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The persecution of Jews during World War II was a horrific time in history. Jews were humiliated, harassed, and segregated during the Nazi period just for being Jewish. When Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933, the rise of the Nazi party came. Since Germany’s loss in World War I, Hitler blamed the Jews for all the social and political problems of Germany. He used the belief of Anti-Semitism, the belief that Jewish people were bad and had existed for many centuries in German society already. Hitler wanted to exterminate all the Jewish people in Europe, so the Nazi Party devised a master plan that would change history forever.
The Star of David is a universally recognized symbol of Jewish identity (Greene). As a six pointed star, the Star of David was thought to be a symbol of pride to wear, but the Germans were going to use the star for the wrong reasons. The wearing of the Yellow Star of David was first suggested by Josef Goebbels, a Nazi propaganda minister to be used as a “general distinguishing mark” for German Jews in May 1938 (ushm.com).
The use for Jewish people to wear the Star of David was reiterated several times, but it wasn’t until after the invasion of Poland that it was first decreed in the town of Wloclawek on October 29, 1939 that the Jewish Badge had to be worn. Then, on November 23, 1939, Governor Hans Frank ordered all Jews over the age of 10 wear the Star of David. It was first a white armband affixed with a blue 6 sided star worn over the right upper sleeve (ushm.com). Promptly after the German invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, Yellow Star of David, the badge that is more known today, was launched.
On September 1, 1941 Reinhard Heydrich decreed that all Jews in the Reich six years of age or older were to wear a badge which consisted of a yellow Star of David on a black field to be worn on the chest, with the word “Jew” inscribed inside the star in German or in the local language (ushm.com). This applied to all of the Jewish People in Germany and spread to Germany’s annexed territories. Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Croatia, Slovak-Republic, Bulgaria, and Romania had all introduced the Yellow Star of David, but the type varied by country. Even secularized Jewish people, people who don’t practice the Jewish religion, couldn’t escape being Jewish because it was in their blood.
There were exceptions for foreign Jewish people, especially from neutral countries and Jewish people of mixed marriages. The Yellow Star of David was from then on used as a “labeling” device as a prelude for deporting Jewish people to killing center and ghettos from 1939-1945. This was effective for the Nazis to persecute, control their movements, and destroy the entire Jewish population in Europe (ushm.com). There were big penalties for not wearing the badge, such as being imprisoned or even death. In a Nazi propaganda poster, the picture of the Yellow Star of David was pictured and said “He who wears this symbol is an enemy of our people” (Darman, 6). When the Jewish people were deported to concentration camps, a complex system for the Jewish was made. It consisted of 2 inverted triangles whose color determined the category of the prisoner and was sewn onto camp clothing. A red star represented a political prisoner, a green star represented a criminal, and a black star represented asocials. A brown star represented the Sinti-Roma people and a pink star represented homosexuals.
The colors of the star could also be combined, like a Jewish person taken for political reasons would have a red triangle over a yellow triangle. (ushm.com). The Yellow Star of David is more than just a symbol for the Jewish people. It represents the strength of the Jewish people, the perseverance, and what they had to go through during the Holocaust period. The time period where Jews were forced to wear the Yellow Star of David will always be remembered.
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