Jim Crow Laws vs The Nuremburg Laws

Nuremberg Laws- September 15, 1935

The Nuremberg Laws were introduced after a Nazi party rally in September, 1935. (See left) They were a set of laws that put many of the Nazi racial theories into effect. While Adolf Hitler said the laws were not meant to be discriminatory, when he implemented them he was essentially trying to "ostracize, discriminate and expel Jews from German society." (1)

The Nuremburg Laws included a wide array of marital, political, and workplace restrictions.

Key Nuremberg Laws

1. German Jews are excluded from citizenship in the Reich, and they cannot marry people of German or related lineage. (2)

2. Jews cannot employ females under the age of 45 who are German or related to a German. (3)

3. Jews cannot fly the Reich or national flag; they are only permitted to fly the Jewish flag. (4)

Ordinances to the laws later disenfranchised Jews and removed most of their political rights. (5)

Are They Jewish or Not?

The methods used by the Germans to determine if someone was a Jew, and thus had to follow the laws, was not as cut and dry as it would seem to be. They looked at your grandparents, and if 3 or 4 of your grandparents were Jewish, you were considered to be Jewish. This meant that people who had converted from Judaism to Christianity were considered Jews, and subject to the restrictions of the Nuremberg Laws. In addition, this meant that newly-converted Jews with no Jewish grandparents were not considered Jewish. (6)

Original Copy of Nuremberg Laws

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Above is a copy of the original Nuremberg Laws in German.

Implementation and Immediate Effects of Nuremberg Laws

The Nuremberg Laws were implemented on January 1, 1936. (7) The effects of the laws were immediately noticed at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, when German Jewish athletes were not allowed to participate. In the next few years, the Nazi Regime used the Nuremberg Laws as a platform to expand racial and reilgious restrictions to other groups including blacks and Gypsys.

The laws became more severe in the late 1930s. For example, in 1938 and 1939, the Nazi government tried to impoverish Jews by "Aryanizing" Jewish businesses. This meant that Jewish business leaders and workers were replaced by German Aryans, leaving thousands of Germans without jobs. Also, Jewish doctors could not have non-Jew patients, and Jewish lawyers were not permitted to practice law. Finally, Jews were required to get identifying "J"s on their ID cards, and wear the Star of David in order to be easily identified. (8) The slow advancement of the restrictions set by the Nuremberg Laws eventually led to Jews, blacks, and gypsies being completely ostracized by the Nazi party, and also to the formulation of Hitler's Final Solution. (9)

Lasting Effects of Nuremberg Laws

The immediate effects of the Nuremberg Laws on Jews, blacks, and gypsies were devastating for all of these groups socially, economically, and politically. (10) However, after World War ll wrapped up in Europe, the effects of the Nuremberg Laws ceased. When the Nazi government was removed from power, all the laws and rules it created vanished, and Jews and other groups who had been affected by the Nuremberg Laws had their rights restored. Unlike when the Jim Crow Laws ended, though, there was not lasting animosity between Nazis and Jews. While the groups disliked each other for the few years after the war, eventually the pain subsided and life went back to normal. However, the Jim Crow laws created racial stereotypes that can still be seen today.
The picture on the left describes how Hitler is slowly using the Nuremberg laws to take away rights from Jews in the countries under his power. In the center picture, Jews in a German city are looking at a bulletin board with the Nuremberg laws posted on them. Finally, the picture on the right shows a Jewish woman in front of a Jewish monument in Berlin. While there is still hatred towards Jews in Germany, there is not the economic, social, or political discrimination that we see still see today in America in regards to African Americans and the Jim Crow laws.

Jim Crow Laws

The Jim Crow Laws were implemented after the Civil War and Reconstruction in the South in the 1890s. They segregated blacks from whites in many public places such as schools and restrooms and also prohibited marriage between blacks and whites and indirectly disenfranchised millions of blacks in the South.

The Jim Crow laws enforced segregation on the following:

Buses, restaurants, railroads, pool/billiard rooms, restrooms, schools, prison facilities, hospitals, parks, libraries, workplaces, and theaters.

These laws enforced store owners to sell goods exclusively to white people, or exclusively to black people in some states. It was illegal for a white parent to give custody of their child to a black person, and also banned marriage between white and black people. Two of the most ridiculous acts of segregation were in the military and health care. White nurses were not required to do their job in rooms where black people needed treatment. In the military, whites and blacks were separately enrolled, and only whites were allowed to be officers in charge of troops. Even worse, black troops were not permitted where white troops were available. (11)
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Nuremberg Laws, Jim Crow Laws and Propaganda

Both the Nuremberg Laws and the Jim Crow Laws utilized propaganda to gain public support. In Germany, an aggressive campaign targeting the youth of Germany focused on blaming Jews for Germany's problems and making all Jews seem like lying, scheming people. After constant bombardment from radio, newspapers, fliers, and other sources, enough people in Germany began to truly hate Jews to allow the Nuremberg Laws to take a hold in the country. For the Jim Crow Laws, less propaganda was needed to sway public opinion in support of the laws. This is because the long period of slavery in the United States led to strong long-standing prejudices against black people, especially in the South. When slavery was abolished, these prejudices were not removed, and many Americans openly embraced the Jim Crow Laws. However, propaganda was still used to spread the world about Jim Crow Laws and to make black people seem inferior to other races.