Library's Director on BBC's Antiques Roadshow
This Sunday, BBC One will broadcast a special edition of Antiques Roadshow, focusing on a group of Holocaust survivors and showing objects that help tell their stories. Among the objects featured in this episode are a pair of striped trousers worn in Auschwitz and a gold coin used by a family as vital currency when fleeing over the Pyrenees.
As well as these personal stories, The Wiener Library's Director Ben Barkow will talk on the programme about one of the most unusual items in our collection: a children's board game from 1938 called Juden Raus (English: Jews Out). A short clip presenting the game is already available on the BBC website.
Juden Raus was developed by the company Günther and Co in Dresden between 1936 and 1938. Using crude antisemitic stereotypes and imagery, the game was very much in keeping with the Nazi ideology at the time. The game’s themes reflect racial hatred, forced deportations, and confiscation of Jewish property.
The board shows a walled town, through which players move to round up caricatured ‘Jews’ and deposit them outside the city at collection points. A slogan on the board placed beside an image of a departing group reads “Auf nach Palästina!” (“Off to Palestine!”) The winner is the first to remove six ‘Jews’, represented on the board by small yellow paper cones illustrated with grimacing cartoonish portraits. Described in promotional material as an “up-to-date and outstandingly jolly party game for grown-ups and children,” this game is a reflection of the extreme anti-Jewish politics of the Nazi state.
The game appears not to have been endorsed by the Nazis officially, however, as it was seen to trivialise Nazi policies, creating an easy target for criticism of the Third Reich in international press. A scathing review of the game in the SS publication ‘Das Schwarze Korps’ in December 1938 reads “the political slogan ‘Jews Out’ is exploited here as a bestseller for all toy shops and trivialised to an amusing pastime for little children…We are not slaving away towards the solution of the Jewish question to relieve able toymakers of their worries about a big seller or to help children with an amusing little game.”
While Juden Raus is not an ‘official’ Nazi board game inasmuch as it was criticised by the SS, and contained no Nazi insignia, the very fact of its existence reveals the extent to which antisemitism had permeated society, while the casual, cheery tone used in the text accompanying the game reveals how socially acceptable such bigotry was at the time.
The game also features in our online exhibition A is for Adolf: Teaching German Children Nazi Values, showcasing the Library’s wide-ranging collection ofNazi propaganda produced for children. The exhibition, was displayed at UNESCO Paris in January 2016.
The full episode of Antiques Roadshow will be broadcast on BBC One on Sunday 15 January at 7.30pm.
Added: Wednesday 11th January, 2017