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Local exhibits reveal the power of Nazi propaganda

Two St. Louis exhibits closely examine the powerful role of propaganda during the rise of Nazi Germany.

The first is “Capturing Hearts and Minds: Images of Nazi Propaganda and Disinformation,” and is at the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center. The other, at the Missouri History Museum, is a traveling exhibit from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum called, “State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda.” 

Dan Reich, curator and director of education at the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center, explained to "St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh Wednesday how the two exhibits came to coincide. 

When he and his colleagues heard about the exhibit coming to the Missouri History Museum, they realized that with the variety of amazing things in their archive that relate to propaganda, they could put together a smaller complementary show that could run at the same time.

Reich said, "what’s unique about our exhibit is that all of the photographs, the artifacts, the images are drawn from our archive and St. Louis collections."

The exhibit uses those items to demonstrate the great scope of Nazi propaganda used to indoctrinate Germany, vilify the Jewish population and spread disinformation throughout the world.

The exhibit at the Missouri History Museum, “State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda,” is a multimedia experience that examines how Hitler used propaganda after World War I to transform the Nazi Party from an obscure extremist group into the largest political party in Germany.

Adam Kloppe, writing and research fellow at the Missouri History Museum,  said the museum wanted to bring this world-class exhibit to St. Louis because the lessons of propaganda are still important today.

“It’s important to understand what propaganda is and how it works, and it’s important not to lose the stories of the people who were touched by the evil that was unleashed by Nazi propaganda in particular,” Kloppe said.

Both Reich and Kloppe said they hope these exhibits get people thinking analytically about where they get their information.

“Part of what these exhibits are trying to teach is that kind of media literacy, to recognize propaganda when you see it and to try to hunt down sources that can sort of counteract that propaganda,” said Kloppe.   

“Capturing Hearts and Minds: Images of Nazi Propaganda and Disinformation”

  • At the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center until September 20, 2015. Admission is free. 
  • More Information.

“State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda”

  • At the Missouri History Museum until September 7, 2015. Admission is free.
  • More Information.
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