The Reaction of the Jewish Public in Germany to the Nuremberg Laws
The promulgation of the Nuremberg Laws in 1935 marked the demise of Jewish Emancipation in Germany. However, it did not lead to dramatic changes in Jewish life so that the different Jewish organizations were able to continue their separate activities and individuals could continue their livelihood. Thus, although uncertain, most of the 438,000 German Jews believed that they would not be forced to leave the country and would be able to continue to develop as a minority group. The government’s restraint on antisemitic rioting strengthened these beliefs, as did its fraudulently placating announcements and its wish to present a positive image of Germany to the participants and spectators in the 1936 winter and summer Olympic Games held in Germany. Some Jews did recognize the dangers and contemplated emigration, not always to Palestine. The Jewish banker Max Warburg attempted to directly link Jewish emigration with increased exports from Germany, but the US government foiled these plans. Zionists Sam Cohen and Joachim Prinz proposed the emigration of 15,000 Jews per year to Palestine for five years, but were thwarted by both the German authorities and the British Mandate. In general, it appears that the Nuremberg Laws did not ignite a red light and none of the Jewish groups grasped the dire danger awaiting them.