<h2>Origin and Meaning of the Term</h2>
<p>The word <em>antisemitism </em>means prejudice against or hatred of Jews. The <a href="/narrative/72/en">Holocaust</a>, the state-sponsored persecution and murder of European Jews by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945, is history’s most extreme example of antisemitism.</p>
<p>In 1879, German journalist Wilhelm Marr originated the term <em>antisemitism</em>, denoting the hatred of Jews, and also hatred of various liberal, cosmopolitan, and international political trends of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries often associated with Jews. The trends under attack included equal civil rights, constitutional democracy, free trade, socialism, finance capitalism, and pacifism.</p>
<h2>Antisemitism in History</h2>
<p>The specific hatred of Jews, however, preceded the modern era and the coining of the term <em>antisemitism</em>. Among the most common manifestations of antisemitism throughout history were <a href="/narrative/3487/en">pogroms</a>, violent riots launched against Jews and frequently encouraged by government authorities. Pogroms were often incited by <a href="/narrative/35418/en">blood libels</a>—false rumors that Jews used the blood of Christian children for ritual purposes.</p>
<p>In the modern era, antisemites added a political dimension to their ideology of hatred. In the last third of the nineteenth century, antisemitic political parties were formed in Germany, France, and Austria. Publications such as the <a href="/narrative/9302/en"><em>Protocols of the Elders of Zion</em></a> generated or provided support for fraudulent theories of an international Jewish conspiracy. A potent component of political antisemitism was nationalism, whose adherents often falsely denounced Jews as disloyal citizens.</p>
<p>The nineteenth century xenophobic "<em>voelkisch </em>movement" (folk or people’s movement)—made up of German philosophers, scholars, and artists who viewed the Jewish spirit as alien to Germandom—shaped a notion of the Jew as "non-German." Theorists of racial anthropology provided pseudoscientific backing for this idea. The Nazi Party, founded in 1919 and led by <a href="/narrative/43/en">Adolf Hitler</a>, gave political expression to theories of racism. In part, the Nazi Party gained popularity by disseminating anti-Jewish <a href="/narrative/81/en">propaganda</a>. Millions bought Hitler's book <a href="/narrative/11663/en"><em>Mein Kampf</em></a> (My Struggle), which called for the removal of Jews from Germany.</p>
<h2>Nazi Antisemitism</h2>
<p>With the Nazi rise to power in 1933, the party ordered <a href="/narrative/102/en">anti-Jewish economic boycotts</a>, staged <a href="/narrative/7631/en">book burnings</a>, and enacted discriminatory <a href="/narrative/7180/en">anti-Jewish legislation</a>. In 1935, the <a href="/narrative/11475/en">Nuremberg Laws</a> racially defined Jews by “blood” and ordered the total separation of so-called "Aryans" and "non-Aryans,” thereby legalizing a racist hierarchy.</p>
<p><video class="video-embed embedded-narrative" src="/asset/5471" poster="https://encstage.ushmm.org/asset/5471/thumb" controls="controls" width="300" height="150" data-narrative-type-id="37" data-narrative-type-name="film" data-narrative-slug="nazi-anti-jewish-boycott" data-narrative-stem-id="20670" data-narrative-langcode="en"></video></p>
<p>On the night of November 9, 1938, the Nazis destroyed synagogues and the shop windows of Jewish-owned stores throughout Germany and Austria (an event now known as the <a href="/narrative/4063/en"><em>Kristallnacht</em></a> pogrom or Night of Broken Glass). This event marked a transition to an era of destruction, in which <a href="/narrative/9275/en">genocide</a> would become the singular focus of Nazi antisemitism.</p>
<p><video class="video-embed embedded-narrative" src="/asset/693" poster="https://encstage.ushmm.org/asset/693/thumb" controls="controls" width="300" height="150" data-narrative-type-id="37" data-narrative-type-name="film" data-narrative-slug="hitler-speaks-before-the-reichstag-german-parliament" data-narrative-stem-id="3288" data-narrative-langcode="en"></video></p>
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Sometimes called "the longest hatred," antisemitism has persisted in many forms for over two thousand years. The racial antisemitism of the National Socialists (Nazis) took hatred of Jews to a genocidal extreme, yet the Holocaust began with words and ideas: stereotypes, sinister cartoons, and the gradual spread of hate.

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