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What historical or cultural reasons did the Nazi's have to hate the Jews? Did they ever accurately and precisely identify non-practicing Jews?

I asked Jewish culture differences singled out by Nazism? on Judaism SE and they said that for a secular reason to Nazi prejudice I would have to ask here.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The Jews were targeted not because of their religion but on basis of racial characteristics.
According to the science of the day, eugenics, this could be easily detected based on parentage and physical characteristics.
Thus marriage and birth certificates were a major source of information, and where that wasn't conclusive (say immigrants), actual measurements of things like the slope of the forehead and the dimensions and shape of the nose were used (and in many cases pure speculation, just like in the past just accusing someone of being a witch made them a witch, nowadays the same process is responsible for putting many a person behind bars for being a pedophile who never touched a child).

The main reason for the persecution was economic, combined with historical prejudice (that was and still is deeply rooted throughout Europe). The German economy was in tatters, but the Jews were as a group doing a lot better than the population at large. When the government needed a scape goat, they were a logical group to target.
Mind this wasn't at all limited to Germany, the same went on in many countries, foremost of all the USSR.
Historically of course the Jews were strangers, with weird customs, rather insular, with a different religion, in countries that were very much homogenous in their cultural and religious makeup (and to a large degree in many countries largely racially homogenous as well). That set them apart, people were suspicious of them, and the Nazi propaganda built on that to blame them for the economic woes of the late 1920s and 1930s (the fact that many banks were owned by them, and Jewish owned businesses doing overall better than German owned businesses made that easier).
To a large degree the same goes on to this day, see how "evil bankers" are blamed on the economic crisis that started in 2007 even though they had very little to do with it (most were hit as hard as or harder than anyone else). They're just easy and obvious targets.

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kool thanks +1 i didn't know about the measurement thing –  caseyr547 Feb 12 '14 at 10:34
It can be worthwhile to add to your last paragraph that similar occurrences of blaming Jews, as one of the most easily identified insular group inside European cities, go back as far as the Black Death in the middle ages, and before. Numerous enough and identifiable enough to be a convenient scapegoat. –  Avner Shahar-Kashtan Feb 12 '14 at 11:16
@Anixx more revisionist history from you. –  jwenting Feb 17 '14 at 8:08
@Anixx your claim that physical characteristics were not used is utter bonkers. There's even booklets that were distributed in Germany with pictures to "identify the Jew", propaganda posters where their racial stereotypes are exagerrated for the population, etc. etc. Any reliable resource on or from the era will show that. –  jwenting Feb 17 '14 at 8:15
Yes there were such booklets, but they were not used for any official purposes. In Germany Jews were identified as people who or whose ancestors professed Judaism after 1871. There were tools for "racial test", but they were used to test if a Slav was suitable for Germanization, not for identifying Jews. –  Anixx Feb 17 '14 at 8:19

Hitler also had a dislike for the European jews on the basis that his research prooved that they were not authentic "jews", in fact he viewed them in a negative way because they were making judaism there "culture" when it was not there ancestral origin.

please watch this video just click on the link below.


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