Berkowitz talks how Nazis used propaganda to persecute Jews and Blacks during lecture

More than 150 PBSC students, faculty and staff learned about the Holocaust in person and via Zoom through a lecture titled “Racial Ideology and Pseudoscience in the Third Reich” given by PBSC’s former Dean of Academic Affairs on the Lake Worth campus and son of Holocaust survivors Dr. Irving Berkowitz.

Berkowitz covered an extensive array of topics including the power of Nazi propaganda in the persecution of Jews and Blacks, and how Jesse Owens foiled Hitler’s plans for the 1936 Olympics.

He also educated attendees on 30 key terms related to the Holocaust including the words Nazi, Nazism, Lebensraum, Natural Selection, Survival of the Fittest, Eugenics, Racial Integrity, Racial Hygiene, Racial Superiority and Miscegenation.

Berkowitz explained that the Nazis defined Jews by race, not religion. They also claimed that Jews belonged to a separate race and that they were inferior to all other races.

“Don’t ever let anybody tell you that the Holocaust was not about racism,” said Berkowitz during the presentation.

One of the Nazi’s propaganda images portraying the Jews that Berkowitz showed during his presentation. This was on the front page of Der Sturmer, May 1934, illustrating false allegations that Jews used the blood of non-Jewish children in rituals.

He told attendees that these views about race were based on Adolf Hitler’s interpretation. Berkowitz showed an excerpt of Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf” (1925), where Hitler wrote that Jews were an inferior race of people who set out to weaken other races and take over the world. Hitler believed that Jews were particularly destructive to the German ‘Aryan’ race, and they did not have any place in Nazi Germany.

Because of this, Nazi racism resulted in the persecution and mass murder of six million Jews and millions of other people.

Berkowitz also explained how the Nazis used poster art as propaganda, along with music, theater, films, books, radio, educational materials, and the press, to win the support of millions of Germans in a democracy and, later in a dictatorship, to facilitate persecution, war and ultimately genocide.

Berkowtiz also explained that the Nazis also considered black people inferior but not as inferior as the Jews. He talked about how the Nazis recruited black men from Africa to make them serve Germany and the Nazi’s for decades.

Another propaganda image that Berkowitz showed during his presentation representing what Jewish blood. The microscope reveals symbols for the British pound and the American dollar, and for Jews, communists, and homosexuals (triangles). Image from Der Stürmer, Nazi newspaper, April 15, 1943. A poem was also displayed underneath the photo that read: With his poison, the Jew destroys The sluggish blood of weaker peoples; So that a diagnosis arises, Of swift degeneration. With us, however, the case is different: The blood is pure; we are healthy!

An event that occurred to help dispel Hitler’s false propaganda toward Blacks was when Jesse Owens won four gold medals during the 1936 Olympics in Germany in front of Hitler.

“If you don’t know who Jesse Owens is, you need to learn about him because what he did during those Olympics was instrumental in showing people the truth,” said Berkowitz during the presentation.

Berkowitz also talked about the psychology of the Nazi mind and the things that made them believe that other people weren’t actually human that led them to kill them or as Berkowitz says “exterminating them like cockroaches.”

For more information on the Holocaust, visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum which includes a Holocaust Encyclopedia.



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