Were Nazis Pro Abortion Essays

Not to be confused with consistent life ethic, which actually makes sense.

“”...[they] believe that life begins at conception and ends at birth...

—Barney Frank, speaking of anti-abortion legislators[1]

Pro-life is a political neologism and emotionally loaded term used to define people who are in favor of protecting the life of every human fetus regardless of the consequences, and are thus opposed to abortion and seek to discourage, restrict, and/or outlaw its practice. Some countries get so strict that giving stillbirth is considered murder.[3] The more common and neutral term anti-abortion and the political/feminist term anti-choice are also in general use. The pro-life platform often extends to opposing embryonic stem cell research, assisted suicide or euthanasia, and in some cases artificial birth control. Its adherents' tactics range from the benign (e.g., prayers in church or fliers) to the aggressive (e.g., heckling patients walking into clinics, using the legislature to push their agendas, setting up crisis pregnancy centers) to the outright violent (e.g., bombings and killing doctors).

Origin of the term[edit]

Because being "pro-life" is now largely considered a politically conservative stance, it tends to have a high correlation with support for war and capital punishment and with opposition to euthanasia, welfare programs (such as food stamps) and potentially life-saving stem cell research. Hence the trenchant pro-choice assertion that pro-lifers' defense of life begins at conception, ends at birth and starts again at brain death. However, even this may be an exaggeration of their concern for life, as "Pro-lifers" also generally oppose universal access to quality, affordable healthcare, including universal pre-natal and maternity care. (So much for their concern for the welfare of the fetus!)

This was originally not the case. The origin of the "pro-life" movement was in the Roman Catholic left during the Vietnam War among Catholic social justice activists, who were opposed to the war, capital punishment, and abortion alike. Those who hold this particular combination today now use the term consistent life ethic. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term “pro-life” was first introduced to modern language in 1960 by A. S. Neill in his book Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Childrearing, “no pro-life citizen would tolerate our penal code, our hangings, our punishments of homosexuals, our attitude towards bastardy.” [4][5]

Post Roe v. Wade[edit]

After the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, the largely Protestantreligious right latched onto abortion as a holy crusade and made it a core part of conservative politics, conveniently forgetting the other issues. Mostly their opposition to abortion seems to stem from them seeing it as part of a feminist plot to empower women with control over their own reproductive rights, and with the sexual revolution more generally. Jerry Falwell and his Moral Majority played a big role in making abortion a moral panic among conservatives and evangelical Christians starting in the 1970s and 80s. Today, being "pro-life" is almost a given among members of evangelical megachurches, with dissenting views on abortion met with accusations of near-heresy. It is used as a wedge issue (or a single-issue litmus test) to convince many who otherwise hold liberal, moderate, or libertarian politics, to vote Republican. Pro-life politicians have spent the last two decades trying to find ways to "fight the holy war" with a variety of new tactics from bills attached to health care reform to revised (read: impossible to do) building codes.

The pro-life movement and U.S. racial dynamics[edit]

In recent years, pro-life activist groups in the United States have turned their attention to African-American women. In 2011, one such group chose February – Black History Month – for a billboard campaign announcing that “Black children are an endangered species."[6] A spokesperson for a Texas-based pro-life group which ran a billboard campaign featuring a young black boy and the caption "The most dangerous place for some children is in the womb" said that "the overwhelming majority of abortion facilities are in minority neighborhoods," and that the people living in those neighbourhoods needed to be informed of the alleged effects of abortion.[7] Also in 2011, pro-lifers covered the south side of Chicago with billboards featuring the likeness of Barack Obama, with the slogan "Every 21 minutes, our next possible leader is aborted."[8]

Pro-lifers often bolster this "abortion=racism" stance by citing Margaret Sanger's support for eugenics and her admittedly problematic (though hardly unusual for her time) views on race. Critics counter that pro-life conservatives are cynically employing a genocide conspiracy theory to drive a wedge between two groups of traditionally liberal Democratic voters (blacks and feminists).

These efforts are reflected by some more radical factions of the African-American activist community. Some black supremacist and black nationalist groups, including the Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam, have long denounced abortion and contraception as alleged tools of black genocide.

All of this becomes more than a little bit ironic when you consider that there are others who oppose abortion at least in part because they see it as contributing to the "demographic winter" of white people.[9][10]

My abortion is ethical, all the others aren't[edit]

In a stunning example of ethical egoism, some of the "pro-life" women who picket the clinics get abortions themselves. When asked "what the fuck?", they almost universally say that their own abortion is reasonable or necessary. But all the others aren't. Then they go back to clubbing around the head the doctor they got to resolve their own little problem.[11]

“”Anti-choice women often expect special treatment from clinic staff. Some demand an abortion immediately, wanting to skip important preliminaries such as taking a history or waiting for blood test results. Frequently, anti-abortion women will refuse counseling (such women are generally turned away or referred to an outside counselor because counseling at clinics is mandatory). Some women insist on sneaking in the back door and hiding in a room away from other patients. Others refuse to sit in the waiting room with women they call "sluts" and "trash".

A lot of the internal justification for this is a kind of ethical calculus: if I have one abortion but prevent three, the result is two less abortions, therefore I'm a net "good". Sort of like a firefighter whose hobby is arson, or a police officer that robs houses on the side. This can lead to people being even more vehemently anti-abortion, as they "need" to convince others not to have an abortion in order to compensate for their own.

Direct action[edit]

One lunatic fringe of the pro-life movement turns the idea of "pro-life" so far on its head that they take what they call direct action which can involve acts of terrorism including bombing abortion clinics and to murdering physicians who perform abortions.

Abortion in religion[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Religion and abortion

The Unitarian Universalist religion strongly supports abortion rights.

Buddhist views differ, but the Dalai Lama said that abortion should be viewed according to each situation. Wiccans similarly have varying views on the issue, with no set precedent.

