The racialisation of the Jews: Historical anthropology of the Nuremberg Laws

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The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 had a basis in German history and constituted an institutionalization of cultural codes that had long preceded them. They came about from a conversion of cultural, ethnic, and religious categories to racial ones, a process which began in the Wilhelmine period. They were a late product of the German colonial experience, both in the Slavic East and in Africa. It was in the eastern borderlands of the Empire that, for the first time, the right to citizenship was determined by a person's blood; this principle was adopted later by the Reich Citizenship Law. In addition, the German experience with miscegenation in Africa and in the French-occupied Rhineland of the 1920s led to the first attempts to pass anti-miscegenation laws before 1914, and to anti-miscegenation rhetoric after World War I. This rhetoric and the focus on "Mischlinge" resulted in the law of protection of German blood in 1935.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-215
Number of pages15
JournalJahrbuch des Simon-Dubnow-Instituts
StatePublished - 2002

RAMBI Publications

  • Rambi Publications
  • Jews -- Germany -- History -- 1933-1939
  • Jews -- Legal status, laws, etc -- Germany
  • Mischlinge (Nuremberg Laws of 1935)


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