The Holocaust (1933-45) refers to Nazi Germany’s deliberate, progressive persecution and systematic murder of the Jews of Europe. Nazi anti-Semitism superseded traditional Judeo-Christian religious conflict by uniting a racial ideology with social Darwinism: the Jew is seen as subhuman, a disease threatening the body politic, and the cause of Germany’s problems—its economic woes, its defeat in World War I, its cultural degeneracy—and thus must be eradicated. As soon as Hitler came to power in 1933, the Nazis commenced the organized persecution of the Jews. Jewish books were burned and businesses boycotted. Jews were excluded from professions, public life, and from the arts. The Nuremberg laws of 1935 identified and defined a Jew based on immutable racial characteristics and lineage, less so his religion. Jews were stripped of their civil rights as German citizens. More than 120 decrees and ordinances were enacted subsequent to the Nuremberg laws. In 1938, Kristallnacht occurred, the planned pogrom that led to the destruction of synagogues, mass arrests, and the looting of Jewish businesses. Jews were murdered, and many more were interned in concentration camps that had been established for political prisoners. Jewish property was registered, confiscated, and ultimately arianized. Life in Nazi Germany was sufficiently intolerable that more than to 200,000 Jews emigrated. Hitler’s goal of making Germany “Judenrein” was proving successful.
With the Nazi’s ascension to power, other groups were imperiled as well, vulnerable to discriminatory treatment, persecution and death; for example, the Roma and Sinti, the developmentally and physically disabled, homosexuals, and political and social "undesirables". Slavic people were considered Untermenschen, fit only for servitude in the new and expanded Reich. During this period of time, in direct contravention of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was also secretly building its military and preparing for an eventual war. Yet it was the Nazi’s growing confidence and skill in pruning the Aryan tree of its undesirables that allowed it to perfect the technical apparatus for carrying out mass murder on an industrial scale, with its ultimate goal the “final solution to the Jewish question”.This collection features numerous examples of identification documents for Jews used during the Third Reich; a selection of mail covers and Francotyp cards which record the mail history of Jewish-owned companies or corporate entities both before and subsequent to arianization during the era of the Third Reich; Julius Streicher anti-Semitic literature, posters from der Sturmer; and a general selection of anti-Semitic literature and postcards
--Michael D. Bulmash, K1966
Browse the Bulmash Family Holocaust Collection.