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This Smithsonian Magazine article indicates that Jews could keep 8% of their assets (at least in some cases, and I am sure in practice there were obstacles to retaining even that), which is different from the 10 marks I have seen in numerous places.

Is this indeed a discrepancy, or am I misunderstanding the article?

I am not confusing Marks with percent. For example, when you read about Hitler's former family doctor who was treated better than other Jews, it is stated that he was allowed to take 16 instead of the usual 10 marks with him. Wikipedia:Eduard_Bloch

EDIT: I note that the article about Bloch says not only was he allowed to take slightly more money with him (still a very nominal sum is 16 RM) but he was also able to sell his house at market value. But what could he do with the proceeds of the house sale -- did they remain in a German bank account from which he could draw even in the USA (while the two countries still had relations)?

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  • A random Viasat History documentary, broadcast a few years ago, mentioned Jews being forced to give up 90% of their wealth; are you sure you're not simply confusing marks with percent, by any chance ?
    – Lucian
    Nov 18, 2021 at 6:11
  • @Lucian:: I am not. For example, when you read about Hitler's former family doctor who was treated better than other Jews, it is stated that he was allowed to take 16 instead of the usual 10 marks with him. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eduard_Bloch
    – releseabe
    Nov 18, 2021 at 6:13
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    See Reich Flight Tax: Implementation.
    – Lucian
    Nov 18, 2021 at 6:19
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    There might have been different rules at different points of time, as the link of @Lucian also suggest.
    – Greg
    Nov 18, 2021 at 12:03

1 Answer 1

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Is this indeed a discrepancy, or am I misunderstanding the article?

You are misunderstanding the situation, since the article is mixing multiple laws that changed over time.

  • Currency restrictions (Devisenbewirtschaftung)
    • 1931-08-01: RM 3.000
    • 1934-09-11: RM 50
    • 1934-09-29: RM 10
  • Reich Flight Tax (Reichsfluchtsteuer)
    • 1931-12-08: for sums over RM 20.000 [§2], 25% [§3(1)]
    • 1934-05-18: for sums over RM 5.000, 25% (§3(1) was not changed)
  • Fees for money transfer (Dego levy)
    • 1934-01: 20%
    • 1934-08: 65%
    • 1936-10: 81%
    • 1938-06: 90%
    • 1939-09: 96%
  • Ordinance on the registration of property of Jews
    • 1938-04-22
    • Jewish Capital Levy (Judenvermögensabgabe)
      • 1938-11-21: for sums over RM 5.000 [§3(4)], 20% [§4(1)]

The currency restrictions was the amount allowed to be converted to foreign currency and applied to all persons traveling abroad (i.e. also for short visits ; tourist etc.) and are often seen in German passports after 1934.

The Reich Flight Tax applied to all persons leaving the country permanently. A simular law existed between 1918 and 1925.

Fees for money transfer (Dego levy)

Dego-Abgabe (German only)
Wer auf legalem Wege emigrieren wollte, musste seine Wertpapiere und die Verkaufserlöse von Geschäft und Immobilien auf einem Sperrmark-Konto belassen. Der Umtausch vom Auswanderersperrguthaben in Devisen musste von der Deutschen Golddiskontbank genehmigt werden und wurde nur mit einem Disagio vorgenommen, der sogenannten Dego-Abgabe.

Those who wanted to emigrate legally had to leave their securities and the proceeds from the sale of businesses and real estate in a blocked mark account. The exchange of the emigrant's blocked credit into foreign currency had to be approved by the Deutsche Golddiskontbank and was only carried out with a discount, the so-called Dego levy.

Note:
The transfer fee was set by the Deutsche Golddiskontbank and not by law. The Paul Reiss sample quotes 92.5% for November 1938.

Jewish Capital Levy, for German or stateless Jews, based on their worldwide financial assets as of 1938-11-12. For sums over RM 5.000, rounded down to the nearest RM 1.000 [§3(5)]: 20% to be paid in 4 rates of 5% [§4(1,2)]:

  • 1938-12-15
  • 1939-02-15
  • 1939-05-15
  • 1939-08-15

Sample: Paul Reiss Date Assets (RM) Rate Tax/Fee Total
Reichsfluchtsteuer 1938-08 634.000 25% 158.500 158.500
Dego-Abgabe (Transfer) 1938-11 100.000 92.5% 92.500 251.000
Judenvermögensabgabe #1/4 1938-12-15 537.500 5% 26.875 277.875
Judenvermögensabgabe #2/4 1939-02-15 537.500 5% 26.875 304.750
Judenvermögensabgabe #3/4 1939-05-15 537.500 5% 26.875 331.625
Judenvermögensabgabe #4/4 1939-08-15 537.500 5% 26.875 358.500
Dego-Abgabe (Transfer) 1939-09 239.219 96% 229.650 588.150
Assets 1940-01 60.722

Note:
The buying value of the Reichsmark, in 1938, was € 4.30 (as of 2020).


Sources:

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  • Would be interesting to see how those changes in raw amounts compare when adjusted for inflation and revaluation of the RM over time (did they chop off several zeroes for example between 1931 and 1934 during the hyperinflation in Weimar and the worldwide economic chaos of the 1932 depression?).
    – jwenting
    Nov 22, 2021 at 10:27
  • @jwenting You are mixing up the currency 'Mark' (Abbreviation: 'M') with the currency 'Reichsmark' (Abbreviation: 'RM'), which replaced the 'Mark' in 1924 after the hyperinflation ended in December 1923. I have added a reference to the buying value of the Reichsmark in 1938 (€4.30) to the answer. Nov 22, 2021 at 11:10
  • I am not sure what this meant in practice: Did this mean at one point, Jews could only carry 10 RM (I think enough for a couple nights at a hotel in those days) but also might have access to their accounts in Germany (a limited sort of access) once overseas or did it literally mean you could take 10 RM and anything else of value was confiscated and the German accounts also reverted to the nazi state?
    – releseabe
    Jul 27, 2023 at 10:17
  • @releseabe The Reichsmark was a Partially convertible currency. The Devisenbewirtschaftung and Reichsfluchtsteuer restrictions were for everyone even for short stays outside the country. For emigration accounts had to be closed before leaving (also for everyone). Jul 27, 2023 at 10:45
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    @Censoredtoprotecttheguilty Central banks often publish purchasing power equivalents. The Euro price is based on the Purchasing power equivalents of historical amounts in German currencies - Deutsche Bundesbank - Status: 2021-01 pdf listed in the sources. Jul 27, 2023 at 15:05

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