Between Discrimination and Extermination
The outrages of November 10, 1938, have been cited as decisive turns in German policy towards Jews. However, already in June the great synagogues in Munich, Nuremberg, and Dortmund had been destroyed. Mass arrests and forced emigration had been enforced in Vienna at the end of May and the looting of shops in Berlin had been perpetrated at the end of June. All through 1938 Jews were being excluded from the German economy. The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs had also dubbed 1938 the fateful year. Back in 1935 Germany had instituted compulsory military service and begun rearmament. However, it had not succeeded in realizing its aim of mass emigration of Jews. Anti-Jewish laws were promulgated, such as the law regarding the compulsory addition of Israel and Sarah, respectively, to male and female Jewish ID cards; confiscation of Jewish passports; Goering’s four-year plan to use Jewish money derived from property owners to finance rearmament; the ban on Jewish communities collecting taxes, and the curbing of the professional activities of Jewish lawyers and physicians. Hitler needed all these happenings in 1938 to inflame the enthusiasm of his people for the forthcoming war. 1938 was the last great warning of impending extermination.