Jewish Art Sherwin Miller Museum Tulsa
Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art
Jewish art is on display in The Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Tulsa giving a fascinating journey into Jewish history. We visited specifically for the visiting exhibit on propaganda, but the permanent exhibits are full of history. A permanent exhibit on the holocaust shows hundreds of objects – all donated by veterans of the war, refugees from Nazi Germany and families of holocaust victims. The word holocaust means ‘wide spread destruction’ and that was exactly what Hitler had planned – the entire extermination of the entire Jewish population.
The Final Solution according to Hitler
Hitler came to power after a downturn in the German economy. He swept in both promising wonderful things and giving the people someone to blame. According to Hitler, the reasons for all things bad in the world at the time were due to certain people. In his opinion those at ‘fault’ for everything bad should be killed: all Jews, along with Gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah Witnesses, labor unionists, and people with disabilities – mental or physical. Think about that for a minute. ALL of a entire population – millions of people. Not just move them out of the country, or hinder their opportunities but kill them – all. It is hard to wrap your head around such insanity. Beyond that, have you ever wondered how one man managed to convince SO many people that this was a good idea? Remember, Hitler didn’t actually kill 6 million people by himself. Instead, he managed to convince an entire country of Germans to work with him to make his horrible plan work.
State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda: visiting exhibit
Propaganda is defined by the Webster dictionary as “ideas or statements that are often false or exaggerated and that are spread in order to help a cause, a political leader, or government”.
So Hitler hires some PR masters and begins the ‘basic brainwashing’ of the German population in order to further his goals of making Germany ‘clean’ of those he didn’t like.
Taking kids through this exhibit is sobering because they are so innocent and have a hard time understanding such evil. Ironically, Hitler used the youth in Germany – creating an organization called Hitler Youth to begin teaching the propaganda early.
Hitler said, “By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.”
The posters in the exhibit show the process.
It is important to learn how propaganda works so we can be sure to act on our own thoughts and not someone else’s. Bring your smart phone to use the interactive features of this exhibit!
Information and focus in a lot of museums is about the ‘what’ and ‘who’ of the holocaust. Movies like Shindler’s List, for example, focus on those that tried to protect Jews during the war. Movies like The Pianist, for example, focus on the experiences of Jews. Movies like The Book Thief, focus on the ‘who’ as well, showing the sides of Germans who were scared and opposed to Hitler’s final solution.
But, in my opinion, what is often missing in Holocaust information is the ‘how’. Have you ever wondered how one man…one less than sane man…managed to convince SO many Germans to do terrible things? How did ONE man – no matter how crazy or dangerous, convince SO many to toss their own humanity aside and create horror? This exhibit on propaganda gives a glimpse into the ‘how’ such a tragedy took place.
The lines between propaganda and advertising can be very blurred, too. Talk about the differences. Talk about how information can be twisted, or information can be left out, and things can be made to seem better – or worse than they really are.
Visit this exhibit and open a dialogue with your travel partners. Talk about how propaganda affects people -then and now. Talk to the kids about how to think for themselves – and resist propaganda. Be informed and let travel be a fascinating part of the educational experience! We were given free tickets to this interesting exhibit in exchange for an honest review. Honestly – fascinating exhibit and a great conversation starter.
Natalie, The Educational Tourist