What Did the Nuremberg Laws Do?

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum explains that the Nuremberg Laws restricted the rights of German Jews. These laws forbade Jews from displaying the German flag or its colors, from employing female Aryans below age 45 as domestic workers, and from having sexual relations with or marrying Aryans of either gender. Couples who travelled outside of Germany to circumvent the marriage ban had their marriages nullified upon their return.

The Nuremberg Laws were not Germany's first anti-Semitic laws. However, they paved the way for stricter legislation by defining the factors that determined who was racially Aryan and who was not. Using criteria described in the Nuremberg Laws and refined in subsequent decrees, the Third Reich bestowed citizenship only upon Aryans without any Jewish ancestors. The laws also placed severe restrictions on the rights of racial "half-bloods," those with some Jewish ancestry.

The Nuremberg Laws offer modern historians valuable information regarding German state-sponsored racism. The Third Reich's interest in Jews encompassed all ethnic Jews, regardless of their religious devotion or affiliation. Consequently, Jews who converted to Christianity were still Jewish in the government's eyes. Like their Jewish peers, these "half-bloods" were barred from the medical and legal professions. They were not permitted in Aryan hospitals and not allowed to work as journalists. Children were also severely affected by the Nuremberg Laws and were forcibly removed from public schools when they turned 14.