Exhibit explores how Hitler taught a nation to hate
October 16th, 2010
03:55 PM ET

Exhibit explores how Hitler taught a nation to hate

Playing cards with images of Hitler. Toy fuhrers. And a lamp and church tapestry with swastikas emblazoned across the front.

No, it's not a neo-Nazi convention. Rather, it is a groundbreaking exhibit that opened Friday in the German capital and is intended to show Adolf Hitler's relationship with the German people.

Germany has produced exhibits on the Holocaust and Nazism before but never since World War II has one focused solely on the man who taught an entire nation to hate.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Europe • Germany • Holocaust • Judaism

soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Cameron

    antisemitism had been well ingrained throughout Europe by Christians for centuries so it was well a part of the culture by the time Hitler arose. When you start to read about the horrors that the RCC,etc inflicted on Jews it's a bit mind boggling.

    March 3, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  2. Renato

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    March 1, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  3. A

    Forgot to mention, just read Angela Merckel's speach at the party rally – multiculturalism has failed completely, she says. This, playing along, galvinizing her people just like any old, cheap populist.

    October 23, 2010 at 12:03 am |
  4. A

    Hitler only exacerbated what was already in the German psyche and thrived on the fragile ego of a nation that had lost the WWI – along with colonies in Africa and land in Europe. He did not teach Germans how to hate. It is still there, just below the surface.

    October 23, 2010 at 12:00 am |
  5. Peter Melzer

    I met several eyewitnesses who saw Hitler offstage. The enlightened perceived him as a dark little figure making his way through the crowd in great hurry, flashing his own stunted version of German greetings left and right. No doubt, der Fuehrer was going to waste no time, sorting out the Volk’s destiny.

    What we must comprehend is the facility with which the manipulation of the truth and the pandering towards innate fears can misguide people into sanctioning the commitment of utmost atrocities in their name.

    The Nazis accomplished to co-opt the German people under their banner by making the party’s agenda the national agenda. They portrayed their wars, and all other campaigns in the wake, as actions that inevitably had to be taken in the defense of the German people. Therefore, it became unpatriotic to speak up against their evil plans. You were labeled ungerman and a traitor, if you opposed their policies.

    Hitler was the personification of these ideas. I hope that this exhibit may drive that point home.

    October 20, 2010 at 11:06 am |
  6. Frogist

    Love the line, "One of the fears discussed in the newspapers is that this might promote extreme groups. But I am not sure they enter museums." A great illustration that shows how ignorance and extremes go hand in hand.

    October 18, 2010 at 11:11 am |
    • Pencildick

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  7. Doc Vestibule

    The Nazi regime effectively invented modern propaganda.
    They understood very well that all you need to sway a populace into accepting the unacceptable are bread, circuses, fear, and a group on whom to focus that fear and twist it into hate.
    The formula has been aped a thousand times throughout history.
    For the last ten years, the bread has been McDonald's, the circuses Hollywood, the fear called Terror Alerts and the scapegoats Muslims.

    October 18, 2010 at 8:10 am |
    • Frogist

      @Doc Vestibule: I'm inclined to believe you.

      October 18, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  8. David Johnson

    I have heard Adolf was a Roman Catholic. How many Hail Marys and Our Fathers do you suppose you would need to say for killing 6 million of gods chosen people? Just wonderin'

    October 17, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
    • Raison

      @David Johnson

      Ah, that's a wobbly topic for me. The Catholic Church has such a wonderful history....lol...that I would not be surprised in the least to hear that he purchased a special dispensation before his death. But I am just being cynical without real proof.
      Perhaps there is some mention of it in this museum.
      I hope you're doing okay, David. I haven't seen much of you lately. But your jokes are awesome when they appear.
      Many thanks to you. There are times when your posts give me a much needed boost...and sore ribs.. 😀

      October 18, 2010 at 3:51 am |
  9. Reality

    Some of the fuel that fed the hate:

    Catholic Good Friday prayer

    "Let us pray also for the faithless Jews: that Almighty God may remove the veil from their hearts 2 Corinthians 3:13-16; so that they too may acknowledge Jesus Christ our Lord. ('Amen' is not responded, nor is said 'Let us pray', or 'Let us kneel', or 'Arise', but immediately is said:) Almighty and eternal God, who dost not exclude from thy mercy even Jewish faithlessness: hear our prayers, which we offer for the blindness of that people; that acknowledging the light of thy Truth, which is Christ, they may be delivered from their darkness. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen."

