Hostility toward Jews was widespread in Germany (and in much of Europe) long before Hitler became chancellor in January 1933. However, it intensified during the Nazi period, to the point where many Germans condoned the elimination of the Jews, by banishment or even by annihilation. This escalating hatred was encouraged by the government, but also by private opinion-makers, notably Julius Streicher, publisher of the popular and influential tabloid, Der Stürmer. Streicher’s publication featured caricatures of Jews that showed them embodying many negative stereotypes and it accused them of committing crimes against Germany.
Randall Bytwerk, a professor emeritus at Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Michigan), has established an unmatched reputation for scholarship on the course and interpretation of Nazi propaganda. He is the author of the definitive biography of Streicher and is also responsible for creating and managing the Calvin digital archive of German propaganda during the Nazi and Communist periods -- the most visited and utilized website of its kind in the U.S.
On April 9, Professor Bytwerk will speak on how propaganda was used by the Nazis, both within government and outside it (e.g. Der Stürmer), to raise the level of Jew-hatred in Germany. He will examine how the Nazis ultimately persuaded some Germans to participate in mass murder, others to accept the genocidal campaign, and still others to choose not to see what was happening. After his talk at OSU, he will do a book-signing for the Streicher biography.