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Economic Entjudung in Nazi Europe 
ernization process of the second half of the nineteenth century, now 
molded into an apocalyptic Weltanschauung. This means that economic 
persecution of the Jews differed in its nature (though not necessarily in 
some of its forms) from economic persecution of other groups and indi- 
viduals. On the other hand, economic persecution of the Jews by other 
antisemitic regimes in Europe drew from the same centuries-old Euro- 
pean antisemitic tradition. 
When Hitler ascended to power in 1933, he set a vision of Entfernung 
der Juden iiberbaupt (total removal of the Jews), as he had envisioned in 
that same first political writing mentioned above. Yet he had no clear 
plan how to achieve that goal. This situation resulted in the popping-up 
of a variety of interpretations of total removal by different leading per- 
sonalities and bureaucrats in the regime; the economic interpretation was 
one of them, a venue of state institutionalization of a deeply entrenched 
ingredient of traditional and modern antisemitism. 
And there was more. Economic policies in the Third Reich were 
built-up and crystallized in the course of time, as executional tools were 
created to implement these goals — which was the case with many other 
goals of Nazi policy too. As such, the first years of the Third Reich — 
until 1938 — were of decisive importance, because at that time concepts 
and bureaucratic procedures were formed regarding governmental and 
private involvement, Aryanization and bank transfer modes of action — 
which would all be used and even expanded later on, with the occupa- 
tion of a growing number of countries. That means that the first five 
years of the regime served as an experimenting field and training school 
for crystallizing ways of economic persecution in a state-ordained mode. 
Similarly, popular attitudes and modes of behavior — mainly adaptation 
to the situation and benefitting from it — took shape. In this context, it is 
important to state that in those first years Hitler did not impose one 
clear-cut goal on antisemitic policies: he allowed for trial-and-error 
processes carried out by a variety of — sometimes competing, sometimes 
complementing — forces in the bureaucracy, the party and other institu- 
tions to take place. 
Looking upon the palette of anti-Jewish policies in the first years 
of the Nazi regime, and taking into account other forms of Judenverfol- 
gung, it seems that the economic approach is of the utmost importance, 
perhaps even the leading policy. The person leading that economic 


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