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A Jew In Nazi Germany History Essay

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The Korherr Report, written by Dr. Richard Korherr in 1943, had a very important role in the "final solution" and in "evacuating" the European Jews. This document begins by categorizing Jews by their race, instead of defining them as a religious group. Why did the Germans of this era characterize Jews not as a people with common religious background but as a hereditary race? Why did they see the racial Jews as a threat or as a detriment to their empire, Reichstag, that they implemented the "final solution"?

Richard Korherr became a member of the Nazi party in 1937 and later the chief inspector of the Statistics department of the Schuzstaffel (SS) in 1940. [1] Korherr was the author of the Korherr Report, the document that played a crucial role in planning and implementing the Final Solution of the European Jews. The report was used to plan the progress of Final Solution, such as calculating the number of trains needed to transport Jews to death camps.

The Korherr Report showed the progress of the Holocaust, of the Final Solution from December 1942 to 1943. Korherr wrote that he was one of the first to record the Jews according to their race instead of according to their religious confession and also admitted that officially collecting the number of racial was a difficult challenge because there are many racial Jews who converted to the Christian faith and vice versa. The report calculated that since Nazis' seizure of power, four million Jews had been eliminated from Europe, of which 1.5 million immigrated to other continents and 2,454,000 had been killed in the concentration camps. Korherr was careful to use the word "evacuation," to euphemistically refer to the mass killing of Jews. The report is concluded by stating that since 1933, the European Jewry likely lost half of its numbers.

So why were Jews targeted by the Germans? Germans' antagonism against the Jews seems to come from Hitler's own personal dislike of the Jewish people, his beliefs in the biological racism from Vienna, and his willingness to blame the Jews for Germany's defeat in the First World War. [2] 

It is the famous story that Adolf Hitler developed his hatred toward Jews after being denied acceptance to the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts in 1908 and finding out that the majority of the school officials who denied his acceptance were Jewish. But this story is not the only example where Hitler grew to dislike Jews. Excerpts from Hitler's own writing Mein Kampf show that Hitler gradually developed his antagonism toward the Jews. Hitler realized that unlike him, who was living in constant failures, Jews were flourishing in many fields of arts, business, and politics:

What had to ge reckoned heavily against the Jew in my eyes was when I became acquainted with their activity in the press, art, literature, and the theater…. And when I learned to look for the Jew in all branches of cultural and artistic life and its various manifestations, I suddenly encountered him in a place where I would least have expected to find him…. When I recognized the Jew as the leader of the Social Democracy, the scales dropped from my eyes. [3] 

At the age of 21, Hitler became immersed in politics and came into more contact with anti-Semitism in Vienna. He became involved in the workers' party, the Social Democrats, and also two other main parties, the Pan German Nationalists and the Christian Social Party, which heightened his interest in German nationalism and anti-Semitism. [4] 

Vienna had a small Jewish population, including many traditionally-dressed ethnic Jews. Among the middle class in Vienna, anti-Semitism was fairly accepted. Hitler seemed to develop his taste toward anti-Semitism in this very city. Also, Hitler admired the powerful mayor of Vienna, Karl Lueger, a noted anti-Jew and a member of the Christian Social Party. [5] The numerous anti-Semitic tabloids and pamphlets affected Hitler as well.

In this period, at the end of nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, scientific racism became very popular in Europe. In Vienna, Hitler was introduced to Social Darwinism-believing that nations, people, cultures, and individuals are subject to the same laws of natural selection as plants and animals. He learned that a competition exists not only between animals but also between humans and their nations and people, the strongest conquering the world and the weaker ones being eliminated.

After being adapted to anti-Semitism in Vienna, Hitler found someone to blame not only for his own miserable life but also the entire miserable fate of the Weimar Republic. Ever since Hitler became aware of the Jews in the German society, he labeled them as the inherent evil of Germany. The German defeat in 1918 in World War I could be blamed on the Jews. The Weimar Republic was crumbling down because Jews had taken over the Weimar government. The Nazis believed that Jews seized control over the government, the press, the arts, and the economy, literally in all sectors of Weimar Republic. The worst problem was that through intermarriage, Jews detrimentally corrupted the purity of the Aryan race. [6] This was the greatest Jewish problem of all to the Nazis and which Nazis sought to find a solution: the final solution. These were the reason the Nazis viewed the Jews as a dangerous and placed so much importance in race.

The Nazis, after opening their Third Reich, started to define a Jew. At the Nuremberg Party Congress on September 15, 1935, Hitler, announced the Nuremberg Laws, which became the fundamentals of the three new German racist policies and the suppression of Jews and other non-Aryans. [7] The Nuremberg Laws forbid contacts between Aryan Germans and Jews, especially marriage, and stripped Jews of German citizenship. Marriages violating this law were voided. Jews were prohibited from hiring female Germans less than forty-five. The Nuremberg Laws were supplemented with thirteen additional decrees, the last issued as late as 1943, as the Nazis constantly refined the suppression of non-Aryans.

The final definition of a Jew was published on November 14, 1935. A Jew was anyone who either had three or four racially full Jewish grandparents or belonged to a Jewish religious community after the Nuremberg Laws were enacted. Anyone who was married to a Jew or who had Jewish parents was also considered Jewish. Thus, even illegitimate children of one Jewish parent and one non-Jewish were included. [8] 

The Nuremberg Laws defined a Jew so that the policies towards Jews and their property could be carried out without the confusion of who is a Jew and who is not. The Nuremberg Laws made official the segregation and the measure taken against the Jews starting from 1935. After the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, a dozen supplemental Nazi decrees were issued that eventually outlawed the Jews completely, depriving them of their rights as human beings. [9] The Nuremberg Laws laid the foundation for the next ten years of racial policy.

Although Hitler may have been one individual with viscous hatred against the Jews, his and the Nazi's policy was very contagious. Many Germans felt a sense of both personal and national grievance, deriving from the lost the First World War, particularly when they suffered through the super-inflation and a worthless currency. Germany, before the Nazis rose to power, was impoverished and desperate for an outlet. When the Nazis rose to power, they came along with one solution that would heal the current abject situations in the Weimar Republic: the Jews. Many Germans needed a scapegoat, needed to blame for the source of the problem. The Germans could not only relieve their anxieties putting guilt on the Jews but they had massive gains by stripping the Jews of their rights as citizens and confiscating their enormous property. Hitler had been the necessary and pivotal decision maker in the Nazi Jewish policy, leading to the Final Solution, but the Holocaust would not have been the way it had been if the Germany had not followed.


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