What do Jews think of Hitler?

The "Star of David": a sign of persecution

Transmission date: 11/12/2001 7:30 p.m.

From September 1941, the Nazi regime forced Jews to wear a yellow star - a further increase in disenfranchisement. Soon afterwards the deportations to the concentration camps begin.

by Maren Stiebert

When asked about compulsory labeling for Jews, Adolf Hitler said in a speech to district leaders of the NSDAP in 1937 to a journalist: This "labeling problem" has been considered for two or three years and will of course be carried out one day one day. "Because: the ultimate goal of our entire policy is very clear to all of us."

Obligation to wear one last step before the deportations

Millions of Jews were victims of displacement and murder during the Nazi era.

Around four years later, on September 19, 1941, the "Police Ordinance on the Identification of Jews" came into force. It required Jews to wear a yellow star on their clothing. For its wearers, it meant social isolation and stigmatization. Discrimination, disenfranchisement and exclusion experienced a further increase. The introduction of the yellow Star of David, known as the "Jewish Star" in Nazi propaganda, was one of the last measures taken by the National Socialists before the deportation began.

Recourse to the anti-Semitic tradition of the Middle Ages

The Star of David, the symbol of Judaism, served the Nazis as a template for their "Star of David".

The palm-sized badge, based on the hexagram of Maggen-Davids (Star of David), had to be worn by all Jews from the age of six, visibly on the left chest of their clothing. The inscription "Jew" was designed in such a way that it ridiculed the Hebrew script. Exempt from the regulation were Jews who were married to a non-Jewish partner, i.e. lived in a so-called privileged mixed marriage.

When choosing the defamatory symbol, the National Socialists fell back on the centuries-old history of anti-Semitism. Already in the Middle Ages Jews were forced to wear certain badges almost everywhere in Christian Europe. Depending on the country or area, they usually had to wear yellow spots, stars or rings on their clothing or put on what is known as a Jewish hat.

In Germany-occupied Poland, the "yellow star" was mandatory for all Jews from November 1939.

Ordinances and laws sealed the exclusion

Women, children and old people were also victims of the systematic extermination of Jews.

The gradual disenfranchisement and marginalization of the Jews began only a few months after the National Socialists came to power. Always new laws and regulations had degrading effects on their lives. Their economic existence was gradually destroyed by professional bans and expropriations from companies. They were ousted from public life: Jews were restricted to go out, children were no longer allowed to attend public schools, and they were forbidden from entering theaters, cinemas or museums. The words "Only for Aryans" were emblazoned on park benches, and at the entrances to restaurants there were signs with the warning "Jews are not welcome here".

From October 1938 all Jews had to hand in their passports. The authorities only issued a limited number of new ID cards; they were marked with a stamped "J". From the beginning of 1939 Jews had to carry ID cards with them and use a compulsory first name. Men were given the addition "Israel", women the name "Sara".

Ghettoization on the eve of the deportations

Today "stumbling blocks" in front of house entrances indicate where Jews were deported.

The already mentioned Police Ordinance of September 1941 was one of the innumerable restrictions. It not only included the obligation to mark with the "Jewish star". She forbade Jews to wear medals and other decorations, and also made sure that they were no longer allowed to leave their residential area without a police permit. This marked a further step in the process of ghettoization, which had already been initiated by the "Law on Tenancy of Jews" of April 30, 1939. "Aryan" landlords could therefore terminate Jews at any time without notice, provided that new accommodation was available. At the same time, the law obliged Jews who had housing to take in homeless people.

The result was the emergence of so-called Jewish houses. Every change of residence also had to be precisely registered with the support of the Jewish community. From April 1, 1942, the apartments were also marked with a "Jewish star" next to the name tag. The registration, spatial consolidation and identification of the Jews offered the National Socialists the possibility of perfect surveillance. The measures enabled the scheduled deportation and murder of the Jews.

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11/12/2001 | 19:30 o'clock