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Yehuda Bauer: My Brother's Keeper

A History of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee 1929-1939

[Holocaust preparations in Europe and resistance without solution of the situation]

The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia 1974

Transcription with subtitles by Michael Palomino (2007)



Chapter 3. Germany: 1933-1938

[3.3. Discrimination of Jews from jobs and schools in the Third Reich since 1933]

[1 April 1933: Boycott day against Jewish shops]

In the meantime, economic disaster had befallen the Jews of Germany. On April 1, 1933, just two months after Hitlers' accession to power, the Nazis instituted a boycott of all Jewish stores and Jewish professionals. An official prolongation of that boycott beyond one day was prevented by a vociferous protest movement abroad.

[All in all the boycott is a flop (see: Hans-Jürgen Eitner: Hitlers Deutsche. Das Ende eines Tabus. Casimir Katz Verlag, Gemsbach 1991, p.378). The boycott should hit Jewish storehouses and one price shops (p.260). The boycott appeal is organized by Goebbels and Streicher with Hitlers consent and is performed by the SA. The boycott day is a flop. Later many Germans are starting sympathy purchases and oppose to the NS methods (p.378). The big majority of the the German population refuses to pogrom like methods against Jews (p.379)
In: Eitner: Hitlers Deutsche 1991].

[There is more effect with the work prohibitions and other restrictions, which are not much opposed by the German population, because the law would bring Germans into prison when they would help the Jews]:

[4 April 1933: Work prohibition for Jews for lawyers]
However, the elimination of Jews from the German economy proceeded at a very quick pace. On April 4 a decree was published practically revoking the right of Jewish lawyers to practice in Prussia.

[7 April 1933: Work prohibition for Jews up to 1/4 Jews as civil servants]
On April 7 a law ("for the reestablishment of the professional civil service") provided for the forcible retirement of all civil servants who had one Jewish grandparent or more, with a few exceptions.

[22 April 1933: Jewish doctors are excluded from sick funds]
On April 22 Jewish doctors were dropped from panels of sick funds, which until that time had provided most of them with the bulk of their income.

[2nd June 1933: Jewish dentists are excluded from sick funds]
A similar law was enacted on June 2 for dentists.

[29 Sep and 4 Oct 1933: Artist and journalists are forced into Nazi organizations - Jews excluded]
After September 29 authors, actors, and musicians (and after October 4, journalists as well) had to belong to Nazi organizations, which of course excluded Jews.

[30 June 1933: Ban of Jews from functions in government and universities]
On June 30 officials and professors of the "Jewish race" were, to all intents and purposes, banned from exercising their functions in government and universities.

[End of June 1933: Kahn's estimation: 33,700 Jews lost their jobs]
By the end of June [1933], Kahn estimated that 20 %, or about 33,700 of the gainfully employed Jews, had lost their jobs.
(End note 15: See note 9 above [Hilfsverein der deutschen Juden, Dr. Kahn's material, 1931-1940, memo of 6/27/33 [27 June 1933])

[Summer 1933: Laws against Jews have effect]

The worst, however, was not the legal situation, but the permanent insecurity that now had entered German Jewish life and was to remain until the final destruction. Nazi officials used to deny that the boycott against the Jews was still in existence after April 1, 1933, but in practice the boycott not only did not stop - it increased in ferocity as time went on [because the law prohibits Jews from professions and the German population is prohibited to help Jews by law]. German Jewry, with its peculiar occupational stratification, was particularly vulnerable to this kind of economic warfare. Over 60 percent of gainfully occupied (p.112)

Jews engaged in trade.

(End note 16: From 29 - ZA statistical section, 1933 reports. A total of 61.33 % of German Jews were engaged in trade, and 24.4 % in industry and crafts. A further 5.6 % were professionals. Of the 160,000 people who were engaged in trade, more than half, 89,368, were owners of trading establishments, 52,869 were employees, and only 2,913 were workers; 14,956 were family members of the owners).

In the beginning the Nazis made what seemed to be certain exceptions in their anti-Jewish measures. This was done in deference to pressure by President Hindenburg. They declared that 1 % of the persons in official positions could be Jews; pre-1914 public servants and people who had been frontline soldiers in World War I were also to remain. However, in practice, these exceptions were quite insignificant. Among the people regarded as Jewish, the Nazis included persons with one Jewish grandfather. Also, only those who were politically reliable could keep their positions.

[April-Oct 1933: Figures of banned Jews from their job]

Of the 6,000 Jewish public servants in Germany, at least 5,000 lost their jobs during the first months of the Nazi regime. Of 2,800 Jewish lawyers, at least 1,500 lost their jobs in April 1933. Of 7,000 Jewish doctors, 4-5,000 were to lose their livelihood during those spring months; a similar fate was in store for dentists, druggists and chemists, municipal officials, and public welfare workers, who together numbered another 2,500 gainfully employed people. The actors, musicians, journalists, and others accounted for some 13-15,000 Jews who were now out of work. Although their numbers were not very significant, Jewish workers were deprived of the possibility of maintaining their jobs as the Nazi regime tightened its hold over Germany.

[Discrimination of Jews from the Arbeitsfront with insurance, sick benefits and other essentials]

A law was passed forbidding Jewish membership in the official Nazi worker's organization, the Arbeitsfront. All workers who wished to take advantage of insurance, sick benefits, and other essentials had to belong to the Arbeitsfront. Soon there were no German workers who did not belong to that organization - except Jews.

The importance of all these factors for an organization like JDC which wished to help German Jewry was all too clear. "All that [what] has been done during the past 50 years by world Jewry for their oppressed and needy brethren all over the world will now have to be repeated within three to five years for German Jewry alone."

(End note 17: The Position of the Jews in Germany, 4/28/33 [28 April 1933], 14-47)

[Numerus clausus for Jews at German NS schools and universities]

On the education front the picture was no better. No German school could have Jewish students in excess of 5 % of the total (p.113)

enrollment. Up to that time the percentage of Jews in German high schools had exceeded 10 %. Only 1.5 % of new pupils in the universities could be Jews, and among the older students only 5 % could be Jews. No East European Jew who had arrived in Germany after 1914 could be a student at a German university. All these factors presented JDC with an emergency situation. (p.114)