GHDI logo
German History in Documents and Images
return to system

Joseph Goebbels Calls for a Boycott of Jewish Businesses (April 1, 1933)
In the Nazi worldview, "international Jewry" was the most dangerous racial enemy of the German people. Jews were supposedly responsible for the biological degeneration of the nation and for all the country's crises and grievances. Before Hitler seized power, views informed by this sort of racist anti-Semitism, Social Darwinism, and paranoia were the exception rather than the rule among the general population. For this reason, NSDAP election campaigns and propaganda initiatives during the late 1920s and early 1930s focused mainly on Germany's economic and national problems and put the party’s hatred for Jews on the back burner. This changed after the Nazi takeover. The nationwide boycott of Jewish shops and businesses on April 1, 1933, was one of the earliest signs that state-directed anti-Semitism would be part of the new regime's official policy. On March 28, Hitler had told the NSDAP and the SA to prepare for this operation. His cabinet endorsed the measure the next day. Berlin was the main showplace for the Nazi boycott: SA men painted anti-Semitic slogans on building facades and planted themselves in front of Jewish shops, aiming to intimidate. Additionally, workers and members of the Hitler Youth staged mass demonstrations in the capital to protest the alleged smear campaign being carried out against the regime in the "international Jewish press." In his diary, Goebbels described the day as a great moral triumph for the German people in its efforts to resist Jewish exploitation and slander.