In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws established the legal basis for racial discrimination, with almost no opposition from the German people.
The image to the left shows the method for determining whether you were Jewish blood or German blood based on what your grandparents were.
Not only marriage, but sex between those labeled as Jewish and those labeled as Germans was forbidden. Also Jews were no longer permitted to display German colors (national flag) but were encouraged to display Jewish colors.
I came across these laws recently in researching the Nuremberg Trials, which by the way I recommend highly if ever you wonder about the limits of human nature. Here’s a link to the complete transcripts. It’s the darkest play you will ever read.
I bring up the Nuremberg Laws because of the question that has worried me for a long time: “Can the Holocaust happen again?”. Particularly, can I envision a reasonable downward path into a society that can breed the same mix of hatred, nationalism, and mass-conformity as was present in Nazi Germany. The Nuremberg Laws to me represent a critical step that I can envision many modern countries taking if the populous is deceived through a large propaganda campaign, most likely amidst a major war and/or an economic crisis. Or, for example, suppose that an organization like Al Qaeda detonates a nuclear weapon in a major American city, and declares that it did so in the name of Islam. Can a major horrific event erase the progress of the civil rights movement in the 20th century by forcing all Muslim citizens of the United States into concentration camps? It’s sick to think about, and surely seems impossible, but is it?
Human rights are violated world-wide on a mass scale, every day, still. We need to learn, ask questions, and help. A book I’m currently reading (Mountains Beyond Mountains) covers just one example of human suffering and an American that gives all his time to make the tiniest incremental improvements in their quality of life.