This Day in Jewish History / August 8

On this day in 1941, Hungary defined who qualified as a Jew on racial terms.

On this day in 1941, Hungary’s "Third Jewish Law" was enacted, defining who was a Jew on racial terms, and prohibiting intermarriage and sexual intercourse between Jews and non-Jews. (The first two Jewish Laws reversed an 1867 law that had granted equal citizenship to Jews, and severely restricted Jews’ economic freedom and ability to enter different professions.) Some 100,000 Hungarian Jews who had previously converted to Christianity found themselves redefined as Jews. Nonetheless, most of the country’s more than 800,000 Jews were spared deportation until 1944, when the Germans occupied the country. Some 255,000 Hungarian Jews survived the Holocaust.