The Construction of “Jewish Criminality” in Nazi Germany

Michael Berkowitz

in The Crime of My Very Existence

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780520251120
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940680 | DOI:
The Construction of “Jewish Criminality” in Nazi Germany

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter shows that the right wing's essentialized construct of the Jew as criminal in the Weimar period was translated into policy and action in Germany after 1933. Until 1938, when the Nazis unequivocally embraced the guiding principle that “The Jew is outside the law,” they often took pains to charge individual Jews with specific crimes, usually focusing on technical aspects of tax laws and currency-exchange regulations. On the one hand, they sought to exploit the racist agenda and traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes. On the other, they wanted to give the impression that the Nazi State was simply zealous in applying the letter of the law.

Keywords: Jewish criminal; Weimar period; Nazi Germany; tax laws; racism; anti-Semitic stereotype

Chapter.  8032 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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