, the Reichsgericht became deeply embroiled in the National Socialist agenda. It even involved itself in matters of Nazi Matrimonial and Contract Law before enactment of the Nuremberg Laws. During and after the Nazi period it received criticism for the ease, and even willingness, with which it provided the highest level of formal legal justification for Nazi programs. Immediately after the end of World War II the Reichsgericht was dissolved, and reformed into the German High Court for the Unified Economic Region, the Allied occupation zones of France, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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