If you’re concerned about a repeat performance by the German nation of the events of the first half of the 20th Century, you may wish to visit a new exhibition at the German Historical Museum, featuring some 600 stickers and replicas, racist and anti-racist, from 1880 to the present day.
It turns out Germans continue to harbor very ugly feelings about people and things that are not German, and that they prefer their bigotry small and intimate, away from the lime lights.
The exhibition, titled “Sticky Messages — Anti-Semitic and racist stickers from 1880 to the present,” shows adhesive notes, trading cards and pictures, letter sealers and stickers from the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, the reign of Nazism and on into the present day in their respective context. “Sticky Messages” tells of a social practice of misanthropic prejudices and recounts at the same time the history of fighting against antisemitic and racist stereotypes.
“They are familiar to everyone and can be found sticking everywhere: on street signs, letter boxes, in underground stations, in children’s rooms, in love letters,” explains the exhibition’s flyer. “Stickers and adhesive labels, also known as sticky notes, have been around on a massive scale since the late 19th century: a small format that is zealously disseminated in public places, privately collected and often traded. Stickers have been used since the beginning as an inexpensive way of popularizing worldviews. Collector cards and albums helped to spread and reinforce racist ideas of inequality and superiority and to bring them into people’s private lives. Stickers with anti-Jewish pictures and slogans have always been extremely popular with anti-Semites. But Jewish organizations soon learned to fight back against these slanderous attacks and publicly combated the anti-Semitic propaganda. Even today stickers are used for political agitation. Stickers like ‘Refugees welcome’ or ‘Nein zum Heim’ – short for saying ‘we don’t want any refugees living here’ – serve to signal acceptance, to polarize or to intimidate people.”
Anti-Semitic and racist stickers from 1880 to the present
April 20 to July 31, 2016
An exhibition of the Center for Research on Antisemitism at Technische Universität Berlin and the Deutsches Historisches Museum.