The impact of Nazi actions and policies by 1939

Persecution was initially gradual. It intensified greatly from 1935 onwards with the passing of the Nuremburg Laws. The only lull was during the Olympic Games held in Berlin in 1936.

Persecution affected every aspect of the lives of Jews, including:

  • employment;
  • ownership of property;
  • education;
  • travel;
  • marriage;
  • civil liberties and political rights.

By 1939, they were harassed and humiliated daily. They had to wear arm bands so they stood out in public, carry identity cards and have the letter “J” stamped on their passports.

Many Jews saw the events of Kristallnacht as a turning point.

Up until then there had been a progressive removal of their rights, but most Jews had not been physically attacked.

When their businesses and homes were destroyed and their synagogues were burnt down, many concluded that it was time to leave Germany.

Those who were able to flee did so, and a scheme to evacuate Jewish children to Britain, called Kindertransport, began.