It seems to be possible to quote mine the Bible to support either side of the argument.[12] (No surprise there perhaps.) But all of the verses referred to seem to require substantial interpretation in order to get the required meaning, and are only of interest to one particular religious group. Evangelicals of the '50s and '60s (in contrast to 21st-century ones) often quoted the Bible to argue that life does not begin at conception - mostly as a criticism of the Catholic dogma that ensoulment happened at conception. This view persisted in fairly mainstream evangelical thought until the late 1970s.[13]

Some pro-choice campaigners claim that abortion is mentioned in the Bible, in Numbers 5:11-31. Called "the Adultery Test", the passage is an instruction to priests on how to deal with a woman accused of adultery by feeding her "bitter water", which afflicts her with "the curse". Specifics aren't given in Numbers, but the curse of the "bitter water" is described very clearly as affecting her child-bearing ability. Like most Bible passages, however, there is a catch: translations differ exactly on what this magic potion is supposed to do. In the King James Version (KJV) the relevant passages read:

27And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people. 28But if the woman has not defiled herself and is clean, she will then be free and conceive children.[14]

Some translations specifically suggest "miscarriage" in Numbers 5:22. The New International Version, as opposed to the poetic and subtle KJV, suggests it directly:

27If she has made herself impure and been unfaithful to her husband, this will be the result: When she is made to drink the water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering, it will enter her, her abdomen will swell and her womb will miscarry, and she will become a curse. 28 If, however, the woman has not made herself impure, but is clean, she will be cleared of guilt and will be able to have children.[15]

This sort of translation issue is common throughout holy texts, and is most likely to be due to the use of a euphemism in the original Hebrew that never really caught on in English.[16] Less literal translations agree that the "thigh" in the literal version is plainly a euphemism for "womb" (so it's not just modern Bible-thumpers who are squeamish about female anatomy) but whether The Curse is an induced miscarriage or just rendering the woman sterile isn't clear from most attempts to get the passage into English. Any crude substance capable of causing sterility, or by the more literal translations causing "genitals to shrink" is likely to induce a miscarriage anyway. Either way, it's Biblical evidence for priests playing very fast and loose with the reproductive cycle, which is hardly "pro-life" as many self-described pro-life proponents claim it to be!

Another verse that somewhat touches on the issue is Exodus 21:22:

27If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows.[17]

This suggests that inducing abortion was viewed as only a misdemeanor, though it does not touch upon cases when this was done by the mother or someone else at their instruction, but traditional Jewish interpretation has been that killing is murder only after birth.[18] However, abortion was usually prohibited by reference to Genesis 9:6 ("Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man"), though not as murder, while allowed to save the life of the mother.

Pro-lifers, to the contrary, are usually likely to quote Jeremiah 1:5 ("Before I formed you in the womb I knew you"), which has overtones of Calvinist predestination[19], and Deuteronomy 30:19 ("Therefore choose life, that you and your children may live"), which in context is about faith in God and has little to do with abortion.

Abortion and Nazism[edit]

Linking abortion and Nazism is a common pro-life slogan to compare the relation of ideas on what constitutes a human life found in abortion supporters' beliefs and those of the Nazis. One reason the Nazis had no problem murdering millions in cold blood was because they had lowered their expectations on what was considered a human life, therefore removing any moral objection to their killings. In summary, pro-lifers consider third party individuals who define living in order to signify that abortion is not murder as followers of this Nazi montage.

Rush Limbaugh[edit]

The conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh coined the term "feminazi," defining it this way:

“”[A feminazi is] a feminist to whom the most important thing in life is ensuring that as many abortions as possible occur ... There are fewer than twenty-five known feminazis in the United States.[20]

That Mr. Limbaugh is missing the entire point of radical feminism can probably be agreed upon even by anti-feminists. Whether the comparison of abortion with the actions of the Nazis holds water is a separate question.


Before accepting the parallel between abortion and the Holocaust, one should keep these points in mind:

  1. The Nazis were opposed to abortion. Weimar-era Germany was, for its time, fairly liberal on the abortion question.[21] In 1939, the Nazis brought in laws that did away with this permissiveness, flatly forbidding abortion except for eugenic purposes and by Jews.[22][23]
  2. The Holocaust was a genocide. In these days, the Holocaust is less objected to for its large body count than for the fact that it was a genocide, or, as the United Nations says, an explicit attempt to destroy a nation, ethnicity, or race, or practitioners of a religion. Not only do fetuses not form any such group, but they are not even being targeted on the basis of being fetuses.

Pro-life individuals and organizations[edit]

Pro-life media[edit]

Examples of pro-life media include LifeNews.com (formerly Pro-Life Infonet) and LifeSiteNews – although both claim to be independent, the latter has a historic connection with the Campaign Life Coalition, a Canadian lobby group that opposes euthanasia and same-sex marriage as well.[24]

See also[edit]



