Learning About the Holocaust

by Devin Belcher 

A pro-Hitler poster used as part of the Nazi propaganda display in “State of Deception,” a travelling exhibit from the U.S. Holocaust Museum that was at the Field Museum last year. Photo by Devin Belcher.

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with the New Memorial Baptize Church. Students participated in a field trip to see “State of Deception,” a traveling exhibit from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. The UYIJP is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation.

My experience at the Holocaust Exhibit ”State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda” was educational and the information I learned was disturbing. The Field Museum hosted the exhibit in February 2014 and I knew it was important information, but I thought a majority of people knew about the events leading up to the Holocaust. I also thought with all the facts and information about the Holocaust being shared over the years, people would have a little sympathy for the victims and their families, especially after seeing videos, pictures, or hearing survivors tell their stories. This exhibit opened my eyes to knowledge that we haven’t learned in school yet. Adolf Hitler was responsible for an estimated 5.1–6.0 million Jews being killed. He used propaganda to convince German men, women, and youth that Jewish people were not as important as the German race. Hitler tricked the Jews into sending their children to the concentration camps where Jewish people were starved, killed, and enslaved. 

   

A panel from “State of Deception,” a travelling exhibit from the U.S. Holocaust Museum that was at the Field Museum last year. Photo by Devin Belcher.

Recently, I heard about people in California that were speaking out against the Holocaust. They were saying the Holocaust didn’t happen. It was then that I knew sharing the photos and writing about the exhibit was a must. Hitler used the German people’s fear and need for jobs to feed hatred for the Jews. Some of the Jews left Germany and went to the United States for help and were turned away. After the Nazi army grew and became powerful, they started moving into other countries such as Poland and parts of the Soviet Union. In the takeover of these other places, the Nazis killed anyone that was not for the Germans and people who had what Hitler considered to be flaws, such as: people with disabilities, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Communists/liberal leaders, and homosexuals. 

    It saddened me to hear testimonies of how Jewish people could no longer be friends with the German people they had known for years. Using posters and radio broadcasts, Hitler created images for the German men and women to relate to. Through the posters and radio broadcasts, Hitler was able to appeal to the wants and needs of the German people, making it easier for them to turn on Jewish who were once their friends. Jews’ homes and businesses were taken from them and they never recovered them when the Holocaust had ended.

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