Passed by the Nazi regime in September 1935, the Nuremberg Laws stripped German Jews of German citizenship and prohibited Christian-Jewish marriages and relationships. Discrimination limiting Jews in their daily activities began well before 1935, however, and occurred at all levels of society.
Between 1933 and 1939, Germany saw the passage of hundreds of decrees that targeted Jews. Those measures became increasingly restrictive throughout the 1930s and included a national law against "overcrowding" in German universities that introduced quotas for Jewish students in 1933; in 1935, a law passed by the State of Thuringia mandating in 1934 that Jews could not have a role in legal proceedings; and a 1940 ordinance passed in Berlin that Jews could only shop for groceries between 4:00 and 5:00 pm. Between 1935 and 1936, many German cities and towns also banned Jews from public swimming pools.
In the featured photograph, a young girl stands outside the entrance to a swimming pool in Fürth, a Bavarian city known for its well-established Jewish community. At the upper left of the image, a sign reads, Juden ist der Zutritt verboten, or "Entrance is forbidden to Jews." Although that restriction could have been a local ordinance, the pool's owner may have decided independently to ban Jews. As was the case throughout Germany during the Nazi era, private organizations, associations, and enterprises excluded Jews independent of the law.
The photographer, Fritz Vitzethum, captured scenes from Fürth in the 1930s and submitted them to the local newspaper. Many of his photographs included signs banning Jews from public spaces. Why Vitzethum chose to photograph this particular scene is unclear, he captured a persistent feature of Nazi Germany: hostility toward Jews in nearly every corner of public life.