  1. ↑http://www.boston.com/news/globe/magazine/articles/2005/10/02/to_be_frank/?page=4
  2. ↑American Dad Episode Transcripts: Deacon Stan, Jesus Man
  3. ↑El Salvador teen rape victim sentenced to 30 years in prison after stillbirth, The Guardian
  4. ↑Neill, A.S. (1960). Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Childrearing. p. 138. 
  5. ↑Annalisa Merelli, A brief history of a marketing masterpiece: branding the anti-abortion movement “pro-life”, Quartz, January 28 2017
  6. ↑Miriam Zoila Pérez, "Past and Present Collide as the Black Anti-Abortion Movement Grows," Colorlines, 3 March 2011
  7. ↑Erin Cargile, "Anti-abortion ads target black women" KXAN, 22 December 2010
  8. ↑Laura Basset, "Anti-Abortion Movement Targets Black Women In Latest Efforts," Huffington Post, 22 April, 2011
  9. ↑Kathryn Joyce, "Missing: The 'Right' Babies", The Nation, 14 February 2008
  10. ↑David Edwards, "FL anti-abortion hearing turns racist: 'White culture' dies if women are 'outside the home not having babies'", RawStory, 26 January 2016
  11. ↑Joyce Arthur, "The Only Moral Abortion is My Abortion": When the Anti-Choice Choose
  12. ↑Biblical abortion references
  13. ↑The ‘biblical view’ that’s younger than the Happy Meal
  14. ↑Numbers 5:11-31 (King James Version)
  15. ↑Numbers 5:11-31 (New International Version)
  16. ↑Women’s thighs falling away – new Bible diet?
  17. ↑[1]
  18. ↑http://www.sefaria.org/Mishnah_Niddah.5.3?lang=en&layout=lines&sidebarLang=all
  19. ↑Taken to its logical conclusion, this would suggest that life begins before conception, which pro-lifers prefer not to think too hard about.
  20. ↑Limbaugh, Rush. The Way Things Ought to Be, pp.193,296.
  21. ↑http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/air/air_vol16no1_2001.html
  22. ↑http://books.google.com/books?id=gQLqRd7hJq0C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q=&f=false
  23. ↑See the Wikipedia article on Reich Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion.
  24. ↑"About". https://www.lifesitenews.com/about. Retrieved 25 September 2016. 
Pro-life propaganda by the French political party "Nouvelle Action Française". In English its translation is Abortionists Murderers! The Republic kills.

The racial policy of Nazi Germany was a set of policies and laws implemented in Nazi Germany (1933–45) based on a specific racist doctrine asserting the superiority of the Aryan race, which claimed scientific legitimacy. This was combined with a eugenics programme that aimed for racial hygiene by compulsory sterilization and extermination of those who they saw as Untermenschen ("sub-humans"), which culminated in the Holocaust.

Nazi policies labeled centuries-long residents in German territory who were not ethnic Germans such as Jews (understood in Nazi racial theory as a "Semitic" people of Levantine origins), Romanis (also known as Gypsies, an "Indo-Aryan" people of Indian Subcontinent origins), along with the vast majority of Slavs (mainly ethnic Poles, Serbs, Russians etc.), and all other persons of color (with some exceptions) as inferior non-Aryan subhumans (i.e. non-Nordics, under the Nazi appropriation of the term "Aryan") in a racial hierarchy that placed the Herrenvolk ("master race") of the Volksgemeinschaft ("people's community") at the top.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

Basis of Nazi policies and constitution of the Aryan Master Race[edit]

The Aryan Master Race conceived by the Nazis graded humans on a scale of pure Aryans to non-Aryans (who were viewed as subhumans). At the top of the scale of pure Aryans were Germans and other Germanic peoples, including the Dutch, Scandinavians, and the English, as well as other peoples such as some northern Italians and the French, who were said to have a suitable admixture of Germanic blood.

The feeling that Germans were the Aryan Herrenvolk (Aryan master race) was widely spread among the German public through Nazi propaganda and among Nazi officials throughout the ranks, in particular when Reichskommissariat UkraineErich Koch said:

We are a master race, which must remember that the lowliest German worker is racially and biologically a thousand times more valuable than the population here.

— Erich Koch, 5 March 1943, [10]

The Nazis considered the Slavs as Non-Aryan Untermenschen ("sub-humans") who were to be enslaved and exterminated by Germans.[4] Slavic nations such as the Ukrainians, Czechs, Slovaks, Bulgarians and Croats who collaborated with Nazi Germany were still being perceived as not racially "pure" enough to reach the status of Germanic peoples, yet they were eventually considered ethnically better than the rest of the Slavs, mostly due to pseudoscientific theories about these nations having a considerable admixture of Germanic blood.[11] In countries where these people lived, there were according to Nazis small groups of non-Slavic German descendants. These people underwent a "racial selection" process to determine whether or not they were "racially valuable", if the individual passed they would be re-Germanised and forcefully taken from their families in order to be raised as Germans.[12][13] This secret plan Generalplan Ost ("Master Plan East") aimed at expulsion, enslavement and extermination of most Slavic people. Nazi policy towards them changed during World War II as a pragmatic means to resolve military manpower shortages: they were allowed, with certain restrictions, to serve in the Waffen-SS, in spite of being considered subhumans. Nazi propaganda portrayed people in Eastern Europe with an Asiatic appearance to be the result of intermingling between the native Slavic populations and Asiatic or Mongolian races as sub-humans dominated by the Jews with the help of Bolshevism. At the bottom of the racial scale of non-Aryans were Jews, ethnic Poles, ethnic Serbs and other Slavic people, Romani, and black people.[16] The Nazis originally sought to rid the German state of Jews and Romani by means of deportation (and later extermination), while blacks were to be segregated and eventually eliminated through compulsory sterilization.[16][17]

Volkisch theorists believed that Germany's Teutonic ancestors had spread out from Germany throughout Europe.[18] Of the Germanic tribes that spread through Europe, the theorists identified that the Burgundians, Franks, and Western Goths joined with the Gauls to make France; the Lombards moved south and joined with the Italians; the Jutes made Denmark; the Angles and Saxons made England; the Flemings made Belgium; and other tribes made the Netherlands.[18]

