It is not always a good thing to be a Law abiding citizen, don’t worry I am not encouraging anarchy but it is a fact that many things which we now know were evil and vile, were once laws. Like slavery once was legal and written into law.
Combine that with a nation whose culture it is to follow rules and laws, it can have devastating effects, especially when there is no critical thinking and things are just accepted. This is one of the reasons the Nazis were so successful in carrying out their atrocities.
Not only were these crimes against humanity committed within a legal framework, the laws for this legal framework were designed and implemented by a legally elected government.
The Nuremberg Laws were antisemitic and racial laws .They were introduced on 15 September 1935 by the Reichstag at a special meeting convened at the annual Nuremberg Rally of the NSDAP.
They consisted of 3 sets of laws.
- Law for the Protection of German Blood & German Honor
- Law for the Protection of Hereditary Health
- The Reich Citizenship Law
Although the German population weren’t all that comfortable with the laws, they did not really protest against them either,because the changes were not immediate,gradually the rights of mainly Jews but also,Homosexuals,Disabled,Roma,Sinti and others were chipped away.
Initially the anti Semitic and Jewish propaganda and protests also declined, due to the fact there was less need for them , because now there were laws in place.
The propaganda would soon take other forms often introduced in education via school curricculums or through ‘mainstream’ media.
Below are the sections of the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor.
1. Marriages between Jews and citizens of German or kindred blood are forbidden. Marriages concluded in defiance of this law are void, even if, for the purpose of evading this law, they were concluded abroad.
2. Proceedings for annulment may be initiated only by the Public Prosecutor.
Sexual relations outside marriage between Jews and nationals of German or kindred blood are forbidden.
Jews will not be permitted to employ female citizens of German or kindred blood as domestic servants.
1. Jews are forbidden to display the Reich and national flag or the national colors.
2. On the other hand they are permitted to display the Jewish colors. The exercise of this right is protected by the State.
1. A person who acts contrary to the prohibition of Section 1 will be punished with hard labour.
2. A person who acts contrary to the prohibition of Section 2 will be punished with imprisonment or with hard labour.
3. A person who acts contrary to the provisions of Sections 3 or
4 will be punished with imprisonment up to a year and with a fine, or with one of these penalties.
The Reich Minister of the Interior in agreement with the Deputy Fuhrer and the Reich Minister of Justice will issue the legal and administrative regulations required for the enforcement and supplementing of this law.
The law will become effective on the day after its promulgation; Section 3, however, not until 1 January 1936.
An excuse often used especially by perpetrators was that they were only following the law and orders.
Although I do take in consideration that culturally the Germans followed the rules and the laws of the land, it did not excuse them of the crimes committed by their government. On the other hand though especially later on during the Nazi regime, any one who was critical about the regime could face death themselves.
And although it is easy for us to judge. we should ask ourselves one question: How often do we question our Government’s rules and decisions?
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Jewish Virtual Library