The Nazi Boycott of Jewish Businesses of April 1, 1933

Prelude to Annihilation


  • Brandon Allen Stewart


In 1933, the Nazi regime began persecution of domestic enemies with rising antisemitic violence. International media and Jewish organizations condemned the attacks and summoned an international boycott of German goods. In response, the Nazi regime initiated a nation-wide boycott of Jewish businesses. This boycott became the first state-sponsored attack on Jews within Germany and was the first step of state-sponsored persecution that ultimately led to the Holocaust. The Nazi boycott advanced antisemitic policies and escalated international tensions against Germany. The outcome did more harm than good, marginalizing support for Nazi antisemitism domestically and bringing diplomatic consequences from the West. Yet despite heightened antisemitism, the Jews of Germany and American news media underestimated Nazi antisemitic violence as a mere phase in Germany’s unstable political climate. This underestimation likely influenced the American public concerning the severity of Nazi intentions and raised questions about  Franklin D. Roosevelt’s foreign policy.