Nazi racial beliefs of the superiority of an Aryan master race arose from earlier proponents of a supremacist conception of race such as the French novelist and diplomat Arthur de Gobineau, who published a four-volume work titled An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races (translated into German in 1897).[19] Gobineau proposed that the Aryan race was superior, and urged the preservation of its cultural and racial purity.[20] Gobineau later came to use and reserve the term Aryan only for the "German race" and described the Aryans as 'la race germanique'.[21] By doing so he presented a racist theory in which Aryans–that is Germans–were all that was positive.[22]Houston Stewart Chamberlain's work The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century (1900), one of the first to combine Social Darwinism with antisemitism, describes history as a struggle for survival between the Germanic peoples and the Jews, whom he characterized as an inferior and dangerous group.[23] The two-volume book Foundations of Human Hereditary Teaching and Racial Hygiene (1920–21) by Eugen Fischer, Erwin Baur, and Fritz Lenz, used pseudoscientific studies to conclude that the Germans were superior to the Jews intellectually and physically, and recommended eugenics as a solution.[24]Madison Grant's work The Passing of the Great Race (1916) advocated Nordicism and proposed using a eugenic program to preserve the Nordic race. After reading the book, Hitler called it "my Bible".[25]

Racist author and Nordic supremacist[26]Hans F. K. Günther who influenced Nazi ideology, wrote in his "Race Lore of German People"(Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes) about the danger of "Slavic blood of Eastern race" mixing with the German[27] and combined virulent nationalism with anti-semitism.[28] Günther became an epitome of corrupt and politicized pseudo-science in post-war Germany [29] Among the topics of his research were attempts to prove that Jewish people had an unpleasant "hereditary smell".[30] While one of the most prominent Nazi writers, Günther still wasn't considered the most "cutting edge" by Nazis.[31]

The July 1933 Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring – written by Ernst Rüdin and other theorists of "racial hygiene" – established "Genetic Health Courts" which decided on compulsory sterilization of "any person suffering from a hereditary disease." These included, for the Nazis, those suffering from "Congenital Mental Deficiency", schizophrenia, "Manic-Depressive Insanity", "Hereditary Epilepsy", "Hereditary Chorea" (Huntington’s), Hereditary Blindness, Hereditary Deafness, "any severe hereditary deformity", as well as "any person suffering from severe alcoholism".[32] Further modifications of the law enforced sterilization of the "Rhineland bastards" (children of mixed German and African parentage).

The Nazi Party wanted to increase birthrates of those who were classified as racially elite. When the Party gained power in 1933, one of their first actions was to pass the Law for the Encouragement of Marriage. This law stated that all newly married couples of the Aryan race could receive a government loan. This loan was not simply paid back, rather a portion of it would be forgiven after the birth of each child. The purpose of this law was very clear and simple: to encourage newlyweds to have as many children as they could, so that the Aryan population would grow.[33]

Racial policies regarding the Jews, 1933–1940[edit]

There were approximately 525,000 Jewish people living in Germany in 1933 (0.75% of the total German population).[34] Discrimination against Jews began immediately after the national seizure of power in 1933. The Nazi Party used populist antisemitic views to gain votes. Using the "stab-in-the-back legend", they blamed poverty, the Hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic, unemployment, and the loss of World War I and surrender by the "November Criminals" all on the Jews and "cultural Bolsheviks", the latter considered to be in a conspiracy with the Jews. German woes were attributed to the effects of the Treaty of Versailles. In 1933, persecution of the Jews became active Nazi policy. This was at first hindered by the lack of agreement on who qualified as a Jew as opposed to an Aryan; this caused legislators to balk at an antisemitic law for its ill-defined terms. Bernhard Lösener described it "total chaos", with local authorities regarding anything from full Jewish background to ​18 Jewish blood as defining a Jew; Achim Gercke urged ​116 Jewish blood. Those of mixed descent (Mischlinge) were especially problematic in their eyes. The first antisemitic law was promulgated with no clear definition of a Jew. Finally, the criterion was set at three or four Jewish grandparents; two or one rendered a person a Mischling.

On April 1, 1933, the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses was observed throughout Germany. Only six days later, the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service was passed, banning Jews from government jobs. It is notable that the proponents of this law, and the several thousand more that were to follow, most frequently explained them as necessary to prevent the infiltration of damaging, "alien-type" (Artfremd) hereditary traits into the German national or racial community (Volksgemeinschaft).[41] These laws meant that Jews were now indirectly and directly dissuaded or banned from privileged and superior positions reserved for "Aryan Germans". From then on, Jews were forced to work in more menial positions, becoming second-class citizens or to the point that they were "illegally residing" in Nazi Germany.

In the early years of Nazi rule, there were efforts to secure the elimination of Jews by expulsion; later, a more explicit commitment was made to extermination. On August 25, 1933, the Nazis signed the Haavara Agreement with Zionists to allow German Jews to emigrate to Palestine in exchange for a portion of their economic assets. The agreement offered a way to leave an increasingly hostile environment in Nazi Germany; by 1939, 60,000 German Jews (about 10% of the Jewish population) had emigrated there. Thereafter, Nazi policy eventually changed to one of total extermination. Nazi doctrine culminated in the Holocaust, or so-called "Final Solution", which was made official at the January 1942 Wannsee Conference.

Nuremberg Laws[edit]

Main article: Nazi Nuremberg Laws

Between 1935 and 1936, persecution of the Jews increased apace while the process of "Gleichschaltung" (lit.: "standardisation", the process by which the Nazis achieved complete control over German society) was implemented. In May 1935, Jews were forbidden to join the Wehrmacht (the armed forces), and in the summer of the same year, anti-semitic propaganda appeared in shops and restaurants. The Nuremberg Laws were passed around the time of the great Nazi rallies at Nuremberg; on September 15, 1935, the "Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor" was passed. At first this criminalised sexual relations and marriage only between Germans and Jews, but later the law was extended to "Gypsies, Negroes and their bastard offspring"; it became punishable by law as Rassenschande or racial pollution.[42] After this, the "Reich Citizenship Law" was passed, and was reinforced in November by a decree; it included only people of "German or related blood", which meant that all Jews were stripped of their citizenship and their official title became "subjects of the state". This meant that they were deprived of basic citizens' rights, e.g. the right to vote. This removal of citizens' rights was instrumental in the process of anti-semitic persecution: the process of denaturalization allowed the Nazis to exclude—de jure—Jewish people from the "Volksgemeinschaft" ("national community"), thus granting judicial legitimacy to their persecution and opening the way to harsher laws and, eventually, extermination of the Jews. Philosopher Hannah Arendt pointed out this important judicial aspect of the Holocaust in The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), where she demonstrated that to violate human rights, Nazi Germany first deprived human beings of their citizenship. Arendt underlined that in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, citizens' rights actually preceded human rights, as the latter needed the protection of a determinate state to be actually respected.

