the nazi depiction of the jews

i. insidious messages and vitriolic images

The older Nazi party poster and the Hoover poster that we looked at used propaganda to make us support political parties and candidates. The associations were positive and aimed at making us have good feelings about the subjects.

We'll turn now to the dark side. Powerful images and associations have often been used to send negative messages - images and emotional links that promote disrespect, distrust, hatred - and the Nazis became masters at the use of this very destructive propaganda. This poster for the 1937 film Der ewige Jude (The Eternal Jew), a Nazi propaganda film that was an unrelenting assault on Jews, is a good example.

Select and expand the thumbnail of the poster on the right, position the new window so you can see both this text and the expanded image, and analyze the larger version with us.)

The man almost fills the sheet of paper. His body is distorted in different ways. It looks flattened and two-dimensional. His right shoulder is angled so high and is so large that he is made to be appear like a hunchback.

He has a large, prominant nose. His beard is unkempt and stringy, suggesting that it is oily and dirty. His hands are disproportionately large compared to his head. In the right hand he appears to have gold coins. In the left, a whip. Under his arm is what appears to be a cutout from a map with a hammer and sickle on it. The background is orange, and the bold red letters state, The Eternal Jew

From this description, we can move one layer deeper into the associations and undercurrent of messages in the image. Although it seems that his eyes are closed, the man appears to be looking down at the gold in his hand. His black form is surrounded by essentially the same color, as if he had (or wanted to) surround himself with gold. The bright, perhaps garish background color against the black also serves to accentuate his odd shape.



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