News Column

Nazis' skill in persuasion detailed in propaganda exhibit at National Archives' KC branch

June 24, 2014

By Brian Burnes, The Kansas City Star



June 24--Starting Tuesday, three editions of "Mein Kampf" will be on display at the National Archives at Kansas City.

One of them was published in Braille. It's displayed as an example of the sophisticated strategies used by the book's author, Adolf Hitler, as well as his Nazi Party, to win sympathy among members of the German public -- including those who were visually impaired.

"State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda," a traveling exhibit produced by the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, also includes an edition of "Mein Kampf" presented to German newlyweds.

"The more lucid chapters in 'Mein Kampf' are those in which Hitler talks about propaganda," said Steve Luckert, who curated the Washington exhibit.

The displays detail how how the Nazis developed posters, films, radio programs and even children's board games to gain power, win public support and justify their actions.

About 40 Kansas City area teachers this week will attend sessions to prepare them to bring students through the display this fall. Considered appropriate for middle and high school students, the exhibit largely doesn't include the graphic images sometimes associated with Holocaust presentations, said Dee Harris, an archives specialist.

"This exhibit is more about the path taken to the Holocaust," Harris said.

The exhibit is the third U.S. Holocaust Museum display brought to Kansas City by the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education of Overland Park. Planning for the local installation began four years ago, but the exhibit is all the more timely now, given the recent shooting deaths of three area residents at the Jewish Community Center and the Village Shalom senior living facility, said Jean Zeldin, the education center's executive director.

"The events in April illustrate that the messages of the Nazis, unfortunately, still influence some," she said. "The message that this exhibit brings resonates even more with us now."

To reach Brian Burnes, call 816-234-4120 or send email to bburnes@kcstar.com.

On display

"State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda," opens Tuesday at the National Archives at Kansas City, 400 W. Pershing Road. The exhibit, which is free, will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays through Oct. 25. For more information, call 816-268-8000 or go to Archives.gov/kansas-city.

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(c)2014 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)

Visit The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.) at www.kansascity.com

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Source: Kansas City Star (MO)


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