The drafting of the Nuremberg Laws has often been attributed to Hans Globke. Globke had studied British attempts to "order" its empire by creating hierarchical social orders, for example in the organization of "martial races" in India.

In 1936, Jews were banned from all professional jobs, effectively preventing them from having any influence in education, politics, higher education, and industry. There was now nothing to stop the anti-Jewish actions that spread across the German economy.

Between 1937 and 1938, new laws were implemented, and the segregation of Jews from the "German Aryan" population was completed. In particular, Jews were punished financially for being Jewish.

From March 1, 1938, government contracts could not be awarded to Jewish businesses. On September 30, "Aryan" doctors could only treat "Aryan" patients. Provision of medical care to Jews was already hampered because Jews were banned from being doctors.

On August 17, Jews with first names of non-Jewish origin had to add "Israel" (males) or "Sara" (females) to their names[citation needed], and a large letter "J" was to be printed on their passports on October 5. On November 15, Jewish children were banned from going to state-run schools. By April 1939, nearly all Jewish companies had either collapsed under financial pressure and declining profits, or been persuaded to sell out to the government, further reducing their rights as human beings; they were, in many ways, effectively separated from the German populace.

The increasingly totalitarian regime that Hitler imposed on Germany allowed him to control the actions of the military. On November 7, 1938, a young Polish Jew named Herschel Grynszpan attacked and shot German diplomat Ernst vom Rath in the German embassy in Paris. Grynszpan's family, together with more than 12,000 Polish-born Jews, had been expelled by the Nazi government from Germany to Poland in the so-called "Polenaktion" on October 28, 1938. Joseph Goebbels ordered retaliation. On the night of November 9, the SS and SA conducted "the Night of Broken Glass" ("Kristallnacht"), in which at least 91 Jews were killed and a further 30,000 arrested and incarcerated in Nazi concentration camps. After the start of the war, and the conquest of numerous European countries, the Jewish population was put into ghettos, from which they were shipped to death camps where they were killed.

Jewish responses to the Nuremberg Laws[edit]

After the promulgation of the Nuremberg Laws, the Reichsvertretung der Deutschen Juden (Representation of the German Jews) announced the following:

The Laws decided upon by the Reichstag in Nuremberg have come as the heaviest of blows for the Jews in Germany. But they must create a basis on which a tolerable relationship becomes possible between the German and the Jewish people. The "Reichsvertretung der Deutschen Juden" is willing to contribute to this end with all its powers. A precondition for such a tolerable relationship is the hope that the Jews and Jewish communities of Germany will be enabled to keep a moral and economic means of existence by the halting of defamation and boycott.

The organization of the life of the Jews in Germany requires governmental recognition of an autonomous Jewish leadership. The Reichsvertretung der Juden in Deutschland is the agency competent to undertake this.

The most urgent tasks for the "Reichsvertretung", which it will press energetically and with full commitment, following the avenues it has previously taken, are:

Our own Jewish educational system must serve to prepare the youth to be upright Jews, secure in their faith, who will draw the strength to face the onerous demands which life will make on them from conscious solidarity with the Jewish community, from work for the Jewish present and faith in the Jewish future. In addition to transmitting knowledge, the Jewish schools must also serve in the systematic preparation for future occupations. With regard to preparation for emigration, particularly to Palestine, emphasis will be placed on guidance toward manual work and the study of the Hebrew language. The education and vocational training of girls must be directed to preparing them to carry out their responsibilities as upholders of the family and mothers of the next generation.

Sinti and Roma[edit]

Main article: Porajmos

Nazi Germany began persecution of the Romani as early as 1936 when they began to transfer the people to municipal internment camps on the outskirts of cities, a prelude to the deportation of 23,000 Gypsies to concentration camps. "Pure-blooded" Gypsies were considered by the Nazis to be Aryan, however, only about 10% were categorized as such. Heinrich Himmler suggested creating a "Gypsy Law" to separate Gypsies from the German people:

The aim of measures taken by the State to defend the homogeneity of the German nation must be the physical separation of Gypsydom from the German nation, the prevention of miscegenation, and finally, the regulation of the way of life of pure and part-Gypsies. The necessary legal foundation can only be created through a Gypsy Law, which prevents further intermingling of blood, and which regulates all the most pressing questions which go together with the existences of Gypsies in the living space of the German nation.

A "Gypsy Law" to the liking of Himmler was never passed.


