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The Crime of My Very ExistenceNazism and the Myth of Jewish Criminality$
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Michael Berkowitz

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780520251120

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520251120.001.0001

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The Construction of “Jewish Criminality” in Nazi Germany

The Construction of “Jewish Criminality” in Nazi Germany

(p.24) Two The Construction of “Jewish Criminality” in Nazi Germany
The Crime of My Very Existence

Michael Berkowitz

University of California Press

This chapter shows that the right wing's essentialized construct of the Jew as criminal in the Weimar period was translated into policy and action in Germany after 1933. Until 1938, when the Nazis unequivocally embraced the guiding principle that “The Jew is outside the law,” they often took pains to charge individual Jews with specific crimes, usually focusing on technical aspects of tax laws and currency-exchange regulations. On the one hand, they sought to exploit the racist agenda and traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes. On the other, they wanted to give the impression that the Nazi State was simply zealous in applying the letter of the law.

Keywords:   Jewish criminal, Weimar period, Nazi Germany, tax laws, racism, anti-Semitic stereotype

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