The massive persecution of political opponents, especially the Jews, began immediately after Hitler's assumption of power. On 1 April 1933 the population was called upon to boycott Jewish businesses. Laws were decreed a few days later that forbade Jews from practicing certain professions (officials, physicians, lawyers, journalists, chemists, musicians). Businessmen were forced to give up their enterprises because they lost their customers. In 1935 they were further discriminated through the «Nuremberg Race Laws.» In the pogrom of November 1938 («Reichskristallnacht»- Night of Broken Glass), almost 200 synagogues were set on fire or devastated and 7500 Jewish businesses destroyed.
Communists and social democrats were the principal political opponents, but authors, journalists and artists who were critical of the regime were also persecuted. So-called «protective custody» subjected them to the state's arbitrariness; they were tortured and killed. The first concentration camp was set up in 1933 in Dachau for political prisoners; just a few months later, Germany was overlain with a dense network of such camps.