Students will research and discuss the Nuremberg Laws and their effect on the Jews during the Third Reich.
Intended Learning Outcomes
To understand the concept of citizenship.
To examine the structure of laws and how they affect a person's life.
See preface material from 'Anne Frank in the World, 1929 - 1945 Teacher Workbook.'
As part of the introduction, ask students the following questions:
- What does it mean to be a citizen of a country?
- How does one become a citizen?
- What is the difference between a citizen and a noncitizen (subject)?
Have students draw a circle, divided into six or eight sections. In the center
should be the student's name. Each section should then be filled in with a different
area of importance to the student. Examples are: my pet, hiking, girl or boy
scouts, my church or synagogue, school and, my best friend. After the students
have completed their circle, discuss which areas would have been denied to them
because of who they were. The Nuremberg Laws resulted in the eventual loss of
identity of each victim by systematic denial.
Jew's could not own pets or bicycles. They also had a strict curfew to obey.
Nazi Youth was the only youth organization allowed. Synagogues were destroyed
during Kristallnacht and finally many friendships between Jews and non-Jews
were torn apart (often from fear of being associated with Jews). Friendships
were also destroyed between those Christians who supported and did not support
the Nazi regime. Reference the Nuremberg Law's for more restrictions. The Nuremberg
laws were passed on September 15, 1935. Nazi Germany instituted a series of
laws designed to make freedom increasingly difficult for the Jews and to restrict
their freedom. Excerpts follow:
'Reich Citizenship Law: A Reich citizen is a subject of the state who is
German or related blood, who proves by his conduct that he is willing and
fit to serve the German people and Reich. A Reich citizen is the sole bearer
of all political rights.'
- What kind of conduct would prove that one is willing and fit to serve the
German people and Reich?
- What types of tests could you develop to show these qualities?
Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor (9-15-35)
Moved by the understanding that purity of the German Blood is the essential
condition for the continued existence of the German people:
- Marriages between Jews and subjects of the state of Germany or related
bloods is forbidden. Marriages nevertheless concluded are invalid, even if
concluded abroad to circumvent this law'.
- Extramarital intercourse between Jews and those of Germany or related blood
- Jews may not employ in their households female subjects of German or related
blood who are under 45 years old.
- Jews are forbidden to fly the Reich or National flag or to display the
Reich colors. They are, on the other hand, permitted to display the Jewish
- Does the title of the Law give you any hints as to the purpose of the Law?
- To the attitudes feelings of those in power?
- Why would Jews not be allowed to hire female household employees under
45 years old?
- Why would Jews not be allowed to fly the German flag?
- How do you think that would affect them (would it bother them)?
- Why do you think Jews would be allowed to fly the Jewish colors?
- Would you marry someone if the Law prohibited it (Even if the punishment
were a prison sentence with hard labor)? Explain.
Ask students to list ten things they personally enjoy doing in their daily
lives. Have students pick five things they could give up if they had to.
- Why did they pick those five?
- How would they feel if they could no longer do those activities?
Read the June 26, 1942 excerpt from 'The Diary of Anne Frank.'
Have students make a list of 12-15 specific restrictions on Jews.
- What was the purpose for these restrictions?
- Why do you think Jews were made to wear the yellow star?
In Anne's diary, she quotes Jopie. 'You're scared to do anything, because
it may be forbidden.'
- What do you think she means by this?
- How would it feel to be in this type of situation?
- Have you ever been in this type of situation? Explain.
- Why do you think Anne could say things were still bearable?
Nazi Germany continued to pass laws that discriminated against Jews.
- Regulation for the Elimination of the Jews from the Economic Life of Germany
(11-12-38) Jews are forbidden to operate retail stores, mail order houses
or sales agencies, or to practice a craft. They cannot offer for sale goods
or services, to advertise these or to accept orders at markets, fairs and
exhibitions of all sorts.
- Jews are forbidden to ride streetcars, go to the theater, play sports,
go to the parks, practice medicine, law, farming, and can only walk on certain
streets. Jews must shop only at certain stores during certain hours, and Jewish
children can attend Jewish schools only.
In addition to the above laws, in 1939, Jews were ordered to turn in their
radio sets. They were forbidden to leave their homes except for a few hours
each day. Jews were forced to deposit all their money in banks, then forbidden
to take their money out. The money was confiscated by the Nazis. Telephones
were taken away. By 1942, Jews could not have pets, could not attend school
of any kind, and had to give up extra clothing.
- What things do you notice about the progression of the laws from the passing
of the Nuremberg laws until 1942? (continually got stricter, more repressive,
- What was the purpose of these laws?
- Which possessions/freedoms would be hardest to give up? Why?
- Which would you miss the least?
- Why would Jews be forced to turn in their radios?
- Imagine you are a Jew living in Nazi Germany during the 1930's. What signs
could you have seen of the Holocaust coming?
First Regulation to the Reich Citizenship Law (11-14-35)
- A Jew cannot be a Reich citizen. He has no voting rights in political matters.
He cannot occupy a public office.
- A Jew is a person descended from at least three grandparents who are full
- A Mischling is considered a Jew if he is descended from two full Jewish
grandparents; who was a member of the Jewish Religious Community; who was
married to a Jew; who was born from a lineage with a Jew or as the result
of extramarital intercourse with a Jew.
- How is a Jew defined?
- What do you think is the purpose of this law?
- Why do you think Hitler felt it necessary to define Jew?
- Why do you think Hitler felt the need to further clarify the Reich Citizenship
Law only two months after its passage?
- Do you think this new law may have defined some people as Jewish who had
not previously thought of themselves as Jewish?
- How would that affect them?
Second Regulation for the Implementation of the Law Regarding the Changing
of Family Names and Given Names (8-17-38)
Insofar as Jews have given names other than those to which they are permitted
to bear they are required to take an additional given name: males will take
the given name Israel, females the given name Sara.
There was a separate list of names that Jews were required to use.
- Why do you think Jews would be forced to assume the name Israel or Sara?
- Would you like to be forced to use a name other than the one your parents
had given to you or that you were used to being called?
- How would you feel about having to choose your child's name from an approved
- Why were these Laws passed?
- Why do you think there was little opposition to them?
- If you were a Jew living in Nazi Germany, how do you think you would have
felt? What emotions do you think you would have?
- If you were a non-Jew living during this period, how do you think you would
have felt? What emotions would you have?
- Do you think non-Jewish citizens approved or agreed with these discriminatory
- Which laws would you find objectionable? Would it make a difference if
they applied personally to you? Explain.
- Should governments ever pass laws that violate individual rights? Can you
- What action could you take if a law was passed that you did not like? Teachers
might also discuss how the laws and social atmosphere of the period might
affect one's self image and how it might reinforce or develop stereotypes.