In Mein Kampf, Hitler described children resulting from marriages to African occupation soldiers as a contamination of the white race "by Negro blood on the Rhine in the heart of Europe."[45] He thought that "Jews were responsible for bringing Negroes into the Rhineland, with the ultimate idea of bastardizing the white race which they hate and thus lowering its cultural and political level so that the Jew might dominate."[46] He also implied that this was a plot on the part of the French, since the population of France was being increasingly "negrified".[47][48]

The number of black people in Germany when the Nazis came to power is variously estimated at 5,000 to 25,000.[47][49] According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C., "The fate of black people from 1933 to 1945 in Nazi Germany and in German-occupied territories ranged from isolation to persecution, sterilization, medical experimentation, incarceration, brutality, and murder. However, there was no systematic program for their elimination as there was for Jews and other groups."[47]

Prior to Hitler coming to power, black entertainers were popular in Germany, but the Nazis banned jazz as "corrupt negro music".[47]

However, contrary to popular myth,[47] black American sprinter Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals in beating German athletes at the 1936 Berlin Olympic games, faced less segregation there than in the USA, and felt snubbed by Roosevelt rather than by Hitler.[50]

Of particular concern to the Nazi scientist Eugen Fischer were the "Rhineland Bastards": mixed-race offspring of Senegalese soldiers who had been stationed in the Rhineland as part of the French army of occupation. He believed that these people should be sterilized in order to protect the racial purity of the German population. At least 400 mixed-race children were forcibly sterilized in the Rhineland by 1938. This order only applied in the Rhineland. Other African Germans were unaffected. Despite this policy, there was never any systematic attempt to eliminate the black population in Germany, though some blacks were used in medical experiments, and others mysteriously disappeared.[47]

According to Susan Samples, the Nazis went to great lengths to conceal their sterilization and abortion program in the Rhineland.[51]Hans Massaquoi describes his experience as a half-African in Hamburg, unaware of the Rhineland sterilizations until long after the war.[52] Samples also points to the paradoxical fact that African-Germans actually had a better chance of surviving the war than the average German. They were excluded from military activity because of their non-Aryan status, but were not considered a threat and so were unlikely to be incarcerated. Samples and Massaquoi also note that African-Germans were not subjected to the segregation they would have experienced in the United States, nor excluded from facilities such as expensive hotels. However, they both state that downed black American pilots were more likely to become victims of violence and murder from German citizens than white pilots.[47]

Policies regarding Poles, Russians and other Slavs[edit]

See also: Nazi crimes against ethnic Poles, Nazi crimes against Soviet POWs, and Generalplan Ost

As early as 1925, Hitler suggested in Mein Kampf that the German people needed Lebensraum ("living space") to achieve German expansion eastwards (Drang nach Osten) at the expense of the inferior Slavs. Hitler believed that "the organization of a Russian state formation was not the result of the political abilities of the Slavs in Russia, but only a wonderful example of the state-forming efficacity of the German element in an inferior race."[53]

After the invasion of the Soviet Union, Hitler expressed his future plans for the Slavs:

As for the ridiculous hundred million Slavs, we will mould the best of them as we see fit, and we will isolate the rest of them in their own pig-styes; and anyone who talks about cherishing the local inhabitants and civilising them, goes straight off into a concentration camp![54]

Nazi ideology viewed the Slavic peoples as non-Aryan Untermenschen ("sub-humans"), who were targeted for enslavement, expulsion and extermination.[11] Hitler viewed the Slavs as "a mass of born slaves who feel the need of a master".[55] Nazi propaganda portrayed the Germanic peoples as "heroes" in contrast to the Jewish and Slavic "sub-humans". Nazi propaganda depicted Eastern Europe as racially mixed "Asiatic" that was dominated by the Jews with the aid of Bolshevism. The Nazis considered some people in Eastern Europe to be suitable for Germanization (they were presumed to be of German descent); if they were considered racially valuable they were to be re-Germanized and forcefully taken from their families to Germany and raised as Germans.[12]

The final version of Generalplan Ost, essentially a grand plan for ethnic cleansing, was divided into two parts: the Kleine Planung ("Small Plan"), which covered actions which were to be taken during the war, and the Grosse Planung ("Big Plan"), which covered actions to be undertaken after the war was won (to be carried into effect gradually over a period of 25–30 years). The Small Plan was to be put into practice as the Germans conquered the areas to the east of their pre-war borders. The individual stages of this plan would then be worked out in greater detail. In this way, the plan for Poland was drawn up at the end of November 1939. The plan envisaged removal of the majority of the population of conquered counties, with very small and varied percentages of the various conquered nations undergoing Germanisation, expulsion into the depths of Russia, and other fates, the net effect of which would be to ensure that the conquered territories would be Germanized.[11] Himmler declared during the Germanization process that no drop of German blood would be lost or left behind to mingle with any "alien races".[57] The Wehrbauer ("soldier-peasants") would settle in a fortified line to prevent civilization arising beyond and threatening Germany.[58]

The Nazis issued the Polish decrees on 8 March 1940 which regulated the working and living conditions of Polish laborers (Zivilarbeiter) used during World War II in Germany. The decrees set out that any Pole "who has sexual relations with a German man or woman, or approaches them in any other improper manner, will be punished by death."[59] The Gestapo were extremely vigilant about sexual relations between Germans and Poles and pursued any case relentlessly where this was suspected.[60] There were similar regulations used against the other ethnic groups brought in from Eastern Europe, including the death penalty for sexual relations with a German person.[60] During the war, hundreds of Polish and Russian men were executed for their relations with German women.[61][62]

Heinrich Himmler, in his secret memorandum "Reflections on the Treatment of Peoples of Alien Races in the East" dated 25 May 1940, expressed his own thoughts and the future plans for the populations in the East.[63] Himmler stated that it was in the German interest to discover as many ethnic groups in the East and splinter them as much as possible, find and select racially valuable children to be sent to Germany to assimilate them and restrict non-Germans in the General Government and conquered territories to four-grade elementary school which would only teach them how to write their own name, to count up to 500 and to obey Germans.[63] Himmler believed the Germanization process in Eastern Europe would be complete when "in the East dwell only men with truly German, Germanic blood".[64]

Other "non-Aryans"[edit]

