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Hitler's Role in the Persuection of the Jews by the Nazi Regime: Electronic Version, by Heinz Peter Longerich

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4.1A period of relative calm in the development of National Socialist policy concerning the Jews can be identified42 in the period beginning in the second half of 1933 and extending through 1934. During this period the regime tried to avoid a further radicalisation of the persecution of the Jews, because it would have deepen its foreign political isolation, worsen the unstable economic situation, inspire the radicalism of the SA (which the Party tried to bring under control in this period), and annoy their conservative coalition partners who were still in a relatively quiet mood. This situation changed in 1935, after the Nazis had their first success in foreign policy by winning the Saarland referendum, after the Nazi Party had eleminated the leadership of the SA and conservative opponents during the "night of the long knives" (30 June 1934) and secured their dominant power position, and when the economic situation became better.
4.2Starting in 1935 however, Party activists once again triggered antisemitic excesses in the whole empire; these became more numerous and more extreme in the Spring and Summer of 1935. Party activists repeatedly blocked Jewish businesses, perpetrated acts of terror against so-called "racial defilers", organised demonstrations, and prevented marriages between Jews and non-Jews and assaulted Jewish citizens. By means of these abuses, the more radical antisemitic forces in the Party wanted to push through three objectives: 1) the introduction of a special citizenship for Jews 2) prohibitions against marriage as well as sexual relations between Jews and non-Jews and 3) economically discriminatory measures against the Jewish minority.43
4.3In August, statements were issued in Hitler's name not only by Rudolf Hess, Hitler's deputy in Party matters, but also by Minister of the Interior Frick,   forbidding further "individual actions" (Einzelaktionen).44 Once again, Hitler's sole concern was tactical - to subdue anti-Jewish abuses which were causing unrest and indignation in the population. In essence, however, he shared the same goals as the party activists.
4.4This clarifies Hitler's role in the genesis of the Nuremberg laws whereby, in particular, marriage and sexual relations between Jews and non-Jews were forbidden and a special, inferior citizenship was defined for Jews. Hitler played a decisive role in the implementation of both of these basic early antisemitic demands of the Nazi Party. He preferred "rational antisemitism" instead of pogroms, as he had stated in 1920.
4.5The decision to include an anti-Jewish law which contained the long-demanded prohibition against "racial defilement" (Rassenschande) in the Reichstag session during the Nuremberg party meeting was made on the evening of 13 September 1935 by a small circle of leading Nazis who had been gathered to meet with Hitler in a Nuremberg hotel.45
4.6The official in charge of the Jewish question (Judenreferent) in the Ministry of the Interior, Lösener, has described very vividly in a memoir written after the war how he was unexpectedly called to Nuremberg late in the evening of 13 September in order to help formulate these new laws.46 On the next day, according to Lösener's report, together with a group of officials from the ministry, he worked out numerous drafts for the law which was later called the Law for the Protection of German Blood (Blutschutzgesetz). Minister of the Interior Frick presented them to Hitler and then brought them back with specific proposals for amendment. On Saturday, 14 September, around midnight, Hitler demanded that four alternative drafts be submitted for the Blutschutzgesetz by the following morning. Further, according to Lösener's account, Hitler now asked the officials to prepare another law, namely a blueprint of a "basic law, a citizenship law" for the next day. On the following day Hitler decided for one of the drafts of the protection of German blood law and had it passed in the   Reichstag, together with the Reich citizenship law (Reichsbürgergesetz) which had also been drafted overnight.
4.7After laws were passed, Hitler declared at the Nuremberg Party Conference that the law for the protection of German blood was "the attempt legally to regulate a problem by which in the event of repeated failure would definitely be transferred to the National Socialist Party by law in order to achieve a final solution".47 He thereby made clear that he was prepared to use street terror by Party activists (which he had earlier condemned in public declarations) as an instrument for enforcing his policies.


42. Longerich, Politik, 47ff and 53ff.
43. Longerich, Politik, pp. 70ff.
44. IfZ, Rundschreiben R 164/35, 9.8.35; BAB, R 43II/602
45. Fröhlich (ed.), Tagebücher, 14.9.37.
46. Strauss (ed.), Reichsministerium (Lösener).
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