Nazi Anti-Semitism

Nazi Anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism is dislike or hatred of the Jews.


• Hitler’s believes have many links with Social Darwinism. Social Darwinism is a belief in the survival of the fittest. Hitler applied this to race and national politics.
• Hitler believed that the Germanic or ‘Aryan’ race were a ‘master race’. His belief in Social Darwinism led him to conclude that as such other races were inferior. The Jews were one of the most inferior races in Hitler’s eyes.

Why did Hitler hate the Jews?

A number of possibilities. A Jewish master at Art College rejected Hitler. This may have sparked his hatred, as he was a very keen artist. Jews were prominent within the Communist party of the Soviet Union; this led to a political reason to turn Jews into scapegoats. Many Germans blamed the Jews for ‘stabbing Germany in the back’ after the First World War; the hatred may have been fostered by his involvement in this conflict and a belief in this theory.

Political gains from anti-semiticism

The Jews were accused of exploiting ordinary German workers and for being communists. Both the communists and war profiteers were disliked by the German populace, blaming the Jews and promising to rid Germany of the problem could gain political support from the oppressed masses.

Anti-Semitic policies 1933-1945

Upon gaining power Hitler set about establishing a programme of selective breeding and racial indoctrination.

• The SS were in charge of a selective breeding policy. This involved selecting racially pure women for SS officers to father the children of.
• Important positions could only be filled by people who were racially pure.
• Educational programmes were introduced that taught Race studies and Eugenics (study of controlled reproduction). School curriculum was rewritten to teach about racial superiority: example being the Old Testament taught as being a struggle between the Jews and the Aryan race.
• Government sponsored boycotts of Jewish owned shops and businesses took place as early as April 1933.

An example of Anti-Semitic propaganda produced by the Nazi’s

Persecution of the Jews

Stage 1: Denial of rights 1933 -1938

• 1933. Jews lose the right to be German citizens.
• 1933. Refused the right to protection from the police.
• 1933. Illegal for Jews to inherit land.
• 1935. Enforced segregation. Jews banned from: parks, swimming baths, restaurants and public buildings.
• 1935. Nuremberg Laws. Illegal for Jews to marry Germans or to have sexual intercourse with a German.
• 1933-39. Government propaganda against the Jews.
• 1933-39. Jewish schoolchildren ridiculed and humiliated in front of classes on regular basis (indoctrination process).

During the period 1933 –1938 Jews were also sent to concentration camps. This was not in the large numbers that were to follow, nor were the camps ‘Death Camps’ at this stage. Jews sent to concentration camps in this period were imprisoned due to their response to the Nazi rule or a perceived threat of aggressive reaction to Nazi rule.

Stage 2: Acceleration of persecution 1938 –1941

November 1938: Kristallnacht (Crystal Night: so named because of the amount of glass smashed).
Kristallnacht was a massive pogrom (uprising against the Jews). Across Germany Jewish property, homes and synagogues were vandalised, burnt down and defaced. Thousands of Jews were injured and there were deaths. The SA probably organised and implemented this, although no official order has been found: the government said that it was a spontaneous uprising.

By 1941 the Jews had lost all civil liberties including: the right to choose their children’s names (official list of permissible names); forced to live in a ‘ghetto’ (sealed area of a town or city) and they had to wear a Yellow Star of David on their clothes.

Stage 3: 1941 –1945 The Holocaust.

After the conquest of Eastern Europe the Jewish population of ‘Germany’ had grown to in the region of 8 million (an exact figure is impossible to calculate). Many areas of Eastern Europe were highly populated with Jews. The Wannsee Conference in 1942 decided how to deal with these Jews.

At Wannsee the Nazi leadership decided upon the ‘Final Solution’ of the ‘Jewish problem’. Jews were to be exploited as far as possible (i.e. forced to work to the point of death on starvation diets) and, if incapable of or unsuitable for demeaning (dirty/ undesirable) jobs they were to be terminated.

The ‘Final Solution’ was therefore a policy designed to rid the third Reich of the Jews. This would be achieved through initially the deployment of Einsatzgruppen (Mobile Death Squads) and later the introduction of Death Camps such as Auschwitz, which were essentially factories designed for the purpose of killing as many people as possible and disposing of their remains. Other Jews would die as a result of sheer hard work.

The Holocaust is estimated to have resulted in the mass murder of an estimated 6 Million Jews. In addition to this there were many Gypsies, Homosexuals, Communists and Russian (Soviet) prisoners who perished at the hands of the SS in death camps or via the use of Einsatzgruppen.


[products limit=”8″ columns=”4″ category=”hitlers-germany” cat_operator=”AND”]


Weimar Germany Lessons and Teachers Resources

Rise of Hitler revision chart 1-9 GCSE Exam Preparation. Usefulness of Sources: the SA and Nazi methods of control.
Revision exercises@ Life in Nazi Germany 1-9 GCSE History Revision Guide Weimar and Nazi Germany
Teaching resource: How did the Nazi’s rise to power?

German History Homepage

The Second Reich
Unification of Germany Political systems within the Second Reich
German Society during the Second Reich Collapse of the Second Reich

Weimar Republic

Interim Government Founding of the Weimar Republic
Impact of the First World War on Germany The Treaty of Versailles and its impact on Germany
Weimar Constitution 1919-1923: Years of Crisis?
Spartacist Uprising Kapp Putsch
The Munich Putsch Hyperinflation in Germany, 1923
Reparations Did the Economic Crisis of 1923 help the Nazi’s?
Origins of the Nazi Party 1924-1928: A Golden Era?
Gustav Stresemann German Foreign Relations 1919-1932
Germany in the Great Depression Rise of the Nazi Party
Failings of the Weimar Republic Totalitarian Regime in Nazi Germany
How did Hitler consolidate power? Mein Kampf
Nazi methods of control Opposition to the Nazi Regime
Organisation of the Nazi Party Fuhrerprinzip
Kristallnacht Youth and Education
Goering and the 2nd 4 Year Plan Anti-Jewish Boycott, 1933
Nazi Anti-Semitism DAF (The German Labour Front)
Propaganda in Germany 1919-39 Economic Policy of the Nazi Party
Weimar Germany Our sister site provides in depth coverage of many aspects of life in Germany at the time of the Weimar Republic
Resistance and Opposition to the Nazi Regime A wide ranging series of articles on the different opposition and resistance movements in Nazi Germany.
Lesson plans, resources and ideas on Nazi Germany A range of lesson plans, teaching resources and links of use in the classroom
Economy under Nazi rule Articles, Resources and Documentation relating to the Economy under Nazi rule
The Holocaust History Teachers’ Resources

Revision Diagrams

Was the Weimar Republic Doomed from the outset? To what extent did Germany recover under Stresemann?
The Nazi Party up to 1929 How did Hitler become Chancellor of Germany?
Who gained from Nazi rule?

Revision Diagrams

Was the Weimar Republic doomed from the start? |To what extent did Weimar recover under Stresemann?
How did the Nazi Party develop up to 1929? How did Hitler become Chancellor?
How did Hitler become Chancellor? How did the Nazi’s create a Totalitarian State?


Love Learning?

Subscribe to our Free Newsletter, Complete with Exclusive History Content