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Turning Germans Against the Jews: Photographic Denunciation in Pre-War Germany

Hosted By: Haberman Institute

In 1933 Nazi officials began bullying non-Jewish Germans into severing ties with their Jewish friends and neighbors to hasten the isolation of Jews from German public life. They used photography to achieve both goals, not just to harass and humiliate Jews, but to monitor and shame non-Jewish Germans into compliance as well.

This practice of photographic denunciation, in which Nazi leaders and functionaries took and displayed pictures of non-Jewish Germans shopping at Jewish-owned businesses, helped destroy the remaining bonds between non-Jewish and Jewish Germans. Enacted from 1933-1938 in Germany and beyond German borders during the Second World War, photographic denunciation successfully turned many non-Jewish Germans against Jews, a key precursor to the ability of the Nazi regime to perpetrate the Holocaust.

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