Since saying goodbye to another academic year we’ve been delighted to welcome many members of the public over the past fortnight. During this time we’ve had a number of interesting questions and conversations about the museum’s collections. With this in mind we thought it would be an opportune moment to take a closer look at our collections, its importance, the values behind it, and some of the stories which these objects represent.

All of the objects and documents in our collection provide a tangible link to the Holocaust, they are vital and internationally important evidence of these events. The objects and documents also provide a testament to individual experiences and promote discussion and engagement with the stories behind them. The collections, along with the survivor speakers, are central to the work of the museum, forming an important part of the Centre’s education programmes.

The Centre’s collection is diverse and pertains particularly to pre, during, and post war life of Holocaust survivors and their families. The collection also includes objects and documents relating to pre-war life of all victims of the Nazis, Nazi propaganda, anti-Jewish laws and anti-Semitic policy, Nazi policy and law for the period of 1933-1945, rescuers, bystanders and perpetrators, sites of murder (Killing Centres, labour and concentration camps, and ghettos), and people who sought refuge from the Nazi regime[.

This week we are focusing on children and objects related to their experiences:

Hitler Youth Drum:

 

This round wood and metal drum was played by boys in the Hitler Youth. The importance of music within the Hitler Youth has its roots in radio broadcasts which were a key propaganda method for the Nazi party. Members of Hitler Youth broadcast musical groups were attached to radio stations and would provide instrumentals between political broadcasts. This was expanded as the state intended to draw the youth away from music it considered undesirable such as pop and jazz. Music and musical education within the Hitler Youth was engineered to produce future soldiers, as the intention was members of the Hitler Youth were to be fed into the armed services.

Music was also considered a fundamental part of celebrating Nazi holidays including the Nazi assumption of power on January 30, Hitler's birthday on April 20, and the annual Nuremberg party rally. It was also considered vital to unity and conformity, especially group performances.

Don’t Trust a Fox: 

Donated by Holocaust survivor Bob Norton, ‘Don’t Trust a Fox in A Green Meadow Or the Word of A Jew' was presented as evidence during the Nuremberg Trials. It demonstrates the use of picture books and children’s literature to indoctrinate children into Nazi ideology. Children were exposed to the book from around 6 years of age; it became widely used in schools, and was purchased by parents. 

The author was an 18 year old student called Elvira Bauer who was an ardent supporter of Nazi ideology. The book went into print in 1936, seven editions and around 100,000 copies were published by Der Stürmer, a publishing house owned by Julius Streicher, who also published ‘Der Stürmer’ an anti-Semitic newspaper.

Hitler Youth Jacket:  

This jacket was worn by a young child as part of a Nazi youth group. The Hitler Youth fostered devotion to Hitler, race consciousness, and the allegiance pledge included a promise to serve both State and Fuhrer as future soldiers. Uniforms enhanced the sense of belonging, importance, and the paramilitary nature of the organisation. Members would go to annual camps and do activities such as hiking and sports, they also actively participated in the war effort, filling roles left by men conscripted to the front such as postmen. The complete indoctrination of children into Nazi ideology was the ultimate goal, twinned with an ideologically driven school curriculum and propaganda which specifically targeted young people. 

Doll; ‘Father’:



This item is currently being researched. What we do know, however, is that the doll belonged to Sigmar Berenzweig who came over to England on the Kindtransport. The Kindertransport was an effort by Jewish organisations in Britain to rescue German and Austrian Jewish children from the Nazi regime. Whilst packing for this journey, Sigmar included this doll in the suitcase along with the ‘Son’ doll.

If you’re interested in finding out more about our collection please visit the Collections section on our website.