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1933: The Nazi State Begins
 pg. 67 
Classifying humans according to their physical features was central to Nazi plans for the racial reordering of Europe. This metal case with 20 glass balls of different eye colors was used to identify and designate one's racial group according to the pseudoscience of the Nazis. Although firsthand observations often contradicted the theoretical basis of race-based science, many German doctors and scientists enthusiastically pursued the research agenda set by the regime.
Photo: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive

Arisierung, or "Aryanization," was a vital part of the Nazi Party's plan to reduce Jewish influence in Germany. This scheme, which began almost immediately after Hitler came to power, consisted of two components: cultural and economic Aryanization.

The cultural portion began in 1933, with the government's efforts to drive Jews out of the Reich's cultural life. Jewish intellectuals, actors, journalists, and musicians lost their posts in important cultural institutions, and Jewish enrollment in universities was severely restricted.

From the outset of the Third Reich, many Jews found it prudent to sell their property at a loss and flee the country. In 1938, however, the Aryanization of Jewish property began in earnest. On April 26 Hermann Göring promulgated the "Order Requiring the Declaration of Jewish Property," which obligated all German Jews to declare the value of their economic holdings both at home and abroad. Increased pressure forced Jews to sell their businesses at 30 to 60 percent of their value.

The effects of Aryanization were devastating to Germany's Jewish population, severely undermining the economic well-being of the Jewish community. This was, of course, the Nazis' main goal in carrying out this practice.

A pedestrian eyes the National Socialist paraphernalia on display at a Nazi headquarters in Yorkville, Pennsylvania. Biographies of Hitler, the party newspaper (Völkischer Beobachter), and other items could be purchased by individuals who either supported or were curious about the Nazi movement. Hitler's government was seen by many native Germans living in the U.S. as a needed corrective to the ineffective governmental regimes of the earlier Weimar Republic.
Photo: UPI/Corbis-Bettmann
 June 28, 1933: In a speech to German newspaper publishers, Hitler describes the government's new journalistic regulations.
 July 1, 1933: The German government states that "Reich Chancellor Hitler still belongs to the Catholic Church and has no intention of leaving it."
 July 14, 1933: The Nazi Party is made Germany's only legal political party; political opposition is punishable by law. The Law Regarding Revocation of Naturalization and the Annulment of German Citizenship strips German citizenship from Eastern European Jews living in Germany. Also, Germany enacts the Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases, which provides for sterilization of "unfit" parents and potential parents, as well as "euthanasia" of the "defective" and of "useless eaters." The government terms these people lebensunwertes Leben ("life unworthy of life"). The law is endorsed by the American Eugenics Society.
1933: The Nazi State Begins
 pg. 67 
The Holocaust Chronicle
© 2009 Publications International, Ltd.