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The Seizure of Power by the National Socialists in 1933
The term “seizure of power“ by the National Socialists refers to Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor of the Reich and the seizure of all state power in the following period. In the night from February 27 to February 28 1933, the Reichstag was burning which all communists were blamed for and which was used as an opportunity for their persecution. On February 28 1933 the “Reichstagsbrandverordnung” was put into force, which restricted or even suspended fundamental rights. In addition, the decree provided for a tightening of penal provisions so that the death penalty could be applied for treason and arson.
The Boycott of Jewish Businesses, Firms and Freelancers in April 1933 and Detentions
Already shortly after Hitler’s appointment to Reich Chancellor, new attacks on Jewish shops and businesses began. By the end of March, Jewish stores, doctors’ practices and lawyers’ firms had been forced to close in some major German cities, and several owners had been robbed and expelled. March 9, SA members arrested dozens of Eastern European Jews in Berlin’s Scheunenviertel and tortured them in the cellars of their stations. The boycott began throughout the entire German Reich on 1 April 1933. Members of the SA, the HJ and of the Stahlhelm were deployed in front of Jewish shops, law firms and doctor’s surgeries in order to prevent customers, clients and patients from entering. Propaganda signs with inscriptions such as “Do not buy from Jews” supported the boycott. People who opposed the boycott were publicly defamed.
In Nazi propaganda, this action was reinterpreted as a defensive measure against the alleged “Jewish declaration of war against Germany” and foreign “atrocity propaganda” and as a defense against the so-called “international financial Jewry”. To underline this propaganda, some boycott signs were even written in English.
Daily newspapers such as the Hofer Anzeiger also supported the boycott propagandistically.
What happened in Hof?
Even days before the protest, propagandistic newspaper articles appeared in the Hofer Anzeiger. The call for the boycott, published 1 April 1933, justifies the measure as a fair response to the alleged “common Jewish atrocity propaganda abroad”. “Germans”, who were still buying from “Jews”, were accused of treason and threatened with exclusion from the “community of fate of all Germans”.
The boycott began on 31 March 1933 with a demonstration by the NSDAP in Hof, at which the NSDAP district leader Benno Kuhr delivered a slanderous and inflammatory propaganda speech.
Arrests During the Boycott
In Hof, too, some Jewish people, mostly men, were taken into protective custody as part of the protest. The exact number is not known. Among them were David Blauzwirn, Dr. med. Georg Braun, Max Franken, Salomon Linz, Herbert Frank, Dr. jur. Fritz Kronenberger, Simon and Selma Rapp and Leopold Weil. Even after the official end of the boycott, two SA men stood in front each shops. They were simply standing there without words nor action. To mark the Jewish shops, the NSDAP put black signs with a yellow circle containing the word “Jude” (“Jew”) in the shop windows. Even though the citizens of Hof continued to buy in Jewish shops, sales declined sharply in the following years.
The April boycott was the first organized measure within the framework of a systematic policy of the exclusion of the Jewish German population from business and society. In the following years, Jews fell victim of a systematic aryanization of their property and were deprived of all rights. By 1941 at the latest, the systematic and industrial extermination policy towards the Jewish population began.