Books: Nuremberg in America

A Yale professor says Nazis found inspiration for their laws in US statutes on race

By GLENN C. ALTSCHULER
April 13, 2017 11:22
4 minute read.
Cuba

Nazi paramilitary officers stand outside a Berlin store in 1933 posting signs reading ‘Germans! Defend yourselves! Do not buy from Jews!’. (photo credit: GERMAN FEDERAL ARCHIVES)

 
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Introduced by the Reichstag in September 1935, the Nuremberg Laws codified the racist policies of the Nazis. The laws declared that the swastika was the national symbol of Germany, consigned German Jews to second- class citizenship, and criminalized marriage and sexual relations between Jews and Aryans.

In Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law, James Whitman, a professor at Yale Law School, makes a stunning and unsettling claim about the Nuremberg Laws. The Nazis who promulgated these laws, he maintains, “found precedents and parallels and inspirations” in the immigration and miscegenation legislation of the United States.

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