    Frederick Schweitzer and Marvin Perry write that the authors of the gospel accounts sought to place responsibility for the Crucifixion of Jesus and his death on Jews, rather than the Roman emperor or Pontius Pilate.[79] As a result, Christians for centuries viewed Jews as "the Christ Killers".[80] The destruction of the Second Temple was seen as judgment from God to the Jews for that death,[81] and Jews were seen as "a people condemned forever to suffer exile and degradation".[80] According to historian Edward H. Flannery, the Gospel of John in particular contains many verses that refer to Jews in a pejorative manner.[82]

    In 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, Paul states that the Churches in Judea had been persecuted by the Jews who killed Jesus and that such people displease God, oppose all men, and had prevented Paul from speaking to the gentile nations concerning the New Testament message. Described by Hyam Maccoby as "the most explicit outburst against Jews in Paul's Epistles",[83] these verses have repeatedly been employed for antisemitic purposes. Maccoby views it as one of Paul's innovations responsible for creating Christian antisemitism, though he notes that some have argued these particular verses are later interpolations not written by Paul.[83] Craig Blomberg argues that viewing them as antisemitic is a mistake, but "understandable in light of [Paul's] harsh words". In his view, Paul is not condemning all Jews forever, but merely those he believed had specifically persecuted the prophets, Jesus, or the 1st century church. Blomberg sees Paul's words here as no different in kind than the harsh words the prophets of the Old Testament have for the Jews.[84]

    The Codex Sinaiticus contains two extra books in the New Testament – the Shepherd of Hermas and the Epistle of Barnabas.[85] The latter emphasizes the claim that it was the Jews, not the Romans, who killed Jesus, and is full of antisemitism.[85] The Epistle of Barnabas was removed from later versions of the Bible; Professor Bart Ehrman has stated "the suffering of Jews in the subsequent centuries would, if possible, have been even worse had the Epistle of Barnabas remained".[85]

    Early Christianity

    A number of early and influential Church works — such as the dialogues of Justin Martyr, the homilies of John Chrysostom, and the testimonies of church father Cyprian — are strongly anti-Jewish.

    During a discussion on the celebration of Easter during the First Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, Roman emperor Constantine said,

    ...it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast we should follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously de-filed their hands with enormous sin, and are, therefore, deservedly afflicted with blindness of soul. (...) Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a different way.[86]

    Prejudice against Jews in the Roman Empire was formalized in 438, when the Code of Theodosius II established Christianity as the only legal religion in the Roman Empire. The Justinian Code a century later stripped Jews of many of their rights, and Church councils throughout the 6th and 7th century, including the Council of Orleans, further enforced anti-Jewish provisions. These restrictions began as early as 305, when, in Elvira, (now Granada), a Spanish town in Andalucia, the first known laws of any church council against Jews appeared. Christian women were forbidden to marry Jews unless the Jew first converted to Catholicism. Jews were forbidden to extend hospitality to Catholics. Jews could not keep Catholic Christian conc-ubines and were forbidden to bless the fields of Catholics. In 589, in Catholic Iberia, the Third Council of Toledo ordered that children born of marriage between Jews and Catholic be baptized by force. By the Twelfth Council of Toledo (681) a policy of forced conversion of all Jews was initiated (Liber Judic-um, II.2 as given in Roth).[87] Thousands fled, and thousands of others converted to Roman Catholicism.

    First Crusade of 1096, the expulsion from England in 1290, the Spanish Inquisition, the expulsion from Spain in 1492, the expulsion from Portugal in 1497, various pogroms, the Dreyfus Affair.

    Bottom line: Include all the reasons for anti-semitism in any future displays used to educate the human race.

    October 17, 2010 at 9:33 am |
    • Raison


      That bottom line is a little too general. Everything needs this? Shouldn't the information be disseminated according to the area of study??
      Just realisticin' 😛

      October 18, 2010 at 7:29 am |
  10. Frank

    What about how Israel teaches its children to hate Palestinians?
    Seriously, this was 70 years ago. Let's talk about things we can change in the here and now.

    October 16, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
    • Matt in Oregon

      Thats the idea behind this. We learn about the past in an effort to inform ourselves on how to approach contemporary issues.

      October 17, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      ... doomed to repeat them.

      October 18, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
    • Frank

      Matt in Oregon:
      Ah, so are we going to learn about how the Zionist leadership in Germany and elsewhere sold out the common Jewish people to have an excuse to rob and r@pe the Palestinian people? Are they going to mention that chapter in the Hitler story?
      Selfish Gene:
      Yes, those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it, and so on. But do we know our complete history? Is the full story being told?

      October 19, 2010 at 1:00 am |
  11. Kate


    A topic that proves Godwin's Law right with the OP!

    It's about time people started realizing just how Hitler was able to get Germany behind him. It's all well and good to say "We can't let this happen again" but if you don't talk about the person and personality that caused it, nothing will be learned – and you won't spot it coming back in another guise.

    Just sayin'

    October 16, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Well said my friend.... agreed.

      October 16, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
    • Raison


      I agree...but don't I usually? 😀

      Just bein agreeable

      October 18, 2010 at 3:42 am |
    • Frogist

      @Kate: Damm straight. Seems that people need to be reminded of the power of a friendly personality speaking hate now more than ever.

      October 18, 2010 at 11:14 am |
    • Nonimus

      Well put.

      I was hoping the article said more on this, but just displaying the propaganda objects doesn't seem enough.

      October 18, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
  12. oneStarman - Walla Walla, WA

    NEXT – George W Bush – The Rise of american Fascism

    October 16, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
    • Brad Greenwood

      You are a moron to compare the two.

      October 17, 2010 at 2:49 am |
    • Selfish Gene

      Bush didn't turn on his people. We have term limits.

      October 18, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
    • Mavent

      "Bush wasn't Hitler. But he would have been, if he'd applied himself"
      -Margaret Cho

      October 18, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.