Though the laws were primarily directed against Jews,[65] other "non-Aryan" people were subject to the laws, and to other legislation concerned with racial hygiene. The definition of "Aryan" was never fully defined as the term was too imprecise and ambiguous, it was attempted to be clarified over time in a number of judicial and executive decisions. Jews were by definition non-Aryan, because of their Semitic origins. Outside of Europe in North Africa, according to Alfred Rosenberg's racial theories (The Myth of the Twentieth Century), some of the Berbers, particularly the Kabyles, were to be classified as Aryans.[66] The Nazis portrayed Swedes, the Afrikaaners – who are white European descendants of Dutch-speaking Boers in South Africa – and higher-degree Northern/Western Europeans of South America (mainly from Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina) as ideal "Aryans" along with the German-speaking peoples of Greater Germany and Switzerland (the country was neutral during the war). The Roma (Gypsies), who while considered Aryan were deemed a threat to the Aryan race because of their racial mingling.[67]

Other groups[edit]

About 10,000 Japanese nationals (mostly diplomats and military officials) residing in Nazi Germany were given status of "Honorary Aryan" which allowed them to have more privileges than any other "non-Aryans". In Norway, the Nazis favored and promoted children between Germans and Norwegians, in an attempt to raise the birth rate of Nordic Aryans. Around 10,000–12,000 war children (Krigsbarn) were born from these unions during the war. Some of them were separated from their mothers and cared for in so-called "Lebensborn" clinics ("Fountain of Life" clinics).[68][69]

Germanization between 1939 and 1945[edit]

Main article: Germanization

Nazi policy stressed the superiority of the Nordic race, a sub-race of the white European population defined by the measurement of the size and proportions of the human body models of racial difference. From 1940 the Nazis in General Government (occupied Poland) divided the population into different groups.[71] Each group had different rights, food rations, allowed strips in the cities, separated residential areas, special schooling systems, public transportation and restricted restaurants. Later adapted in all Nazi-occupied countries by 1942, the Germanization program used the racial caste system of reserving certain rights to one group and barred privileges to another. Ethnic Poles were believed by Hitler to be "biologically inferior race" that could never be educated or elevated through Germanization. In 1940, Hitler approved of a plan regarding the Germanization of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, he estimated around half of the Czech population were suitable for Germanization but made clear that the "mongoloid" types and Czech intelligentsia were not allowed to be Germanized.

During the occupation of Poland, the Nazis kept an eye out for children with Nordic racial characteristics, those among them found to be classified as "racially valuable" were sent from here to the German Reich for adoption and to be raised as Germans, those who failed the tests would be used as slaves or murdered in medical experiments.[74]

Nordicist anthropometrics was used to "improve" the racial make-up of the Germanized section of the population, by absorbing individuals into the German population who were deemed suitably Nordic.[11]

Germanization also affected the Sorbs, the minority Slav community living in Saxony and Brandenburg, whose Slavic culture and language was suppressed to absorb them into German identity. Tens of thousands suffered internment and imprisonment as well, to become lesser-known victims of Nazi racial laws. Similarly, the Nazis considered the people living in the Goralenvolk area to be descended from ethnic Germans and were therefore classified as Aryans.

See also[edit]


