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Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Yellow Star of David

The oldest reference to using mandatory articles of Yellow Star on clothing to identify and distinguish Jews from the rest of society was in 807 CE. In this year, Abbassid caliph Haroun al-Raschid ordered all Jews to wear a yellow belt and a tall, cone-like hat.

The first reference to a Jewish badge during the Nazi era was made by the German Zionist leader, Robert Weltsch. During the Nazi declared boycott upon Jewish stores on April 1, 1933, yellow Stars of David were painted on windows. In reaction to this, Weltsch wrote an article entitled "Tragt ihn mit Stolz, den gelben Fleck" ("Wear the Yellow Badge with Pride") which was published on April 4, 1933. At this time, Jewish badges had yet even to be discussed among the top Nazis.

Reinhard Heydrich recommended that the Jews be forced to wear badges following the Kristallnacht pogrom in November 1938. The German government first introduced mandatory badges in Poland in November 1939. Jews who failed to wear them risked death. On July 26, 1941, the Judenrat (Jewish Community Council) of Bialystok announced that "the authorities have warned that severe punishment — up to, and including death by shooting — is in store for Jews who do not wear the yellow badge on back and front."

The German government's policy of forcing Jews to wear badges, and then confining all who wore them to ghettos, was a tactic aimed at isolating the Jews from the rest of the population. It enabled the German government to identify, concentrate, deprive, starve, and ultimately murder the Jews of Europe under its control. In 1942, Helmut Knochen, the German government's chief of the Security Service and the Security Police for occupied France and Belgium, stated that the yellow badge was "another step on the road to the Final Solution."

This policy was a part of what the Germans euphemistically called the "Special Treatment" of the Jews. Under this "Special Treatment," the Jews also endured:

1) A consistent propaganda campaign labeling them as the embodiment of evil and the misfortune of German society.

2) The revoking of all their rights of citizenship.

3) The confiscation of their property and businesses.

4) Their removal from jobs, schools, professions, and all social and professional intercourse with the rest of society.

These measures culminated in the Final Solution:
1) Mass murder in various localities under German control.

2) Deportation of all remaining Jews to concentration and death camps.

3) Death in gas chambers built especially for the Jews.



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