The Nazi propaganda techniques of the 1930s were successfully used to create enormous public support for Hitler. The worldwide depression of the early 1930s led to massive social and financial problems in Germany.  1932 was when Germany was in economic crisis, with sky-high inflation and unemployment.  

When Hitler came to power, he used every means to destroy opposition. This includes the imposition of state censorship of newspapers, books, and radios. In support of this, students and members of the Nazi party thew banned literature into a bonfire in Berlin in May 1933. 

The deliberate burning of the Reichstag building in Berlin on February 27, 1933, was an excuse for Adolf Hitler to bring emergency powers and call for new elections into play.  During this time, Hitler’s Nazi Party was having a rally at Nuremburg in 1933. 

In June 1934, Hitler had many of his rivals killed.  His policies were popular because they promised to make Germany powerful.  In 1935, the Nuremburg Laws took away their citizenship and banned them from marrying non-Jews.  Other laws stopped Jews from being able to work and allowed their property to be taken.  Some people hid Jews to save them, but most were found and the people hiding them were killed or imprisoned. 

The Germans raided the homes of Yom Kippur and with their prayer shawls still on, they forced the men to dig ditches to make latrines.  Nazis forbade Jews from being educated, using public transportation, or even the telephone.  One of the people they forced to work on the ditch was an old Jewish teacher.  The SS pushed pork into his mouth.  The teacher spit it out.  They kept pushing it in, and he kept spitting it out and fighting them.  Another SS man took pictures of how they forced a Jew to eat pork on Yom Kippur.  Finally the Germans lost patience and shot him and then put the pork sausage in his mouth.  He died there.  

Inge Auerbacher lived in Jebenhausen, Germany.  She was just six years old in 1941.  She remembers:  “I was so little, and the star seemed so big.  I didn’t feel shame, but I was scared when I wore it.  We were branded.  It was like we wore a large yellow neon sign pointing to us as Jews”.   

Beginning in September 1941, the Jews were forced to wear a yellow Star of David with the word Jude printed in the center to tell what race they were and then forced to live in ghettos.  The Jews had to sew the identification star on their clothes.  Jews were not able to own a radio under the penalty of death.  They had to stand in line to turn in their radios at a German depot.  Thirty thousand Jews were killed due to not wearing their badges.   

The badges were first introduced in Poland in November 1939.  Jews who failed to wear them risked death by shooting.  The badges were worn on their backs and on their fronts.  France and Belgium stated that the yellow badges were “Another step on the road to the final solution”.  This policy was a part of what the Germans called the “Special Treatment”.  Under this policy the Jews could endure:


1. Propaganda campaign labeling them as the embodiment of evil and misfortune of the Germans community.

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 involvement with the rest of society.  


These are the badges they used in different countries:


02_francebadge_Kerwin.gif (23391 bytes)

France – Yellow Star of David outlined in black.  The French word for “Jew” is written in Hebraic style.  
Belgium – Yellow Star of David outlined in black.  The Hebraic letter is an abbreviation of the word “Jew”.  

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02_hollandbadge_kerwin.gif (17250 bytes)

Holland – Yellow Star of David outlined in black.  The Dutch word for “Jew” is written in Hebraic stylee. 
Germany, Alaska, Bohemia, Moreover – Yellow Star of David outlined in black.  The German word for “Jew” is written in Hebraic style.  

02_Moravia_kerwin.gif (28063 bytes)

02_slovakia_kerwin.gif (16399 bytes)

Part of Slovakia – Gold Star of David outlined in blue.
Part of Slovakia – Gold Star of David outlined in blue with an abbreviation of the Slovak word for “Jew”. 

02_poslovakia_kerwin.gif (21231 bytes)

02_Latvia_kerwin.gif (9806 bytes)

Parts of Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Greece, Lithuania & Latvia – Yellow Star of David.  
Parts of Greece, Serbia, Belgrade & Sofia – Yellow armband.  

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Parts of Bulgaria – Gold Star of David outlined in black with black and yellow buttons.  
Romania – Yellow Star of David on a black background  

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The way the guards told what type of prisoner a person was is by the triangular patches.  They were color coordinated and called badges too!

  •   Red without a line political                          

  • Green without a line – professional criminal

  • Blue without line – immigrant

  • Purple without line – Jehovah’s Witnesses

  • Pink without line – homosexual

  • Black without line – Germans shy of work

  • Brown without line – Nationalities shy of work

  • Red with line – prisoner in punishment

  • Blue with line – Jew

  • Purple with line – Jews who have violated laws by having sexual relations with Aryans or persons with blonde hair and blue eyes

  • Pink, black or brown with line – examples of marking patterns  


Prisoners in concentration camps such as Dachau were forced to stand without moving for endless hours as a punishment.  The prisoners were liberated or freed when the Germans were over thrown by the war.  



Rebecca Kerwin

Rossville Jr. High-7th Grade

2002 Holocaust Project