The Rise of Anti-Semitism

»Deported to their Deaths« – panel 3 – German Empire and Weimar Republic

With the inception of the German Empire in the year 1871, conservative nationalism gained the upper hand in mainstream politics. During this period, anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic organizations, covertly and openly, held “the Jews” liable for the persistent economic depression that continued into the 1890s. Following Germany’s defeat in the First World War in 1918, the inclination to point a finger at a scapegoat became prevalent. The increasing economic and social problems in the Weimar Republic fostered the amalgamation of anti-Semitic ideology with anti-democratic and anti-socialist attitudes.

Whoever spoke out openly against scapegoat ideology and prejudice required courage. Samuel Freund, in 1919, publicly opposed anti-Jewish defamation. Theodor Lessing (*1872) had taught philosophy at the Hannover Technical University since 1907. He made himself a lot of enemies with his harsh social criticism. Hannover students, who had already excluded Jewish classmates from the student council in 1920, obtained Lessing’s suspension from office in 1926. On March 1st, 1933, he fled to the Czech town of Marienbad with the help of his wife Ada, where he was subsequently assassinated by National Socialists on August 31st, 1933.

Picture credits

Digital image archive, Hannover Museum of History


Exhibition: Deported to their Deaths
Duration: December 15th, 2011 to January 27th, 2012
Location: Neues Rathaus Hannover, Bürgersaal
Panel: 3 from 39 – German Empire and Weimar Republic
Size: 650 x 2050 mm
Technique: Digital print on Alu-Dibond