Historical background

The murder of the Jews in Germany was preceded by a series of progressively more violent stages. Exclusion, deprivation of rights, theft of property, expulsion and murder were grounded in the anti-Semitism dominant in Germany.

After 1933, the Nazi state deprived the German Jews of their rights and their property step by step - from ever new levies and taxes up to and including the seizure of all accounts and the confiscation of all property. These acts contributed to the restoration of the public treasury. Many people profited directly, and almost everyone profited at least indirectly. Jews were forced to sell their companies to so-called Aryans drastically below market value; the property of the Jewish communities with their social services were used for the 'general good'; the valuables of the Jewish expellees and deportees were commercially marketed, their furniture sold at public auction.

All across Europe, the Nazi state used the sale of Jewish property and the seizure of accounts to finance the war effort. In the occupied countries, for example, Jewish property and its sale contributed to financing the costs of the occupation.

Today, the majority non-Jewish Germans no longer remember how the German public, in general, profited financially from the genocide of the European Jews.