Station: [260] Jewish Department Stores Under Nazi Dictatorship

„Don’t buy from Jews,“ was a slogan put about immediately after the Nazis came to power in January 1933.  On as early as 1 April in the same year a large-scale national boycott of Jewish businesses, doctors and lawyers took place. In the department stores the boycotts went hand in hand with house searches, plundering and devastation. 

The destruction of large department stores was firmly anchored in the Nazi party manifesto. Jewish business people were forced to sell or sign over their businesses to non-Jewish employees.  Some department stores such as Tietz in Chemnitz, were not „Aryanized,“ first, but liquidated straightaway.

Sales slumps, difficulties with the acquisition of goods, boycotts and harassment also drove the Schocken Company to the edge of its existence. In 1938 Salman Schocken was forced to sell his company for much less than it was worth. By this point in time all Jewish members of staff had already left the company.

The “repatriated,” and “aryanized,” department store company was renamed the “Merkur, public limited company.”  The structure of the company however remained unchanged because the members of the management were not Nazi officials, but confidants that remained in contact with Schocken for as long as possible.  They continued with the successful „Schocken-System.“  Even the 10th anniversary Commemoration of Service Books remained until 1941.

During the last years of the war rooms in the Chemnitz and Freiberg Schocken department stores were alienated and under the alias of „Spinnstoffsammlung“ or  “textile fabric collection,” were used for the examination of confiscated clothing from Poland for items of value. These then served to further finance the war.