The Nazi Persecution of Minorities

Andrew Burke
Slide Set by Andrew Burke, updated more than 1 year ago
Andrew Burke
Created by Andrew Burke over 3 years ago


As part of our series on Germany 1918 to 1939, our slides look at how the Nazi's dealt with minorities. It examines policies such as euthanasia, sterilisation and of course Anti-Semitism and explores the Nuremberg Laws and Kristallnacht.

Resource summary

Slide 1

    Persecution of Minorities
    The Nazis believed in the superiority of the Aryan race and persecuted minorities: Jehovah's Witnesses, Gypsies, homosexuals and mentally handicapped people In families where there was hereditary illnesses, sterilisation was enforced  Between 1934-1945, 300,000 men and women were sterilised  A euthanasia programme began in 1939, at least 5,000 severely intellectually disabled babies and children were killed from 1939-1945 1939-1941 - 72,000 mentally ill patients were gassed before a public outcry ended the extermination  Extermination of Gypsies did not cause an outcry, five out of six Gypsies living in Germany in 1939 were killed by the Nazis Little or no complaint about 'asocials' - homosexuals, alcoholics, the homeless, prostitutes, criminals and beggars - who were sent to concentration camps
    Caption: : Family of Gypsies living in Germany

Slide 2

    Hitler and the Jews
    Anti-Semitism means hatred of the Jewish race Throughout European history, Jews had been treated unequally, whether in court or being forced to live in ghettos  The main reason for hatred of Jews in Nazi Germany was they tended to be well educated and had the highest paying jobs or ran successful shops and businesses  Hitler had become obsessed with the fact that Jews ran many of the most successful businesses especially department stores  This offended his ideology of the superiority of the Aryan race  Hitler also blamed Jewish businessmen and bankers for Germany's defeat in World War One  As soon as Hitler took power in 1933, he began to mobilise the full power of the state against the Jews Jews were immediately banned from the civil service and public services, such as broadcasting and teaching  SA and SS organised boycotts of Jewish shops and businesses 
    Caption: : Jewish businesses were identified by placing a star of David on the outside of the shop

Slide 3

    Hitler and the Jews
    Nuremberg Laws:  In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws took away German citizenship from Jews Jews were forbidden from having sexual relations with pure-blooded Germans Goebbel's propaganda outlets bombarded the public with anti-Jewish messages Jews were often refused jobs Shopkeepers refused to serve them In schools, Jewish children were often humiliated and then segregated  These laws paved the way for widespread discrimination against the Jews 
    Kristallnacht:  November 1938 - a young Jew killed a German diplomat in France; the Nazis used this as an excuse to violently react against the Jews  SS troopers were issued with pickaxes and hammers and the addresses of Jewish businesses They smashed up Jewish businesses, 91 Jews were murdered and many synagogues were burned 20,000 Jews were taken to concentration camps and thousands fled the country  This event was known as Kristallnacht  ('Night of the Broken Glass')  The Nazi-controlled press presented this event as a reaction of ordinary Germans against the jews

Slide 4

    Why so little Nazi opposition?
    Historians would argue that considering how extreme Nazi policies were, there was remarkably little opposition  It is important to understand many people approved of the Nazis, in the sense that they made their lives better Also, no one would dream of opposing Hitler because of the power he held  Goebbels and his team ensured that Germany was subject to constant reminders of the glories of the Third Reich and of Hitler  
    Caption: : Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945)
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