Stereotyping of Jews Essay

1277 Words6 Pages
In life, there is a common ground on which most every person can relate. At one time or another, we have all been promoters of or victims of the unremitting nature of stereotypes. According to the Webster’s dictionary, a stereotype is defined as “a simplified and standardized conception or image invested with special meaning and held in common by members of a group.” Most stereotypes take on a negative form and are based on characteristics such as age, gender, race, status, and personal beliefs. Generally speaking, the greatest problem that arises with stereotypes is that they judge group of people by the characteristics and actions of their ancestors, rather than on an individual basis. More often than not, these assumptions will…show more content…
Though not all Jews fit the descriptions mentioned above, these were the characteristics used to discriminate the Jews in the past. When looking at European history, it is easy to identify where the stereotypes against the Jews first originated. In Medieval Europe, for instance, Jews were limited to the types of occupations they could hold. They were banned from farming and entering guilds, so many of them became merchants and money-lenders (Singer). Since both these occupations dealt with the exchange money, dealing loans, setting prices, and charging interest, people began to stereotype the Jews as scheming merchants who demanded money from their customers, but refuse to give back the money they owed to others. Since then, the Jews have been popularly characterized as “cheap” individuals. Never before in history, however, has stereotyping against the Jews reached such a climatic level than in Third Reich during World War II. As the German economy was suffering from the affects of the war, many Germans blamed the Jews for the country’s decline since the Jews held positions in finance, commerce, and the press. When Germany’s most influential leader, Adolf Hitler, came to power in the year 1934, he confirmed that the Jews were the cause of the depression within the country, proclaiming that the Jews were greedy, evil, cowardly, and corrupting
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