Soon after the Nazis seized power on 30 January 1933, besides Jewish merchants and business owners, also Jewish civil servants and public sector employees began to feel the effects of measures taken by the new government. Among the anti-Semitic legislation, especially the "Berufsbeamtengesetz"1 affected the latter occupational groups. According to its § 3, all "non-Aryan" employees were to be dismissed from the service. Only for WWI participants and civil servants with long seniority were any exceptions to be made.

The next steps were directives against employment and admission of Jewish lawyers and physicians, measures against students, trainees and pupils, severely limiting their professional prospects. In particular the Gesetz gegen die Ueberfüllung deutscher Schulen und Hochschulen ("Law against the Overcrowding of German Schools and Universities") of 25 April 1933 provided that Jewish pupils and students could obtain higher school or university qualifications only according to a quota corresponding to their "proportion among the overall population".2 There were further, hardly tangible stipulations regarding Jewish trainees or private sector employees. However, as apprentices had to attend vocational school, they were subject to general school regulations (including the new anti-Semitic stipulations). In a situation where already in 1933, hardly any "Aryan" business owners were still prepared to employ Jewish staff, the only possibility left to them was to find a job with a Jewish entrepreneur. As a consequence, after the waves of "Aryanization", nearly all Jewish employees lost their jobs.

Initially, different occupational groups were affected to varying degrees

In the early years of Nazi rule, the anti-Jewish laws and directives destroyed especially young people's prospects for a future. Many of them therefore escaped abroad already at an early stage. However, in the trade and commerce sector, the boycott measures proved unsuitable to achieve immediate "success" at all levels as intended by the Nazis. In several areas of trade and commerce, handovers of businesses to non-Jewish competitors or company liquidations were initially the exception, even though organisations such as the Chamber of Industry and Commerce of Southern Hannover, the NS-Hago (later DAF)3, or also local NSDAP organisations, took aggressive action to exert pressure on potential customers of Jewish-owned shops. The effects on the respective industries and sectors are explained on the following subpages.


  1. RGBl I, p. 175-177, "Gesetz zur Wiederherstellung des Berufsbeamtentums" of 07 April 1933.
  2. RGBl I, p. 225; on this aspect, also cf. Joseph Walk: Das Sonderrecht für die Juden im NS-Staat. Eine Sammlung der gesetzlichen Maßnahmen und Richtlinien – Inhalt und Bedeutung, Karlsruhe 1981, p. 17-18.
  3. Nazi crafts, trade and commerce organisation, which also conducted boycott measures against Jewish business owners; it was integrated into the Deutsche Arbeits-Front (German Labour Front, DAF) in 1935.


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