Nuremberg Laws

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First issued in 1935 although often amended, the Nuremberge Laws were the core of Nazi Party legislation to strip rights from Jews. There were two main laws, the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor and the Reich Citizenship Law. Prepared at the 20 August request of Reich Minister of Economics Hjalmar Schacht,[1] who had no strong position on Jews but wanted a consistent policy on which he could depend in economic planning, they were written by the Reich Ministry of the Interior, then headed by Wilhelm Frick. Wilhelm Stuckart, State Secretary in the primary drafter. [2]

There would be thirteen more laws restricting Jews. While it was not targeted specifically at Jews, the July 1933 Law for the Protection of Hereditary Health, had established the Nazi criteria for mandatory sterilization. This would be enforced more strictly against Jews, and indeed Stuckart, attending the Wannsee Conference, argued that sterilization, not killing, was the Reich policy. Also in 1933, they had been excluded from public office, the civil service, radio and journalism, farming, teaching, and cinema, and ejected from the stock exchanges in 1934. [3]

Before Schacht's request, Frick, on 27 July, had sent a memorandum to marriage registry offices saying that marriages between Jews and non-Jews would soon be forbidden. Nevertheless, no real action was started until 13 September, when Adolf Hitler decided he wanted to make an announcement at the 15 September Nuremberg Party Rally.[4]

Frick immediately assigned Stuckart and Hans Pfundtner, already in Nuremberg, to begin work, and ordered Bernhard Loesener, the Ministry's racial expert, to fly there to work with them.

The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor prohibited marriages and extra-marital sex between “Jews ” and “Germans ” and also the employment of “German ” females under forty-five in Jewish households. The Reich Citizenship Law stripped Jews of their German citizenship and introduced a new distinction between “Reich citizens ” and “nationals.” [2]


  1. Documents on German Foreign Policy, Series C, 4:568-570, quoted in Dawidowicz, p. 63
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Nuremberg Laws", Jewish Virtual Library
  3. William Shirer (1960), The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Simon & Schuster, p. 233
  4. Lucy Dawidowicz (1975), The War against the Jews, 1933-1945 (10th Anniversary ed.), Bantam Books, ISBN 0-553-34532-X, p. 66