Jewish Badges during the Holocaust
The Holocaust: Table of Contents | "Wear it With Pride" | Photographs
In November 1938, following the Kristallnacht pogrom, Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich recommended that the Jews be forced to wear identification badges. Following Heydrich's recommendation, 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. 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:
These measures eventually culminated in the Nazi Final Solution:
Source: Holocaust Memorial Center
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