How did the persecution start?

Laws were passed in 1933 to segregate Jews from German society. Jews were no longer allowed to work for the government, could not own land in Germany, or vote. Jewish students and teachers were no longer allowed in German public schools. The most notable laws are the Nuremberg Laws of 1935. These new laws prohibited marriage between a Jew and a German and outlined who was legally a Jew.

 

On the night of November 9, 1938, Jewish stores were destroyed, and synagogues were burned throughout Germany and Austria. This became known as Kristallnacht, "Night of Broken Glass" because of all the shattered glass from broken windows.

 

The Gestapo arrested approximately 30,000 Jews and sent them to concentration camps. In the aftermath, the Jews were responsible for all the physical damage to property. While restrictions and laws had been in place since 1933, this was the first violent demonstration against the Jews. 

Destruction of Zerrennerstrasse synagogue

Photo: Interior of the Zerrennerstrasse synagogue after its destruction on Kristallnacht. November 10, 1938, Pforzheim, Germany.

Photo credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Stadtarchiv Pforzheim.