Nuremberg Laws

The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 were antisemitic legislation enacted in Nazi Germany. From its rise to power in 1933, antisemitism was at the core of Nazi ideology and practice. There was a rapid growth in German legislation that was directed against Jews, and other groups (Roma /Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses and homosexuals) deemed to be ‘undesirables’. These laws classified as “racially acceptable”, people with “German or related blood” and enacted harsh measures against Jews and other ‘non-Aryans’.

The Reich Citizenship Law classified people as Jews if they were descended from three or four Jewish grandparents, but the criteria defining a grandparent as ‘Jewish’ were unspecified, making the entire definition circular. By an Order made under the Citizenship Law, Jews were formally deprived of their remaining civil and political rights.

The Law for the Protection of the German Blood and of the German Honour forbade marriages and extra-marital relations between Jewish and non-Jewish Germans, with severe penalties.

A person with one or two Jewish grandparents was referred to as a Mischling, of “mixed blood”.

Speaking in Nuremberg on the day the new laws were introduced, Hitler warned that if they failed to end the ‘provocative behaviour’ of the Jews, it might become necessary to pass a law “handing over the problem to the National Socialist Party for final solution” (endgültige Lösung).