The Reich Citzenship Law of September 15, 1935

The Nuremberg Laws embedded many of the racially based ideological principles held by the Nazi party into written law. The German Reichstag passed this set of laws on September 15, 1935, initiating a period of legal discrimination against those the German government deemed racially inferior. The Reich Citizenship Law is one of the Nuremburg Laws.
German Reichstag
Grade Level

THE REICHSTAG HAS ADOPTED by unanimous vote the following law which is herewith promulgated.


  1. A subject of the state is one who belongs to the protective union of the German Reich, and who, therefore, has specific obligations to the Reich.
  2. The status of subject is to be acquired in accordance with the provisions of the Reich and the state Citizenship Law.


  1. A citizen of the Reich may be only one who is of German or kindred blood, and who, through his behavior, shows that he is both desirous and personally fit to serve loyally the German people and the Reich.
  2. The right to citizenship is obtained by the grant of Reich citizenship papers.
  3. Only the citizen of the Reich may enjoy full political rights in consonance with the provisions of the laws.


The Reich Minister of the Interior, in conjunction with the Deputy to the Fuehrer, will issue the required legal and administrative decrees for the implementation and amplification of this law.

Promulgated: September 16, 1935. In force: September 30, 1935.

First Supplementary Decree of November 14, 1935

On the basis of Article III of the Reich Citizenship Law of September 15, 1935, the following is hereby decreed:


  1. Until further provisions concerning citizenship papers, all subjects of German or kindred blood who possessed the right to vote in the Reichstag elections when the Citizenship Law came into effect, shall, for the present, possess the rights of Reich citizens. The same shall be true of those upon whom the Reich Minister of the Interior, in conjunction with the Deputy to the Fuehrer shall confer citizenship.
  2. The Reich Minister of the Interior, in conjunction with the Deputy to the Fuehrer, may revoke citizenship.


  1. The provisions of Article I shall apply also to subjects who are of mixed Jewish blood.
  2. An individual of mixed Jewish blood is one who is descended from one or two grandparents who, racially, were full Jews, insofar that he is not a Jew according to Section 2 of Article 5. Full-blooded Jewish grandparents are those who belonged to the Jewish religious community.


Only citizens of the Reich, as bearers of full political rights, can exercise the right of voting in political matters, and have the right to hold public office. The Reich Minister of the Interior, or any agency he empowers, can make exceptions during the transition period on the matter of holding public office. The measures do not apply to matters concerning religious organizations.


  1. A Jew cannot be a citizen of the Reich. He cannot exercise the right to vote; he cannot hold public office.
  2. Jewish officials will be retired as of December 31, 1935. In the event that such officials served at the front in the World War either for Germany or her allies, they shall receive as pension, until they reach the age limit, the full salary last received, on the basis of which their pension would have been computed. They shall not, however, be promoted according to their seniority in rank. When they reach the age limit, their pension will be computed again, according to the salary last received on which their pension was to be calculated.
  3. These provisions do not concern the affairs of religious organizations.
  4. The conditions regarding service of teachers in public Jewish schools remains unchanged until the promulgation of new laws on the Jewish school system.


  1. A Jew is an individual who is descended from at least three grandparents who were, racially, full Jews...
  2. A Jew is also an individual who is descended from two full-Jewish grandparents if:
  1. he was a member of the Jewish religious community when this law was issued, or joined the community later;
  2. when the law was issued, he was married to a person who was a Jew, or was subsequently married to a Jew;
  3. he is the issue from a marriage with a Jew, in the sense of Section I, which was contracted after the coming into effect of the Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor of September 15, 1935;
  4. he is the issue of an extramarital relationship with a Jew, in the sense of Section I, and was born out of wedlock after July 31, 1936.


  1. Insofar as there are, in the laws of the Reich or in the decrees of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party and its affiliates, certain requirements for the purity of German blood which extend beyond Article 5, the same remain untouched....


The Fuehrer and Chancellor of the Reich is empowered to release anyone from the provisions of these administrative decrees.

Planning a lesson or unit on the Holocaust? Try grouping this text with Paragraph 175, "Out of Auschwitz," "Hope, Despair and Memory," and "StoryCorps: Father, Daughter and the Holocaust."

This text is in the public domain.
Text Dependent Questions
  1. Question
    The German Reichstag was the German Parliament or lawmaking organization. Under the Nuremberg Laws of September 1935, Article 2 outlines three things. What are they?
    a. What constitutes someone as a citizen of the Reich.
    b. What form of identification is needed to prove citizenship.
    c. What rights are granted to citizens of the Reich.
  2. Question
    Under the Nuremberg Laws of September 1935, what does Article 3 do? How does this serve to connect the Nuremberg Laws on Citizenship and the First Supplementary Decree of November 1935?
    It gives power to the Reich Minister of the Interior to issue further decrees (or legal orders). The First Supplementary Decree is the first decree issued that follows up on the subject of Reich citizenship.
  3. Question
    What can you infer about the position of the Reich Minister of the Interior?
    The position is one of power. Many of the articles include mention of the things the Reich Minister of the Interior can do in support of the law or to get around the law if he so chooses.
  4. Question
    Compare the attention given to defining a Jewish person to that of a citizen of the Reich. What can you infer from this?
    Great pain is taken to outline the various ways a person could be considered a Jewish person. It covers ancestry, religious affiliation, marriage, having children, even extra marital affairs. On the other hand, the guidelines for citizens of the Reich are elatively straightforward. The ways in which these guidelines differ point to the great pains that were taken to identify and characterize Jewish people.
  5. Question
    Analyze the message of this article. Why would the article outline the power to release people from these administrative decrees? Why is this important to point out?
    Answers will vary.
Reveal Answers
A map of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi with overlaid images of key state symbols and of people in community

Learning for Justice in the South

When it comes to investing in racial justice in education, we believe that the South is the best place to start. If you’re an educator, parent or caregiver, or community member living and working in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana or Mississippi, we’ll mail you a free introductory package of our resources when you join our community and subscribe to our magazine.

Learn More