From the beginning Hitler's regime targeted German Jews with anti-Semitic propaganda claiming they were responsible for the country's defeat in WWI and subsequent economic crisis. A series of laws were passed restricting Jewish rights to full employment, education and citizenship. The turning point was Kristallnacht, often cited as the beginning of the Holocaust, when persecution escalated from social, economic and political to state sponsored violence, deportation and mass murder.
A German Jewish citizen
"Following the invasion of Poland Jews were required to wear an identifying mark on their clothing - a yellow star or a white armband with the blue star of David. The degrading yellow badge soon became widespread across German occupied territories."
"For Jews Only"
"Other petty but sadistic humiliations were commonplace. Segregation in public spaces, being paraded wearing of humiliating slogans and scrubbing pavements were all tactics designed to dehumanise and degrade Jews and pave the way for public acceptance of even worse treatment to come."
"i am a Jew but I will never again complain about the Nazis"
The woman's sign reads 'I am fit for the greatest swine and only get involved with Jews'. The man's 'As a Jew, I only take German girls to my room"
"Comrades! Defend Yourselves! Don't buy from Jews!"
"Jewish shops and offices were targeted by graffiti, pickets and in some cases businesses were confiscated altogether.
Jewish texts and other "non-Aryan" books were destroyed in mass book burnings. "
Graffiti identifying Jewish premises, dissuaded shoppers from using them
so called 'non-Aryan' publications were publicly burned
Synagogues were targeted and destroyed
"On Kristallnacht itself over 7500 Jewish stores and businesses and 300 synagogues across Germany and Austria were damaged or destroyed completely. 30,000 Jews were sent to concentration camps but by their release 3 months later over 2,000 had already died.
The Holocaust had begun..."
The morning after Kristallnacht in Berlin
Curator—Sarah McDonald, Getty Images