Fact Check: Did Hitler Send German Lawyers To U.S. To Study Jim Crow And Use As A Template For Jews?

Fact Check: Did Hitler Send German Lawyers To U.S. To Study Jim Crow And Use As A Template For Jews?

Jim Crow

Fact Check: Did Hitler Send German Lawyers To U.S. To Study Jim Crow And Use As A Template For Jew? Photo: In this Dec. 5, 1931 file photo, Adolf Hitler, leader of the National Socialists, is saluted as he leaves the party's Munich headquarters. (AP Photo, File)/ In this April 14, 1964 black-and-white file photo, a man holds a Confederate flag at right, as demonstrators, including one carrying a sign saying: "More than 300,000 Negroes are Denied Vote in Ala", demonstrate in front of an Indianapolis hotel where then-Alabama Governor George Wallace was staying. (AP Photo/Bob Daugherty, File)

Discrimination against Black people during the Jim Crow era seems to have been the inspiration for Nazi Germany’s treatment of the Jews.

To understand how to craft legal discrimination, the Third Reich studied racist U.S. laws and sent German lawyers to the U.S. to learn first-hand how Jim Crow worked.

In 1935, Nazi Germany passed two discriminatory pieces of legislation: the Reich Citizenship Law and the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor, The Atlantic reported. The joint legislation was known as the Nuremberg Laws and laid the legal groundwork for the persecution of Jewish people during the Holocaust and World War II.

When looking to create the Nuremberg Laws, Adolf Hitler turned to the U.S. for a blueprint, according to James Q. Whitman, author of “Hitler’s American Model.”

“America in the early 20th century was the leading racist jurisdiction in the world,” said Whitman, who is a Ford Foundation Professor of Comparative and Foreign Law at Yale University. “Nazi lawyers, as a result, were interested in, looked very closely at, [and] were ultimately influenced by American race law.”

Jim Crow-era laws that discriminated against Black Americans and kept them legally segregated from white Americans were what Nazi lawyers used as a guide. Germany also studied how America conquered Native Americans.

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There’s proof that Jim Crow inspired Hitler’s regime in the writings of the German lawyer Heinrich Krieger, considered “the single most important figure in the Nazi assimilation of American race law,” The Atlantic reported. Krieger spent the 1933–34 academic year in Fayetteville, AR, as an exchange student at the University of Arkansas School of Law. There, he was able to study American law. His writings about the U.S. began with articles in 1934. Some of them were about American Indians while others looked at U.S. race legislation. These articles were “a precursor to his landmark 1936 book, “Das Rassenrecht in den Vereingten Staaten”(“Race Law in the United States”), according to The Atlantic.

Hitler too wrote of U.S. racism with praise. In “Mein Kampf,” Hitler called America the “one state” making progress toward the creation of the kind of order he wanted for Germany. The “National Socialist Handbook on Law and Legislation,” a 1935 guide for Nazis, declared that the U.S. had achieved the “fundamental recognition” of the need for a race state, Time reported.