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- This article is about the Nazi concept. For a discussion of the spread of Indo-Aryan culture in South Asia, see Indo-Aryanization, Indo-Aryan migration or Out of India theory.
Aryanization (German: Arisierung) is a term coined during Nazism referring to the forced expulsion of so-called "non-Aryans", mainly Jews, from business life in Nazi Germany and the territories it controlled. It entailed the transfer of Jewish property into "Aryan" hands in order to "de-Jew the economy".
Exclusion of Jews
Through the Aryan paragraph and the Nuremberg Laws, Jews were early on largely excluded from public life. Reserved areas in the economy had been left to them, which Aryanization was to remove. By January 1, 1938, German Jews were prohibited from operating businesses and trades, and from offering goods and services. On 26 April 1938, Jews were ordered to report all wealth over 5,000 Reichsmarks, and their access to bank accounts was restricted. On 14 June 1938, the Interior Ministry ordered the registration of all Jewish businesses. The state set the sales value of Jewish firms at a fraction of their market worth, and used various pressure tactics to ensure sales only to desired persons. Among the largest "Aryanization profiteers" were the IG Farben Combine, the Flick family, and large banks. The proceeds from "Aryanized" firms had to be deposited in savings accounts, and were made available to their Jewish depositors only in limited amounts, so that in the final analysis Aryanization amounted to almost compensation-free confiscation.
In the Autumn of 1938, only 40,000 of the formerly 100,000 Jewish businesses were still in the hands of their original owners. Aryanisation was completed with the enactment of a regulation, the Verordnung zur Ausschaltung der Juden aus dem deutschen Wirtschaftsleben (Regulation for the elimination of Jews from German economic life) of November 12, 1938, through which the remaining businesses were transferred to non-Jewish owners and the proceeds taken by the state. Jewelry, stocks, real property and other valuables had to be sold. Either by direct force, by government interventions such as sudden tax claims, or by the weight of the circumstances, Jewish property changed hands mostly below fair market value. Jewish employees were fired, and self-employed people were prohibited from working in their respective professions.
After the "Kristallnacht" pogroms, the pressure of Aryanization was drastically increased. On 12 November 1938, Jews were forbidden to function as business managers, forcing Jewish owners to install "Aryan" surrogates. These people, who were often promoted by the party, first took over the office, and soon thereafter usually the whole business. "Compliant Aryans" (Gefälligkeitsarier) were threatened with punishment according to the Regulation against Complicity with the Camouflage of Jewish Firms (22 April 1938). Because the Jews were burdened with heavy payments as "atonement" for the damage done by the SA and antisemitic mobs during Kristallnacht, the selling off of Jewish property was only a question of time. On 3 December 1938, the value of Jewish landed property was frozen at the lowest level, and valuables and jewels were permitted to be sold only through state offices. The impoverishment of the Jewish population caused by Aryanization often stood in the way of its goal — of promoting emigration through persecution — because those affected lacked the means to emigrate. They became victims of the Final Solution. Aryanization combined the racial motives of National Socialism with traditional antisemitic resentments within the middle classes (Mittelstand) and the expansionist tendencies of big business. The fear of being too late to share in the booty produced a fateful coalition of greed, so that little opposition to Aryanization arose. After the war, the Federal Republic of Germany paid restitution for the material losses.
Many important businesses were sold and re-sold in the course of the process, some of which (such as the Hertie department store) played an important role during the post-war Wirtschaftswunder years in West Germany.
In a broader sense, the term Aryanisation is sometimes used to refer to eviction of Jewish scientists and people engaged in the cultural sector.
Aryanization of Slavs
Nazi ideology regarded Slavs as racially Aryan but believed they belonged to Jewish Bolshevism which made them a threat to the Aryan master race. The Nazis viewed them for this reason as inferior and less racially pure than Germanic people as this was in accordance to the policy of taking over Eastern Europe, the first ideology of this was Lebensraum which meant the expansion of Germans throughout all of Eastern Europe. The second ideology which began at the start of World War II was the Generalplan Ost, which was a secret plan that would take roughly between 25–30 years to allow for the German people (and other Germanic people) to settle in Eastern Europe whilst either enslaving, expelling or exterminating the Slavic population there.
Although according to Nazi doctrine the Nazis considered Slavs as Untermensch ("sub humans"), it was not consistent or accurate at all, many Nazis within the ranks had obvious Slavic ancestry (e.g. Erich Zelewski, Erich Kempka, Lothar von Rendulic, Odilo Globocnik) and many Slavs including ethnic Poles, Russians, Czechs, etc., were accepted as Aryans.