Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade May 2001

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Discrimination against the Jewish people has existed in Europe for many hundreds of years. In medieval European cities, Jews were not allowed to work or live like any of the other city dwellers. They were forced to do jobs that no one else wanted or was allowed to do. Many became moneylenders and as a result, were hated even more. They were made to live in separate areas known as ghettos and were hardly ever welcomed into society. This treatment and living condition remained through to the 20th century with very little changes. In Germany there is a long history of discrimination against the Jews where even Martin Luther, the religious reformer in the Sixteenth Century, blamed them for all sorts of problems. After the defeat of Germany in World War I, the people were in shock. They needed someone to blame for this unexpected defeat. With the rise of Hitler and his Nazi government hate propaganda was directed against the Jewish people. They were blamed for all German problems at the time past and present.

Through Hitler's experiences of World War I and Germany's crushing defeat, he was intent on restoring Germany to its former glory, i.e. the economy, living conditions, the infrastructure and the country's international role. In his plan to achieve this restoration of glory, he believed that any power that the Jewish people had must be eliminated. Step by step the Jewish people under his authority lost all rights that they may have gained slowly over the centuries of some assimilation. Their citizenship was taken away; they were not allowed to work at all; they were not allowed to have any contact with non Jewish people and all of their property was confiscated. They were forced to emigrate to neighbouring countries and eventually other continents. In Britain and North America only small numbers of Jewish immigrants were permitted entry as they were also discriminated against there. Many had no choice but to stay where they were. Hitler's original solution to the "Jewish problem" was emigration and more than half the Jewish population was forced to emigrate or flee.