Antisemitic policies

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Antisemitism was at the core of Nazi ideology. Until 1941, the aim of the Nazi Party was the gradual social, legal and physical exclusion of the Jews from German society. It wanted to make life so difficult for the Jews that they would leave Germany.

On assuming power, the Nazi Party’s first priority was taking over the state. However, even as early as March 1933 the SA increased their attacks on Jews. Mobs of locally organised Nazis attacked Jews on the streets, beating them up and sometimes killing them. Many hundreds of Jews were rounded up by local SA groups and sent to concentration camps.

Hitler saw that these attacks and arrests were random and out of control. He believed they needed to be regulated. On 1 April 1933 the state organised a boycott of all Jewish shops and offices. The SA stood outside Jewish-owned properties in order to intimidate customers. Shop doors and windows were broken or had the Star of David painted on them. As part of the boycott libraries were raided and books written by Jewish authors burned in the streets.