On the 15th September 1935, the German Reichstag passed the Nuremberg Laws that legally discriminated against Jews. The antisemitic legislation consisted of two laws – the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour, and the Reich Citizenship Law.

Since coming to power in 1933, the Nazi Party had produced large amounts of propaganda that discriminated against minorities, and which gradually encouraged people in Germany to view Jews in particular as belonging to a separate race to other Germans. The Nuremberg Laws enshrined this discrimination in the legal framework of the country.

The first law focused on individual relationships by banning marriages and sexual relationships between Jews and Germans. Furthermore it strengthened the concept of ‘German’ racial superiority in law by banning German women under the age of 45 from working in Jewish households. Meanwhile the Reich Citizenship Law stripped Jews and many other minorities of their German citizenship as it stated that only people with German or related blood could be Reich citizens.

This second law relied on a clear definition of Jewishness, but this was not actually agreed upon until November. In the end, Hitler declared that anyone with three Jewish grandparents was to be classed as Jewish; anyone who had two Jewish grandparents would be considered Jewish under the law if they practised the faith or had a Jewish spouse. Proving racial heritage therefore became a vital part of life in Nazi Germany. However, due to concerns about how the international community might interpret the laws, prosecutions did not begin until after the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

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