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80 years ago, the Nazis ordered Jews to wear a yellow star. Soon after, there were concentration camps

Star of David as a stigma – eighty years ago, Jews in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia had to put a yellow star on their clothes. The decree was signed on September 1, 1941 by the then head of the Imperial Security Office Reinhard Heydrich, who less than a month later also became the deputy imperial protector. The regulation came into force 18 days later.

“The yellow star on his chest was Cain’s sign. People have often turned away from us. Our old acquaintances suddenly didn’t want to know us. Parents forbade their children to associate with me, ”recalls Jan Spira, who was born into a mixed family, for the Memory of the Nation. The fact that his mother was not a Jew later saved him from deportation to a concentration camp. But he did not avoid wearing the yellow star. In the autumn of 1941, the Czech BBC broadcast also informed about the new anti-Jewish measure.

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The Special Authority issues Jews a replacement Star of David for coupons for which the rest of the population can receive clothing and textiles, which must be collected and worn.

“Wearing Jewish stars means a major turning point in the life of every Jew and Jew. This can also be seen in the memories of the survivors, who often put the wearing of the star in much earlier years, because it seems to them that it was so humiliating that they have this experience as very important for the war, “explains Kateřina Čapková, a historian at the Institute of Contemporary History. .

The ground for the exclusion of Jews from society and their subsequent persecution was prepared as early as 1935 by the Nuremberg Laws, which identified Jews as the main enemy of Nazi Germany. “Such the first explicit manifestation of this segregationist policy was that in August 1938, all Jews in the German Empire were forced to take a second name. Women – Sarah and men – Israel, so that with every legitimacy, every request for anything, it turns out that they are Jews, “he adds.

At first glance, the visible Star of David sewn on clothes did not only mean stigma for the Jews, the sign also prevented them from accessing public places.

To the cinema without a star

“I remember, for example, that I couldn’t go to the cinema, to the cinema, which I was sorry about. I cried a lot. At that time, a film about Božena Němcová was a big hit, and I really wanted to see it. Mom finally agreed, and I was able to put down the star for the night and go to the movies without her. My mother was certainly very scared, “Anita Frank tells her experiences of the dark ages for the Memory of the Nation.

A yellow, six-pointed palm the size of a palm, with black outlines and a black inscription, Jude was to further isolate Jewish children, women, and men from others. “You got used to the various restrictions and dealt with it. Everyone said to themselves: This is temporary and yet we will not make theater for those Germans, we will not make it a tragedy, “Pavel Fried recalled. In 1941 he was 11 years old.

“Despite all the bans and all the threats, the German invaders have failed and will not succeed in tricking the Czechoslovak people into the spirit of real democracy, which, through Masaryk’s mouth, has condemned anti-Semitism forever as barbaric,” the BBC reported in a Czech broadcast.