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"Aryanization"

"Aryanization" - the elimination of the Jewish population from economic life
Racist and nationalistic anti-Semitism was an essential component of National Socialist ideology. It became one of the guiding principles of German politics.

The objective of this political system was to expel the Jewish population from German society. Before the Nazis began to systematically murder European Jewry in the Second World War, they had destroyed the economic basis of Jewish people's livelihood through arbitrary actions and ever more radical and discriminatory legislation.

They started with a boycott of Jewish businesses, medical practices, and attorneys' offices on April 1, 1933. Throughout the 1930s, the authorities resorted to increasingly brutal measures - Jewish employees were dismissed from the civil service, they were stripped of their civic rights, Jewish businesses suffered as a result of peremptory boycotts, and the media mounted anti-Semitic hate campaigns.
Banner urging an anti-semitic boycott in Glowitz, 1933 - bpk
Banner urging an anti-semitic boycott in Glowitz, 1933 - bpk
The abbreviation stands for the term Sturmabteilung (storm troops) and refers to a paramilitary fighting and thug group of the Nazi Party. It was formed in 1920/21 and had over four million members in 1934.
  • Adolf Hitler appointed Chancellor of the German Reich.
  • Hitler issues a decree invalidating the basic rights.
  • Boycott against Jewish businesses organized by the SA.
  • New laws bar Jews from jobs in the civil service, universities and law courts.
  • Banning of parties, trade unions and confiscation of their property (part of the process of "Gleichschaltung").
  • Law on the confiscation of property of "enemies of the people and the State". Legal basis for the seizure of assets of emigrants.
The term Arisierung, or "Aryanization", was coined by the Nazis to describe the process whereby Jewish people were ousted from their jobs and from working life in general. "Aryanization" encompassed both illegal and state-sanctioned measures such as dismissals, disbarment from practicing a profession, restrictions on commercial activities, and the forced transfer of rights and property to non-Jewish Germans.

Until 1937, seemingly unsystematic, isolated anti-Semitic actions took place which already posed a serious threat to the livelihood of the majority of Jews still living in Germany. However, with 1938 came a radical worsening of the situation. First, all Jewish assets were registered. This information was then abused to initiate a wide-scale pseudo-legal transfer of Jewish enterprises to non-Jewish owners.

After the Pogrom Night this process was accelerated by means of additional force and a large number of new legal regulations. By the start of 1939, most Jewish enterprises in Germany and Austria had either been "aryanized" or closed down. Whereas in the earlier years Jewish proprietors received part of the value of their property when they "sold" it, as things stood in 1938, "Aryanization" was increasingly becoming state-organized expropriation.
Form for registering the assets of Jewish citizens, 1938 (Berlin, Landesarchiv)
Form for registering the assets of Jewish citizens, 1938 (Berlin, Landesarchiv)
  • German troups enter Austria: Annexation of Austria.
  • Decree about registration of Jewish assets exceeding a value of 5000 Reichsmark.
  • Occupation of the "Sudetenland" (part of Czechoslovakia).
  • Officially inspired pogrom ("Night of Broken Glass") leads to the arrest or murder of many Jews and the destruction of synagogues and Jewish-owned shops and homes.
  • Collective financial "punishment" of Jews (1 Billion marks) for compensation of damages resulting from the "Night of Broken Glass".
Julius and Else Basch were proprietors of a commercial property located on one of Munich's main shopping thoroughfares. After the Pogrom Night of November 9, 1938, Julius Basch, like thousands of other Jewish business people in Germany, was taken to Dachau.

The only people with any hope of being set free were those who could credibly assert that they would immediately emigrate from Germany. This entailed considerable costs for the emigration itself as well as a large number of discriminatory levies and special taxes.

Julius and Else Basch decided to join their son in the USA. They sold the commercial property to Vermögensverwertung München GmbH, an institution that had been founded by Nazi officials to "aryanize" the assets and enterprises of Munich's Jews. Julius Basch was not allowed to represent his interests himself in the sale. He was placed under the care of a "trustee" selected by the Nazi party. In January 1940, this "trustee" sold the building to Allianz.

The price fixed for the sale remained controversial even in the restitution proceedings after the war. On the one hand, it was higher than the officially fixed standard valuation from 1935, but well below an offer that Julius Basch had received from the City of Munich in 1937, which he had turned down. In 1949, the Baschs' son claimed the restitution of his parents' former property. Allianz and the son eventually agreed on a compromise settlement. In addition to the price paid in 1940, the insurer paid him a sum of 1.1 million marks.
The Kaufingerstrasse Store in Munich, “aryanized” through purchase in 1940. After the war it became the object of a restitution suit - Stadtarchiv München
The Kaufingerstrasse Store in Munich, “aryanized” through purchase in 1940. After the war it became the object of a restitution suit - Stadtarchiv München
The "National Socialist German Workers Party" was the party of Adolf Hitler. It was founded in 1920 and was the only political party permitted in Germany after the Nazis seized power in 1933. Among the defining features of its ideology were racism, anti-semitism, opposition to democracy, and aggressive territorial expansion. It grew from a splinter group to a mass-based organization with 8.5 million members.
In November 1941, the Reich government took a decisive step toward the total dispossession of Jewish assets. As the first deportations began in Germany and the SS built the first extermination camps in occupied Poland, the 11th Verordnung zum Reichsbürgergesetz (ordinance on the Reich Citizenship Law) was promulgated. This determined that all property of those deported and murdered was to be forfeited to the Nazi state.

In 1945, the assets of the Jewish population had either been almost completely destroyed or split up among the profiteers. The state, Nazi institutions, individual party officials, companies, and private individuals had appropriated the former property of the Jewish population.
The 11th ordinance on the Reich Citizenship Law of November 1941. It provided the legal basis for expropriating the assets of deported Jews. (Reichsgesetzblatt)
The 11th ordinance on the Reich Citizenship Law of November 1941. It provided the legal basis for expropriating the assets of deported Jews. (Reichsgesetzblatt)
The "National Socialist German Workers Party" was the party of Adolf Hitler. It was founded in 1920 and was the only political party permitted in Germany after the Nazis seized power in 1933. Among the defining features of its ideology were racism, anti-semitism, opposition to democracy, and aggressive territorial expansion. It grew from a splinter group to a mass-based organization with 8.5 million members.
The SS, or Schutzstaffel ("Protective Echelon"), was a paramilitary corps of the National Socialist Party. The SS regarded itself as an élite military unit. Under the leadership of Heinrich Himmler, it emerged as the key instrument of force and terror in the Nazi régime. It assimilated the powers of the police, assumed sole responsibility for the system of concentration camps, and became the nerve-center for the extermination of European Jews. The SS was declared a "criminal organization" at the Nuremberg trials.
The Reich Citizenship Law (Reichsbürgergesetz) was part of the Nuremberg Laws decreed in 1935. It discriminated against Jews by limiting their rights as citizens. Jews were no longer allowed to hold public office; Jewish civil servants were forcibly retired and had no right to engage in the political process. A number of decrees were added to the law in the years that followed. One of them was the Eleventh Supplementary Decree of November 1941, which legalized the final economic despoliation of Jews by the Nazi state.
  • Invasion of the Soviet Union ("Operation Barbarossa").
  • Introduction of the Star of David as "distinguishing mark" for Jews.
  • Decree of confiscation of Jewish assets in case of deportation ("11.Verordnung zum Reichsbürgergesetz").
  • Germany declares war upon the United States.

Anja Rechenberg
Spokesperson Corporate Responsibility

Phone +49 89 3800 4511
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