The Nazis came to power in Germany in January 1933, in a coalition government with conservatives. This event was immediately followed by violence against Germany’s Jews. When this produced international protests, especially in the United States, the Nazis organised a one-day boycott of Jewish shops in Germany on 1 April 1933. This photograph shows a poster urging Germans not to buy from Jewish-owned shops. The boycott was orchestrated by the Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, who expressed his thoughts in his diary.
1 April 1933
I drive along the Tauentzien Street in order to observe the situation. All Jews’ businesses are closed. SA men are posted outside their entrances. The public has everywhere proclaimed its solidarity. The discipline is exemplary. An imposing performance! It all takes place in complete quiet; in the Reich too…
There is indescribable excitement in the air. The press is already operating in total unanimity. The boycott is a great moral victory for Germany. We have shown the world abroad that we can call up the entire nation without thereby causing the least turbulence or excesses. The Fuhrer has once more struck the right note...
April 2nd 1933
The effects of the boycott are already clearly noticeable. The world is gradually coming to its senses. It will learn to understand that it is not wise to let itself be informed on Germany by the Jewish émigrés. We will have to carry out a campaign of mental conquest in the world as effective as that which we have carried out in Germany itself. In the end the world will learn to understand us.
In the days following the boycott, Jews who worked for the state were sacked. These events marked the start of relentless persecution.
Photo: A woman reads a boycott sign posted in the window of a Jewish-owned department store, April 1933; National Archives and Records Administration, College Park (public domain)
Diary entries: Yitzhak Arad et al. (eds.), Documents on the Holocaust: Selected Sources on the Destruction of the Jews of Germany and Austria, Poland, and the Soviet Union (Yad Vashem, 1981)