While I understand that Germans probably needed Jewish traders, there are many other traders out there besides Jews, so how could a small group of people boycotting German goods cause a significant effect in Germany?

  • I edited a bit for clarity. Dec 10, 2013 at 8:20
  • Okay... Distributors are usually the most vulnerable part of economy.
    – user4951
    Dec 10, 2013 at 8:21
  • Well, this was not really about economics, you know... Dec 10, 2013 at 8:26
  • Whatever it is, it is obviously not obvious and hence deserve explanation.
    – user4951
    Dec 10, 2013 at 8:29
  • Pretty much the same effect as gay bars in 2013 boycotting Russian vodka. NONE.
    – DVK
    Dec 23, 2013 at 20:31

2 Answers 2


This site estimates European Jewish population in 1935 to be 9.5 MM, about 1.7% of Total European population. It is unlikely that the Jewish percentage population in North America was much different than that, and worldwide would have been much smaller still.

In regards to a boycott organized by such a small percentage of the population, I see a key prerequisite to it becoming more than a trivial nuisance:

  • The organizers of the boycott would have to have been seen as an elite to be emulated, much like modern Hollywood actors.

Given the pandemic anti-Semitism of the time, prevalent even in (more enlightened than Nazi Germany) countries such as the U.K., this criteria was certainly not met.

It seems to me that this was a gesture known, even by its participants at the time, to be ultimately futile, but which was driven by the need to make a stand somewhere.

  • So, Jewish Boycott means jews don't buy german product not jews not distributing germans' product.
    – user4951
    Dec 24, 2013 at 1:17

The Nazis weren't impressed by the Jewish Boycott. It led them to a retaliation Kristallnacht, that accomplished much the same thing, but with a greater impact. Put another way, the boycott may have caused the Nazis to do what they wanted to do anyway.

Kristallnacht had an impact, not so much on the German economy, but on global public opinion. Anglo-Americans, who tended to distrust Germany all the way back to World War I now had a solid reason to do so. Here's a report from the German Ambassador

  • I had forgotten what prompted Kristallnacht. You had such a good answer going, until that last sentence. It just doesn't go with the rest of your argument. Still +1, but please do reconsider that last sentence. Dec 23, 2013 at 3:24
  • 1
    I seriously doubt Kristallnacht had a serious effect on public opinion against Germany in other countries. Of course later it would be used as part of concentrated propaganda campaigns, but at the time it happened? Highly unlikely. Many countries were still trying to cozy up to Germany, apease them, try to strike deals with them to prevent war, and creating outrage against Germany within their populations would not help those efforts.
    – jwenting
    Dec 23, 2013 at 6:11
  • @PieterGeerkens: I deleted the last sentence.
    – Tom Au
    Dec 23, 2013 at 16:51
  • 3
    Kristallnacht had absolutely nothing to do with the boycott. The boycott was started shortly after the Nazi's came to power in 1932 and they reacted at the time by their own "boycott". Kristallnacht occurred in November of 1938, over 6 years later, and was a reaction to the assassination of Ernst vom Rath and an effort of Goebbels to redirect attention away from riots and and disaffection by the Czechs in the Sudetenland. Mar 7, 2016 at 21:11
  • 1
    @TylerDurden: I agree for reasons you state.
    – Jeff
    May 8, 2017 at 3:27

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