  1. ^Operation Barbarossa: Ideology and Ethics against Human Dignity, by André Mineau, (Rodopi, 2004) page 180
  2. ^The Czechs under Nazi Rule: The Failure of National Resistance, 1939–1942, Vojtěch Mastný, Columbia University Press[page needed]
  3. ^Hitler's Home Front: Wurttemberg Under the Nazis, Jill Stephenson p. 135, Other non-'Aryans' included Slavs, Blacks and Roma .
  4. ^ abThe Politics of Fertility in Twentieth-Century Berlin - Page 118 Annette F. Timm - 2010 The Nazis' singleminded desire to "purify" the German race through the elimination of non-Aryans (particularly Jews, Gypsies, and Slavs)
  5. ^The Holocaust and History The Known, the Unknown, the Disputed, and the Reexamined Edited by Michael Berenbaum and Abraham J. Peck, Indiana University Press page 59 "Pseudoracial policy of Third Reich(...)Gypsies, Slavs, blacks, Mischlinge, and Jews are not Aryans."
  6. ^Modern Genocide: The Definitive Resource and Document Collection Paul R. Bartrop, Steven Leonard Jacobs page 1160, "This strict dualism between the "racially pure" Aryans and all others—especially Jews and Slavs—led in Nazism to the radical outlawing of all "non-Aryans" and to their enslavement and attempted annihilation"
  7. ^World Fascism: A Historical Encyclopedia, Volume 1 Cyprian Blamires page 63 "the "racially pure" Aryans and all others—especially Jews and Slavs— led in Nazism to the radical outlawing of all "non-Aryans" and to their enslavement and attempted annihilation
  8. ^The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. William Shirer. p. 939. ISBN 978-1-4516-5168-3. 
  9. ^ abcdGumkowski, Janusz; Leszczynski, Kazimierz; Robert, Edward (translator) (1961). Hitler's Plans for Eastern Europe. Poland Under Nazi Occupation (First ed.). Polonia Pub. House. p. 219. ASIN B0006BXJZ6. Archived from the original(Paperback) on 9 April 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  10. ^ abBendersky, Joseph W. (11 July 2013). A Concise History of Nazi Germany. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 180. ISBN 978-1-4422-2270-0. 
  11. ^Gellately, Robert; Stoltzfus, Nathan (2001). Social Outsiders in Nazi Germany. Princeton University Press. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-691-08684-2. 
  12. ^ abSimone Gigliotti, Berel Lang. The Holocaust: A Reader. Malden, Massachusetts, USA; Oxford, England, UK; Carlton, Victoria, Australia: Blackwell Publishing, 2005. Pp. 14.
  13. ^"Hitler's Home Front: Wurttemberg Under the Nazis" Jill Stephenson page 113 " Other non-'Aryans' included Slavs, Blacks and Roma and Sinti (Romanies)"
  14. ^ abGeorge Victor. Hitler: The Pathology of Evil. Washington, DC, USA: Potomac Books, Inc, 2007. Pp. 117.
  15. ^Aly, Götz (2014). Why the Germans? Why the Jews? Envy, Race Hatred, and the Prehistory of the Holocaust., p.154
  16. ^Evans, Richard J. (2003). The Coming of the Third Reich, p.33
  17. ^The Cambridge Companion to Tacitus Page 294 A. J. Woodman - 2009 The white race was defined as beautiful, honourable and destined to rule; as 'cette illustre famille humaine, la plus noble'.74 Originally a linguistic term synonymous with Indo-European,7S 'Aryan' became, not least because of the Essai, the designation of a race, which Gobineau specified as 'la race germanique'
  18. ^So that the reader not be left in ignorance as to who the Aryans are, Gobineau stated: "La race germanique était pourvue de toute l'énergie de la variété ariane." We see, then, that Gobineau presents a racist theory in which the Aryans, or Germans, are all that is good Comparative literature by American Comparative Literature Association.; Modern Language Association of America. Comparative Literature Section.; University of Oregon. 1967, page 342
  19. ^Evans, Richard J. (2003). The Coming of the Third Reich. New York, p.33-34
  20. ^Aly, Götz (2014). Why the Germans? Why the Jews? Envy, Race Hatred, and the Prehistory of the Holocaust, p.157
  21. ^Kühl, Stefan (2002). Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism, p.85.
  22. ^he Race Gallery: The Return of Racial Science Marek Kohn Vintage, 1996 page 48 pages
  23. ^Racisms Made in Germany By Wulf D. Hund, Christian Koller, Moshe Zimmermann, page 19
  24. ^Anti-Semitism and Schooling Under the Third Reich By Gregory Wegne page 14
  25. ^Race, Color, Identity: Rethinking Discourses about "Jews" in the Twenty-first Century Efraim Sicher Berghahn Books, 15 May 2013
  26. ^IInventing the Jew: Antisemitic Stereotypes in Romanian and Other Central-East European Cultures Andrei Oisteanu U of Nebraska Press, 2009, page 68 -
  27. ^Studying the Jew: Scholarly Antisemitism in Nazi Germany Alan E Steinweis, page 26
  28. ^The law for the prevention of hereditarily diseased offspring. (Approved translation of the "Gesetz zur Verhütung erbkranken Nachwuchses"). Enacted on July 14th, 1933. Published by Reichsausschuss für Volksgesundheitsdienst. (Berlin: Reichsdruckerei, 1935). (Official translation of the law into English)
  29. ^Maynes, Mary Jo., and Ann Beth. Waltner. "Powers of Life and Death." The Family: A World History. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012. Pp. 103
  30. ^USHMM Holocaust Encyclopedia
  31. ^Eric Ehrenreich, The Nazi Ancestral Proof, 2007, pp.1, 165–167
  32. ^S. H. Milton (2001). ""Gypsies" as social outsiders in Nazi Germany". In Robert Gellately and Nathan Stoltzfus. Social Outsiders in Nazi Germany. Princeton University Press. pp. 216, 231. ISBN 9780691086842. 
  33. ^Mein Kampf, volume 1, chapter XIII.
  34. ^Mein Kampf, volume 1, chapter XI.
  35. ^ abcdefg"The forgotten black victims of Nazi Germany". Voice Online. GV Media Group Ltd. 16 February 2009. Archived from the original on 23 February 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2014. 
  36. ^Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. II, chapter XIII
  37. ^"Black people in Nazi Germany". Anne Frank Guide. Anne Frank House. 
  38. ^"'SNUB' FROM ROOSEVELT". St. Joseph News-Press. 1936-10-16. Retrieved 2015-11-12. 
  39. ^Samples, S., "African Germans in the Third Reich", The African German Experience, Carol Aisha Blackshire-Belay ed.
  40. ^Massaquoi, Hans J., Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany, Harper Perennial, 2001. He mistakenly states that they were later murdered in the Holocaust, p.2
  41. ^Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, 1925[page needed]
  42. ^H. R. Trevor-Roper; Gerhard L. Weinberg (18 October 2013). Hitler's Table Talk 1941-1944: Secret Conversations. Enigma Books. p. 466. ISBN 978-1-936274-93-2. 
  43. ^David Welch (17 June 2013). Hitler: Profile of a Dictator. Routledge. p. 74. ISBN 978-1-136-40156-5. 
  44. ^Richard Overy, The Dictators: Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia, p 543 ISBN 0-393-02030-4
  45. ^Robert Cecil, The Myth of the Master Race: Alfred Rosenberg and Nazi Ideology p190 ISBN 0-396-06577-5
  46. ^Robert Gellately (8 March 2001). Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany. Oxford University Press. p. 155. ISBN 978-0-19-160452-2. 
  47. ^ abRobert Gellately (1990). The Gestapo and German Society: Enforcing Racial Policy, 1933–1945. Clarendon Press. p. 224. ISBN 978-0-19-820297-4. 
  48. ^Nazi Ideology and the Holocaust. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. January 2007. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-89604-712-9. 
Eva Justin of the Racial Hygiene and Demographic Biology Research Unit measuring the skull of a Romani woman.
1935 Chart from Nazi Germany used to explain the Nuremberg Laws. The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 employed a pseudo-scientific basis for racial discrimination against Jews. People with four German grandparents (white circles) were of "German blood", while people were classified as Jews if they were descended from three or more Jewish grandparents (black circles in top row right). Either one or two Jewish grandparents made someone a Mischling (of mixed blood). The Nazis used the religious observance of a person's grandparents to determine their race.
Gymnastics lesson in a Berlin Jewish school, 1936.
Sinti and Roma about to be deported from the German town of Asperg, 22 May 1940.


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