The Nuremberg Laws were a set of racist and anti-Semitic laws in Nazi Germany enacted by the Nazi Party. The Nazi Party (also known as NSDAP: National Socialist German Worker’s Party) introduced these laws at a special meeting convened during the Nuremberg Annual Rally. This was an annual rally held in the Nazi Party rally grounds, containing propaganda material.
The Nazi Party’s ideology (which became significantly focused and elaborate after Hitler’s rise to power) included the rejection of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, radical anti-Semitism, increased living space for people of German heritage, and the formation of different communities based on race. The Nuremberg Laws were a natural result of systemic ideology and belief about a greater Jewish conspiracy to take over the world, which is also detailed in Hitler’s autobiography, Mein Kampf.
The Nuremberg Laws mainly comprised of racist and anti-Semitic provisions. A portion of these laws sought to protect the purity of the German blood and honour by segregating non-Jewish Germans from Jewish Germans. The laws sought a restoration of the professional civil service. The racist inclination of these laws was obvious in a section about laws that pertained to the prevention of hereditary diseases offspring.
Under these laws, marriage between Jews and Germans was expressly forbidden. German females under the age of 45-years-old were forbidden from being employed in Jewish households. All non-Aryan people were forced to retire from legal and civil service. Only people of German heritage were considered official citizens of the Reich (country). Everyone was suddenly classed as state subjects – but without any citizenship rights.
The discrimination practised by the Nazi Party (and their followers) against the Jewish people drastically intensified after the Nazis gained power over Germany in 1933. Hitler declared a national boycott of all Jewish businesses, and the general public also advocated segregating Jews completely from the rest of German society.
In accordance with the racist Nuremberg Laws, Heinrich Himmler, the President of the SS, issued an official order to categorise the Romani people based on their Roma heritage. Dr Zindel of the Ministry of the Interior suggested that the ‘Gypsy Plague’ be dealt with by sterilising and deporting all Roma people. By 1938, public health authorities were ordered to register all Roma people living in the country.
The Schutzstaffel (or SS) was eager to lash out against the Jewish minority. The Nazi Party obliged by allowing assaults, vandalism against the Jews and boycotts of their businesses. Anti-Jewish propaganda campaigns were authorised at the highest level of government. Many in the general public supported these steps and were in favour of bringing harsher, anti-Semitic laws.
The laws – and subsequent actions of the general public – began to have a negative effect on the economy. Germany’s international image was forever tarnished. Hitler therefore argued against violence and insisted the matter should be settled through litigation. He wanted to use the law to strip Jews of their citizenship and prevent them from participating in the country’s economy.