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The Nuremberg Laws

Lawrence Bush
September 14, 2017

The “Reich Citizenship Law,” also known as the Nuremberg Laws, was passed by the Nazi Congress on this date in 1935. It stripped Jews of German citizenship, outlawed marriages and sexual relationships between Jews and non-Jews, forbade Jews from hiring non-Jewish women under 45 as domestics, established the swastika as Germany’s national symbol and forbade Jews from displaying it.

Two months later, a supplemental decree defined “full Jews” (those with three or more Jewish grandparents), Mischlinge (half-breeds), and other classes of Jewish “racial” identity. The original document, signed by Adolf Hitler, is now stored in the National Archives in Washington, DC.

“If you want to get Hitler’s goat, abolish poll tax so folks can vote.” —Langston Hughes, “Jim Crow’s Last Stand”

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.