Nazi propaganda exhibit opens in Kansas CIty

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The dangers of propaganda are on display in Kansas City.

The National Archives at Kansas City opened a special traveling exhibit on Tuesday called State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda . The exhibit features rarely-seen artifacts from the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., including original copies of Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf.

“It's not always necessarily hate that is always the worst thing, indifference can be equally strong and the Nazis counted on indifference.  They counted on the fact that people would be indifferent to the fact that their neighbors were being taken away,” said Dr. Steven Luckert, Permanent Exhibition Curator at the U.S. Holocaust Museum.

The Nazi party used propaganda to justify war by spreading lies about religious and political opponents as well as homosexuals and the disabled to eventually kill them.

“The Nazis would tell (the German people), ‘It's not your problem.  The state's going to protect you.  You don't have to do anything’ and that's a lot easier for people to take.  To say, ‘I don't have to do anything.  I can, you know, just watch and let it happen,’” said Dr. Luckert.

The Nazis spread their propaganda outside of Europe and even to the United States.

“In 1933, they began broadcasting in English to American audiences.  They also, interestingly enough, hired public relations firms in New York to promote Nazi Germany,” Dr. Luckert said.

Even though the Nazis were defeated in World War II nearly seven decades ago, Holocaust experts warn people of the need to always be aware of the dangers of propaganda.

“We also want people to think about their responsibilities as consumers of information today.  How do we respond when we see messages that are meant to demonize a particular group? How do we keep ourselves from falling for certain types of propaganda?” said Dr. Luckert.

The free exhibit is presented by the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education and runs through October 25 at the National Archives at Kansas City, Missouri, located at 400 W. Pershing Road.

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