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History - Nuremberg Laws and the Jewish Codex

he Nuremberg laws were announced on September 15, 1935 in Nuremberg, Germany, at the annual Nazi Party Conference, at which Adolf Hitler also had the German Reichstag (parliament) pass a law making the Swastika the national flag of Nazi Germany

The first law, The Law for the Protection of the Nation, included the following prohibitions and enforcement measures:
• Marriages between Jews and German citizens were forbidden
• Extramarital sexual intercourse between Jews and German citizens were forbidden
• Jews were not permitted to employ German women as domestic workers
• The law also included provisions for German officials to issue further legal and administrative regulations to enforce and supplement the law

The second law, The Reich Citizenship Law included these provisions:
Determining that only Germans or „kindred blood“ are considered Reich citizens and that only these enjoy all rights
The Nuremberg laws provided the basis for further legislation. Though the laws were very brief and made at the last minute, they laid the ideological foundation of the Nazis for the first time as a law. Though the two Nuremberg laws did not actually state who is considered a Jew, already the First Supplementary Decree from November included provisions for this. Many similar supplements followed and regulations followed.

The Slovak Jewish Codex was issued by the Slovak government on September 9, 1941 – 6 years after the Nuremberg Laws. It was the first major law of its kind in Slovakia and found inspiration in the many repressions that Nazis in Germany had been carrying out for years before. Nevertheless, it was one of the most extensive and most thought-out set of anti-Jewish regulations in the world. Even more so than in Germany or Italy.

The Jewish Codex consisted of 270 articles comprising 60 pages of anti-Jewish provisions. It included:
The definition of a Jew or Jewish organization, as well as the system of monitoring Jews (yellow stars)
Marriage and sexual intercourse between Jews and non-Jews, voting or working in certain state jobs or as doctors or lawyers was all prohibited, there were restrictions on education
Jews had to work only in jobs determined by the government
Limits on several other freedoms like freedom of privacy (house-searches anytime without a warrant), freedom of press (only one Jewish organization was allowed to publish – this was also regulated by the government).
Products of their work could not be used - no Jewish art could be exhibited (even under a different name), no Jewish intellectual property could be used (besides scientific achievements)
Even minor things were forbidden - Jews weren’t allowed to fish, drive a car, ride a bicycle or own binoculars.
The majority of the articles addressed the Aryanization process – nationalization and redistribution of Jewish property to non-Jews ( which benefited many members and friends of the ruling party in Slovakia)
There was also an article which enabled the President of the Slovak Republic to grant exemptions from the Codex. The majority of those who applied wrote a letter to the president – did not receive it.

Each of the restrictions of the Nuremberg Laws (especially the first law) is also included in the Slovak Jewish Codex. Naturally, hundreds of other Nazi regulations served as inspiration for possibly the most horrifying document passed in Slovak history, the second being the law starting the deportations of 1942, which was passed not only by certain government officials but by the entire Slovak parliament (It is also interesting to mention that the deportations themselves started before the law was passed).


Frantisek Butora
CS Lewis Bilingual High School

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Bratislava History Project
British International School of Bratislava
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Contact : Richard Jones-Nerzic